December proved to be a month with rapid temperature swings from a record high of 17.5 degrees on the 16th to a bone chilling minus 17.5 on the 20th.
Châteauguay River Road – Ormstown. (Photo library)
This was accompanied by strong winds gusting to 100 km/hour and power outages. The average temperature was the tenth warmest in 55 years with minus 2.8 degrees. This compared to last year -1.8 //ten year average -4.5 //fifty year average -5.4 //warmest 2015 +2.9 //coolest 1989 -15.6. Precipitation was in the normal range with 45 mms. of rain and 26 cms. of snow producing a total of 72 mms. or 2.8 inches. There is very little frost in the ground at months end with a few farmers still completing fall tillage after a late harvest. Our resident bald eagle on the Châteauguay River put in an appearance on the last day of the month.
Every day, the news reports extreme weather in some area of the world. Drought was a common concern during the crop growing season followed by wild fires and severe flooding in British Columbia caused by “atmospheric rivers”. Tornadoes were common in the mid western states and most recently very strong winds in conjunction with wild fires in Colorado. In comparison, the weather in the Châteauguay Valley has been relatively mundane. The eighth warmest April, second warmest June, record hot August and third warmest October were somewhat offset by the fifth coldest July. The very dry spring and record dry May were fortunately followed by wet weather beginning in June which not only saved the commercial crops but ended up producing some record yields.
The average temperature for 2021 was 8.27 degrees which is the third warmest in the past 55 years behind 8.35 in 2012 and 8.31 in 2020. Total precipitation was 996 mms. which is only 34 mms. behind normal in spite of very dry weather in the spring. Since the Châteauguay Valley had very little to complain about weather wise in 2021, I have attached a photo of the record snow accumulation from 50 years ago as a reminder that we have also had extreme weather events in the past. This would also include the ice storms in 1962 and 1998 which knocked out the electricity for as many as 23 days for our farm.