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Weatherwatch: November/December 2010

November 2010

November rainfall provided drought relief from the central Gulf Coast States into the Ohio Valley. In fact, lower Midwestern drought was nearly eradicated by late-autumn precipitation. By month's end, snow covered parts of the upper Midwest, consistent with an evolving La Niña. In contrast, drought developed or intensified in parts of the southern Atlantic region, particularly across Florida and Georgia.

Also typical of La Niña, cold, stormy weather dominated the northern Plains and the Northwest, resulting in the development of an extensive snow cover. Meanwhile, unfavorably dry weather covered parts of the central and southern Plains. However, a single, renegade storm system provided much-needed precipitation from Texas's northern panhandle into southeastern Nebraska. Elsewhere, a parade of storms helped to establish high-elevation snow packs from the Pacific coastal ranges to the Rockies, excluding parts of the Southwest.

Topsy-Turvy Temperatures

The month opened on a warm note in Texas, where daily-record highs for November 1 included 96°F in McAllen and 90°F in Lufkin, Del Rio, and Corpus Christi. Later, record-setting warmth shifted to the northern High Plains and the West. Miles City, Montana (72°F), collected a daily-record high for November 2, followed the next day by monthly record-matching highs in locations such as Santa Ana, California (101°F; tied November 1, 1966), and Seattle, Washington (74°F; tied November 4, 1949). Long Beach, California (100°F on November 3), experienced its latest triple-digit reading, previously established with a high of 101°F on November 1, 1966.

Record-breaking heat continued in California for several more days, with San Diego (100°F on November 4) and Fresno (90°F on November 5) tallying monthly record highs. Previous records had been 97°F in San Diego on November 1, 1966, and November 4, 1976, and 89°F in Fresno on November 5, 1949. It was also San Diego's first triple-digit reading since September 25, 1989, more than 21 years ago.

In contrast, an early-season chill gripped the Great Lakes and Northeastern States. In Michigan, daily-record lows for November 1 dipped to 19°F in Alpena and 20°F in Flint. The following day, records for November 2 were set in locations such as Allentown, Pennsylvania (23°F), and Youngstown, Ohio (24°F). A few days later, during a more expansive cold outbreak, record lows for November 6 included 19°F in South Bend, Indiana; 23°F in Parkersburg, West Virginia; and 25°F in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Weatherwise Contributing Editor BRAD RIPPEY is the U.S. Editor of the Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin of the Joint Agriculture NOAA Weather Facility.

Weatherwise Contributing Editor JEFFREY B. HALVERSON is an associate professor of geography at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He was a Mission Scientist during NASA's GRIP experiment and is on the NASA Global Hawk hurricane research team.

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