After enduring the coldest week with record cold, it seems hard to believe that temperatures recorded in December broke records for daytime highs and higher than normal nighttime lows.
Surges of warm air from the Southwest kept the state warmer than normal. Some of the warmest temperatures occurred overnight, as strong winds brought record-setting temperatures to much of the state.
On Dec. 5, observers at several National Weather Service stations saw record-breaking temperatures in Atlanta, Athens, Columbus and Savannah. Temperatures in Alma and Augusta tied historical record highs on Dec. 6 as a wave of warm air continued to move east.
On Dec. 22, another stream of warm air moved into the state and broke records. In Savannah, the daytime temperature hit 83 degrees — breaking the city’s all-time, record-high temperature for December, which was set two weeks earlier on Dec. 6. Records for high nighttime lows were also set on Dec. 6 in Atlanta, Athens and Columbus, and in Savannah, Augusta and Alma on Dec. 22.
In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 48.1 degrees, 2.8 degrees above normal; in Athens it was 47.6 degrees, 2.2 above normal; in Savannah it was 57.3 degrees, 5.6 above normal; and in Augusta it was 50.3 degrees, 3.1 above normal.
The highest monthly total precipitation reported by an National Weather Service observer was 9.04 inches in Macon , which was 5 inches above normal. Athens received 7.62 inches, which was 3.89 above normal.
Atlanta observers reported a record-high daily rainfall total on Dec. 22 of 3.12 inches. This surpassed the daily record of 1.78 inches set in 1907.
December’s wet weather helped set annual precipitation records for 2013, already one of the wettest on record. Macon broke its all-time yearly record with 72.91 inches in 2013. This is more than double the 32.41 inches the area received in 2012.
A National Weather Service cooperative observer in Helen reported 101.42 inches of rain, the third-highest annual total ever recorded at an official NWS co-op site. A nearby observer at Sautee reported 98.58 inches, the fifth-highest annual total ever reported for Georgia.
These amounts, as well as records seen at other stations in Georgia, are still being verified and will be discussed in the annual summary released later this month.