ALPENA - The month of December was colder than normal, with a new, record low daily temperature for Dec. 24 of -16 degrees set at 11:54 p.m.
This breaks a record low for the same date in 2004, when the mercury hit -12 degrees, Tim Locker, meterologist with the National Weather Service in Gaylord, said. The record high for the same day was 51 degrees in 1994.
December's monthly average temperature also was lower, coming in at 17.2, compared to a normal average of 25, he said.
"The jet stream was just south of us for a majority of the month, which allows cold, arctic air to advance over northern Michigan," he said.
Despite the cold, December snowfall was higher than normal, weather service data shows. Normally, Alpena averages about 18.7 inches during the month, but residents had to plow and shovel 24.4 inches of snow off their driveways and sidewalks last month, he said.
The most complete data on snowfall shows a low of 1.8 inches that accumulated December 1994, coinciding with a period of higher than normal temperatures. The highest amount of snow accumulation was set in 2000, when 48.8 inches fell on Alpena, Locker said.
"There was a pretty good lake effect storm that went through Alpena Dec. 20-22, leaving 9.3 inches of snow as measured west of the airport," he said.
As for the forecast, expect more of the same.
Locker said there will be a slight chance of snow this afternoon, and 1 to 2 inches expected Saturday.
Temperatures could reach a high of 30 on Saturday, and around 23 for a high Sunday.
Then temperatures will drop, Locker said. Highs Monday and Tuesday could reach only into the single digits, with a wind chill advisory of -20 on Tuesday.
Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.