Entire Report - November 2010


National Overview

NCDC transitioned to the nClimDiv dataset on Thursday, March 13, 2014. This was coincident with the release of the February 2014 monthly monitoring report. For details on this transition, please visit our public FTP site and our U.S. Climate Divisional Database site.

Maps and Graphics

Temperature and Precipitation Ranks
U.S. Percentage Areas
More Information

National Overview:

As Northern Hemisphere autumn transitions into winter during this time of year, the angle of the sun above the horizon decreases, resulting in less solar heating of the northern latitudes. Temperatures cool, the atmospheric circulation intensifies, and strong extra-tropical cyclonic storms with associated cold fronts develop in the westerly flow. This is what happened in November as a very active weather patternweather pattern brought a series of winter storms to the Lower 48 States. Several strong low pressure systems, or extra-tropical cyclones, developed in the West or central Plains, bringing beneficial snow to the mountains and snow cover to the northern tier states. About 12 percent of the country was snow covered by the 10th of the month, with the snow coverage increasing to a third of the country with snowstorms after the 21st. A few systems developed in the South. As the storm systems moved eastward, cold air was pulled in behind them. Near the end of the month, moisture drawn northward along the associated cold fronts brought locally heavy rains to the Ohio Valley and parts of the South, alleviating drought conditions in some areas. Strong winds along the front, and at least 20 tornadoes (including an EF-4 in Louisiana), caused damage in the Southeast and Eastern Seaboard.

Cold fronts and low pressure systems moving in the storm track flow are influenced by the broadscale atmospheric circulation. Two such large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns were dominant during November. The first was the La Niña, which is the phenomenon created by cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. La Niña is typically associated with wet conditions in the northern tier states and Ohio Valley this time of year, and warm and dry conditions in the southern tier states. The second atmospheric circulation index was the Arctic Oscillation (AO), which was strongly negative during most of November. A negative AO is typically associated with dry conditions in the Southeast and colder-than-normal temperatures east of the Rockies at this time of year. In response to these two atmospheric indicators, Montana had the seventh wettest November on record and Indiana the 16th wettest, while North Carolina ranked 16th driest and New Mexico and South Carolina both ranked 18th driest. The opposing temperature influences of these two atmospheric patterns contributed to a national temperature rank near the middle of the historical distribution. The circulation patterns funneled moisture and above-normal temperatures into Alaska.

  • Temperature Highlights
  • November temperatures, when averaged across the contiguous United States, were near-normal, 0.8 degrees F (0.4 degrees C) above the 1901-2000 average. The combined average temperatures for the fall season (September-November) was 1.5 degrees F (0.8 degrees C) above normal.
  • Warmer-than-normal conditions were scattered about the Great Lakes region and a portion of the Northeast. Cooler-than-normal conditions existed for a subset of states in the western half of the U.S.
  • For the fall season (September-November), warmer-than-normal temperatures were predominant throughout much of the country. These conditions were mostly reflective from the above-average warmth during September and October.
  • The Northeast climate region has experienced persistent warmth through the entire year, resulting in its warmest January-November period on record.
  • Six states (New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey) had their warmest year-to-date period on record.
  • Based on monthly temperatures averaged from January-November, Florida is the only state in the contiguous United States to experience a temperature that ranked below-normal.
  • Precipitation Highlights
  • The average precipitation was 2.02 inches (51.3 mm), 0.1 inch (2.54 mm) below the 1901-2000 average. With most of the climate regions near-normal, the above-average precipitation in the West North Central and Central climate regions offset the below-average precipitation in the Southwest resulting in a near normal month for the contiguous U.S. Montana had its seventh wettest November on record.
  • Precipitation, when averaged across the U.S. for the fall period was near normal. However several states experienced precipitation that ranked among their wettest/driest ten percent. Both Maine and Minnesota had their sixth wettest period and it was the seventh wettest for Nevada and the ninth wettest for North Dakota. Meanwhile, the persistent lack of precipitation in Florida resulted in its second driest fall period on record.
  • For the year-to-date period, the persistent storm track over the upper Midwest resulted in much-above-normal precipitation in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. Meanwhile, the Bermuda high situated in the western North Atlantic this past summer acted as a blocking pattern. This led to below-average precipitation for the Southeast climate region.
  • Other Items of Note
  • There were 57 preliminary tornado reports during November. This is near the long-term average, but marks the most tornado activity during November since 2005. Rare November tornadoes were reported in Wisconsin, Illinois, and New York — tornadoes are unusual this far north, this late in the year.
  • Drought coverage continued to increased during November. The U.S. Drought Monitor reported 16.7 percent of the United States was affected by drought by November 30th. While improvements were seen across the Ohio River Valley, drought conditions deteriorated during the month in Florida, south Texas, and parts of southeast Colorado.

Alaska Temperature and Precipitation:

Beginning with January 2010 processing, the Alaska temperature and precipitation report is comprised of several datasets at NCDC, integrating GHCN and COOP datasets. Prior to 2010, the Alaskan temperature timeseries was processed with just GHCN data.

  • Alaska had its 23rd warmest November since records began in 1918, with a temperature 4.3°F (2.4°C) above the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 15th warmest September–November on record, with a temperature 3.1°F (1.7°C) above to the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 19th warmest year–to–date on record, with a temperature 1.4°F (0.8°C) above the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 5th wettest November since records began in 1918, with an anomaly that was 57.2 percent above the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 42nd wettest September–November on record, with an anomaly that was 2.4 percent above the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 33rd driest year–to–date on record, with an anomaly that was 1.4 percent below the 1971–2000 average.

For additional details about recent temperatures and precipitation across the U.S., see the Regional Highlights section below. For information on local temperature and precipitation records during the month, please visit NCDC's Records page. For details and graphics on weather events across the U.S. and the globe please visit NCDC's Global Hazards page.


Regional Highlights:

These regional summaries were provided by the six Regional Climate Centers and reflect conditions in their respective regions. These six regions differ spatially from the nine climatic regions of the National Climatic Data Center.

