On the Wet Side: December
On the Warm Side: 2007
December/Annual 2007 Overview

Dr. David A. Robinson
New Jersey State Climatologist
Center for Environmental Prediction, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences/NJAES, Rutgers University
January 6, 2008


The final month of 2007 was a wet and occasionally white one across the Garden State. Statewide precipitation averaged 6.05", which is 2.35" above the 30-year mean and came in as the 11th wettest December since 1895 (table 1). There were a number of moderate precipitation events throughout the month, including the 2nd-3rd, 5th, 9th-10th, 13th, 15th-16th, 23rd, 26th-27th, 28th-29th, and 30-31st. Most events in the first half of the month brought the sanders and plows out to one portion of the state or another. However totals of snow and sleet were less than 5", often several inches below this mark at all but a few stations. While the majority of the state has seen less than 5" of snow and sleet accumulate this early winter (November and December combined), the higher elevations of northwest Jersey have received as much as two feet (Wantage at 24.4" as of 12/31) and saw snow covering the ground for almost every day of December.

Table 1. Top 15 wettest NJ Decembers since 1895. Precipitation (rain and melted snow/sleet) is in inches, and is an average of several dozen station observations from throughout the state.

Rank Year Precip
1 1996 7.96"
2 1973 7.29"
3 1969 7.21"
4 1983 7.08"
5 1901 6.68"
6 1902 6.61"
7 1948 6.39"
8 1957 6.33"
9 1936 6.26"
10 1972 6.11"
11 2007 6.05"
12 1977 6.01"
13 2003 5.99"
14 1986 5.97"
15 1967 5.76"

December 2007 temperatures were close to average, coming in at 35.9°. This was 0.5° above average, making this the 45th warmest 12th month on record. The mornings of the 6th and 7th were coldest of the month in most locations. Lows reached the single digits at a few locations in the northwest and were near 20° along the coast. The afternoon of the 23rd was warmest, with temperatures in the middle 50s to lower 60s throughout the state, even at higher elevations and along the coast.

2007 RECAP

2007 continued the tendency for NJ annual temperatures to average above the long-term (30-year) mean. The average temperature of 53.9° (1.2° above normal) came in tied with two other years for the 11th warmest of the past 113 (table 2). Of the warmer years, 7 of the top 10 have occurred since 1990. Temperatures were above average in 8 months, with 4 of these more than 2° above average. October was the warmest on record. February was the only month falling more than 2° below average.

Table 2. Top 15 warmest NJ years since 1895. Temperatures are an average of several dozen station observations from throughout the state.

Rank Year Temp
1 1998 55.6°
2 2006 55.4°
3 1949 54.8°
4 2002 54.8°
5 1990 54.7°
6 1991 54.6°
7 1999 54.4°
8 1953 54.2°
9 1973 54.0°
10 2001 54.0°
11 2007 53.9°
12 2005 53.9°
13 1931 53.9°
14 1959 53.7°
15 1921 53.6°

Annual precipitation totaled 48.68". This is 1.48" above average and the 30th wettest since 1895. NJ residents experienced 7 months with above average precipitation, including April, which was the wettest on record. No other months except October and December were more than an inch above average. Of the 5 months below average, three were more than an inch below average, led by September, which was the 3rd driest on record. Drought concerns were greatest in the southern half of the state, particularly toward the end of summer and early fall. All regions of the state were impacted by the heavy April rains, particularly non-coastal areas during the flooding rain event on the 15th-16th. This was the 7th largest statewide rain event on record and the only one of the top 20 to occur outside of the August to November period (when offshore waters are warmest and tropical systems often produced the heavy totals).

Past Climate Summaries