Ready for our December weather forecast? December 1 marks the beginning of “meteorological winter,” but it may not feel like it for some. This month, chilly weather threatens the eastern part of the United States, while above-normal temps are predicted for the West. Let’s take a look at what’s in store, courtesy of Old Farmer’s Almanac meteorologists Bob Smerbeck and Brian Thompson.
December 2022 Weather Predictions
December temperatures are set to divide the nation! It will be colder than normal from the East Coast to the Mississippi River and across southern Alaska, but west of the Mississippi, expect to experience near- to above-normal temperatures this month. Precipitation will be above normal along the Atlantic seaboard, across the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest, and along the Pacific Coast and near to below normal elsewhere.
Canadian temperatures will be near to below normal across much of the country. Precipitation will be near to above normal in most places, although below normal over southwest British Columbia.
→ See YOUR region’s forecast with weekly weather condition summaries.
Notable Dates in December
On National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, December 7, it will be rainy and mild across Hawaii and much of the mainland U.S., although snowy in the Northeast and Intermountain West. Sunny and warm conditions will be the rule across the Desert Southwest.
December 15 is Bill of Rights Day in the U.S., where you may be wishing for an amendment to the weather in most eastern areas, as it will be chilly with showers in the Southeast and chilly with rain and snow from the Northeast through the Great Lakes and across to the northern Rockies. Rainy weather will dampen the Southwest, but it will be sunny and dry across the southern Plains.
The winter solstice on the 21st will bring the shortest day and longest night of the year in North America. Snow or rain will block the Sun from the Midwest and Great Lakes through the Ohio Valley and from the Intermountain West to the Pacific Coast. Mainly clear skies will be good for stargazing along the East Coast but don’t forget extra blankets. Expect snow showers and cold conditions from Atlantic Canada westward into southern British Columbia.
On Christmas, December 25, the weather will be chilly with snow in the air from the Northeast through the Upper Midwest and southeastward into the Appalachians and from the Intermountain West through to the Pacific Northwest. Rain will cause slow holiday travel across Florida and the rest of the Southeast, as well as in the southwestern U.S. and in Hawaii. Snowy and cold conditions will be the rule across southern Canada.
→ Read our full White Christmas Forecast here!
December 26 is Boxing Day in Canada and the first day of Kwanzaa. Sunny and cold conditions will be the rule from the Southeast and Deep South into the Heartland, while most other areas will see snow, mixed rain and snow, or periods of rain. Expect snow or flurries from Atlantic Canada through British Columbia.
For those attending New Year’s Eve celebrations, expect dry and cold conditions for the ball to drop in New York city and dry and warm conditions in Orlando, but keep the umbrella handy for rain in Las Vegas and San Francisco. Expect cold and snowy conditions in Montreal and Vancouver.
Weather and Climate Patterns
Important factors in the upcoming winter include a weak La Niña, which would be for a rare third winter in a row. We expect a warm phase in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and a cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Oscillations are linked to ocean–atmosphere patterns that influence the weather over periods of weeks to years.
We’re also monitoring solar activity, as there is a relationship between solar energy and the stratospheric winds near the equator (known as the QBO). Under certain conditions, the polar vortex can be displaced from the North Pole, which could open the door for cold shots across the central and eastern United States and southern Canada during this upcoming winter.
→ See our full 2022-2023 Winter Forecast Summary!
Don’t forget to order your copy of The 2023 Old Farmer’s Almanac—a perfect stocking stuffer!