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Early winter of our discontent: More snow, cold than years past

DOVER - Technically, winter hasn't begun, but try telling that to plow truck drivers.
/ Source: Foster's Daily Democrat

DOVER - Technically, winter hasn't begun, but try telling that to plow truck drivers. With the winter solstice just around the corner on Saturday, an average of 20.9 inches of snow has already blanketed the state in the month of December.

According to the National Weather Service Meteorologist Tom Hawley, New Hampshire hasn't had this much snow in December since 2003, when an average of 21.1 inches fell.

Before that, the December record snowfall was in 1995.

"I think we've been getting soft in the past few years," Hawley said about the limited snow fall and warmer temperatures.

On average, this December has also had the coldest temperatures in the past 18 years, at approximately 21 degrees Fahrenheit.

"It's about 8 degrees below norm - 7.7 degrees," Hawley said. "You have to go back to 1989 to have the last average coldest temperatures in December, where there was a record of 11.9 degrees."

Last year is balmy by comparison - December 2006 had an average temperature of 33.9 Fahrenheit.

Meteorologists predicted that Thursday's storm will have dropped six to nine inches in Strafford and Rockingham counties.

Several York County, Maine, towns reported accumulations of around a half-foot. Totals were lower farther north and east in Maine.

The snowfall was enough to make it the snowiest December in Portland, Maine, since 1995 when 33.9 inches of snow fell in the month, said Hawley.

Before the latest storm, Portland had recorded 22.7 inches of snow and Concord, N.H., had recorded 20.9 inches.

Today is expected to be mostly sunny and clear with highs in the 30s.

Saturday, the official start of winter, is expected to be sunny during the day with a high of 33 degrees Fahrenheit and a 30 percent chance of freezing rain in the evening after 1 a.m.