December Almanac

Where has the year gone?

Now we are in the twelfth month of this year, and it will be New Years before you know it.

By the calendar, winter starts on December 21st, but meteorologically speaking, it begins on December 1st. Here in Birmingham, we enter our stretch of three coldest months at the beginning of December.

December is the second coldest month in Birmingham, with a mean temperature of 46.1 degrees. We start off with an average high of 60F, and that is the last time we will see that until late February. By the end of the month, the average high will be 54F. The December 1st average low of 39F will drop to 34F by the end of the month.


The warmest it has ever been in any December in the Magic City was 80F on December 7, 1951. The coldest it has ever been is 1ºF twice, on December 13, 1962, and December 23, 1989.

The average rainfall during the month is 4.45 inches. 13.98 inches fell in December 1961, establishing the mark for the most rainfall in any December. The heaviest rainfall on a single day in any December is 7.70 inches on December 27, 1942. It normally rains on 10.4 days in the month, with 1 inch or more on 1.4 days.

On average, 0.1 inches of snow falls in December. Eight inches of snow fell in December 1963, the most ever. All of that fell on New Year’s Eve in one of Birmingham’s most memorable snowfalls.

Only January features less sunshine, with the 12th month averaging 46% of possible sunshine, the 1st month 42%.

Photograph by Kathy Bell, owner of kbella photography.