  • Northeast Region: (Information provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center)
  • The Northeast averaged 0.6 degrees F (0.3 degrees C) above normal during November with an average temperature of 39.8 degrees F (4.3 degrees C). This was the 11th consecutive month with warmer than normal temperatures, but the first month since February 2010 that at least one state in the region had a temperature average that was below normal. Maryland was that state, with an average that was 0.4 degrees F (0.2 degrees C) below normal. The remaining 11 states saw temperature departures ranging from 0.3 degrees F (0.2 degrees C) above normal in Massachusetts and West Virginia to 1.5 degrees F (0.8 degrees C) warmer than normal in Maine. Autumn 2010 (Sep-Nov) averaged 50.9 degrees F (10.5 degrees C), which was 1.4 degrees F (0.8 degrees C) above normal. This was 0.6 degrees F (0.3 degrees C) warmer than the autumn of 2009.
  • Most of the Northeast ended up on the dry side in November, with Maine the one exception. The region averaged 3.20 inches (81.3 mm) of precipitation, most of which fell as rain. This was 86 percent of the normal November total. Maine's average precipitation total was 127 percent of normal; departures for the 11 other states in the region ranged from 56 percent of normal in New Jersey to 87 percent of normal in Massachusetts. The typical lake-effect areas of Pennsylvania and New York and the higher elevations in the region saw up to 10 inches (254 mm) of snowfall this month. Precipitation totals for the fall of 2010 averaged 12.12 inches (307.8 mm) or 109 percent of normal. Despite below normal precipitation in most of the Northeast, the U.S. Drought Monitor published November 30, 2010 indicated a slight improvement in the drought conditions. Portions of the eastern panhandle of West Virginia and the western panhandle of Maryland that were in severe drought (D2) a month ago improved to moderate drought (D1) at the end of November. Moderate drought conditions (D1) were still present in eastern West Virginia, while parts of western Pennsylvania and coastal New Jersey were abnormally dry.
  • A powerful storm pounded northern New England on the 8th. Strong sustained winds, with gusts from 45-60 mph (20-27 m/s) downed trees and power lines in Maine and New Hampshire, cutting power to about 65,000 customers. There were numerous reports of blocked roads and structural damage; one fatality due to a downed tree was reported. Wrap-around moisture from the storm left up to 3 inches (7.6 cm) of slushy snow in eastern New York, 2 inches (5.1 cm) in southern Vermont and up to an inch (2.5 cm) in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts.
  • A macroburst with an embedded F1 tornado impacted the Baltimore, MD area on the 17th. Structural damage, downed and uprooted trees, and 3 injuries resulted from the 85-100 mph (38-45 m/s) winds generated by the storm.
  • For more information, please go to the Northeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • Midwest Region: (Information provided by the Midwest Regional Climate Center)
  • November precipitation was variable across the region. Precipitation was above normal from southeastern Missouri through Ohio, and 150 percent of normal from southern Indiana to southwestern Ohio. Most of this precipitation came during the last nine days of the month, when storms dropped from six to eight inches (15 to 20 cm) of rain in southern in Indiana. The heavy rain resulted in a significant improvement in the Severe to Extreme Drought in the Ohio Valley. However, normal to above normal precipitation will be needed in the coming months to further eradicate the dry conditions. Precipitation was also near to above normal in a narrow band from southwestern Iowa to northeastern Minnesota. In southwestern Minnesota and from northern Missouri into northern Lower Michigan precipitation was about 50 percent of normal.
  • November temperatures were near to slightly above normal. Average daily temperatures ranged from near normal across the eastern third of the region to 1degree F to 3 degrees F (0.5 to 1.6 degrees C) in the eastern two-thirds. The greater departures were mostly in the upper Midwest. However, week to week changes in average temperatures were dramatic. During the first week of November temperatures were well above normal in the northwestern half and much below in the southeastern half. There was a major warm-up the second week of November and much of the region was from 7 degrees F to 13 degrees F (3.9 to 7.2 degrees C) above normal. The third week was significantly cooler region wide. Colder weather prevailed across the northern third of the Midwest the last nine days of the month.
  • Significant snowfall in November was generally limited to an area from northwestern Iowa through the northwestern half of Minnesota, although there was some lake-effect snow in Michigan and northern Indiana during the month. Snowfall totals exceeded two feet (61 cm) in northern Minnesota, with a significant portion of the monthly total coming in a storm at the end of the month. Snowfall in northern Minnesota was generally 150 to 200 percent of normal in November. At the end of the month four or more inches (10 cm or more) of snow covered the ground over much of the northern half of Minnesota, extreme northwestern Wisconsin, and the western U. P. of Michigan
  • Severe weather occurred on November 22nd as a strong cold front swept through the Midwest. Tornadoes touched down in northern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin causing minor to moderate damage and three injuries. A few severe storms occurred later in the month in Missouri and Indiana, including four weak tornadoes reported in Missouri.
  • The fall (September, October, November) temperature departures in the Midwest were near to just slightly above normal across the region. Warm, dry weather particularly in September and October aided an early completion to harvest across most of the region. The northwestern half of the region was consistently wetter than the southeastern half during September and October, while drought worsened in the Ohio Valley. Heavy rain in late November helped reduce the precipitation deficit in the southern Midwest and Ohio Valley, mitigating the drought. For the season precipitation was near to above normal west of the Mississippi River, and much above normal across Minnesota, the northern half of Wisconsin, and the Michigan U. P. Precipitation across the remainder of the region was 75 percent to 90 percent of normal.
  • For details on the weather and climate events of the Midwest, see the weekly summaries in the MRCC Midwest Climate Watch page.
  • Southeast Region: (Information provided by the Southeast Regional Climate Center)
  • Average temperatures for November 2010 were close to normal across central portions of Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, while much of northern Florida and coastal sections of Georgia and North Carolina were 2 to 3 degrees F (1.1 to 1.6 degrees C) below normal. In contrast, monthly temperatures were slightly above normal across southern Alabama and northern portions of Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia, with portions of northern Alabama as much as 3 degrees F (1.6 degrees C) above normal. A cold spell occurred over a large portion of the Southeast early in the month as a strong Arctic high moved eastward across the U.S. Nearly 100 daily low maximum temperature records were tied or broken between the 6th and 8th of the month, and most of these occurred in the southern tier of the region. Overnight temperatures were also unusually cold during this period. Cross City Airport in Florida, just west of Gainesville, recorded a daily record minimum temperature of 29 degrees F (-1.7 degrees C) on the 7th of the month, the earliest subfreezing temperature ever recorded at that station in a record extending back to 1954. The warmest temperatures of the month occurred during the last week of the month as a ridge of high pressure off the East Coast advected warm air into the region. Approximately 70 daily maximum temperature records were tied or broken between the 23rd and 26th of the month, mainly across Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. Heflin, AL, and Brunswick, GA, recorded record high temperatures of 81 degrees F (27.2 degrees C) and 86 degrees F (30 degrees C), respectively, on the 26th of the month. The monthly average temperature was near normal across Puerto Rico. In nearby St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the monthly average temperature was more than 3 degrees F (1.6 degrees C) below normal for the month owing to persistent cloud cover and frequent rainfall.
  • There was a marked gradient in monthly precipitation totals across the Southeast region in November. Precipitation was between 100 and 150 percent of normal across the western part of the region, including Alabama, the western Panhandle of Florida, northern Georgia, northwestern South Carolina, western North Carolina, the western half of Virginia, and a small portion of southwest Florida. Huntsville, AL, recorded 7.7 inches (195.6 mm) of precipitation for the month, making it the third wettest November in a record extending back to 1908. In contrast, much of the eastern half of the region remained exceptionally dry in November (25 to 50 percent of normal). The largest precipitation deficits (less than 25 percent of normal) were found in southeastern Virginia, eastern portions of the Carolinas and Georgia, and across portions of northern and southeastern Florida. Charleston, SC received only 0.3 inches (7.6 mm) of precipitation for the month, making it the third driest November in a record extending back to 1938. The heaviest precipitation occurred on the last day of the month in conjunction with a large low pressure system, the center of which tracked across the Great Lakes. Asheville, NC recorded 4.1 inches (104.1 mm) of rain on the 30th, which broke the all-time 24-hour precipitation total for November in a record extending back to 1902. The greatest observed 24-hour rainfall total from this event was 8.4 inches (213.4 mm) at Rosman, NC, located in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Monthly precipitation totals were near normal across much of Puerto Rico. A strong feed of tropical moisture connected with the circulation of Hurricane Tomas resulted in over 4 inches (101.6 mm) of rainfall across the southern half of the island on the 6th of the month. The cold spell that occurred early in the month resulted in trace amounts of snowfall across northern sections of Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, 1 to 2 inches (25.4 to 50.8 mm) in the mountains of Virginia, and as much as 5 inches (127 mm) in the mountains of North Carolina.
  • There were 224 reports of severe weather across the Southeast in November, including 10 tornadoes. These tornadoes occurred in connection with the broad low pressure system on the 30th of the month. Roof damage and felled trees were reported from four EF-1 tornadoes across Alabama. There were no reports of casualties from these storms. The strongest tornado reported from this event was an EF-2 that touched down northeast of Atlanta, GA, in Gwinnett County, resulting in extensive damage to as many as 56 homes in the Buford area. According to the Georgia State Climate Office, at least one fatality occurred during this storm when a tree fell on a car traveling near Stone Mountain, GA. The remaining severe weather reports across the region were connected with damaging straight-line winds from this event, as well as strong storms that moved through the Carolinas and Virginia on the 16th of the month.
  • The lack of precipitation across the eastern half of the region resulted in a re-emergence of abnormally dry conditions (D0) across the eastern Carolinas and Virginia and an expansion of moderate drought (D1) and severe drought (D2) conditions across much of Georgia and central Florida. By the end of November, approximately 87 percent of the region displayed D0 or greater conditions. A small area of extreme drought (D3) was observed in northeast Florida, while southwest Alabama saw a slight amelioration from D3 to D2 conditions by the end of the month. The continued dry pattern helped many farmers in the region complete their fall harvest, but also contributed to cabbage and potato crop damage across parts of Florida. In late November, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that all counties in Georgia and many others in Alabama and South Carolina would be eligible for disaster relief due to crop losses resulting in part from the unusually hot and dry weather over the past several months.
  • For more information, please go to the Southeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • High Plains Region: (Information provided by the High Plains Regional Climate Center)
  • Average temperatures in November 2010 were generally near normal across the High Plains Region. Average temperatures which were up to 4 degrees F (2.2 degrees C) above normal occurred in central North Dakota, eastern South Dakota, eastern Kansas, and in isolated pockets of Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming. In central Colorado, several stations had average temperatures which were over 4 degrees F (2.2 degrees C) above normal; however this was not warm enough to even break into the top 10 warmest Novembers on record. Average temperatures were up to 4 degrees F (2.2 degrees C) below normal in southern Colorado, pockets of the western Dakotas, and the panhandle of Nebraska. In north-central Wyoming, average temperatures were up to 6 degrees F (3.3 degrees C) below normal and at least two locations ranked in the top 10 coolest Novembers on record.
  • After recording its 4th warmest October on record, Worland, WY recorded its 8th coolest November on record (period of record 1961-2010). The average temperature at Worland this month was 27.7 degrees F (-2.4 degrees C) which was 4.1 degrees F (2.3 degrees C) below normal. The coolest November on record occurred in 1985 with 15.8 degrees F (-9.0 degrees C).
  • November was drier than normal for most of the Region. Many locations across Colorado, western Kansas, central Nebraska, and eastern South Dakota received less than 25 percent of normal precipitation. In south-central Colorado, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, ongoing dryness led to the development of severe drought conditions. Lamar, Colorado, located in southeastern Colorado on the Arkansas River, received no precipitation this month, which tied for the driest November on record (period of record 1893-2010). Also, by only receiving 0.53 inches (13 mm) of precipitation the past three months, Lamar recorded its 5th driest fall (September, October, and November) on record. The driest fall on record occurred in 1934 when no precipitation fell. There were exceptions to the dryness in northwestern and southeastern Wyoming and a swath extending from south-central Kansas through southeastern Nebraska, where precipitation was 150 percent of normal or more. In Kansas, many locations ranked in the top 10 wettest Novembers on record. This month's wet spot was Ashland, Kansas which is located in the south-central portion of the state near the Oklahoma border. With 3.40 inches (86 mm) of precipitation, Ashland recorded its 7th wettest November on record (period of record 1900-2010). 2.36 inches (60 mm) of this precipitation fell on November 12 and set a new daily precipitation record. The previous record for that date was set in 1997 with 1.90 inches (48 mm) of precipitation. Snowfall in northwestern Colorado was a welcome sight as it helped alleviate abnormally dry conditions. Steamboat Springs, Colorado set its 8th snowiest November on record when it received 38.3 inches (97 cm) of snow this month (period of record 1893-2010). However, this was not nearly enough to beat the record 57.0 inches (145 cm) of snow that fell in November 1983.
  • The U.S. Drought monitor showed both improvement and deterioration over the past month. Snowfall helped alleviate the moderate drought (D1) conditions in northern Wyoming and some of the abnormally dry conditions (D0) in western Colorado and northern and eastern Wyoming. However, D0 stretched into southeastern Kansas from Oklahoma and D1 spread from east-central Colorado to the east and into western Kansas. In addition, due to an ongoing lack of precipitation, severe drought conditions (D2) developed in southeast Colorado. According to the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook released November 18th, the D1 areas in western Wyoming were expected to improve and the drought areas in eastern Colorado, the panhandle of Nebraska, and far southeastern Wyoming were expected to persist through December 2010.
  • For more information, please go to the High Plains Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • Southern Region: (Information provided by the Southern Regional Climate Center)
  • November average daily temperatures were consistently near normal throughout the Southern Region. Aside from some small pockets in Texas and eastern Oklahoma, temperatures did not deviate much beyond 3 degrees F ( 1.67 degrees C) of expected monthly normals. Generally speaking, much of the Southern Region experienced only a slightly warmer than normal month.
  • November precipitation totals were quite variable over the Southern Region. With the exception of north western Oklahoma and north western Texas, the western half of the Southern Region experienced another dry month, while the south central and eastern half of the region experienced near normal to wet conditions. The driest part of the region included much of southern and western Texas, in particular, the south west, where dozens of stations did not receive any measurable precipitation. This included numerous stations in the: Trans Pecos, Edwards Plateau and Lower Valley Climate Divisions. Conditions were also quite dry in eastern Oklahoma and in western Arkansas. Precipitation totals varied from 25 to 50 percent of normal in central Oklahoma to between 50 and 70 percent of normal in eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas. Elsewhere in the region, precipitation was generally within 30 percent of normal for the month, with slightly drier than normal conditions in south western Louisiana, southern Mississippi and central Tennessee. Conversely, precipitation was near normal throughout most of Mississippi, Tennessee and eastern Arkansas. The wettest portion of the region was in western Oklahoma and northern Texas, where precipitation totals ranged from 150 to 300 percent of normal. This equated to approximately 1 to 2 inches (25.4 to 50.8 mm) above normal conditions.
  • Drought conditions in the Southern Region have changed for the better in some regions, while other regions have taken a turn for the worse. In Mississippi, near normal November precipitation has resulted in the removal of severe and extreme drought in the western and central portions of the state. A small area of severe drought remains in effect in the southern portion of the state. In Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma, conditions have not changed much over the past month. A small area of moderate drought is still present in the central area of Oklahoma. In Arkansas, there has been some improvements in the southern counties, which last month were indicating extreme drought, but now are showing a one category improvement to severe drought conditions. A large part of the central and eastern counties in Arkansas are still in severe drought conditions. This is also the case for western Tennessee. In central Tennessee, moderate drought conditions have persisted over the month. In Texas, drier than normal weather has resulted in a one category deterioration in the south west portions of the state. Counties there are now facing severe drought conditions. There is also a small area of extreme drought. Severe drought is also now present in the east central counties of Texas. In Louisiana, drought conditions have not changed much over the past month. Much of the state is still under the influence of severe and extreme drought.
  • The autumn dryness and anticipation of a historically dry 2010-2011 winter has fueled fears that the upcoming Texas wildfire season could be one of the worst in years. As of December 1, 71 Texas counties had a ban on outdoor burning and many more counties are expected to join this list as time progresses. Several wildfires were reported in West Texas toward the end of November, but the fire activity has been limited so far. Much of the credit for a lack of fires despite the high fire danger should be given to local governments and media, who have effectively disseminated information on the prevention of wildfires. Because of the short term nature of the drought, its impact on Texas water suppliers has been minimal with a few municipalities enacting preliminary water restrictions. The dry weather had a minimal impact on the harvesting of cotton, and actually helped to dry fields that saw abundant precipitation during the growing months. However, the dry weather has had a negative impact on the growth of winter pastures and the planting of winter wheat has been difficult throughout the state. Much of the rain that did fall throughout Central and South Texas during November did so on Election Day, which lowered the voter turnout at many precincts. The only significant hail damage during November occurred on the first of the month in Camp County as baseball and tennis ball-sized hail damaged windows, skylights, and vehicles. Straight-line winds in Greenville (Hunt County) knocked down power lines, and ripped the awnings off several buildings (Information provided by the Texas State Climate Office).
  • Over 20 tornadoes touched down on the 29th of the month. These were scattered from central Louisiana to central Mississippi. In Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, 15 people were injured and numerous homes were damaged. A total of 5 injuries were reported in Monroe, Mississippi. In Yazoo County, MS, winds of 125 mph (201.17 kmph) were reported. In Louisiana, a strong tornado touched down in Winn County. Preliminary reports suggest that this was an EF4 tornado, the second strongest on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. It was reported to have a path width of approximately 100 yards (91.44 m). Several homes were reported to have been damaged. Elsewhere, most tornado-related damaged was confined to trees and power lines.
  • For more information, please go to the Southern Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • Western Region: (Information provided by the Western Regional Climate Center)
  • Thanks to record setting cold the final 10 days of November, monthly mean temperatures were near or below normal for almost the entire region. The first week of the month saw record setting high temperatures in many locations. Seattle, Washington, hit 74 degrees F (23.4 degrees C) on the 3rd, tying a November record going back 61 years. San Diego broke their all-time November record by 3 degrees F with a 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C) reading on the 4th. This was also their hottest day of 2010. A few weeks later record cold invaded the region. Ely, Nevada, recorded its lowest all time November temperature, falling to -20 degrees F (-28.9 degrees C) on the 25th, while Tucson, Arizona, recorded a new November record low with 23 degrees F (-5.0 degrees C) on the 30th. Great Falls, Montana, had a 95 degrees F (59 degrees C) swing between the extreme maximum (74 degrees F, 23.4 degrees C) and minimum (-21 degrees F, -29.4 degrees C) temperature for the month, their greatest range ever for November. Meanwhile, in Alaska, Fairbanks recorded their 2nd warmest November in the past 30 years.
  • Precipitation was near normal for most of the West Coast, above normal for the northern Intermountain West and Great Basin and well below normal for the Southwest. In Montana, Great Falls and Billings each recorded their 3rd wettest and 2nd snowiest November on record. Ely had their snowiest November on record and 3rd wettest dating back 72 years. No rain fell at all in parts of New Mexico and Arizona. Fairbanks measured their 3rd wettest November on record because of a very unusual rain event late in the month.
  • November 20-24: Major Winter Storm: A dangerous and powerful winter storm slammed the west just before the Thanksgiving holiday. In Washington Interstate 90 was closed at Snoqualmie Summit on the 22nd due to heavy snow. Snow in Seattle caused numerous accidents (1,557 collisions in 24 hours) and flight delays at the airport. Strong winds and heavy snow left over 117,000 customers without power in Western Washington. At least 3 deaths in Washington were attributed to the storm. Blizzard conditions were reported in portions of Montana and Idaho leading to numerous school and business closures. An avalanche at Wolf Creek Ski Area in southwest Colorado took the life of the Ski Area Director after 18 inches of snow fell. In the Sierra Nevada near Donner Summit up to 100 inches (254 cm) of snow fell over the entire event, closing Interstate 80 at times. Extreme cold moved into the region behind the front causing wind chills of -40 degrees F (-40 degrees C) in Montana and a killing frost in Central California Thanksgiving morning.
  • November 22: Rain and Freezing Rain in Alaska: An exceptionally unusual winter freezing rain event occurred throughout the state causing numerous problems. Beginning on the morning of the 22nd, much of the precipitation fell as either freezing rain or rain that froze on deeply frozen snow-packed roadways. This nearly brought Fairbanks to a halt and closed schools and state and federal offices for most of the week. Numerous flight delays and some cancellations occurred at both Anchorage and Fairbanks airports. Of note was the two-fold combination, consisting of both the unusual nature of the event itself at individual locations, and also the vast spatial extent, stretching at times from the Gulf of Alaska coast to the far northern reaches of the state.

