Paul is a full-time fifth-grade teacher at an elementary school in Fairfield ... Paul is an Emmy award winner, five-time Emmy nominee, and four-time winner of the Connecticut Associated Press Broadcasters' Association award for 'Best Weathercast' ... The local weather journal is a two-time winner of the Communicator Award of Distinction ... Paul was inducted into the Housatonic Community College Hall of Fame and received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012 ... Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulPiorek ...

Monday, December 30, 2013

Historic February Blizzard Tops Year in Weather

There is no question the historic February snowstorm, which dumped nearly three feet of snow in Fairfield and snow drifts of four-to-five feet from Friday, February 8, through Saturday, February 9, is the top local weather story of the year. The snow began falling just after 7 o'clock Friday morning, February 7, and became steadier and heavier throughout the day and night. A Blizzard Warning was issued for the entire state, and heavy snow combined with gusty winds to produce near-whiteout conditions Friday night.

By the time all was said and done, it was almost impossible to open my kitchen door and go outside. The snow-level was so high that the door would not open easily. The daunting task of shoveling the snow off the steps, sidewalk, and driveway almost seemed impossible when I stepped outside. I knew that I had to take my time due to the 40-plus mile-an-hour wind gusts, wind chill values in the teens, and my advancing age. After about an hour, I began making progress.


According to the National Weather Service, Fairfield hit the jackpot with the most snow in Fairfield County with 35 inches. However, regionally, Milford topped the list with 38 inches. That's more than the normal amount of snow for the entire Winter season, and nearly twice as much as what we received this season prior to the storm. Last year, less than a foot (11") of snow fell through February 8. The snowiest Winter on record, however, happened 18 years ago when Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford reported 78" from 1995-96. Here's a view of my street from this afternoon.


Here are the totals from the National Weather Service:
  • Milford: 38"
  • Fairfield: 35"
  • Stratford: 33"
  • Monroe: 30"
  • Bridgeport: 30"
  • Weston: 26.5"
  • Shelton: 26.5"
  • Westport: 24.5"
  • Greenwich: 22.5"
  • Darien: 22.1"
  • Norwalk: 22"
  • New Canaan: 22"
  • Danbury: 21.5"
  • Stamford: 19"
  • Newtown: 17.1"
  • Bethel: 16"
  • Ridgefield: 12"
The storm was the result of a combination of a strong coastal low which moved up the Atlantic seaboard and an approaching front to the North and West. The two systems merged and the storm exploded Friday night. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy closed the state roads, much like the late-Gov. Ella Grasso 35 years earlier during the Blizzard of 1978. A snowplow driver got stuck in the snow in front of my house and abandoned his vehicle Saturday morning. It has been sitting there ever since.


The second part of the storm entered into a colder environment late Friday night and with plenty of moisture it resulted in intense banding and a powdery, wind-driven snow between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. That resulted in snow totals which were much greater than expected. Fortunately, damaging winds and severe coastal flooding issues were not as severe and certainly not as widespread as feared. However, many people lost power.

Meteorologist Geoff Fox took a time-lapse video of the snowstorm from inside looking out at his deck. He wrote, "This time lapse starts just after 6:00 AM and goes past 11:00 PM. It stops because there’s nothing left to see! There are a bunch of web postings saying the GoPro’s battery is only good for 2.5 hours of time lapse. That’s why I plugged it into an AC adapter and propped it up against a glass paneled door to the deck."

 

Paul

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Powerful Blizzard Three Years Ago Christened Unforgettable Winter of 2010-11

A powerful blizzard, which delivered about a foot-and-a-half of snow, 60 mile-per-hour wind gusts, and power outages throughout southwestern Connecticut, struck the region three years ago today, triggering an unforgettable stretch of snowstorms which brought 60 inches of snow during the Winter of 2010-2011. The timing of the blizzard, which affected thousands of holiday travelers, and the magnitude of the storm made it one for the ages.

Storm3

I've been working the early-morning shift at News 12 Connecticut since June of 1995, and in those 18-plus years, there have been only a handful of truly memorable storms. However, this was the first time I wasn't able to drive to work on my own. One of my neighbors agreed to drive me to the studio in his snowplow during the height of the blizzard early Monday morning. I'm glad he did. To be sure, my Chevy Cavalier wouldn't have made the journey from Fairfield to Norwalk.

