ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Did the last month seem a bit warm to you? Well, you’re not alone. In December, our average high temperature sat at 75 degrees, which is 15.6 degrees warmer than our average high temperature expected in December. Even looking at overall average temperatures, we topped out at 60.4 degrees, surpassing a previous record in 1889. This still sat 13.1 degrees above average.
December saw 7 daily high temperature records fall, including one on Christmas Day of 76 degrees- set back in 2016. By far, the warmest days were December 3 and 24, topping off at 87 degrees, with December 26 at 90 degrees. December 26 now holds the record for the warmest ever recorded December day since records have been kept.
Overall, the month saw 30 days above normal and only one day below.
But, daily high temperature records weren’t the only records being challenged in December. Record warm minimum temperatures were also broken. Our low temperature of 64 degrees measured at Abilene Regional on December 15 broke a record set 73 years ago, of 59 degrees. Much like December 26, this set the record for the warmest minimum temperature for any December day since records began in 1895.
This past month wasn’t just a warm one, it was a dry one as well. Abilene Regional Airport only measured 0.05 inch of rain last month. It was all received on December 18. Drought conditions have continued to worsen, due to the lack of rain in the Big Country.
Why was it so warm?
The main driving force behind this dry and warm December is the ongoing La Niña conditions. La Niña is a climate pattern that tends to make for a drier and warmer winter weather pattern here in the Big Country.
However, climate change causes Texas seasonal temperatures to average about 2 degrees warmer than in the 20th century, thus giving December 2021 the edge ahead.
Texas State Climatologist, Dr. Nielsen-Gammon, explains it best:
“Global warming didn’t cause this December to be record-setting, but it did contribute to the margin of victory.”