See NCDC's Monthly Records web-page for weather and climate records for the month of May. For additional national, regional, and statewide data and graphics from 1895-present, for any period, please visit the Climate at a Glance page.


PLEASE NOTE: All of the temperature and precipitation ranks and values are based on preliminary data. The ranks will change when the final data are processed, but will not be replaced on these pages. Graphics based on final data are provided on the Temperature and Precipitation Maps page and the Climate at a Glance page as they become available.

Global Analysis

Contents of this Section:


November 2010 Selected Climate Anomalies and Events MapNovember 2010 Selected Climate
Anomalies and Events Map


Global Highlights

  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for November 2010 was 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average of 12.9°C (55.2°F). This was the second warmest such period on record. 2004 was the warmest November on record.

  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for fall (September–November) 2010 was the sixth warmest on record for the season, 0.58°C (1.04°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.1°F).

  • For the 2010 year-to-date (January–November), the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 0.64°C (1.15°F) above the 20th century average—the warmest such period since records began in 1880.

  • The November 2010 Northern Hemisphere land and ocean surface temperature was the warmest November on record, while the Southern Hemisphere land and ocean surface temperature was the 13th warmest November on record.


  • The November 2010 global land surface temperature was the warmest on record, at 1.52°C (2.74°F) above the 20th century average, while the November global ocean temperature tied with 1987 and 2008 as the tenth warmest on record, at 0.39°C (0.70°F) above average.


  • The January–November 2010 Northern Hemisphere land surface temperature was the second warmest such period on record, while the Southern Hemisphere was the fourth warmest on record.


Please Note: The data presented in this report are preliminary. Ranks and anomalies may change as more complete data are received and processed. Effective with the July 2009 State of the Climate Report, NCDC transitioned to the new version (version 3b) of the extended reconstructed sea surface temperature (ERSST) dataset. ERSST.v3b is an improved extended SST reconstruction over version 2. For more information about the differences between ERSST.v3b and ERSST.v2 and to access the most current data, please visit NCDC's Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page.


Introduction

Temperature anomalies for November 2010, September–November 2010, and January–November are shown on the dot maps in this section. The dot maps on the left provide a spatial representation of anomalies calculated from the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) dataset of land surface stations using a 1961–1990 base period. The dot maps on the right are a product of a merged land surface and sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly analysis developed by Smith et al. (2008). For the merged land surface and SST analysis, temperature anomalies with respect to the 1971–2000 average for land and ocean are analyzed separately and then merged to form the global analysis. For more information, please visit NCDC's Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page.

November

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for November 2010 was the second warmest November, behind 2004, since global temperature records began in 1880. The combined global land and ocean temperature was 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average of 12.9°C (55.2°F). The combined land and ocean surface temperature for November in the Northern Hemisphere was the warmest on record, while the combined land and ocean surface temperature in the Southern Hemisphere ranked as the 13th warmest such period on record. The globally averaged land temperature was the warmest on record, at 1.52°C (2.74°F) above the 20th century average of 5.9°C (42.6°F). The Northern Hemisphere November land temperature was also the warmest on record, while the Southern Hemiphere land temperature ranked as the 21st warmest on record. More than two-thirds of the Earth's land mass is located in the Northern Hemisphere.

The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a periodic fluctuation in sea surface temperature (El Niño) and the air pressure of the overlying atmosphere (Southern Oscillation) across the equatorial Pacific Ocean, affecting weather patterns in many parts of the world. In November, a moderate-to-strong cold phase (La Niña) ENSO persisted as sea surface temperaures in the eastern and equatorial Pacific Ocean remained cooler than normal. The November 2010 worldwide averaged ocean temperature tied with 1987 and 2008 as the tenth warmest on record, 0.39°C (0.70°F) above the 20th century average of 15.8°C (60.4°F). The Northern Hemisphere averaged ocean temperature was also the tenth warmest on record and the Southern Hemisphere ocean temperature tied with 1996 and 2008 as the 12th warmest on record. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC), La Niña is expected to peak during November 2010–January 2011 and last at least into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2011.

The most notable warm anomalies around the world during November 2010 occurred across the northern high latitudes, including Alaska and a large swath of Canada and encompassed most of Europe and Asia. The coolest anomalies were seen over Scandinavia, most of Australia, and the eastern and central Pacific Ocean.

Australia was cooler than normal for the month, particularly across much of the northern and eastern portions of the country. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology reported that nationally averaged maximum temperaures were 1.23°C below the normal, which is the lowest since 1999 and seventh lowest on record. In central Queensland, maximum temperatures were up to 6°C (10.8°F) cooler than average for November. However, maximum temperatures were more than 4°C (7.2°F) above normal along the central coast of Western Australia.

According to the United Kingdom (UK) Met Office, the UK as a whole experienced its coldest November since 1993, primarily due to a very cold week at the end of the month. Average temperatures for the month were about 1.5–2.0°C (2.7–3.6°F) below the 1971–2000 average. Most stations in Ireland reported their coldest monthly-averaged November temperatures since 1985.

Season (September–November)

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature during September–November (Northern Hemisphere fall; Southern Hemisphere spring) 2010 was the sixth warmest on record, at 0.58°C (1.04°F) above the 20th century average. The September–November globally averaged land temperature ranked as the second warmest on record, behind 2005. The seasonal temperature for the worldwide ocean surface tied with 1998 as the tenth warmest on record. During the season, the warmest temperature anomalies were present over much of the planet's surface, particularly the much of the northern high latitudes, northern Africa, eastern Europe, western Asia, and the Middle East. Cooler-than-average conditions were present across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, most of Australia, and northwestern Europe.

According to Environment Canada, the country experienced its second warmest September–November since records began in 1948. On average, temperatures were 2.1°C (3.8°F) above normal. The warmest fall on record for Canada occurred in 1998, when the average temperature was 2.3°C (4.1°F) above normal. Both the Arctic Tundra and Arctic Mountains and Fiords climate regions experienced their second warmest fall seasons. The Arctic Tundra was 4.5°C (8.1°F) above normal while the Arctic Mountains and Fjords were 3.9°C (7.0°F) above normal.

In the Southern Hemiphere, Australia recorded its fourth coldest spring (Northern Hemisphere fall) on record. Nationally averaged maximum temperatures were 1.23°C (2.21°F) below average for the season. The Northern Territory experienced its coldest spring on record, while Queensland and South Australia had their second and third coldest springs, respectively. According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, widespread heavy rainfall contributed to the cooler daytime temperatures.

The average position of the upper-level ridges of high pressure and troughs of low pressure (depicted by positive and negative 500-millibar height anomalies on the November 2010 height and anomaly mapNovember 2010 map and September–November 2010 height and anomaly mapSeptember–November 2010, respectively) are generally reflected by areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies at the surface, respectively. For other Global products, please see the Climate Monitoring Global Products page.

Year-to-date (January–November)

The global combined land and ocean surface temperature for the year-to-date through November was 0.64°C (1.15°F) above the 20th century average—the warmest such period since records began in 1880. The combined land and ocean surface temperature through November in the Northern Hemisphere was also the warmest on record, while the combined land and ocean surface temperature in the Southern Hemisphere tied with 2005 as the fifth warmest such period on record. The globally averaged land temperature was 1.02°C (1.84°F) above average, which was the warmest January–November in the period of record.

The shift from a warm phase to a cold phase ENSO during 2010 contributed to a globally averaged January–November ocean surface temperature anomaly of 0.50°C (0.90°F) above the 20th century average, tying with 2005 as the third warmest such period on record. Images of sea surface temperature conditions are available for all weeks during 2010 from the weekly SST page.

Warmer-than-average temperatures occurred during the year-to-date (January–November) for most of the world's surface. The warmest 11-month above-average temperatures occurred throughout the high latitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere, Canada, Alaska, the tropical Atlantic Ocean, the Middle East, eastern Europe, and northern Africa. Temperatures were notably cooler across the Southern oceans, most of the eastern Pacific Ocean, western Scandinavia, parts of central Russia, and parts of Australia.

According to Environment Canada, 2010 set a record as the warmest January–November period for the country, 2.9°C (5.2°F) above normal. This value surpassed the previous record set in 2006 at 2.4°C (4.3°F) above normal. In addition to the second warmest fall (September–November) period on record during 2010, Canada also experienced its warmest spring (March–May) and winter (December 2009–February 2010) and third warmest summer (June–August) on record.

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Temperature Rankings and Graphics

Current Month | Seasonal | Year-to-date

November Anomaly Rank
(out of 131 years)
(Next) Warmest on Record
°C °F Year °C °F
Global
Land +1.52 ± 0.07 +2.74 ± 0.13 Warmest (2004)  +1.34 +2.41
Ocean +0.39 ± 0.07 +0.70 ± 0.13 10th warmest* 1997  +0.55 +0.99
Land and Ocean +0.69 ± 0.08 +1.24 ± 0.14 2nd warmest 2004  +0.72 +1.30
Northern Hemisphere
Land +1.97 ± 0.08 +3.55 ± 0.14 Warmest (2001)  +1.58 +2.84
Ocean +0.41 ± 0.08 +0.74 ± 0.14 10th warmest 2006  +0.65 +1.17
Land and Ocean +0.99 ± 0.09 +1.78 ± 0.16 Warmest (2004)  +0.95 +1.71
Southern Hemisphere
Land +0.35 ± 0.06 +0.63 ± 0.11 21st warmest* 2009  +1.11 +2.00
Ocean +0.39 ± 0.06 +0.70 ± 0.11 12th warmest* 1997  +0.57 +1.03
Land and Ocean +0.38 ± 0.06 +0.68 ± 0.11 13th warmest 2009  +0.62 +1.12

*Signifies a tie

*Global Ocean tied with 1987 and 2008 as the tenth warmest November on record.
*Southern Hemisphere Ocean tied with 1996 and 2008 as the 12th warmest November on record.

September–November Anomaly Rank
(out of 131 years)
Warmest on Record
°C °F Year °C °F
Global
Land +1.03 ± 0.06 +1.85 ± 0.11 2nd warmest 2005  +1.13 +2.03
Ocean +0.41 ± 0.06 +0.74 ± 0.11 10th warmest* 2003  +0.56 +1.01
Land and Ocean +0.58 ± 0.07 +1.04 ± 0.13 6th warmest 2005  +0.66 +1.19
Northern Hemisphere
Land +1.24 ± 0.07 +2.23 ± 0.13 2nd warmest 2005  +1.27 +2.29
Ocean +0.43 ± 0.07 +0.77 ± 0.13 10th warmest 2006  +0.64 +1.15
Land and Ocean +0.74 ± 0.07 +1.33 ± 0.13 2nd warmest 2005  +0.83 +1.49
Southern Hemisphere
Land +0.46 ± 0.05 +0.83 ± 0.09 13th warmest* 2009  +0.93 +1.67
Ocean +0.41 ± 0.05 +0.74 ± 0.09 11th warmest 1997  +0.58 +1.04
Land and Ocean +0.41 ± 0.05 +0.74 ± 0.09 12th warmest 1997  +0.62 +1.12

*Signifies a tie

*Global Ocean tied with 1998 as the tenth warmest September–November on record.
*Southern Hemisphere Land tied with 1994 as the 13th warmest September–November on record.