Officially, 12 inches of snow fell at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford from Sunday morning through early Monday morning. The eight inches of snow which fell December 26 marked the third snowiest December day on record in southwestern Connecticut. Only December 19, 1948 (16 inches), and December 30, 2000 (10 inches), brought more snow in one day. Here are some impressive snow totals from the 2010 post-Christmas storm:
  • Wilton: 18"
  • New Canaan: 17.5"
  • Greenwich: 17"
  • Stratford: 16"
  • Norwalk: 16"
  • Westport: 14.8"
  • Darien: 14.5"
  • Milford: 14"
  • Bridgeport: 12"
Storm2

One of our viewers sent this video from the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Lafayette Street in Bridgeport during the height of the storm.
                              

The biting wind was brutal if you were outside for any length of time. Sustained winds of 25 to 35 miles an hour were recorded late Sunday night and Monday, December 27, and wind gusts reached 60 miles at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford (9:21 p.m.) and Greenwich (10:00 p.m.) late Sunday evening. I was surprised that there weren't more widespread power outages.

Storm1

The weather for the next couple of days will be tranquil around these parts. Some flurries are possible this morning, but no major storms are in sight through the start of the weekend. Many people are on holiday break through the middle of next week. At least it won't be anything like what we experienced three years ago today.

Paul

Monday, December 23, 2013

Memories of the Christmas Eve Snowstorm in 1966 Won't Ever Fade

Is this really the third day of Winter? It's hard to believe, since temperatures are in the 50s this morning after a record high of 60 degrees was established at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford yesterday. That broke the previous record high of 59 degrees set in 1998. Periods of rain will continue through this afternoon, but much colder air will arrive tonight. In fact, daytime highs will only reach the mid 30s tomorrow with some light snow for a brief period Christmas Eve.

I can't help but recall the snowiest and most memorable Night Before Christmas in my lifetime. Forty-seven years ago, over a half-foot of snow blanketed southwestern Connecticut on Saturday, December 24, 1966, resulting in treacherous roads, numerous accidents, and cancelled church services. Officially, 6.9 inches of snow fell at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford, which still stands as a record nearly a half-century later.

According to an article which appeared in the Bridgeport Sunday Post the following day, the "weather plight was part of an old-fashioned Nor'easter, which brought icy cold, high winds, and a blanket of snow to most of the East (coast)." Gale force winds hammered the region through most of the storm. Take a look at the front page newspaper article from December 25, 1966:

Storm2

Yule

I recall my Dad attempting to drive my family, including my Mom, brother, sister, and me to my grandmother's home in Bridgeport for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. However, after sliding and skidding several times, our car got stuck on a hill in Fairfield. After several minutes, my Dad was able to gain some traction, and we decided to head home and avoid any more perils on the roads.

Although it's been 47 years since that unforgettable Christmas Eve, I remember it like it was yesterday. Do you have any memories of that storm from 1966? If so, I'd like to hear from you. Our weather won't be quite as memorable this year, but at least we won't have any worries if our travels take us to grandma's house for Christmas Eve.

Paul

Friday, December 20, 2013

Snow Departures This Month

Local climatologist Ralph Fato created this pie graph to illustrate the snow departures this month for seven major Northeast cities. You'll notice that Bridgeport has 10.7" of snow through yesterday, which is well above the 2.1" normal. In fact, it's 410% of normal and nearly half of its seasonal average.


Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks has over a foot (12.4") for this month, which is 9.1" above normal. Philadelphia's has nearly a foot (11.2") so far this month, which is 700% of its normal (1.4") through December 19.

Paul

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Snowiest December Day on Record Happened 65 Years Ago Today

The snowiest December day on record in Bridgeport happened 65 years ago today. Sixteen inches of snow fell on Sunday, December 19, 1948. It is one of only two days in December with double-digit snowfall. The other was December 30, 2000, when 10 inches fell.

Take a look at the front page of the Naugatuck Daily News from the following morning, Monday, December 20, 1948. Please click the image to enlarge and read the story.


Paul

First Snowstorm of 2009-2010 Winter Season Arrived Four Years Ago Today

The first major snowstorm of 2009-2010 blasted southwestern Connecticut four years ago today, with some local communities receiving close to a foot of snow. Fortunately, the storm arrived late Saturday evening, December 19, 2009, giving most people ample time to prepare well in advance. The highest snow totals were recorded across southeastern Connecticut, while parts of Litchfield County saw nothing more than a trace of snow.

