FOR RELEASE: Jan. 23, 1997

Contact: Blaine P. Friedlander, Jr.
Office: (607) 255-3290
Internet: bpf2@cornell.edu
Compuserve: Larry Bernard 72650,565
http://www.news.cornell.edu

ITHACA, N.Y. -- The one place in the Northeast most likely to have a white
Christmas -- Caribou, Maine -- officially had but an inch of snow on the
ground. It started the holiday at midnight with a high temperature of 44
degrees, not surprising since this was also Caribou's warmest December
since the start of official records there in 1939, according to the
Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University.

Throughout the 12-state Northeast region, temperatures were well above
normal during December. The region reported an average temperature
departure of 6 degrees above normal, which was warm enough to make it the
fourth warmest December on record, according to Keith Eggleston,
climatologist at the center. The normal average temperature for the region
is 27.5 degrees, while weather observers measured 33.5 degrees this year.

Normally, Vermont's average temperature is 21.7 degrees, but was 29.8 last
month. New Hampshire, which normally averages 22.8 degrees, was 30.6
degrees. Both Vermont and New Hampshire reported their warmest December on record. Maine had the widest temperature variation of all the Northeast
states in December, with a temperature departure of 9.3 degrees above
normal. Maine's average temperature of 19.5 degrees was displaced in
December with a resounding 28.8 degrees, making it Maine's second warmest
December in the last 102 years.

In other states:

-- Connecticut, which normally averages 29.9 degrees, measured 35.5
degrees, for the state's eighth warmest December on record.

-- With a normal 25.4 degrees, New York achieved an average of 31.8
degrees, making this its fifth warmest December.

-- Rhode Island, which normally averages 33 degrees, measured 38.6 degrees,
making this the state's eighth warmest December on record.

-- With a normal 34.4 degrees, New Jersey obtained an average of 39.4
degrees, for the state's eighth warmest December on record.

-- Massachusetts, which normally averages 29 degrees, measured 34.6
degrees, for the state's seventh warmest December on record.

The Northeast received an average of 5.06 inches of precipitation during
December, an amount sufficient to make 1996 the Northeast's wettest
calendar year on record. December 1996 ranked as the seventh wettest
December on record in the region, as the monthly precipitation total
represented 147 percent of the long-term normal, Eggleston said.

New Jersey reported 213 percent of normal for its wettest December since
records began in 1895. The normal precipitation is 3.67 inches, but they
measured 7.80 inches in December. With 7.28 inches of precipitation,
Delaware doubled its monthly normal of 3.58 inches, making it that state's
third wettest December during this same 102-year period. Among the 12
Northeastern states, West Virginia was the only one to report less than the
normal amount of precipitation in December with 90 percent of its 3.4
inches average, Eggleston said.

New Weather Records
(Note: this table will line up in a fixed-space font such as Courier)

Calendar Year Precipitation Records (inches)
City New Previous
Philadelphia 56.45 55.28 in 1873
Binghamton, N.Y. 49.00 48.04 in 1972
Ithaca, N.Y. 47.76 46.87 in 1958
Blue Hill Obs., Mass. 65.77 65.51 in 1972
*Albany, N.Y. 48.54 47.18 in 1972

*Wettest year this century; sixth wettest on record.

December Monthly Precipitation Records (inches)
City New Previous
Philadelphia 7.51 7.37 in 1983

Daily Precipitation Records (inches)
City Date New Previous
Newark, N.J. 14th 1.22 1.12 in 1956

Daily Snowfall Records
City Date New Previous
Harrisburg, Pa. 6th 5.8 3.6 in 1962

December Monthly Average Temperature Records
City New Previous
Burlington, Vt. 32.7° 31.9° in 1982
Caribou, Maine 26.2° 24.0° in 1973
Portland, Maine 34.5° 33.7° in 1990

High Temperature Records
City Date New Previous
Burlington, Vt. 18th 50° 46° in 1912
Portland, Maine 18th 53° 52° in 1954
Beckley, W.Va. 23rd 63° 61° in 1990
Blue Hill Obs., Mass. 24th 58° 57° in 1990
Boston 24th 61° 60° in 1990
Hartford, Conn. (tie) 24th 59° 59° in 1990
Worcester, Mass. (tie) 24th 57° 57° in 1990
Kennedy AP, N.Y. (tie) 24th 54° 54° in 1971
Central Park, N.Y. (tie) 24th 63° 63° in 1990

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