January–November Anomaly Rank
(out of 131 years)
(Next) Warmest on Record
°C °F Year °C °F
Global
Land +1.02 ± 0.04 +1.84 ± 0.07 Warmest (2007)  +1.00 +1.80
Ocean +0.50 ± 0.04 +0.90 ± 0.07 3rd warmest* 1998  +0.52 +0.94
Land and Ocean +0.64 ± 0.05 +1.15 ± 0.09 Warmest (2005)  +0.62 +1.12
Northern Hemisphere
Land +1.14 ± 0.05 +2.05 ± 0.09 2nd warmest 2007  +1.15 +2.07
Ocean +0.52 ± 0.04 +0.94 ± 0.07 2nd warmest* 2005  +0.54 +0.97
Land and Ocean +0.76 ± 0.05 +1.37 ± 0.09 Warmest (2005)  +0.72 +1.30
Southern Hemisphere
Land +0.68 ± 0.03 +1.22 ± 0.05 4th warmest 2005  +0.83 +1.49
Ocean +0.50 ± 0.03 +0.90 ± 0.05 4th warmest 1998  +0.55 +0.99
Land and Ocean +0.52 ± 0.03 +0.94 ± 0.05 5th warmest* 1998  +0.59 +1.06

*Signifies a tie

*Global Ocean tied with 2005 as the third warmest January–November on record.
*Northern Hemisphere Land tied with 2007 as the warmest January–November on record. The second warmest such period occurred in 2005.
*Northern Hemisphere Ocean tied with 2004 as the second warmest January–November on record. The warmest such period occurred in 2005.
*Southern Hemisphere Land and Ocean tied with 2005 as the fifth warmest January–November on record.

The most current data may be accessed via the Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page.

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Precipitation

The maps below represent anomaly values based on the GHCN dataset of land surface stations using a base period of 1961–1990.

November

During November 2010, the most notable wetter-than-average conditions were seen across western Alaska, Central America, northern and western India, and eastern Australia. The driest anomalies were present across part of the southwestern United States, northern Scandinavia, northern Africa, and parts of East Asia.

November was very wet across Australia's eastern states. Queensland and New South Wales each recorded its wettest November since 2000 while Victoria recorded its wettest such period since 1992. Nationally averaged rainfall was 71 percent above normal. However, Western Austrlia reported its driest November since 1997.

September–November

The areas with the wettest anomalies during September–November (Northern Hemisphere fall; Southern Hemisphere spring) included Central America, Southeast Asia, much of southern India, and eastern Australia. The driest anomalies during this period were observed over northern and western Amazonia, the Hawaiian islands, French Polynesia, and part of far western Canada.

Australia experienced its wettest spring (September–November; Northern Hemisphere fall) in 2010. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology reported that nationally averaged precipitation was 163.0 mm (6.4 inches), which is 125 percent above normal and 23.1 mm (0.9 inches) greater than the previous record set in 1975. At the state level, the Northern Territory, Queensland, and New South Wales each had their wettest springs on record, while South Australia experienced its second wettest such period on record, behind 1975. However, it should be noted, that in deep contrast to most of the country, southwest Western Australia had its driest spring on record.

Year-to-date (January–November)

Global precipitation for the period January–November was well above the 1961–1990 average, ranking fourth wettest on record since 1900. Regionally, drier than average conditions were widespread across much of French Polynesia, the Solomon Islands, Hawaiian Islands, northwestern Canada, extreme northwest and northeast Brazil, and southern Peru. The wettest regions induded most of Central America, much of India, southwestern China, east Asia, Borneo, and parts of Australia.

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References

Peterson, T.C. and R.S. Vose, 1997: An Overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network Database. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 78, 2837-2849.

Quayle, R.G., T.C. Peterson, A.N. Basist, and C. S. Godfrey, 1999: An operational near-real-time global temperature index. Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 333-335.

Smith, T.M., and R.W. Reynolds (2005), A global merged land air and sea surface temperature reconstruction based on historical observations (1880-1997), J. Clim., 18, 2021-2036.

Smith, et al (2008), Improvements to NOAA's Historical Merged Land-Ocean Surface Temperature Analysis (1880-2006), J. Climate., 21, 2283-2293.

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Global Hazards

Please note: Material provided in this report is chosen subjectively and included at the discretion of the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). The ability to report on a given event is limited by the amount of information available to NCDC at the time of publication. Inclusion of a particular event does not constitute a greater importance in comparison with an event that has not been incorporated into the discussion. Data included in this report are preliminary unless otherwise stated. Links to supporting information are valid at the time of publication, but they are not maintained or changed after publication.


Updated 03 December 2010


November 5thHurricane Tomas kills at least 20 people in Haiti read more First week of NovemberTropical low pressure system brings heavy rain to Thailand and Malaysia read more November 3rdHeavy rain and mudslides kill at least 25 in Costa Rica read more November 1st–7thFloods impact northeastern Philippines read more November 14thStorm brings heavy rain to France and Belgium read more November 7th–11thCyclone Jal makes landfall in southern India read more November 13thRare, early–season snowfall blanckets the U.S. states of Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin read more November 1st–15thAnomalous warmth in western Russia negatively impacts wildlife. read more November 17thHeavy rainfall bring flooding and mudslides to southwestern England. read more November 16thA strong storm system brought strong winds and tornadoes to the Eastern United States. read more November 22ndA rare storm brought tornadoes to the U.S. states of Illinois and Wisconsin. read more November 22nd–24thRecord rainfall and high temperatures bring an unusual freezing rain event to Alaska. read more Last week of NovemberSnowy conditions and record-cold temperatures grip parts of Western Europe. read more



Heavy rainfall and flooding

During the first week of November, heavy rainfall associated with a tropical low pressure system, which would eventually become Cyclone Jal, created chaos across southern Thailand and northern Malaysia. Hat Yai, a major commercial center in southern Thailand, had over 10 feet (3 meters) of water on roadways, submerging cars. In the Malaysian states of Perlis and Kedah, over 28,000 people were displaced and an airport in northern Malaysia was forced to close due to a flooded runway. Local media said one person had been killed and another was missing in Kedah.

Heavy rainfall in Costa Rica over a 24-hour period led to flooding and landslides on November 3rd that killed at least 25 people and left 15 others missing. President Laura Chinchilla declared a national emergency in response to the widespread damage, claiming the disaster was one of the worst the nation had ever confronted. Over 2,500 people in the capital and along the coast were forced to evacuate due to the flooding, mudslides, and fear of a dam breaking. National Emergency Commission President Vanessa Rosales said the rains may have damaged several major coffee areas in Costa Rica's highlands, but the amount of monetary losses were difficult to estimate.

The northeastern Philippines endured a week of pounding rain between the 1st and 7th of November. The region was still struggling to recover from Super Typhoon Megi, which caused devastation weeks earlier. About 200 families in Kalinga province were forced to evacuate due to fears of a natural dam collapsing and releasing a torrent on downstream villages. Villages were flooded in six provinces, with 13 people reported dead and another two missing. More than 417,000 people were affected by the floods in all, with 12,000 forced to evacuate.

On November 14th, a storm brought flooding to northern France and Belgium, leaving three people dead. Officials described the flooding as the worst in 50 years. The national weather service said that in two days Belgium received as much rainfall as it normally gets in a month. In Granville, France, 1.9 inches (48.4 mm) of rain fell in 24 hours. Storms that affected the region just a week earlier killed one and left another missing in northern France.


Map of region affected by UK flooding
Map of U.K. region
affected by flooding
Image Credit: AFP

On November 17th, heavy rainfall in the southwest England county of Cornwall caused severe flooding and landslides. Local media reported that the towns of St. Austell and St. Blazey were impassable and people were trapped in cars and houses. Emergency officials evacuated 100 homes, and schools were forced to close. In all, 230 homes and 400 businesses were directly impacted by the flooding and landslides. The U.K. government promised 2.1 billion pounds of government funding to help build flood defense infrastructure over the next four years. Although damage was widespread, no fatalities or injuries were reported.

Heavy rainfall continued in central Vietnam in the midst of its rainy season. In the latest round, an estimated 11.8–19.7 inches (300–500 mm) of rain fell from November 14th–19th, leaving at least 22 people dead and seven others missing. The National Committee for Flood and Storm Control reported that more than 40,000 homes were damaged or submerged and 97 miles (156 km) of roads were destroyed.

Stretching beyond the usual end to its wet season, torrential rainfall led to flooding and landslides in Venezuela that killed at least 30 people and forced more than 5,000 to evacuate their homes. The typical rainy season occurs from May–October and the dry season occurs from November–May. As reported by Xinhua, the country was experiencing its worst weather in 40 years.

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Severe Storms

November 16-17 2010 severe weather outbreak
Severe weather reports 16 November 2010
Image Credit: SPC

A storm system moving across the Mid-Atlantic overnight on November 16th and 17th brought a rare, late–season bout of severe weather from the Carolinas into New Jersey. There were 130 severe wind reports with the storm system, and trees and power lines were downed in many locations. Straight line winds were blamed caused airplanes to flip at a Trenton, New Jersey airport. The event in the Mid-Atlantic was extremely rare; there have been no previous instances of severe thunderstorms in New Jersey or New York between midnight and dawn during November, and since 1950 only 14 November days have brought severe thunderstorms to New Jersey. An EF-1 tornado touched down briefly near Baltimore, Maryland where structural damage to homes and businesses occurred, but no fatalities were reported. An EF-1 tornado was also confirmed in Columbia County, New York. Tornadoes in the region are also extremely rare during November. Nearly 18,000 people in the region experienced power loss during the event.


November 22 2010 radar loop of severe weather
Radar loop of
22 November 2010 severe weather event
Image Credit: National Weather Service

Another rare, late– severe weather event occurred in the Midwestern U.S. on November 22nd, when there were eight preliminary tornado reports across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. A confirmed EF-2 tornado in Caledonia, Illinois caused severe damage and rolled a school bus filled with children. Fortunately, only minor injuries were reported. This is the first November tornado in Illinois in five years. Two tornadoes were confirmed in Wisconsin; the last November tornado in Wisconsin occurred in 1971. Only one time before, in 1960, has a storm system brought two tornadoes to Wisconsin during November.

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Tropical Cyclones

Hurricane Tomas moving over Haiti on 05 November 2010
Hurricane Tomas
05 November 2010
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Hurricane Tomas formed in the Caribbean Sea near the end of October. After causing significant destruction to the islands of Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines, the storm weakened as it tracked northwestward toward Haiti. Tomas struck the southwestern portion of Haiti on November 5th with 85 mph (140 km/hr) winds—Category 1 strength on the Saffir Simpson hurricane wind scale. At least 20 people were killed and 30,000 were displaced as the storm triggered flooding and mudslides. The rains associated with the storm also exacerbated conditions in Haiti, where international aid agencies have been fighting a cholera epidemic.


Cyclone Jal Rainfall
Cyclone Jal rainfall
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Cyclone Jal brought record breaking rainfall to India and Sri Lanka on November 7th through 11th. At the storm’s peak, Jal had winds of 80 mph (130 km/hr), but Jal made landfall in India as a tropical storm. Satellite estimates report over 24 inches (600 mm) of rainfall across southern India. The region was already reeling from heavy rainfall the first two days of November, which left 22 people dead. Roads and bridges along the coastal districts were washed away. Extensive damage to crops was also sustained along the Bay of Bengal coast. The Press Trust of India attributed 11 deaths in Andra Pradesh to the rainfall from Jal. Sri Lanka was particularly hard hit from impacts of the storm. Overnight rains dumped 17.5 inches (445 mm) of rain on the capital city of Colombo, the most rainfall for a single day since June 1992. According to government officials, up to 300,000 people were forced from their homes across four districts — Colombo, Kalutara, Gampaha, and Matara. At least one man was killed in Sri Lanka after being struck by lightning.

