November finished with an average temperature of 33.8 degrees which is 5.0 degrees above the current 30 year average. That placed last month as the 20th warmest November since 1881 and continued the trend of mild Novembers this area has experienced in the past decade.
In fact, the two warmest Novembers on record occurred in 2001 and 2009. Last month was not only mild, but also dry. Only 0.26 inches of rain and melted snow was recorded during the month. That is well below the average of 1.00 inches and ranked last month as tied for the 31st driest November on record. Including the 0.2 inches that fell on the last day of the month, 0.8 inches was measured during the month of November at the official measuring location in north Moorhead.
The average snowfall for November is 7.9 inches. Last month was the 5th time in the last 6 years that less than 1 inch of snow was recorded in November, with last year being the exception.
Today marks the end of a remarkable November. Many of you may have found this past month to be extraordinary for the mild conditions, or perhaps because the lack of precipitation. Less than 1 inch of snow fell has fallen through this morning and liquid precipitation was well below average with only 0.24 inches being recorded. Although nowhere near record levels, this month will likely finish near the 20th warmest on record. So, yes, those elements were indeed a very noticeable aspect of this month.
Yet, it was not the lack of precipitation, or the mild conditions that impressed me, but instead, the amount of blue sky observed during the month. November and December tend to be very cloudy months, in fact, both months average 18 cloudy days each. This month, by my count, had just five days that were completely overcast, which in turn helped turn a month that can get very depressing, seeing nothing but gray for days on end, into a November that was delightfully bright.
The 17.6 inches of snow that fell last month, ranked November 2010 as the 9th snowiest on record. But, most of that snow fell on one day and it was a very light fluffy snow with little moisture content. Therefore, although it may have been a snowy month, it was not a wet month as the water contained in the snow melted to 0.93 inches of moisture which is 0.13 inches below average for November.
Finishing with that much snow was probably the last thing on our minds during the first half of the month. The first 15 days of November ranked as the 7th warmest on record, but the last 15 days ranked as the 29th coldest. Overall the month finished 2.2 degrees above normal with an average temperature of 29.2 degrees.
Last month was our 7th straight November with above average temperatures with 9 out of the last 10 also finishing above normal. In fact, the two warmest Novembers since 1881 have occurred this past decade.
November and December are climatologically the cloudiest months of the year. Both months average 18 cloudy days, but because November is one day shorter and through statistical rounding does win the award as the cloudiest month of the year. This week we are experiencing sunny conditions every day, that should last through this weekend, but next week we look to be transitioning to a more traditional cloudy pattern that often envelops our area this time of year.
During late October and especially in November, the Arctic quickly plunges into winter. The southern part of the United States will stay relatively mild during this same time period. Large temperature contrasts begin to energize the upper-level wind flow over our region which often times brings storm systems with the corresponding cloud cover over much of the area this time of year. Plus, the low sun angle makes it difficult to evaporate low-level clouds and fog.
The more frequent storm systems this time of year also bring another common element of November weather, the wind.
Although the warm and dry conditions of last month have gotten the most attention, to me the most striking element of November was the sky conditions. November historically is the cloudiest month of the year. An average November, if there ever is such a thing, will bring with it 18 cloudy days, 6 days with a mix of sun and clouds and only 6 sunny days. Last month saw nearly the opposite of that.
By my count November had 12 sunny days, another 12 days with a mix of sun and clouds and only 6 days that were completely cloudy. In other words, we saw some sunshine on 80% of the days in November which is quite the accomplishment for what can often be a very cloudy time of the year. December is also climatologically quite cloudy and our current pattern suggests more clouds than sun continuing through the first half of the month.
Last month was one of the warmest Novembers since records began in 1881. The average temperature last month was 38.4° which is 11.4° warmer than the 30-year average of 27.0°. That ranked last month as the 2nd warmest November on record surpassing 1899 which was the previous 2nd warmest by 0.6°. The warmest November recorded was back in 2001 when the average monthly temperature was 39.7°.
Last month was also the first time since 1899 with a November not recording a sub-freezing high, although, in 1899 we did record such an event in October. Our first sub-freezing high for this season is expected today. November was also dry with only 0.41 inches of rain and melted snow recorded during the month which ranked it as the 44th driest. That was 0.65 inches below the average rainfall of 1.06 inches.
The average snowfall in November is 6.1 inches and last month only 0.2 inches was measured officially.