December 1 marks the beginning of meteorological winter. Meteorological winter is comprised of December, January and February. In many ways the grouping of these three full months does embody winter more so than our astronomical winter. ( Astronomical winter officially begins on the twenty first at 6:12 AM with the Winter Solstice or ' Winter Sun Standstill'. That's the earliest winter since 1896.)
The average high and low for the first is fifty two and thirty six. By the end of the month the averages drop to forty three and twenty eight. We average a little over three inches of melted precipitation and a bit over three inches of snow. Dulles averages a little over four inches of snow for the month. The snowiest December on record is last December when we recorded 16.6" of snow. We've had over sixteen inches in 1962 and in 1966. The highest temperature ever recorded in December is seventy eight degrees set on December sixth, fourteen years ago in 1998. The lowest temperature recorded is thirteen below zero set on the twenty eighth, way back in 1880. The longest stretch of subfreezing temperatures was from evening of the fifteenth until the evening of the twenty sixth.
Venus will be in the eastern sky a couple of hours before sunrise and getting very close to the horizon. Mercury is below Venus in the morning sky the first half of the month. Look lower and to the left of Venus. Jupiter will also be visible during the month several hours after dusk and will be closest to the earth on the first. The new moon occurs on the thirteenth. That will work out well as we will be treated to the Geminid meteor shower after nightfall. Remember the best way to view the meteor showers is to lie down away from lights and look straight up; that way you won't have a stiff neck the next day. The full moon is on the twenty eighth and is called the Full Cold Moon.