Here is a look at snowfall totals from across the region from December 19 and 20, 2009:
  • Darien: 10.5"
  • New Canaan: 10.3"
  • Milford: 10"
  • Bridgeport: 9"
  • Fairfield: 9"
  • Norwalk: 8"
  • Woodbridge: 7.5"
Officially, at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford, six inches of snow fell Saturday, and 3.2 inches accumulated Sunday, December 20, 2009, for a total of 9.2 inches. The snow happened one day before the Winter Solstice. Over a foot of snow (13.4") was recorded at the airport in December 2009, including two inches on December 9, and just over two inches on New Year's Eve day.

Norwalk

The normal average snowfall for December is 3.6 inches, based on 40 years of averages, or climatology. The snowiest December day on record in southwestern Connecticut happened December 19, 1948, when 16 inches blanketed the region. You may recall that two years ago, a foot of snow fell from December 26 through December 27, triggering one of the snowiest periods in recent memory. You may also recall the Winter storm of December 30, 2000, when ten inches fell.

No snowstorms are in sight through the next seven days. However, today will be cloudy and mild with periods of rain and patchy fog with daytime high temperatures in the 50s. Tonight will become partly cloudy, blustery, and colder with lows near 20. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with a period of light snow by afternoon and a high in the mid 30s. Christmas Day will be mostly sunny and cold with a high in the upper 20s to close to 30 degrees.

Paul

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Snow Creates Slippery Roads & Closes Schools

Tuesday's snowfall was just enough to cause many school systems to close throughout southwestern Connecticut and made travel difficult and slippery during the height of the afternoon rush hour. An Alberta Clipper moved through the region yesterday and intensified offshore, delivering several inches of snow. In case you're wondering, this is the second snowiest December on record.


Officially, 3.6" of snow fell at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford, which is a record for the date. That pushed the monthly total to nearly a foot (10.7"), which is well above the 2.1" normal through December 17. Just a trace of snow fell during the first 17 days of the month last year. Here's a look high above Bridgeport this morning.


In addition to the snow, it was quite cold yesterday. The high temperature of 23 degrees was nearly 20 degrees below the normal high of 42 for the date. There was also a gusty wind out of the North causing wind chills to hold in the single digits for much of the afternoon. Temperatures held in the 20s last night, and roads were slippery this morning. However, temperatures will rebound into the 50s this weekend, just in time for the start of Winter.

As for liquid precipitation, a quarter-inch fell yesterday, pushing the monthly total to 2.34" which is above the two-inch normal. In fact, three of the last four days have featured well over an inch (1.24") of measured precipitation. However, the yearly precipitation total (34.67") is better than a half-foot below the normal (41.41").

Paul

Monday, December 16, 2013

Full Long Night Moon Happens Late Tonight

The Full Moon happens tomorrow morning at 4:28 a.m. EDT. However, we won't be able to see the completely Full Moon due to an approaching Alberta Clipper, which will bring the potential of two-to-four inches of snow to the region. Skies will be mostly cloudy late tonight with light snow expected during the morning commute. The December Full Moon is known by a variety of names, including the Full Cold Moon and the Full Long Night Moon.

Full_moon_largeWhy is it called the Full Long Night Moon? During December, the Winter cold fastens its grip in the Northern Hemisphere, and nights are at their longest and darkest. The term Long Night Moon is also an appropriate name because the early Winter night is long, and because the Moon is above the horizon for a long time. The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun.

In fact, the December Full Moon has been referred to as the Oak Moon, the Frost Moon, the Cold Moon, and the Moon Before Yule. No matter what the name, the Full Moon in December is directly opposite the Sun; therefore it is out for a long time. Since the Moon appears to follow nearly the same path as the Sun in the sky, the amount of time the Moon spends above the horizon varies as it orbits the Earth. The Moon is Full when it is opposite the Sun in the sky, so a Full Moon rises roughly at sunset and sets at sunrise. Therefore, we only see Full Moons at night.



Six months from now, on the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year when the Sun spends the most time above the horizon, the Full Moon spends the least amount of time above the horizon. On the other hand, on the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year when the Sun spends the least time above the horizon, the Full Moon spends the most amount of time above the horizon. The time spent above the horizon each night for the Full Moon varies throughout the year about as much as the length of the day.

