First, and probably most important, it was a very quiet year along the Texas Gulf Coast and most of the United States for tropical activity. Despite, pre-season predications for a very active hurricane season, with a 40 percent chance of a hurricane in the western or central Gulf of Mexico, the season passed with no distinct threats to Southeast Texas.
Second, and even more surprising, the year was actually much drier than normal — 39.22 inches in Galveston overall, compared with an expected 50.56 inches. The overall precipitation figure is somewhat misleading, however, and points out the fallacy of reading too much into a single rainfall figure.
The year, actually, was a quite good one for soil moisture as nine of the 12 months had more than 2 inches of rain and we did not have any consecutive really dry months. This contrasts with the drought of 2011, where seven of 12 months had less than 2 inches of rain, including six consecutive months from April through September.
2013 was slightly cooler than normal, with the 71.0 degree annual temperature running 0.2 degree below the 30-year average. This bucked the trend of warmer than normal temperatures in 201 and 2012, when the annual temperature ran 1.2 degrees and 2.7 degrees above long-term norms. What characterized the year was fairly long periods of cool weather, but an absence of really cold temperatures (the lowest for the year in Galveston was only 37 degrees and 28 degrees in League City).
What will 2014 bring? That is hard to say. It looks as though our chilly weather will continue through the first full week of January, with a milder spell possible for the second full week.
Models keep hinting at an Arctic outbreak sometime in mid-January, but they have been inconsistent, and most such predictions so far this winter have turned out to be false alarms.
In any case, I suspect that overall, the year will have a surprise or two weather-wise. I just hope that they are nice surprises!