National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Wetter and warmer than normal conditions occurred in December.    

Figure 1 shows the geographic regions across West Central Texas, which are referenced in this summary.

Figure 1:  Geographic Regions of West-Central Texas.

Precipitation for December was above normal across much of west-central Texas (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Total Precipitation for December, 2015.

For most of west-central Texas except the southeastern part, December precipitation was well-above normal.  Monthly precipitation amounts were in the range of 1.5 to 3 inches across most of the region south of Interstate 20.  The area north of Interstate 20 received between 2 and 4 inches of precipitation in December. 

Temperatures averaged well-above normal for the month. Table 1 summarizes December 2015 temperature, precipitation, and departure from normal for Abilene and San Angelo.  


Average Temperature(Degrees F)

Departure from Normal(Degrees F) Normal Average Temperature(Degrees F) Total Precipitation(Inches) Departure from Normal(Inches) Normal December Precipitation(Inches) Total Snowfall(inches)
Abilene  49.5  4.2 45.3 2.20 0.97 1.23 5.1
San Angelo  51.1  4.4 46.7 2.26 1.41 0.85 3.1


Table 1: December Climate Data for Abilene and San Angelo.

* At San Angelo, the December precipitation of 2.26 inches ranked as the 9th wettest on record. *

The average monthly temperature for December at San Angelo and Abilene ranked between the 10th and 15th warmest on record.

Patchy dense fog occurred on the early morning of the 1st, mainly across parts of the Concho Valley and Heartland.  Visibility dropped to less than one quarter of a mile at Brownwood and Coleman, and at the San Angelo Airport.

Dry conditions prevailed during the first 10 days of December.  Daytime temperatures were much warmer than normal on the 8th through 11th.  Afternoon highs were mostly in the 70s on the 8th and 9th, and in the 80s on the 10th and 11th.  Record high temperatures were set at San Angelo (87 degrees) and tied at Abilene (83 degrees) on the 11th.

With the approach of an upper level storm system from the southwestern states, a band of showers and thunderstorms with strong, gusty winds moved quickly east across west-central Texas, during the evening and nighttime hours of the 12th.  Wind gusts of 60 mph were estimated at Funston (Jones County), 3 miles east of Roscoe (Nolan County), and at Sterling City.  Peak winds of 51 mph and 49 mph were recorded at Abilene and San Angelo, respectively.  Showers continued into the early morning hours of the 13th across eastern sections of the area.  Southeastern parts of west-central Texas received one half to one inch of rainfall with isolated higher amounts.  For the rest of west-central Texas, rainfall varied mostly between one quarter and three quarters of an inch.  

Gusty west winds occurred during the following day (13th) as the upper level storm system lifted north of the region. Peak wind gusts over 40 mph were recorded across parts of the area, including at San Angelo (46 mph) and Abilene (41 mph).

Dry and cooler conditions occurred in the days following a cold frontal passage on the 15th. Gusty south winds occurred on the 20th. Peak gusts reached 46 mph at Abilene and 40 mph at San Angelo. A few light rain showers occurred across southeastern parts of west-central Texas on the 20th.

Temperatures were well-above normal (especially with the highs) in the days leading up to Christmas.

A powerful storm system brought severe weather to the region on the 26th, and winter weather on the 27th. With the approach of the upper level storm system from the southwestern states and adjacent northern Mexico, numerous strong to severe thunderstorms occurred on the afternoon and nighttime hours of the 26th, into the post-Midnight hours of the 27th. Strong thunderstorm winds downed tree limbs in Crockett County (36 miles west of Ozona), and produced a wind gust of 58 mph at the Abilene Regional Airport. Hail around nickel size was reported with several of the storms. Rainfall amounts were in the 1-2 inch range (with locally higher amounts) across the Big Country, and generally between one-half and one inch across central and southern sections of west-central Texas. Figure 3 shows rainfall amounts for the 24-hour period ending at 7 AM, December 27.

Figure 3: Total Precipitation for the 24-hour period ending at 7 AM, December 27.

Following a strong cold frontal passage on the 26th, much colder air filtered into the area, accompanied by gusty north winds. As the upper level storm system tracked into southern parts of west-central Texas, mixed winter precipitation developed on the 27th. Much of this precipitation was in the form of sleet, occasionally mixed with snow. The precipitation transitioned to all snow later in the day, and continued into the post-Midnight hours of the 28th before ending.

Snowfall amounts were in the 2-4 inch range across much of west-central Texas, with localized bands of higher amounts.

Skies cleared on the 28th, but the cold air remained with highs in the upper 30s to lower 40s.

Areas of dense fog occurred on the morning of the 31st. The fog was widespread across most of west-central Texas, and visibilities were reduced to less than one-quarter of a mile.