Shattered high temperature records left in Santa's wake

While much of the country experienced mild weather for Christmas, the southern Plains had temperatures reach another level, leaving behind several broken records for Christmas gifts.

Santa began arriving with that warmth on Christmas Eve, kept delivering on Christmas Day, and didn't stop on Sunday either, cranking the temperatures up even higher.

On Friday, the record warmth blanketed the southern and midwestern United States. Wichita Falls, Texas, exceeded 90 F for the first time ever in the month of December, topping out at 91 degrees Fahrenheit. On the opposite side of the state, Galveston broke a daily record by reaching 78 degrees. Houston tied their daily record of 82 degrees which was set in 1948.

Areas of the Midwest also tied and broke records on Friday night. In Missouri, St. Louis matched its record from 1889 for the warmest Christmas, while Columbia reached 74 degrees, which broke their Dec. 24 daily record.

Come Christmas, records in Houston, Dallas and Waco were all broken as well.

Elsewhere on Christmas, Little Rock had thermometers climb to 74 degrees, breaking a daily record, while Jackson-McKellar, Tennessee, broke their warmest Christmas on record by 2 degrees. Louisville reached the 70s for the first time ever on Christmas Day, breaking the old warmest Christmas record of 69 degrees.

On Sunday, record temperatures continued to be threatened and broken across the region. Charlotte recorded a temperature of 77, which broke their daily record for Dec. 26. Chattanooga, Birmingham and San Angelo all broke records on Sunday as well.

 Record daily temperatures aren't the only records threatened to be broken this month for the region. It has already been an unusually warm month for much of the central and southern Plains, as well as in adjacent areas from the Rockies to the Mississippi Valley this December.

 Since there are no signs of major intrusions of cold air to reach the South-Central states through the end of the month, this December could be the warmest on record for a number of locations.

"Dallas has been experiencing temperatures of nearly 11 degrees above average for the first 20 days of the month and is highly likely to top its all-time warmest December by several degrees," AccuWeather Meteorologist Randy Adkins said.

While temperature departures of 5-10 degrees above average are not uncommon, pronounced departures of 10-12 degrees higher are exceptional. When these types of departures from the norm extend across an entire month, it's historical.

In Dallas, the first 24 days of December ran 10.8 degrees above the monthly normal temperature, at nearly 60 F. At the current pace, the all-time monthly December record of 53.6 degrees is likely to be shattered, AccuWeather Meteorologist Randy Adkins said.

There is a long list of cities over the Central states that could exceed their warmest December on record, and like Dallas, the mark may be topped by several degrees.


 Come the end of the month, the map could be peppered with cities that finish 5 degrees, or more, above average and make a run at their warmest December on record. Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri; and Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee; could all challenge records. Oklahoma City; Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa, and Denver could as well.

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