Paul

Friday, December 13, 2013

Geminid Meteor Shower to Peak Tonight

The Geminid meteor showers are at their peak, and astronomers are predicting that the annual event will be the most spectacular of the year, with the light show peaking tonight and early tomorrow morning. Between 100 and 120 meteors are expected every hour, though we're expecting increasing cloudiness and cold weather with low temperatures in the teens and lower 20s.

Also, a bright, gibbous Moon may obscure the meteor shower where skies are clear to partly cloudy. The shower began on Thursday and will continue through Monday, though the early hours of Saturday morning should be the best time to catch a glimpse of the meteors. The meteors should be fairly easily seen from any portion of the night sky, though star gazers should wait for at least an hour to catch a glimpse of the event as the shower will appear in bursts.

The Geminids are a reliable and prolific shower, offering perhaps 50 meteors per hour in a dark sky. This year, NASA experts are suggesting the rates might be as high as 100 meteors per hour at the peak. However, you'll need to get away from city lights and find a wide open view of the sky. City, state and national parks are good, and you might be able to camp and make a night of it. Simply enjoy the comfort of a reclining lawn chair, the warmth of a sleeping bag, a thermos with a hot drink, and the company of family and friends, if they're willing to stay up and battle the cold!


The Geminids rank as one of the best meteor showers for the year in the Northern Hemisphere. You can also see this shower from the tropical and subtropical regions in the Southern Hemisphere. Farther south, the radiant of the Geminid meteor shower never gets very high in the sky, so the meteors are not as prevalent at temperate southerly latitudes.



This meteor shower gets its name from the constellation Gemini the Twins. If you trace the paths of all the Geminid meteors backward, they appear to radiate from the certain point in front of Gemini. This point is called the meteor shower radiant, and is located near the star Castor.

Most meteor showers take place when our planet Earth crosses the orbital path of a comet. The comet debris plunges into Earth’s upper atmosphere, and the vaporizing particles fill the night with meteors. But the Geminid meteor shower appears to be an oddity. The shower’s parent body appears to be a near-Earth asteroid, rather than a comet. Astronomers have named this object 3200 Phaethon.

Paul

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Winter Solstice 10 Days Away

The coldest temperatures of the season are settling across southwestern Connecticut through the end of the week. Tomorrow morning's lows will drop into the teens, even along the immediate shoreline, while daytime hgihs will struggle to reach the upper 20s to close to 30 degrees tomorrow and Friday. Another storm is poised to deliver snow and a Wintry mix later Saturday into Sunday. Winter weather is here already.

Winter_smallWe're just 10 days away from the start of Winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Winter officially arrives Saturday, December 21, at 12:11 p.m. EST. Whenever I visit a school to conduct my Weatherkids program, many schoolchildren ask me why the start of a new season doesn't begin at midnight on a certain date, much like the beginning of a new year. The answer has to do with the Earth, the tilt on its axis, and its revolution around the Sun.

I've always maintained that the start of a new season is more of an "event" than watching the ball drop in Times Square on New Year's Eve. That's because New Year's Day is a "man-made" holiday which can arbitrarily occur at any time during a calendar year. An equinox or a solstice, however, marks a precise time when the Sun's rays strike a particular point on the face of the Earth. I try to observe the arrival of a new season, and next Thursday will be no exception.


As the Earth travels around the Sun in its orbit, the North-South position of the Sun changes over the course of the year due to the changing orientation of the Earth's tilt with respect to the Sun. The dates of maximum tilt of the Earth's equator correspond to the Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice, and the dates of zero tilt correspond to the Vernal Equinox and Autumnal Equinox.



In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice is day of the year when the Sun is farthest South. However, in the Southern Hemisphere, the Winter and Summer Solstices are the opposite, so that the Winter Solstice occurs on the first day of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The Sun's direct rays will be over the Tropic of Capricorn next Thursday morning.

The Winter Solstice also marks the "shortest day" of the year in terms of daylight. The length of time elapsed between Sunrise and Sunset at the Winter Solstice is at a minimum for the year. Of course, Daylight Saving Time means that the last Sunday in March has 23 hours and the first Sunday in November has 25 hours, but it does not correspond to the actual number of daylight hours.

Finally, the shadows cast by the Sun will be at their longest by the end of next week, since the Sun is at its lowest point in the sky. The actual times of Sunrise and Sunset in southwestern Connecticut for the Solstice are 7:16 a.m. and 4:27 p.m., respectively. Consider that on the first day of Summer in late June, the Sun rises at 5:19 a.m. and sets at 8:30 p.m. So, next Friday's "length of day" is only nine hours and 11 minutes as opposed to 15 hours and 11 minutes exactly a half-year later.

