Winter: December footnote

We have noted that last month broke a string of nine consecutive months of above-normal temperatures in Philadelphia and that it was the coldest December in a decade.

It turns out that it also was exceptionally windy. Esteemed erstwhile Inquirer outdoors writer Conrad Grove, freshly returned from a hiatus, wondered if it might have been the windiest December ever.

That prompted us to take a look back, and while it wasn't No. 1, it was the windiest since 1992, based on average wind speeds.

On average winds blew 12.0 m.p.h. during the 31 days, according to the National Weather Service's automated station at Philadelphia International Airport.

That would be the windiest since the 12.7 of 1992, the year a powerful December storm took out beaches in New Jersey and toppled the steeple of historic Old St. Augustine's Church in Old City. On the 11th that year, winds were clocked at 44 m.p.h, with a gust of 59.

Last month, winds averaged 34.8 m.p.h. on the the 27th, the day after the big snow, with a gust of 44. While it has been consistently cold since Jan. 3, winds are averaging just 8.1 m.p.h., according to the weather service.