This Week’s Weather Quiz:

1. What is the coldest temperature that I have recorded Dec. 1-16, 2007? (a) 27 degrees (b) 31 degrees (c) 33 degrees (d) 35 degrees

2. What is the warmest temperature that I have recorded Dec. 1-16, 2007: (a) 77 degrees (b) 79 degrees (c) 81 degrees (d) 84 degrees

3. The normal average temperature for the first half of December is 49.8 degrees. Can you guess what it was for the first half of this December? (a) 47.7 degrees (b) 49.6 degrees (c) 51.4 degrees (d) 53.6 degrees

4. Can you remember or guess the weather conditions in Ennis last Christmas Eve Day, 2006? (a) low temperature 50 degrees; high 65 degrees. Clear and windy. (b) low – 21 degrees; high 34 degrees. Clear and very cold. (c) low – 59 degrees; high – a mild 73 degrees. (d) low – 43 degrees; high – 48 degrees. Occasional light rain.

5. Can you remember or guess the weather conditions in Ennis last Christmas Day, 2006? (a) low 34 degrees; high 50 degrees. Decreasing clouds, cool, and very windy. (b) low 23 degrees; high 37 degrees. Cloudy and cold. (c) low 57 degrees; high 75 degrees. Fair, windy, and very mild (d) low 40 degrees; high 45 degrees. Cloudy, rainy with 0.75 of an inch of rain.

Weather Highlights

A Cold Blast from the Past

If I was to tell you that the temperature will fall below freezing tomorrow and stay below freezing for the next 12 ? consecutive days, you would probably have a good laugh. But, in December 1983, the temperature did fall below freezing and remained below freezing for 12 consecutive days. It was labeled as, “The December Deep Freeze of 1983.”

Its hard to believe that most of us did experience such an extraordinary weather event. Even though I didn’t say it was going to remain below freezing for 12 consecutive days back then, no one did. But, I did record weather observations and records for this frigid weather event in Ennis. So, lets take a look back at some of those observations of, “The December Deep Freeze of 1983.”

Dec. 16 at 12:30 a.m. snow began falling in Ennis and by 11 a.m. I recorded three inches of the white stuff on the ground in Ennis. It was a rare sight in Ennis to have this much snow on the ground. But, little did we know what else Mother Nature had in store for us. Snow usually doesn’t last long around here but this snow stayed awhile, because this was the beginning of a prolonged record setting cold wave. One Arctic blast after another kept the temperature freezing or below.

Its not that uncommon to have two or three consecutive days below freezing some winters, but, 12 consecutive days -  that’s something we’re not use to in this part of the country.

The low temperature Dec. 16 was 29 degrees and the high reached 36 degrees. On Dec. 17, the low was 26 degrees with a high of 37 degrees. The skies remained cloudy and very little of the snow had melted.

Another Arctic blast of cold air arrived in Ennis about 10:15 a.m. Dec. 18. Again, the high temperature reached 36 degrees before the cold air arrived. The temperature continued to plunge to a low of 19 degrees. Skies remained cloudy.

At 12 noon Dec. 18, the following observations were recorded: Dallas/Fort Worth Airport had 23 degrees with a wind chill of 3 degrees; Oklahoma City – flurries and 10 degrees. Amarillo – 8 degrees, Abilene – snow and 14 degrees, and Wichita Falls – 14 degrees. It was cold, but not as cold as it was going to get.

Very light snow fell the night of Dec. 18, which amounted to one half of an inch. It fell on top of the 3 1/1 inches, most of which had remained on the ground from Dec. 16. The low temperature Dec. 19 was a very cold 19 degrees. The high only struggled to 20 degrees. On Dec. 20, the low was 18 degrees and the high only 32 degrees. Freezing drizzle fell during the early morning creating even more hazardous driving conditions. The low temperature Dec. 21 was 12 degrees with a high of 27 degrees.

On Dec. 22, more cold Arctic air moved into the area and this was bitterly cold air. The low temperature dipped to 5 above zero and the high struggled to only 15 degrees. On Dec. 22, even Houston had 28 degrees with freezing drizzle.

Record low temperatures for Dec. 22 were: Dallas/Fort Worth Airport – 5 above zero, Ennis – 5 above zero, Lubbock – 1 above zero, Wichita Falls – 1 above zero, College Station – 12 degrees, Galveston – 24 degrees and San Antonio – 17 degrees.

At 2 p.m. Dec. 22, it hadn’t warmed up much at all. It was still a cold 14 degrees at DFW, Abilene – 10 degrees, Wichita Falls – 17 degrees, Amarillo – had warmed to 6 degrees, Waco – 20 degrees, and Houston – 31 degrees.

The low temperature in Ennis Dec. 23 was 13 degrees and the high, only 19 degrees. Snow flurries fell during the day in Ennis. At 10 p.m. a new surge of Arctic air passed through the area dropping the low temperature to 8 degrees on Dec. 24 with a high of only 15 degrees. It was a cold Christmas Eve Day. In fact, it really felt like some Christmas weather, perhaps a little to much. DFW set a new record barometer reading. It reached a record high 31.06 inches.

