WEATHER: Cold, wet December predicted

Expect a month that is colder and wetter than the usual December for the Tri-Cities, says the National Weather Service.

In a normal December, highs fall from 44 degrees at the start of the month to 39 degrees at the end of the month in the Tri-Cities. Lows fall from 32 degrees to 28 degrees.

Normal precipitation for December in the Tri-Cities is 1.13 inches.

Periods of greater than usual precipitation or cold spells could continue through the winter in the Northwest, according to Accuweather.

Later in the winter, Accuweather is predicting the Northwest will have a "Pineapple Express," bringing above normal precipitation.

Also known as the Pineapple Connection, it occurs when a strong, persistent flow of tropical moisture sets up from the Hawaiian islands to the West Coast, according to Accuweather.

That should increase precipitation after a late fall and early winter season that has started out unusually dry.

At Hanford, just 0.12 inch of precipitation was recorded in November, which is 12 percent of normal. That makes November 2011 the third driest on record, according to the Hanford Meteorology Station, which keeps data back to 1945.

Precipitation included 1.6 inches of snow, compared to a normal of 2 inches.

Precipitation for the year at Hanford has totaled 4.35 inches, which is 73 percent of the normal 5.94 inches for the first 11 months of the year.

In the Tri-Cities, precipitation totaled just 0.14 inch last month, which was 0.86 inch below normal. Precipitation for the year has reached 5.16 inches, which is 1.44 inches below normal.

Temperatures in November were close to normal for the Tri-Cities and slightly below normal at Hanford. No daily temperature records were set at Hanford.

The average temperature in the Tri-Cities, as measured in Kennewick, was 43.1 degrees, which was 0.1 degree above normal, according to the weather service.

High temperatures averaged 53.1 degrees, which was 2.5 degrees above normal. But low temperatures averaged 2.4 degrees below normal to bring the average low temperature down to 33.1 degrees.

The warmest temperature in the Tri-Cities was 71 degrees on Thanksgiving and the lowest was 26 degrees Nov. 16. On 16 days the temperature fell below freezing.

At Hanford, the average temperature was 38.4 degrees, which is 2.1 degrees below normal. The highest temperature was 64 degrees Nov. 23 and the lowest was 18 degrees Nov. 16.

For the autumn months of September through November, temperatures at Hanford averaged 54 degrees, which was 0.7 degree below normal. Precipitation was 0.94 inch, which is 54 percent of normal.

The peak wind gust at Hanford in November was 55 mph on Nov. 16. In the Tri-Cities, it was 41 mph on Nov. 12.

* Annette Cary: 509-582-1533; acary@tricityherald.com