Kings County had unusually cold, wet, snowy December

John Decoste
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By John DeCoste


If it felt like it was colder than usual in December, that’s because it was.  

The last month of 2013 started out fairly mild, but in mid-month Kings County went into a deep freeze that wasn’t forecast to ease up until Jan. 6.


 “It was the coldest December we’ve had since 1989,” Jerry Huntley said. “I have a neighbor who lives in Massachusetts (the rest of the year). He and his wife were here for New Year’s, and he said we’ve had as much winter so far this year as we’ve had the past two winters combined.”

The Scott’s Bay resident is currently in his 31st year of keeping track of the weather locally. Jan. 2 he said the prior month was  “definitely colder, and snowier, and wetter overall.”

His records show more than 200 millimetres of precipitation during December,more than 70 mm of snow: the most he has seen in 30 years.

 “We’re certainly seeing temperatures we haven’t seen for probably 20 years,” Huntley said. “I’ve never recorded temperatures below minus 18 C before Christmas, but we hit minus 18 during the cold snap we had just before Christmas.

“I’m sure we must have had temperatures that cold this time of year before,

 but not in the 30 years I’ve been keeping track.”

According to Environment Canada data, the average high temperature for the month on the Valley floor was minus 0.2 C for Greenwood and plus 0.6C  for Kentville. The average low temperature was minus 7.6 C for Greenwood and minus 6.3 C for Kentville.

Historical data available online for Greenwood for 1971 to 2000, showed an average high of minus 2.4 C. The daily average low was minus 7 C; so last month was a little colder than average and the latter part of the month was much colder.

The cold temperatures disappear with the end of December, Jan. 2, Huntley reported  a temperature that held steady at minus 21 C for most of the morning, and by sunset at 5 p.m., had only risen to minus 20. As Huntley suggested it might have, this broke the old record of minus 20.3C for Kentville set in 1999.

Jan. 3 and 4 continued cold  but temperatures were forecast to soar to plus 10 C Monday, before returning to normal


By the numbers


The high temperature for Greenwood during December was plus 12.6 on Dec. 6. In fact, the whole first week of December was mild, with 55.4cm of rain falling Dec. 3.

In all, there was 168.5mm of precipitation in Greenwood during December (for purposes of calculation, snowfall is melted and the total measured in millimeters).

For the record, this total included 102.2mm of rain, mostly early in the month, and 62.9cm of snow. There was 41cm of snow on the ground on Dec. 19, the most of any day last month.

In Kentville, the precipitation data recorded for the Kentville Research Station doesn’t differentiate between rain and snow. Kentville had 196.4mm of precipitation during December, including 44mm on Dec. 3 that fell as rain.

There was 36cm of snow on the ground in Kentville on Dec. 19; 35cm on Dec. 20; 33cm on Dec. 27; and 31cm on Dec. 31.

Organizations: Environment Canada, Kentville Research Station

Geographic location: Kentville, Kings, Massachusetts

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