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Severe winter weather

Minnesota Snowfall November 13
Minnesota Snowfall Accumulation
13 November 2010
Image Credit: National Weather Service

A rare early season winter storm across the U.S. states of Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin brought 8 to 12 inches (20 cm to 30 cm) of snow on November 13th, just three days after the region experienced record breaking warm temperatures. The storm contributed to Duluth, Minnesota having its sixth snowiest autumn on record. A low pressure system in the Central Plains strengthened as it moved through the region. The storm is one of the most significant snowstorms to impact the city of Minneapolis before Thanksgiving in two decades. Nearly 115,000 people were reported to have lost power during the storm, and over 200 car accidents were reported. Two deaths from a car accident in Wisconsin were blamed on the snow storm.


U.S. Northwest Storm System
U.S. Northwest Storm System
Image Credit:
Environmental Visualization Laboratory

A major winter storm impacted large portions of the Pacific Northwest U.S. on November 22nd–23rd. A record 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) of snow fell at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport on the 22nd, breaking the previous record of 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) set in 1977. At least three people were killed in Washington state in weather-related accidents. Two days later, on the 24th, dozens of daily low temperature records were broken across Washington, northern Idaho, and western Montana. In Missoula, Montana, a low temperature record of -11°F (-24°C) was set, breaking the previous record of -8°F (-22°:C) set in 1931, and at Omak, Washington, a low temperature of -6°F (-21°C) shattered the old record of 2° (-17°C) set in 1993. The storm system barreled eastward, bringing high winds and snow to Utah and a mixed bag of snow, sleet, and freezing rain to the Dakotas. Highways were shut down for a period of time in Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. Freezing rain fell in Iowa, leading to three deaths in icy weather-related accidents.

Widespread snow and ice, along with record-cold temperatures, gripped parts of the United Kingdom during the last week of November. More than 16 inches (41 cm) of snow fell in parts of northeastern England and Scotland on the 27th as many November low temperature records were broken. In Llysdiman, Wales, the temperature plummeted to its lowest ever November temperature of 0.4°F (-18.0°C) and in Northern Ireland, Loch Fea recorded its all time lowest November temperature of 14.9°F (-9.5°C). According to the BBC, the United Kingdom experienced its earliest widespread snowfall since 1993. The wintry weather continued in Western Europe as heavy snow fell in northern Spain and Portugal on November 29th–30th. No fatalities were reported. According to Meteosuisse, Switzerland experienced its coldest night in 45 years as temperatures plunged to -22°F (-30°C). In Germany, a combination of snowy conditions and freezing temperatures led to 200 flight cancellations at Frankfurt airport, Europe's third busiest.


Temperature anomalies across Alaska on 22–24 November
Alaska Temperature Departure Anomalies
22–24 November 2010
Image Credit:
Earth System Research Laboratory

An unusual winter storm impacted large portions of Alaska on November 22nd–24th. Record-setting precipitation and record high temperatures created a winter ice storm that affected much of interior, northern, and south central parts of the state. According to the Fairbanks National Weather Service Office, rain fell on "deeply frozen" snow-packed roadways, leading to ice that covered nearly all of Alaska's road system and created dangerous driving conditions. On November 22nd, a record 0.50 inch (13 mm) of rainfall was recorded at Fairbanks International Airport, breaking the old daily record of 0.21 inch (5 mm) set in 1925. This rainfall amount was the second largest daily rainfall amount between November and March in Fairbanks since record keeping began in 1904. The heaviest amount was 0.99 inch (25 mm), which fell on January 20th, 1937. In the southern portion of the state, King Salmon reached a new daily high record temperature of 51°F (11°C) on November 23rd, breaking the old record of 48°F (9°C) set in 1952. Anchorage reported only its third freezing rain event in the past three decades, the other two occurring in 1995 and 1980. Dozens of traffic accidents occurred across the state, but no fatalities were reported.

Ecosystems Impacts

Russian Anomalous Warmth November 1-15
Western Russia Temperature Anomalies
1–15 November
Image Credit:
Earth System Research Laboratory

Record warm temperatures across western Russia during November affected animals in the region. Temperatures in Moscow reached 54°F (12.3°C) on November 15th—20°F (11.2°C) above average. Russian meteorologists report that during the first half of November, temperatures in western parts of country hovered around 18°F (10°C) above normal and temperatures in Moscow have broken daily records on five separate days. Temperatures in western Siberia have also been extremely warm, with the temperature in Novosibirsk reaching 39°F (3.7°C), marking the warmest November temperature ever recorded there. The warm temperatures have caused problems for wildlife, according to ecologists. Hedgehogs and badgers have been unable to go into hibernation, while some species of red squirrel and hares have not transitioned into their warm winter coats. This will negatively impact the animals when temperatures return to normal.

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National Snow & Ice

NCDC transitioned to the nClimDiv dataset on Thursday, March 13, 2014. This was coincident with the release of the February 2014 monthly monitoring report. For details on this transition, please visit our public FTP site and our U.S. Climate Divisional Database site.

November was cooler than average for several western U.S. states, and near– normal, or wetter than average for many of the northern states. These weather conditions were associated with significant snowfall in both parts of the country. International Falls, Minnesota experienced their second snowiest November on record with 29.0 inches (74 cm). According to the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, a NOAA supported facility, the average snow extent across the United States for November 2010 ranked as 4th largest (42nd smallest) in the 45–year satellite record at 679,540 million square miles (1.76 million square km) — 248,650 square miles (644,000 square km) above the long–term average of 428,570 million square miles (1.11 million square km). On November 1st, 4.5 percent of the contiguous U.S. was snow covered — northern New England and New York, parts of the Northern Plains, and the high terrain of the West. By the end of the month, the percentage of the country with snow on the ground increased to 35.4 percent with snow present across the Northeast, Northern Plains, and most of the West.

US Snow Depth November 25th
U.S. Snow Depth 25 November 2010
Source: NOHRSC

A large winter storm moved across the western and north central United States between November 22nd and 25th. The storm moved onshore on the 22nd along the Pacific Northwest coast, bringing rare November snowfall to Seattle, Washington, where a daily snow record was shattered with 2.5 inches (6.3 cm) of accumulation. The storm brought 7.5 inches (19 cm) of snow to Spokane, Washington in 24 hours, marking the largest 24–hour snowfall for the city during November on record. November 2010 was also the 5th snowiest November on record for the city. The system also brought record low temperatures to the region. As the storm moved into the Intermountain West, it brought heavy snow to the northern and central Rockies. Ski resorts from California to the Colorado Rockies reported several feet of snow from the storm system, bringing an early opening to the ski season. Snowfall amounts of six inches (15.2 cm) were also widespread across the lower elevations of Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah, while heavier amounts were reported at higher elevations. The storm moved into the Northern Plains on the 23rd and 24th, bringing over 10 inches (24.5 cm) of snow to the Dakotas and Minnesota. The major impact of the storm was the hassle it caused for the heavy holiday traffic — it is estimated that 40 million Americans were travelling for the Thanksgiving holiday.

More information on severe winter weather that affected the U.S. during November can be found in our Global Hazards report.

Tornadoes

NCDC transitioned to the nClimDiv dataset on Thursday, March 13, 2014. This was coincident with the release of the February 2014 monthly monitoring report. For details on this transition, please visit our public FTP site and our U.S. Climate Divisional Database site.


According to the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), November 2010 was a near–average tornado month, with 57 preliminary tornado reports across the United States, marking the most active November since 2005. Most of the tornado activity was confined to the Gulf Coast region and Southeast, which is typical of this time of year. However, rare tornadoes did form in Wisconsin, Illinois, and New York.

Between November 16th and 17th a rare (for this time of year) overnight severe weather outbreak occurred across New York, and a tornado was confirmed near Philmont around 2:00 am. There have been no previous instances of tornadoes in New York between midnight and dawn during November, and there have only been ten other confirmed tornadoes during November in New York since 1950. A tornado outbreak on the 22nd brought rare (for this time of year) tornadoes to Wisconsin and Illinois. This is the first November tornado in Illinois in five years. Two tornadoes were also confirmed in Wisconsin; the last November tornado in Wisconsin occurred in 1971. Only one time before, in 1960, has a storm system brought two tornadoes to Wisconsin during November. Please see the Global Hazards report for more information on these two outbreaks.

A potent storm system moving across the U.S. on November 29th and 30th brought severe weather to the Southeast, resulting in 29 preliminary tornado reports and the largest tornado outbreak of the month. In addition to the tornadoes, there were also 160 reports of severe winds across the region. The strongest tornado of the outbreak was an EF-4 tornado, with estimated winds of 170 mph that hit central Louisiana. The storm had a path width of 400 yards and was on the ground for 14 miles. According to the National Weather Service, this was the first EF-4 tornado in the Arklatex region (southwest Arkansas, southeast Oklahoma, northeast Texas) since 2004. Tornadoes also impacted Yazoo City, Mississippi, which was hard hit by tornadoes in April 2010. Fortunately, there were no fatalities reported with this tornado outbreak.

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Hurricanes & Tropical Storms

NCDC transitioned to the nClimDiv dataset on Thursday, March 13, 2014. This was coincident with the release of the February 2014 monthly monitoring report. For details on this transition, please visit our public FTP site and our U.S. Climate Divisional Database site.


Note: This report catalogs recent tropical cyclones and places each basin's tropical cyclone activity in a climate-scale context. It is not updated in real time. Users seeking real time status and forecasts of tropical cyclones should visit The National Hurricane Center.

North Indian Basin

Jal
Tropical Storm Jal Satellite Image
Jal Track
Tropical Storm Jal Forecast Track


Safir Simpson Color Legend for Track Map from Unisys
Saffir-Simpson Scale Color Legend
Tropical Cyclone Summary
Tropical Cyclone Jal
Cyclogenesis Date 11/01
Cyclolysis Date 11/07
Highest Saffir-Simpson Category Cat 1
Maximum 6-hr Sustained Wind 81 mph (70 kt or 130 km/h)
Min Pressure 988 mbar
Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE*) Index (kt2) 4.0750 x 104
Landfall Information (date, location and sustained winds) N/A
Deaths 0
*The (ACE) Index calculations are based on preliminary data.


South Indian Basin

Abele
Tropical Storm Abele Satellite Image
Abele Track
Tropical Storm Abele Forecast Track


Safir Simpson Color Legend for Track Map from Unisys
Saffir-Simpson Scale Color Legend
Tropical Cyclone Summary
Tropical Cyclone Abele
Cyclogenesis Date 11/29
Cyclolysis Date 12/03
Highest Saffir-Simpson Category Cat 1
Maximum 6-hr Sustained Wind 86 mph (75 kt or 139 km/h)
Min Pressure 973 mbar
Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE*) Index (kt2) 3.1044 x 104
Landfall Information (date, location and sustained winds) N/A
Deaths 0
*The (ACE) Index calculations are based on preliminary data.

Drought

NCDC transitioned to the nClimDiv dataset on Thursday, March 13, 2014. This was coincident with the release of the February 2014 monthly monitoring report. For details on this transition, please visit our public FTP site and our U.S. Climate Divisional Database site.

Issued 17 December 2010
Contents Of This Report:
Map showing Palmer Z Index

National Drought Overview

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Detailed Drought Discussion

Overview

November 2010 was near the long-term average (50th driest and 46th warmest, based on data back to 1895) when weather conditions are averaged across the country. But considerable variability occurred throughout the month (weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and on a regional basis. Beneficial precipitation fell across much of the Ohio Valley and Gulf Coast drought (D1-D3) and abnormally dry (D0) areas. Parts of the northern Rockies and Great Basin were also wetter than normal. But the month was persistently drier than normal across much of the Southwest, southern Plains, and mid-Atlantic to southern Atlantic coast. Abnormally dry and drought conditions expanded from Virginia to Florida and across parts of the southern Plains. Drought conditions changed very little across Hawaii.

U.S. Drought Monitor map from September 28, 2010
The U.S. Drought Monitor drought map valid November 30, 2010.

As Northern Hemisphere autumn transitions into winter during this time of year, the angle of the sun above the horizon decreases, resulting in less solar heating of the northern latitudes. Temperatures cool, the atmospheric circulation intensifies, and strong extra-tropical cyclonic storms with associated cold fronts develop in the westerly flow. This is what happened in November as a very active weather patternweather pattern brought a series of winter storms to the Lower 48 States. Several strong low pressure systems, or extra-tropical cyclones, developed in the West or central Plains, bringing beneficial snow to the mountains and snow cover to the northern tier states. About 12 percent of the country was snow covered by the 10th of the month, with the snow coverage increasing to a third of the country with snowstorms after the 21st. A few systems developed in the South. As the storm systems moved eastward, cold air was pulled in behind them (weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Near the end of the month, moisture drawn northward along the associated cold fronts brought locally heavy rains to the Ohio Valley and parts of the South, alleviating drought conditions in some areas.