So, as we prepare to welcome Winter, also realize that a week from next Saturday marks a turning point. The days will gradually begin to get longer from this point forward until the end of June. Things can only get brighter from here on out.

Paul

Monday, December 9, 2013

Dreaming of a White Christmas

The Winter Solstice is less than two weeks away, and Christmas is just 16 days from now. Not surprisingly, many people have asked me about the odds of seeing a "White Christmas." Light snow is expected by mid-morning through mid-afternoon tomorrow, and one-to-two inches are possible by tomorrow evening. Another storm is possible by Saturday.

So, what are the chances of snow by Christmas? Here in southwestern Connecticut, weather records have been kept for a long time. Our climatology is based on record-keeping over a 40-year period. Based on history, shoreline communities such as Stamford, Darien, Stratford, and Milford have a 30% chance of seeing at least one inch of snow on the ground by December 25. There's a 10% chance of at least five inches of snow on the ground by then. However, we have a zero percent probability of having ten inches of snow or more on our front lawns by Christmas morning.


Inland, the odds are more favorable. People living north of the Merritt or Wilbur Cross parkways have a 57% chance of at least one inch of snow for Christmas. The odds are slightly lower than one-in-four (23%) for five inches of snow, and quite slim (3%) for at least ten inches of snow. However, residents in Wilton, Redding, Easton, and Woodbridge have a much better opportunity of seeing snow on the ground than their shoreline counterparts.

As far as the rest of New England is concerned, the chance of a white Christmas gets even better. Northern Connecticut and southern Massachusetts have about a 40 to 60% chance of at least one inch of snow; central New England's chances improve to 60 to 80 percent; and northern New England (80 to 100%) is virtualy assured of having a White Christmas.

One of the more memorable snowstorms which occured in late December was the Christmas Eve storm of 1966. We received over a half-foot of snow (6.9"), making roads quite slippery and travel very difficult. I distinctly remember my family on our way to visit my grandmother in the snow, but my parents deciding the drive wasn't worth the risk. We turned around and headed for home, but the car slid several times on the snowy roadways.

You may recall the snowstorm which delivered more than nine inches of snow to southwestern Connecticut the weekend of December 19 and 20, 2009. The snow began late Saturday evening, and six inches had accumulated by midnight. The snow tapered off early Sunday morning, but not before another 3.2 inches caused headaches for holiday shoppers the last weekend before Christmas.

Another recent snow occurred on Christmas Day, 2002. Some light snow happened early that morning, but a steadier and heavier snow developed by later in the afternoon and evening. The snow totals were quite impressive locally. Darien received 10 inches of snow by the time the storm exited the following day. Redding (9.5"), New Canaan (9.2"), Norwalk (7.0"), Greenwich (7.0"), and Westport (6.5") each saw at least a half-foot of snow!

On the flip side, I'm sure you recall December of  2006. The afternoon high temperatures from December 23 to 26 reached 58, 52, 44, and 50 degrees respectively, well above the 38-degree normal high. Over an inch of rain fell December 23 (1.15") and over a quarter-inch (0.28") was recorded on Christmas Day. We were left dreaming of snow for quite some time.

Paul

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Surprise Snowstorm Paralyzed Region 56 Years Ago Today

How-to-draw-landscapes-60
"They sure don't make 'em like they used to." How many times have you heard somebody say that? It applies to just about everything these days, especially our weather. Did you know that 56 years ago today a snowstorm virtually paralyzed southwestern Connecticut? Just about a half-foot of snow fell across the region, catching most everybody, including commuters and holiday shoppers, by surprise.

Officially, 5.1 inches of snow fell in Bridgeport on Wednesday, December 4, 1957, causing one of the greatest traffic jams in that city, according to The Bridgeport Post. The front-page article said that "Downtown streets were clogged with stalled traffic. The bumper-to-bumper situation persisted for five hours, delaying thousands of homeward-bound workers."

Post

Many people were stranded temporarily when rides failed to show or scheduled buses ran well behind schedule. Bus lines and taxis reported many extra customers, but the traffic jam prevented them from reaching their destinations promptly. The New Haven Railroad reported that commuter trains were jammed all evening, but there were no train delays blamed on the storm.

