December shows unusual temperatures

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By Scot Johnson

Surprisingly, December was warm, as was 2010 overall.
The incredibly cold temperatures we experienced around New Year’s Eve and Day make it hard to believe, but December was quite a bit warmer than average.
The average temperature in Los Alamos and White Rock was 35 and 34 degrees, respectively, where 29-and-a-half is the norm for December in both towns.
The Los Alamos average for 2010 overall was 49 degrees, half a degree warmer than the 1981 through 2010 average.
The first two weeks of December were dry but pleasant with daytime highs of around 50 degrees and lows around 30, about 10 degrees above normal.
We grew accustomed to the idea that La Niña was pushing all the cold and wet weather to the north, and so we began watering our trees.
The storm that came on Dec. 16 shattered the mild conditions, reminiscent of a few cold fronts in November.
Temperatures plummeted to normal values and we received about 6 inches of snow that Thursday, shutting down Los Alamos National Laboratory the next day.
Dry weather returned and temperatures climbed to provide an unseasonably comfortable winter break. But then a massive system of cold air and moisture arrived from the Pacific Northwest on Dec. 29.

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