The National Weather Service office in Paducah has reported that monthly average temperatures during December ranged from 9 to 11 degrees above normal in the Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri and Western Kentucky region.

The weather service office reported on its website that many locations across the region experienced their warmest December on record, including Paducah, Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff, Mo., and Carbondale. 

This was only the second time that Paducah observed a monthly departure more than 9 degrees above normal. The other occurrence was in March of 2012. 

High temperatures ended up around 12 to 13.5 degrees above normal, but the low temperatures only finished around 6 to 8.5 degrees above normal  

There were several periods of record high temperatures through the month. 

The first occurred Dec. 2-3, with another between Dec. 10-15, and the final most pronounced one occurred Dec. 24-28. 

The weather service office in Paducah reported that all five of its official climate stations recorded their warmest Christmas Day on record, with temperatures ranging between 72 and 77 degrees. Some of these records were shattered by as much as 7 degrees. 

Poplar Bluff was within 1 degree of its all-time warmest December temperature on Dec. 2 when the high temperature reached 78 degrees. 

Paducah experienced eight days with temperatures reaching 70 degrees, breaking the previous December record of five days set in 2015. 

A record number of days reaching 70 degrees was also set in Poplar Bluff, Carbondale and Cape Girardeau with six, five and five days, respectively.

December Precipitation

Much of the region finished near or slightly wetter than normal for December. 

Some of the wettest locations were observed around Cape Girardeau and into the Carbondale and Vienna areas of Southern Illinois. 

Cape Girardeau finished with its 10th wettest December on record. 

There was also a corridor of higher rainfall amounts focused across parts of northwest Kentucky including around the Madisonville area (6.54 inches at the Hopkins County mesonet 4 S of Madisonville). 

Some drier than normal pockets were intermixed, particularly across southern portions of the region along the Kentucky/Tennessee border and in the Poplar Bluff area in Southeast Missouri.

Severe Weather: Historic Tornado

Two severe weather events impacted the region during the month, one Dec. 5-6 and another Dec. 10-11. 

The latter event included a historic EF-4 tornado that left a path of destruction 165 miles long and over 1 mile wide across Western Kentucky.

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