Slowed to a snail's pace by the blinding snow, it took motorists an hour to an hour-and-a-half to travel from downtown Bridgeport to North Avenue. The greatest difficulty was crossing intersections clogged by autos inching along bumper-to-bumper. Cars standing in traffic for a prolonged period of time ran out of gas, adding to the confusion. Police noted numerous instances of car batteries and lights failing as cars stalled at intersections.

Post2

The weather bureau said a combination of unusual conditions caused the storm to pause at midday and strengthen a few hours later. The storm's intensification caught many people off guard and unprepared. The rapidly-falling snow created skidding hazards and all but erased the effects of the Department of Public Works' sanding operations earlier in the day.

The snowfall was the greatest in Bridgeport since a two-day storm in March of 1956 delivered 19.4 inches. Consider that the normal average snowfall for the entire month of December is 3.6 inches. Strong winds, especially during the evening and nighttime hours, caused considerable drifting of the snow 55 years ago today. Winds gusted over 35 to 40 miles an hour.

I wonder how many people remember that storm? If you do, I'd like to hear from you. I can only imagine what it must have been like for stranded motorists. They sure don't make 'em like they used to!

Paul

Monday, December 2, 2013

Turning the Calendar to December

The start of the Winter season is less than three weeks away. The Winter Solstice occurs at 12:11 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Saturday, December 21, technically making it the “shortest” day of the year in terms of sunlight. Sunrise happens at 7:15, while the Sun sets at 4:26 on that day. Gradually, the length of daylight begins to increase by the last week of the month. As one would expect, the average temperatures in December start taking a nosedive based on 40 years of climatology.

The average high temperature drops from 46 degrees on the first of the month to just 37 degrees on New Year’s Eve. The average daily temperature falls from 39 degrees to 30 degrees over the next 31 days. The record high temperature for the month is 76 degrees, established on December 7, 1998. The coldest days ever for December happened on Christmas Day, December 25, 1980, and the next day, December 26, 1980, when an all-time low of -4 was recorded at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford. The mercury also fell to -1 on December 30, 1962.

I'm sure you haven't forgotten the post-Christmas blizzard three years ago, which "snowballed" into one of the most memorable Winters in recent memory. Heavy snow fell from Sunday, December 26, through Monday, December 27, kick-starting a nearly two-month stormy pattern which led to 60 inches of snow. Although that's double the norm, it fell short of the all-time snowiest Winter on record in southwestern Connecticut, when 78 inches fell during the 1995-96 season.

Officially, 12 inches of snow fell at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford from Sunday morning through early Monday morning, Dec. 26 & 27, 2010. The eight inches of snow which fell Sunday marked the third snowiest December day on record in southwestern Connecticut. Only December 19, 1948 (16 inches), and December 30, 2000 (10 inches) brought more snow in one day. Here are some impressive snow totals from that storm across southwestern Connecticut:
  • Wilton: 18"
  • New Canaan: 17.5"
  • Greenwich: 17"
  • Stratford: 16"
  • Norwalk: 16"
  • Westport: 14.8"
  • Darien: 14.5"
  • Milford: 14"
  • Bridgeport: 12"
Storm2


Storm1

You may recall that nearly five inches (4.8") of snow fell December 29 last year. One of the more memorable snowstorms in December occurred on Christmas Eve, 1966, when seven inches fell. You may remember that 3.5 inches of snow fell on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2008.

As far as precipitation is concerned, the average for the month is 3.47 inches. The wettest December on record happened in 1972 when 7.87 inches fell at the airport. Heavy rain plagued southwestern Connecticut  December 11 and 12, 2008, when 3.54 inches of rain fell over those two days, which is more than the average for the entire month. The driest December was in 1955 when only 0.33 inches filled the gauge. The average monthly snowfall is about 3.6 inches.

There is a "bright" side to the month. Although the time of sunrise gets later through the month, the Sun sets later and later, too. Today, for example, the Sun sets at 4:23 p.m. EST, which is the earliest Sunset of the year. It will set at that time through December 13. However, by New Year’s Eve, the Sun will fall below the horizon at 4:33. So, we’ll gain 10 minutes of daylight in the evening through the end of the month.

The Full Cold Moon, otherwise known as the Full Long Nights Moon, happens Tuesday, December 17, at 4:28 a.m. EST. It is sometimes called the “Moon before Yule.” The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long, and the Moon is above the horizon a long time. The midwinter Full Moon takes a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite to the low Sun.

Happy December!

Paul