Cold fronts and low pressure systems moving in the storm track flow are influenced by the broadscale atmospheric circulation. Two such large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns were dominant during November. The first was the La Niña, which is the phenomenon created by cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. La Niña is typically associated with wet conditions in the northern tier states and Ohio Valley this time of year, and warm and dry conditions in the southern tier states. The second atmospheric circulation index was the Arctic Oscillation (AO), which was strongly negative during the last half of November. A negative AO is typically associated with dry conditions in the Southeast and colder-than-normal temperatures east of the Rockies at this time of year (October-December).

In response to these two atmospheric phenomenon, precipitation was above normal across the northern Rockies and Ohio Valley, with Montana having the seventh wettest November on record and Indiana the 16th wettest. November precipitation was drier than normal in the Southwest, southern Plains, and parts of the Southeast, with North Carolina ranking 16th driest and New Mexico and South Carolina both 18th driest. The opposing temperature influences of these two atmospheric patterns contributed to a national temperature rank for the month near the middle of the historical distribution, with the first half of the month generally warmer than normal (weeks 1, 2, 3) and the second half of the month (when the AO turned strongly negative) colder than normal (weeks 4, 5). The circulation patterns funneled moisture and above-normal temperatures into Alaska.

By the end of the month, the core drought areas in the U.S. included:


Palmer Drought Index

Palmer Z Index map Palmer Hydrological Drought Index map

The Palmer drought indices measure the balance between moisture demand (evapotranspiration driven by temperature) and moisture supply (precipitation). The Palmer Z Index depicts moisture conditions for the current month, while the Palmer Hydrological Drought Index (PHDI) and Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) depict the current month's cumulative moisture conditions integrated over the last several months. As seen on the Palmer Z Index map, low precipitation resulted in dry conditions for November 2010 over the Eastern Seaboard, southern Plains, and parts of the Southwest and Great Lakes. Wet conditions are evident on the Z Index map across the northern Plains and northern Rockies, parts of the Great Basin and Ohio to Lower Mississippi valleys, and a few areas in the Northeast. Compared with the October 2010 PHDI map, the November 2010 PHDI map indicates that drought conditions improved a little from the Ohio Valley to Lower Mississippi Valley, and deteriorated slightly in the central Appalachians, but otherwise little change occurred. The November 2010 PHDI map also reflects the long-term nature of the drought conditions. The Z Index and PHDI maps in combination show that the dryness in the Southeast to mid-Atlantic coast is both a short-term and long-term phenomenon, and that the dryness in the Plains is a short-term phenomenon.


Standardized Precipitation Index

1-month Standardized Precipitation Index 2-month Standardized Precipitation Index 3-month Standardized Precipitation Index

The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) measures moisture supply. The SPI maps here show the spatial extent of anomalously wet and dry areas at time scales ranging from one month to 24 months. Dryness is evident across the southern Plains at 1- to 3-month time scales, and in the Southwest for the last 3 months to 9 months. The central Plains to central Rockies have dry conditions at 2 to 3 months (Plains) and 2 to 6 months (Rockies), but they were not as dry in November. The Ohio Valley was wet in November but negative deficits still show up at 3 months. The coastal mid-Atlantic areas have been dry for the last 2 months but wet at longer time scales. Wet conditions dominated the Lower Mississippi Valley and middle Gulf Coast in November, but dry conditions are evident at 3 to 12 months. Florida and adjoining parts of the Southeast were near normal for November, but very dry conditions prevail on the maps for 2 to 9 months. Various parts of the West have wet conditions on the maps for the last 1 to 12 months. The precipitation pattern for the northern Plains to Midwest is mixed at 1 to 2 months, but very wet from 3 to 24 months.


6-month Standardized Precipitation Index 9-month Standardized Precipitation Index 12-month Standardized Precipitation Index

Agricultural Indices

November 2010 Leaky Bucket model soil moisture anomalies for North America
November 2010 Leaky Bucket model soil moisture anomalies for North America
Vegetation Drought Response Index (VegDRI), November 29, 2010
Vegetation Drought Response Index (VegDRI), November 29, 2010

Abnormal dryness and drought were evident in several indicators. There were hardly any days with rain from Arizona to west Texas, across parts of the central and northern Plains, and from Florida to the coastal Mid-Atlantic. This resulted in long runs of consecutive dry days in some of these areas. It is also reflected in low total precipitation amounts and below-normal precipitation. As temperatures cool during late fall and early winter, vegetation goes dormant at the end of the growing season across much of the country. But soil moisture, as monitored by several models (NOAA Climate Prediction Center [CPC] anomalies and percentiles, Leaky Bucket, NLDAS [North American Land Data Assimilation System] top soil layer and total soil layer), was still drier than average across much of the country from the southern Great Lakes to the Lower Mississippi Valley, across most of the Gulf Coast, across parts of the central and southern Rockies and Plains, and parts of Hawaii and Alaska. Satellite monitoring of vegetation health (Vegetation Drought Response Index [VegDRI], Vegetation Health Index [VHI]) indicated stress on vegetation in parts of the Southwest, southern Plains, Ohio Valley, Florida, and Hawaii.


Hydrological Indices

Well monitoring stations (real-time network, climate response network, total active network) in the drought-stressed areas continued to show low groundwater levels. Streamflow (observed and modeled [CPC anomalies and percentiles) was below average for the month across much of the Southeast and Gulf Coast and parts of the Great Lakes, Southwest, and Hawaii.


Regional Discussion

Above-normal precipitation fell across most of Alaska during November 2010. Consequently, the snow water content and snow density of the SNOTEL Network stations and Alaskan river basins improved compared to last month. The November 30th USDM map had a third of the state in the abnormally dry category to reflect long-term deficits which still remained at several stations at longer time scales (3, 6, 12, 24, 36 months).

Much of Puerto Rico was drier than normal during November. Eastern parts of the island were drier than normal at the 60- and 90-day time scales, but wet conditions more than made up for the recent dryness in other areas and at longer time scales (180 days and year to date). Streamflow for Puerto Rico was near normal and the island remained drought free on the November 30th USDM map.

A few stations in Hawaii had above-normal rainfall during November, but most reported below-normal amounts. Long-term deficits (last 3, 6, 12, 24, 36 months) continued to climb. About half of the state was classified in moderate (D1) to exceptional (D4) drought at the end of November, based on the USDM.

June-November precipitation, 1895-2010, for Florida January-November precipitation, 1895-2010, for Louisiana

On a statewide basis, November 2010 was drier than normal for many states along the Atlantic coast and in the Southwest and southern Plains, but the longer time scales had even drier conditions. September-November 2010 was the second driest fall for Florida and below normal for several other states in the Southeast, Ohio Valley, and Rockies. Several states, from the Lower Mississippi Valley to the mid-Atlantic coast, had a drier than normal June-November, including Florida which, again, ranked second driest. The same region was drier than normal for the year to date, with Louisiana in the top ten category with a rank of seventh driest.

Record wetness and dryness occurred at several time scales for some of the climate divisions in the contiguous U.S. (November, September-November, June-November, February-November, January-November, December 2009-November 2010). Some climate divisions having record dry conditions include:

Percent area of the Western U.S. in moderate to extreme drought, based on the Palmer Drought Index
Percent area of the Western U.S. in moderate to extreme drought, January 1900-November 2010, based on the Palmer Drought Index.

November 2010 was wetter than normal across much of the northern Rockies and northern High Plains to Great Basin and the Central Valley of California, but drier than normal for parts of the Pacific Northwest and much of the Southwest. This pattern — especially the dry Southwest — is typical of a La Niña. Precipitation for the water year to date (October-November 2010) was above normal for much of the West at the lower elevation stations. At the high elevation (SNOTEL network) stations, precipitation for the water year to date was above normal from the central Rockies to Sierra Nevada, near-to-below normal across much of the Pacific Northwest, and well below normal for most of the Southwest. A similar pattern was evident in the mountain snowpack and snow water equivalent (stations' percentile and percent of normal, basins' percent of normal). An analysis of early data by the USDA indicated that reservoir levels were generally mixed, with levels near to above normal in the northern Rockies states and Arizona, but near to below normal in the other western states. According to the USDM, 6 percent of the West was experiencing moderate to severe drought at the end of November, about the same compared to October, while the Palmer Drought Index statistic was about 4 percent.

A more detailed drought discussion, provided by the NOAA Regional Climate Centers and others, can be found below.

As noted by the Southeast Regional Climate Center, there was a marked gradient in monthly precipitation totals across the Southeast region in November. Precipitation was between 100 and 150 percent of normal across the western part of the region, including Alabama, the western Panhandle of Florida, northern Georgia, northwestern South Carolina, western North Carolina, the western half of Virginia, and a small portion of southwest Florida. In contrast, much of the eastern half of the region remained exceptionally dry in November (25 to 50 percent of normal). The largest precipitation deficits (less than 25 percent of normal) were found in southeastern Virginia, eastern portions of the Carolinas and Georgia, and across portions of northern and southeastern Florida. Charleston, South Carolina received only 0.3 inch (7.6 mm) of precipitation for the month, making it the third driest November in a record extending back to 1938. The heaviest precipitation occurred on the last day of the month in conjunction with a large low pressure system, the center of which tracked across the Great Lakes. Asheville, North Carolina recorded 4.1 inches (104.1 mm) of rain on the 30th, which broke the all-time 24-hour precipitation total for November in a record extending back to 1902. The greatest observed 24-hour rainfall total from this event was 8.4 inches (213.4 mm) at Rosman, North Carolina, located in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Monthly precipitation totals were near normal across much of Puerto Rico. A strong feed of tropical moisture connected with the circulation of Hurricane Tomas resulted in over 4 inches (101.6 mm) of rainfall across the southern half of the island on the 6th of the month. A cold spell that occurred early in the month resulted in trace amounts of snowfall across northern sections of Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, 1 to 2 inches (25.4 to 50.8 mm) in the mountains of Virginia, and as much as 5 inches (127 mm) in the mountains of North Carolina.

The lack of precipitation across the eastern half of the region resulted in a re-emergence of abnormally dry conditions (D0) across the eastern Carolinas and Virginia and an expansion of moderate drought (D1) and severe drought (D2) conditions across much of Georgia and central Florida. By the end of November, approximately 87 percent of the region displayed D0 or greater conditions. A small area of extreme drought (D3) was observed in northeast Florida, while southwest Alabama saw a slight amelioration from D3 to D2 conditions by the end of the month. The continued dry pattern helped many farmers in the region complete their fall harvest, but also contributed to cabbage and potato crop damage across parts of Florida. In late November, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that all counties in Georgia and many others in Alabama and South Carolina would be eligible for disaster relief due to crop losses resulting in part from the unusually hot and dry weather over the past several months.

As explained by the Southern Regional Climate Center, November average daily temperatures were consistently near normal throughout the Southern region. Aside from some small pockets in Texas and eastern Oklahoma, temperatures did not deviate much beyond 3 degrees F (1.67 degrees C) of expected monthly normals. Generally speaking, much of the Southern region experienced only a slightly warmer than normal month. November precipitation totals, on the other hand, were quite variable over the Southern region. With the exception of northwestern Oklahoma and northwestern Texas, the western half of the Southern region experienced another dry month, while the south central and eastern half of the region experienced near normal to wet conditions. The driest part of the region included much of southern and western Texas, in particular, the southwest, where dozens of stations did not receive any measurable precipitation. This included numerous stations in the Trans Pecos, Edwards Plateau and Lower Valley climate divisions. Conditions were also quite dry in eastern Oklahoma and in western Arkansas. Precipitation totals varied from 25 to 50 percent of normal in central Oklahoma to between 50 and 70 percent of normal in eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas. Elsewhere in the region, precipitation was generally within 30 percent of normal for the month, with slightly drier than normal conditions in southwestern Louisiana, southern Mississippi and central Tennessee. Conversely, precipitation was near normal throughout most of Mississippi, Tennessee and eastern Arkansas. The wettest portion of the region was in western Oklahoma and northern Texas, where precipitation totals ranged from 150 to 300 percent of normal. This equated to approximately 1 to 2 inches (25.4 to 50.8 mm) above normal conditions.

