From the Weather Underground:
In mid-December a pool of very cold air and a low pressure in the eastern Mediterranean brought exceptionally heavy snow to the higher elevations of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Amman, Jordan reported up to 20 cm (8”) of snow and neighborhoods in Jerusalem saw up to 50 cm (20”). At lower elevations torrential rains of up to 150 mm (6”) caused flooding. Especially hard hit was the Gaza Strip where 40,000 people were displaced and damage was estimated at US$64 million.
Residents of Amman, Jordan enjoy the rare heavy snowfall that deposited 20 cm (8”)on the city on December 13th.Photo from REUTERS.
Temperature anomalies for warmth were near record territory for almost the entire month in Central Asia, especially in Kazakhstan.
It was yet another warmer than normal month for Australia and also a bit drier than average. In fact, Queensland experienced its 3rd driest December on record with a statewide average of just 26.2 mm (1.03”)—the driest was that of 1938 when the average was 19.6 mm (0.77”).
Western Europe was slammed with what seemed like a never-ending series of powerful extra-tropical cyclones. The worst of these hit the U.K. around Christmastime and resulted in near-record low barometric pressure readings for the U.K. Stronoway, Scotland saw the pressure drop to 936.8 mb (27.66”) on December 24th. Fortunately, the tightest pressure gradients (and thus strongest winds) were to the north of Scotland and thus over sea, so given the powerful nature of the storm surprisingly little damage occurred in the U.K. or Ireland. It was the warmest December since 1988 for the U.K. as whole and precipitation was much above average (154% of such) as a result of the many cyclones. Scotland had its wettest December on record (since 1910).
SOUTH AMERICA and CENTRAL AMERICA
December 2013 was one of Argentina’s hottest months on record. Buenos Aires tied its all-time hottest month (any month) on record (since 1856) with a sweltering 26.6°C (79.9°F) average. The prolonged heat wave caused power outages and water shortages resulting in many large street demonstrations in the city. In the northwest of the country temperatures peaked at 45.5°C (113.9°F) at Chamical on December 26th.
Torrential rainfalls caused flooding in Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo States of Brazil resulting in flooding that took at least 44 lives. All-time monthly precipitation records were set at several sites including 921 mm (36.26”) at Capelinha, 851.6 mm (33.53”) at Aimores, 837.4 mm (32.97”) at Santa Teesa, and 714 mm (28.11”) at Vitoria (Esperito Santo).
It was a relatively ‘normal’ December in the contiguous U.S. with the most significant events being ice and snowstorms affecting the central and northeastern portions of the country and drought conditions worsening in California.
In the southeast, some all-time monthly heat records were set including 83°F (28.3°C) at Augusta, Georgia on December 21st and 81°F (27.2°C) at Norfolk, Virginia on December 22nd (Savannah, Georgia 83°F/28.3°C) and Jacksonville, Florida 84°F/28.9°C tied their monthly records).
A tremendous plume of sub-tropical moisture invaded the Midwest and East December 20-22. An amazing 10.24” (260 mm) of rain in 24 hours was reported at a site near Williams, Indiana, just short of the Indiana state record for such (for any month) of 10.50” (267 mm) at Princeton on August 6, 1905.
The massive storm of December 20-23 caused significant ice accumulations from Texas to Canada. Worst hit was the Toronto, Canada where ice accumulated up to 30 mm (1.2”) thick.
Alaska saw some wild swings of temperature that included an all-time ‘heat’ record for any Arctic Ocean-based site in the state for December when the temperature reached 39°F (3.9°C) at Deadhorse (Prudhoe Bay) on December 7th. Interestingly a similar event occurred in Sweden’s Lapland on December 11th