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Warmest December Ever Recorded in Bowling Green and Frankfort

It's easy to succinctly describe this December's weather in southern Indiana and central Kentucky: warm and wet. Only three days were colder than normal throughout the region (the 3rd, 4th, and 18th). Louisville saw only seven days with temperatures at or below freezing; Lexington and Bowling Green had 8, and Frankfort 9.

Significant warmth was felt throughout the month, especially from the 9th to the 16th and the 21st to the 30th, with daily average temperatures 10 to 30 degrees above normal. The 12th and the 23rd were the warmest days of the month -- 25 to 30 degrees above normal! Bowling Green had an amazing 9 days with temperatures of 70 or more, beating the old December record of 5 set in 1984 (and surpassing the number of 70 degree days the city saw in November).

The highest temperature on the Kentucky Mesonet in the central part of the state during the month was 76 in Clinton and Cumberland Counties on the 27th.

Along with all that warmth came rain. A lot of rain. Four to eight inches soaked the region, much of it coming during the week of the 21st to 28th. The wettest spot was the CoCoRaHS station in Liberty where 8.74" of rain fell during the month. The highest daily amount among the Kentucky Mesonet sites was 2.25" in Shelby County on the 27th (followed close behind by 2.21" at Louisville International Airport that same day). A CoCoRaHS station south of LaGrange reported 2.76" that day. Resultant flooding was generally minor, though, since the rains were spread out across several days. The worst flash flooding was on the 25th and 27th, with general river flooding closing out the month.

Even with all the warm temperatures and rainfall, there was only one day of severe weather. On the 23rd a strong low pressure system advanced from the Plains to the Great Lakes and swung a cold front through the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. Three squall lines crossed the LMK CWA that afternoon and evening, producing many instances of strong, gusty winds. The most significant damage occurred just south of Campbellsville when 100mph downburst winds damaged structures along a half mile-wide path at ten o'clock that evening. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

  Average Temperature Departure from Normal Precipitation Departure from Normal Snow Departure from Normal
Bowling Green 50.6° +12.0° 5.23" +0.38" T -1.2"
Frankfort 47.8° +12.5° 6.26" +2.25"    
Lexington 48.8° +12.8° 7.21" +3.28" T -2.5"
Louisville Bowman 48.9° +11.7° 6.12" +2.11"    
Louisville International 50.0° +12.1° 6.58" +2.75" T -2.6"

 

Records

11th: New record warm low of 54° at Frankfort
12th: New record high of 73° at Louisville, new record warm low of 62° at Louisville, new record high of 70° at Lexington, new record warm low of 59° at Lexington, new record high of 70° at Bowling Green, new record high of 71° at Frankfort, new record warm low of 60° at Frankfort
22nd: Tied record high of 66° at Bowling Green
23rd: New record high of 70° at Louisville, new record warm low of 58° at Louisville, new record warm low of 58° at Lexington, new record rainfall of 2.46" at Lexington, new record warm low of 63° at Bowling Green, new record warm low of 58° at Frankfort
25th: Tied record warm low of 48° at Frankfort
26th: New record high of 73° at Bowling Green
27th: New record rainfall of 2.21" at Louisville, tied record high of 70° at Lexington, new record high of 72° at Bowling Green
28th: Tied record high of 68° at Louisville, new record high of 72° at Bowling Green

Warmest December on record at Bowling Green and Frankfort
2nd warmest December on record at Lexington and Louisville

6th wettest December on record at Lexington
9th wettest December on record at Frankfort
10th wettest December on record at Louisville

Taylor County damage December 23, 2015

Downburst wind damage south of Campbellsville on the 23rd. NWS Storm Survey