2012 was Lexington's second-warmest year on record

jpatton1@herald-leader.comJanuary 1, 2013 

Easton Jointer escaped the summer heat by playing in the fountains at the Courthouse Plaza downtown on August 1. Last year was the second warmest on record for Lexington. The city's hottest year ever was in 1921.

CHARLES BERTRAM — Herald-Leader Buy Photo

The New Year might have gotten off to a dreary start, with rain, sleet and snow overnight, but that's a contrast to 2012, which was the second-warmest year on record in Lexington, according to the National Weather Service.

Last year's average temperature was 57.6, 2 degrees warmer than normal. Lexington's hottest year on record was 1921, at 58.5 degrees.

The near-record average temperature happened despite one of the coldest, rainiest autumns ever, said Chris Bailey, chief meteorologist for WKYT-TV.

"Had we not had that, then 2012 would have been the runaway hottest on record," he said. "Extreme is the new normal."

Precipitation in 2012 in Lexington totaled 42.62 inches, down 2.55 inches from normal. The city saw only 11 inches of total snowfall, 2 inches off the norm. And almost half of it came last week.

The hottest day of 2012 was a blistering 104 degrees, recorded on July 7. The coldest days of the year in Lexington: Jan. 3 and Feb. 12, at 14 degrees.

Last year also was the warmest ever recorded for Louisville and Bowling Green.

Bailey said that by the end of this week, colder weather is expected and a new system could dive down from the north, bringing the possibility of more snow for the weekend.

Bailey said Lexington might not see 40 degrees in the first week of 2013, and he has predicted a particularly cold and snowy January and early February.

"The pattern started changing toward colder during the second half of December, and it looks like it will be colder than normal likely through the first few weeks of January," Bailey said. The second half of winter is likely to be colder and snowier than the first half, he said.

Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: janetpattonhl.

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