December weather: What a difference a year makes

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Last winter, record-breaking snow and record-breaking cold consumed the Northeast, but this past December was the warmest in Connecticut’s history.

The disparity was reflected nationally as the average temperature soared across the country to 38.6 degrees, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Meanwhile, Connecticut’s average temperature in December was 43.6 degrees — the highest since the agency began tracking temperatures.

Since 1996, Connecticut’s December average has frequently exceeded the national average.

Connecticut’s highest average annual temperature was 54.4 degrees last year. The record-breaking year nationally was 2012, at and 55.28 degrees.

Hartford weather

In Hartford, there were seven record-breaking high-temperature days last year, mostly in the second half of the year.

The chart above shows that the temperatures for 2015 tracked mostly higher than the average of all previous years.

Stratford weather

Stratford in southwest Connecticut experienced weather in 2015 that diverged most from the average range. In February and March there were eight days of record-breaking cold, while on the other end of the spectrum this past November and December, there were seven days of record-breaking heat.

New London-Groton weather

On the other side of the state, New London and Groton showed the same trend: record-breaking low temperatures last winter and record-breaking highs so far this winter.

This post was inspired by a couple of excellent weather data visualizations. The towns were chosen based on geographic variety. Visit our Github repo for a look at how we conducted the analysis.

What do you think?