Drought conditions in the Southern region during November changed for the better in some regions, while other regions took a turn for the worse. In Mississippi, near normal November precipitation has resulted in the removal of severe and extreme drought in the western and central portions of the state. A small area of severe drought remained in the southern portion of the state. In Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma, conditions did not change much over the past month. A small area of moderate drought remained in central Oklahoma. In Arkansas, there was some improvement in the southern counties, which last month had extreme drought, but this month had a one category improvement to severe drought conditions. A large part of central and eastern Arkansas, as well as western Tennessee, was still in severe drought conditions. In central Tennessee, moderate drought conditions persisted over the month. In Texas, drier than normal weather resulted in a one category deterioration (to severe drought conditions) in the southwest portion of the state, with a small area of extreme drought. Severe drought also developed in the east central counties of Texas. In Louisiana, drought conditions did not change much over the past month, with much of the state still under the influence of severe and extreme drought.

The autumn dryness and anticipation of a historically dry 2010-2011 winter has fueled fears that the upcoming Texas wildfire season could be one of the worst in years. As of December 1, 71 Texas counties had a ban on outdoor burning and many more counties were expected to join this list. Several wildfires were reported in West Texas toward the end of November, but the fire activity was limited so far. Much of the credit for a lack of fires despite the high fire danger should be given to local governments and media, who have effectively disseminated information on the prevention of wildfires. Because of the short term nature of the drought, its impact on Texas water suppliers has been minimal with a few municipalities enacting preliminary water restrictions. The dry weather had a minimal impact on the harvesting of cotton, and actually helped to dry fields that saw abundant precipitation during the growing months. However, the dry weather has had a negative impact on the growth of winter pastures and the planting of winter wheat has been difficult throughout the state. Much of the rain that did fall throughout Central and South Texas during November did so on Election Day, which lowered the voter turnout at many precincts. (Information provided by the Texas State Climate Office).

As summarized by the Midwest Regional Climate Center, November precipitation was variable across the region. Precipitation was above normal from southeastern Missouri through Ohio, and 150 percent of normal from southern Indiana to southwestern Ohio. Most of this precipitation came during the last nine days of the month, when storms dropped from six to eight inches (15 to 20 cm) of rain in southern in Indiana. The heavy rain resulted in a significant improvement in the Severe to Extreme Drought in the Ohio Valley. However, normal to above normal precipitation will be needed in the coming months to further eradicate the dry conditions. Precipitation was also near to above normal in a narrow band from southwestern Iowa to northeastern Minnesota. In southwestern Minnesota and from northern Missouri into northern Lower Michigan precipitation was about 50 percent of normal.

The fall (September, October, November) temperature departures in the Midwest were near to just slightly above normal across the region. Warm, dry weather particularly in September and October aided an early completion to harvest across most of the region. The northwestern half of the region was consistently wetter than the southeastern half during September and October, while drought worsened in the Ohio Valley. Heavy rain in late November helped reduce the precipitation deficit in the southern Midwest and Ohio Valley, mitigating the drought. For the season, precipitation was near to above normal west of the Mississippi River, and much above normal across Minnesota, the northern half of Wisconsin, and the Michigan Upper Peninsula. Precipitation across the remainder of the region was 75 percent to 90 percent of normal.

As noted by the Northeast Regional Climate Center, most of the Northeast ended up on the dry side in November, with Maine the one exception. The region averaged 3.20 inches (81.3 mm) of precipitation, most of which fell as rain. This was 86 percent of the normal November total. Maine's average precipitation total was 127 percent of normal; departures for the 11 other states in the region ranged from 56 percent of normal in New Jersey to 87 percent of normal in Massachusetts. The typical lake-effect areas of Pennsylvania and New York and the higher elevations in the region saw up to 10 inches (254 mm) of snowfall this month. Precipitation totals for the fall of 2010 averaged 12.12 inches (307.8 mm) or 109 percent of normal. Despite below normal precipitation in most of the Northeast, the USDM published November 30, 2010 indicated a slight improvement in the drought conditions. Portions of the eastern panhandle of West Virginia and the western panhandle of Maryland that were in severe drought (D2) a month ago improved to moderate drought (D1) at the end of November. Moderate drought conditions (D1) were still present in eastern West Virginia, while parts of western Pennsylvania and coastal New Jersey were abnormally dry.

The Northeast averaged 0.6 degrees F (0.3 degrees C) above normal during November with an average temperature of 39.8 degrees F (4.3 degrees C). This was the 11th consecutive month with warmer than normal temperatures, but the first month since February 2010 that at least one state in the region had a temperature average that was below normal. Maryland was that state, with an average that was 0.4 degrees F (0.2 degrees C) below normal. The remaining 11 states saw temperature departures ranging from 0.3 degrees F (0.2 degrees C) above normal in Massachusetts and West Virginia to 1.5 degrees F (0.8 degrees C) warmer than normal in Maine. Autumn 2010 (September-November) averaged 50.9 degrees F (10.5 degrees C), which was 1.4 degrees F (0.8 degrees C) above normal. This was 0.6 degrees F (0.3 degrees C) warmer than the autumn of 2009.

As explained by the High Plains Regional Climate Center, November was drier than normal for most of the region with average temperatures generally near normal across the region. Many locations across Colorado, western Kansas, central Nebraska, and eastern South Dakota received less than 25 percent of normal precipitation. In south-central Colorado, according to the USDM, ongoing dryness led to the development of severe drought conditions. Lamar, Colorado, located in southeastern Colorado on the Arkansas River, received no precipitation this month, which tied for the driest November on record (period of record 1893-2010). Also, by receiving only 0.53 inch (13 mm) of precipitation the past three months, Lamar recorded its 5th driest fall (September, October, and November) on record. The driest fall on record occurred in 1934 when no precipitation fell. There were exceptions to the dryness in northwestern and southeastern Wyoming and a swath extending from south-central Kansas through southeastern Nebraska, where precipitation was 150 percent of normal or more. In Kansas, many locations ranked in the top 10 wettest Novembers on record. This month's wet spot was Ashland, Kansas, which is located in the south-central portion of the state near the Oklahoma border. With 3.40 inches (86 mm) of precipitation, Ashland recorded its 7th wettest November on record (period of record 1900-2010). Of this precipitation, 2.36 inches (60 mm) fell on November 12 and set a new daily precipitation record. The previous record for that date was set in 1997 with 1.90 inches (48 mm) of precipitation. Snowfall in northwestern Colorado was a welcome sight as it helped alleviate abnormally dry conditions. Steamboat Springs, Colorado set its 8th snowiest November on record when it received 38.3 inches (97 cm) of snow this month (period of record 1893-2010). However, this was not nearly enough to beat the record 57.0 inches (145 cm) of snow that fell in November 1983.

The USDM showed both improvement and deterioration over the past month. Snowfall helped alleviate the moderate drought (D1) conditions in northern Wyoming and some of the abnormally dry conditions (D0) in western Colorado and northern and eastern Wyoming. However, D0 stretched into southeastern Kansas from Oklahoma and D1 spread from east-central Colorado to the east and into western Kansas. In addition, due to an ongoing lack of precipitation, severe drought conditions (D2) developed in southeast Colorado.

On a state-by-state basis, November 2010 was marked by a series of strong snowstorms that brought significant precipitation to many high-elevation locations across Wyoming. Based on reports from high-elevation NRCS-SNOTEL sites, most drainages in Wyoming were at or above historical average snowpack for this time of year. In contrast, many low-elevation sites experienced precipitation deficits for the month. In North Dakota, November's percent of normal precipitation ranged from roughly 25 percent to 300 percent of normal. Warm, dry weather stretched from the 1th through the 9th of November across the state. Light snow fell across some areas during the next ten days. A major storm system from the 21st through the 26th brought snowfall across North Dakota with blowing snow and some areas receiving freezing drizzle. The storm system caused hazardous travel for many on the Thanksgiving holiday. Following the 26th was a quiet two days but another statewide snowstorm on the 29th and 30th caused snow and blowing snow with wind gusts of 40 mph.

As summarized by the Western Regional Climate Center, precipitation was near normal for most of the West Coast, above normal for the northern Intermountain West and Great Basin, and well below normal for the Southwest. In Montana, Great Falls and Billings each recorded their 3rd wettest and 2nd snowiest November on record. Ely had their snowiest November on record and 3rd wettest dating back 72 years. No rain fell at all in parts of New Mexico and Arizona. Fairbanks measured their 3rd wettest November on record because of a very unusual rain event late in the month. Thanks to record setting cold the final 10 days of November, monthly mean temperatures were near or below normal for almost the entire region. The first week of the month saw record setting high temperatures in many locations.

Rain and Freezing Rain in Alaska: On November 22nd, an exceptionally unusual winter freezing rain event occurred throughout the state causing numerous problems. Beginning on the morning of the 22nd, much of the precipitation fell as either freezing rain or rain that froze on deeply frozen snow-packed roadways. This nearly brought Fairbanks to a halt and closed schools and state and federal offices for most of the week. Numerous flight delays and some cancellations occurred at both Anchorage and Fairbanks airports. Of note was the two-fold combination, consisting of both the unusual nature of the event itself at individual locations, and also the vast spatial extent, stretching at times from the Gulf of Alaska coast to the far northern reaches of the state.

Upper Colorado River Basin: As reported by the Colorado Climate Center, the early December NIDIS (National Integrated Drought Information System) assessment for the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB) indicated that, for the current water year (October-November 2010), the western portion of the UCRB has received plenty of moisture, with several counties in Utah receiving over 200 percent of average precipitation and the Colorado headwaters region over 100 percent. However, for the water year, and also for the month of November, the eastern plains of Colorado, the Rio Grande basin, and the four-corners region have been abnormally dry. As of December 4th, about three-fourths of the USGS streamgages in the UCRB recorded normal or above normal 7-day average streamflows. Though an increasing number of streams have frozen over, the majority of gages that were still recording showed decent 7-day average flows for this time of year. The Colorado headwaters region had the highest density of gages reporting below normal flows. Soil conditions continued to deteriorate just east of the UCRB, in the plains of Colorado, and dry soil conditions were also evident in northwestern New Mexico. Most of the reservoirs in the UCRB stayed fairly steady. Only Lake Powell, Lake Dillon, and Green Mountain Reservoir were below average for early December. Even though below average, both Lake Dillon and Green Mountain saw November releases that were much less than normal releases for this time of year. Many of the other reservoirs also experienced much smaller releases than is normal for November. Lake Powell (currently at 78 percent of average and 62 percent of capacity) released more than what was projected for November, but inflows into the reservoir were also greater than projected.

Arizona: According to the Arizona Department of Water Resources State Drought Monitoring Technical Committee, November was extremely dry across the southern half of Arizona, with less than 5 percent of average precipitation. A few winter storms did cross northern Arizona, bringing rain and snow mostly to the northwestern quarter of the state. The Colorado Plateau, across northeastern Coconino County and central Navajo County, which had been relatively dry last winter, was once again being passed over by the winter storms. This is reflected in an enlarged area of D1, moderate drought, on the November 30 USDM map. Across much of Arizona the vegetation has entered a dormant stage, so precipitation received at this time is more important to water resources than agriculture or rangeland conditions.

The long-term drought situation benefitted from the wet El Niño winter of 2009-2010, particularly at the higher elevations along the Mogollon Rim, the White Mountains in eastern Arizona and across northern Arizona. This brought the Upper Colorado, Upper Gila, Lower Gila, and Salt River watersheds out of drought. Most other watersheds in northern and central Arizona also improved by one or two categories. Southern Arizona did not benefit as much from last year's El Niño winter, but some watersheds with higher elevations experienced a wet monsoon this year, particularly in the southeast quadrant. The Santa Cruz, San Pedro, and Willcox Playa watersheds all improved one category. The San Simon and White Water Draw remained in moderate drought. Few improvements are anticipated this winter, especially in southern Arizona, as a strong La Niña has developed in the central Pacific Ocean, which is associated with a drier than normal winter across the southern United States. While Arizona's reservoirs were nearly full, groundwater basins have only partially recharged, and the Colorado River reservoirs, Lakes Powell and Mead, are quite low. Without an exceptionally wet winter, there could be a shortage on Lake Mead by 2013, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.

The Arizona Drought Interagency Coordinating Group met in early November and recommended that both drought declarations be kept in place:

  • Drought Emergency Declaration (PCA 99006) has been in effect since June 1999 and maintains the state's ability to provide emergency response if needed. It also enables famers and ranchers to obtain funding assistance through the Farm Service Agency if they experience production losses due to drought.
  • The Drought Declaration for the State of Arizona (Executive Order 2007-10) was issued in May 2007 to raise awareness of Arizona's continuing long-term drought and encourage conservation.

Pacific Islands: According to reports from National Weather Service offices, the Pacific ENSO Applications Climate Center (PEAC), and partners, conditions varied across the Pacific Islands.