Dec. 25, Christmas Day, continued to be bitterly cold. The low was 5 above zero and the high only 18 degrees. The day after Christmas, Dec. 26, the low was 15 degrees and the high 28 degrees, and freezing drizzle began falling at 8:30 p.m. causing a thin glaze of ice on objects.

The temperature Dec. 27 was warmer, but still remained below freezing. The low was 20 degrees with a high of 31 degrees. Temperatures were holding steady on Dec. 28. The low was 29 and the high 30 degrees, but another blast of Arctic air arrived dropping the low temperature Dec. 29 to 10 degrees and the high only 29 degrees.

The temperature plunge again to a low of 6 degrees on Dec. 30, but finally, our temperature made it above freezing about 2:15 p.m. to 33 degrees. It was the first time above freezing since Dec. 18 at about 6 p.m. or twelve and one half consecutive days, or, 296 consecutive hours below freezing. This record still stands today. It shattered the old record of 187 consecutive hours below freezing in January 1930.

Some patchy snow was still on the ground in shaded areas from the 3 ? inches of snow that fell at the beginning of “The December Deep Freeze of 1983,” and, twelve out of the last 17 days of December 1983 were cloudy.

The high temperature made it to 34 degrees on December 30, but, fell to a low of 18 degrees on December 31. However, the high reached a balmy 48 degrees on December 31. Was it the beginning of a heat wave? Well, compared to the last 12 days, yes, but it mainly was the end of “The December Deep Freeze of 1983.”

Ennis Temperatures and Rainfall for the week of Dec. 10-16, 2007:

The normal low temperature for this time of year is 37 degrees. The normal high temperature for this time of year is 57 degrees.

Monday, Dec. 10 – low temperature 37 degrees; high temperature 46 degrees. Rainfall – 0.00 of an inch.

Tuesday, Dec. 11 – low temperature 46 degrees; high temperature 77 degrees. Rainfall – 0.26 of an inch. Maximum wind gust 42 mph.

Wednesday, Dec. 12 – low temperature 38 degrees; high temperature 46 degrees. Rainfall 0.26 of an inch.

Thursday, Dec. 13 – low temperature 35 degrees; high temperature 54 degrees. Rainfall – 0.00 of an inch.

Friday, Dec. 14 – low temperature 39 degrees; high temperature 51 degrees. Rainfall – 0.57 of an inch.

Saturday, Dec. 15 – low temperature 33 degrees; high temperature 47 degrees. Rainfall – 0.55 of an inch. Maximum wind gust – 42 mph.

Sunday, Dec. 16 – low temperature 27 degrees. Rainfall – 0.00 of an inch.

Temperature range and total rainfall for the week of Dec. 10-16, 2007:

The coldest temperature 27 degrees on Dec. 16. The warmest temperature 77 degrees on Dec. 11. Total rainfall Dec. 10-16 – 1.64 inches.

Rainfall for Month and Year:

Rainfall Dec. 1-16 – 1.79 inches. Normal rainfall for all of December – 3.71 inches. Rainfall so far this year, January through Dec. 16 – 48.52 inches. Normal rainfall January through December – 40.58 inches.

Weather Flashbacks for Dec. 10-16:

Dec. 10, 1977 – low temperature 20 degrees; high temperature 37 degrees. Cloudy and cold.

Dec. 10, 1985 – low temperature 62 degrees; high temperature 66 degrees. Cloudy with 2.80 inches of rain, and 1.65 inches of that fell in a 40 minute period.

Dec. 10, 2006 – low temperature 42 degrees; high temperature 52  degrees. Cloudy and cool with  0.06 of an inch of rain.

Dec. 12, 1982 – low temperature 20 degrees; high temperature 42 degrees. Clear and cold.

Dec. 12, 1989 – low temperature 19 degrees; high temperature 40 degrees. Clear and cold.

Dec. 14, 2006 – low temperature 48 degrees; high temperature 75 degrees. Fair and mild.

Dec. 15, 2006 – low temperature 57 degrees; high temperature 74 degrees. Clear and mild with early morning fog.

This Week’s Small Texas Town Salute:

Pierce – population 49, located in Wharton County in southeast Texas.

Roans Prairie – population 56, located in Grimes County in southeast Texas.

Seven Pines – population 50, located in Gregg County in east Texas.

Twitty – population 12, located in Wheeler County in the Panhandle.

Whitt – population 38, located in Parker County in north central Texas.

Ash – population 19, located in Houston County in east Texas.

Bland Lake – population 25, located in San Augustine County in east Texas.

Answers to this week’s Weather Quiz:

1. A – the coldest temperature that I recorded Dec. 1=-16, 2007, is 27 degrees on December 16.

2. C – the warmest temperature that I recorded Dec. 1-16, 2007, is 81 degrees on December 2.

3. D – the average temperature that I recorded the first half of December 2007 is 53.6 degrees or 3.8 degrees above normal.

4. D – the weather conditions that I recorded last Christmas Eve Day were: low 43 degrees; high 48 degrees. Occasional rain amounted to 0.27 of an inch.

5. A – the weather conditions that I recorded last Christmas Day were: low 23 degrees; high 50 degrees. Decreasing clouds, cool, and very windy.