The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

December 27, 2013

Clinton's weather unpredictable in 2013

By Amy Kent
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — There will be plenty to reflect on when looking back to the past year, and the region's wacky weather patterns will be one of the top subjects on that list.

In a year filled with record setting temperatures, high and low, bizarre tornado threats in November and the highest precipitation totals in the first four months of the year in 40 years, there have been some interesting weather stories in 2013.

According to Clinton-area weather observer Jim Blaess, weather records were either tied or beaten in nearly every month this year, making it difficult for observers to find a level of stability with the region's weather patterns.

"We're not having an El Nino type of situation that we have had in the past and with El Nino and La Nina weather recorders have more of a set idea of what's going to happen," Blaess said. "With this kind of condition, you don't really know what to predict."

To predict that the first four months of the year would record 13.63 inches of precipitation, the first time in more than 40 years, and still be below the yearly average by December, or that September would break a record set in 1953 for the two hottest back-to-back days in the month would be nearly impossible.

"Sometimes you can think you know what to expect from winter by what you experience in summer, but it doesn't always turn out that way," Blaess said.

So far, December has recorded the coldest days of the year, six coming in below zero, and totaled more than 13 inches of snowfall, well above the monthly average.

But, compared to last year's December, Blaess said this year is what should be expected from the Christmas month.

"This December here is completely different than last year," Blaess said. "The last two Decembers were pretty mild but this is more of a typical December, even though were above the averages for snowfall and days below zero degrees. This is just a trend back to a more normal December."

Although the snow totals for December are above average, only one school cancellation was reported from the Camanche School District, none was reported from the River Bend School District because of snow and Clinton schools did not have record of it.

With only a few days left of 2013, there are no weather surprises expected, but with as wild of year it has been, who knows what Dec. 31 could bring.

Maybe a hurricane or earthquake will be the next wacky weather trend to hit the Clinton area. Unlikely, but one thing is for sure "it's open to whatever," according to Blaess.