Drought conditions eased in some parts of Hawaii. Windward slopes in the state generally received near to above normal rainfall totals during November. Drought-affected leeward areas also received some rainfall to help provide limited degrees of drought relief. The most significant areas of improvement included the southern portion of the Kau District on the Big Island and the southeast corner of Kauai. The improvement in Kau warranted going from exceptional drought (D4) to extreme drought (D3). November rainfall also helped southeast Kauai go from extreme drought (D3) conditions to severe drought (D2).

Exceptional drought continued over the lower elevations of the South Kohala District of the Big Island with extreme drought extending into the pasture lands farther upslope. A band of severe drought over the leeward upper slopes connected the Big Island's two extreme drought areas. Drought conditions over leeward areas of Maui County remained unchanged. Exceptional agricultural drought persisted over the lower leeward slopes of Haleakala from Kaonoulu to Kamaole near Kihei. Extreme agricultural drought continued over leeward west Maui, the western half of Molokai, and all of Lanai.

Although some improvements have occurred, the ongoing drought has significantly affected a wide range of agricultural products, including cattle, coffee, avocados, rambutan, bananas, corn, macadamia nuts, loquat, and jaboticaba. Only drought-resistant trees and crops have managed to produce well. Some drought impacts in Hawaii include the following:

  • Pastures along the lower elevations of the eastern and southeastern sections of Kauai have shown signs of recovery in recent weeks. However, more rain is needed to sustain growth before the drought can be declared over for the island's ranchers.
  • On Oahu, Waimanalo Reservoir levels have continued to increase over the past month due to improved rainfall conditions and mitigation measures by agriculture officials. However, a mandatory 30 percent cutback in irrigation water use and a reduction in service hours remained in place as a precaution.
  • No significant changes have occurred on Molokai since November 4th. Trade wind rainfall has mainly benefited the eastern half of the island. However, the western half continued to have poor pasture and general vegetation conditions. A mandatory 30 percent cutback in irrigation water use remained in effect for farmers supplied by the Kualapuu Reservoir.
  • No significant changes have occurred on Lanai since November 4th. Pasture and general vegetation conditions remained poor. The ongoing drought has forced cattle ranchers to ship feed in from off-island resulting in financial impacts.
  • There have been no significant changes since November 4th on Maui. Pasture losses have exceeded 90 percent in the lower elevations of southwest Maui from Kaonoulu to Kamaole. Resultant livestock losses in this area were also very high. Pastures and general vegetation conditions were very poor over the remaining leeward areas of the island and herd culling has exceeded 30 percent in some areas. Abundant trade wind rainfall during November kept supply levels high for upcountry Maui. However, as a precaution, the Maui County Department of Water Supply continued to request a 5 percent reduction in water use by upcountry residents, and a 10 percent reduction in water use by central and south Maui residents.
  • On the Big Island, November rainfall helped produce improvements in drought conditions in the Lower Kau District from South Point to Kapapala. However, the lower slopes of the South Kohala District remained very dry. Ranchers in the area have been operating under very poor conditions and were hauling water and feed for livestock sustenance.

Precipitation varied on other Pacific Islands. Weather and cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures associated with the moderate to strong La Niña resulted in drought conditions along the equator extending from about 150 degrees East longitude to at least the International Date Line. This area included the Micronesian islands of Kapingamarangi Atoll and Nauru, and the atolls of western Kiribati.

In the Federated States of Micronesia, adequate rainfall has occurred for most of Pohnpei state, but weather has remained very dry at Kapingamarangi over the last 5 to 6 months (Kapingamarangi is a southern island in Pohnpei state, near the equator). The average rainfall on Kapingamarangi for July-November is 34.86 inches. For July-November 2010, Kapingamarangi received 11.56 inches of rain, or a third of average. For the last 3 months, September-November, Kapingamarangi received only 3.89 inces of rain, or 21 percent of normal. On November 15, the Pohnpei Disaster Control Office indicated that the catchments on Kapingamarangi were out of water. Subsequent mid-November rains added a few gallons of water to the catchments, and wells and solar stills produced some water for drinking and cooking. But some damage to food crops may have occurred on Kapingamarangi Atoll as a result of the drought. Continued implementation of stringent water conservation measures on the island was encouraged. Kosrae had 84 percent of average rainfall for September-November 2010 and Nukuoro had 73 percent. September-November rainfall averaged across Pohnpei state was 89 percent of the long-term average. Rainfall in Chuuk state was a little below normal for November. Yap state received adequate rainfall during the summer, although November was below normal. Yap is starting its transition into the dry season.

On other Pacific Islands, Guam had 4.38 inches of rain for November, or half of normal. The very dry conditions are related to the lack of Pacific tropical cyclones. American Samoa experienced near normal rainfall, while enhanced convection contributed to heavy rainfall the first half of the month on Kwajalein. In spite of a dry second half of the month, November rainfall was 158 percent of normal for Kwajalein. Rainfall was near normal on Majuro with reservoirs remaining full during the last couple months. Parts of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), specifically around Tinian, were drier than normal. This exemplified sharp variability over distances of 100 miles or less in the region.

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State/Regional/National Moisture Status
A detailed review of drought and moisture conditions is available for all contiguous U.S. states, the nine standard regions, and the nation (contiguous U.S.):

States
alabama arizona arkansas california colorado connecticut
delaware florida georgia idaho illinois indiana
iowa kansas kentucky louisiana maine maryland
massachusetts michigan minnesota mississippi missouri montana
nebraska nevada new hampshire new jersey new mexico new york
north carolina north dakota ohio oklahoma oregon pennsylvania
rhode island south carolina south dakota tennessee texas utah
vermont virginia washington west virginia wisconsin wyoming

Regional
northeast u. s. east north central u. s. central u. s.
southeast u. s. west north central u. s. south u. s.
southwest u. s. northwest u. s. west u. s.

National
Contiguous United States

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Drought Indicators
The following indicators illustrate the drought conditions this month:

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Contacts & Questions
For additional, or more localized, drought information, please visit:

Global Snow & Ice

NH Snow Cover Extent

Data were provided by the Global Snow Laboratory, Rutgers University. Period of record is 1967-2010 (44 years).

The Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during November 2010 was slightly above-average, marking the second November in a row with above-average snow cover. During November, the hemispheric snow cover extent ranked as 20th largest (26th smallest) on record. The average Northern Hemisphere November snow cover extent for the 1967-2010 period of record is 33.5 million square kilometers. The snow cover extent during Autumn (September–November) was also above-average for the Northern Hemisphere ranking as 21st largest (24th smallest) on record. The 44-year average Northern Hemisphere autumn snow cover extent for the period of record is 19.2 million square kilometers.

Across North America during November, snow cover extent was above average, ranking as 13th largest in the 45-year period of record. This is the first time that North America has had above-average snow cover extent during November since 2006. Canada had below-average snow cover extent during November, while the contiguous U.S. and Alaska had much above-average snow cover extent. The low snow cover across Canada during November was attributable to above normal temperatures for the northern and eastern parts of the country as well as below normal precipitation. The average North American November snow cover extent is 13.3 million square km for the period of record. Snow cover for autumn 2010 was slightly above average for North America, ranking as the 18th largest since 1967. The average North America autumn snow cover extent is 8.5 million square kilometers for the 44-year period of record.

Eurasian snow cover was slightly below-average during November, ranking as 24th smallest (21st largest). A storm system moving across Western Europe the last week of November brought widespread snowfall, increasing the snow cover extent for the month. The average Eurasian snow cover extent in November is 20.2 million square kilometers for the period of record. Eurasia's snow cover extent during autumn 2010 was above average (23rd largest). The 44-year average Eurasian snow cover extent in autumn is 10.7 million square kilometers for the period of record.

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Sea Ice Extent

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), the Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent — which is measured from passive microwave instruments onboard NOAA satellites — averaged for November 2010, was 9.89 million square km (3.82 million square miles). The monthly extent was 12.5 percent below the 1979–2000 average and ranked as the second smallest November Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent in the satellite record, behind 2006. During November 2006, the Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent had an average extent of 9.84 million square km (3.80 million square miles). Northern Hemisphere ice extent for November has decreased at a rate of 4.6 percent per decade.

During November, Arctic ice extent was unusually low in both the Atlantic and Pacific sectors of the Arctic and in Hudson Bay. Typically by the end of November, half of Hudson Bay is ice covered. By November 30th, 2010, only 17 percent of the bay was covered by sea ice. Air temperatures over the Siberian and Alaskan side of the Arctic were 5 to 9 degrees F (3 to 5 degrees C) warmer than normal over the course of November. These warm temperatures contributed to much-below-average ice coverage for the Beaufort, Bering, and Chukchi seas. Air temperatures over Baffin Bay were also unusually warm (14 degrees F [8 degrees C] above-average) which caused below-average ice coverage between Baffin Island and Greenland, as well as the Barents Sea.

Meanwhile, the November 2010 Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent was 4.09 percent above the 1979–2000 average. This was the largest November Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent on record. Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent for November has increased at an average rate of 0.7 percent per decade. Antarctic sea ice usually expands during the cold season to a September maximum, then contracts during the warm season to a March minimum.

For further information on the Northern and Southern Hemisphere snow and ice conditions, please visit the NSIDC News page, provided by NOAA's National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

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Upper Air

Contents of this Section:


Upper Air Highlights


  • University of Alabama Huntsville satellite analyses report a lower-troposphere November temperature anomaly of 0.31°C (0.56°F) above normal, the sixth warmest since satellite records began in 1979. For the period January–November 2010, the anomaly was 0.53°C (0.95°F) above normal and ranked as second warmest.

  • Remote Sensing Systems satellite analyses report a lower-troposphere November temperature anomaly of 0.38°C (0.68°F) above average, the third warmest on record. For the period January–November 2010, the anomaly was 0.53°C (0.95°F) above average and ranked as second warmest.

  • For the fall season (September–November 2010), radiosonde measurements indicate that global mid-troposphere temperatures were 0.63°C (1.11°F) above the 1971–2000 average, the third warmest on record.

  • For the year-to-date (January–November 2010), radiosonde measurements indicate that global mid-troposphere temperatures were 0.71°C (1.28°F) above the 1971–2000 mean, the warmest on record.

  • University of Alabama Huntsville satellite analyses report a January–November mid-troposphere temperature anomaly of 0.38°C (0.68°F) above average, the 2nd warmest such period on record. When these analyses are adjusted to remove stratospheric influence, the anomaly increases to 0.51°C (0.92°F), also the 2nd warmest on record.

  • Remote Sensing Systems satellite analyses report a January–November mid-troposphere temperature anomaly of 0.41°C (0.74°F) above average, the 2nd warmest such period on record. When these analyses are adjusted to remove stratospheric influence, the anomaly increases to 0.52°C (0.94°F), also the 2nd warmest on record.

  • For the lower stratosphere, both University of Alabama Huntsville and Remote Sensing Systems satellite analyses report that November 2010 was the 18th coolest November since satellite records began in 1979.

  • Troposphere

    Temperatures above the Earth's surface are measured within the lower troposphere, middle troposphere, and stratosphere using in-situ balloon-borne instruments (radiosondes) and polar-orbiting satellites (NOAA's TIROS-N). The radiosonde and satellite records have been adjusted to remove time-dependent biases (artificialities caused by changes in radiosonde instruments and measurement practices as well as changes in satellite instruments and orbital features through time). Global averages from radiosonde data are available from 1958 to present, while satellite measurements date back to 1979.

    Lower Troposphere

    Current Month | Seasonal | Year-to-date

    These temperatures are for the lowest 8 km (5 miles) of the atmosphere. Information on the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) sources of troposphere data is available.

    November Anomaly Rank
    (out of 32 years)
    Warmest (or Next Warmest)
    Year on Record
    Trend
    UAH low-trop +0.38°C/+0.68°F 3rd warmest 2009 (+0.50°C/+0.90°F) +0.17°C/decade
    RSS low-trop +0.31°C/+0.56°F 6th warmest 2003 (+0.37°C/+0.66°F) +0.15°C/decade
    September–November Anomaly Rank
    (out of 32 years)
    Warmest (or Next Warmest)
    Year on Record
    Trend
    UAH low-trop +0.47°C/+0.85°F warmest 2009 (+0.40°C/+0.73°F) +0.17°C/decade
    RSS low-trop +0.38°C/+0.68°F 4th warmest 2003 (+0.40°C/+0.72°F) +0.16°C/decade
    January–
    November
    Anomaly Rank
    (out of 32 years)
    Warmest Year on RecordTrend
    UAH low-trop +0.53°C/+0.95°F 2nd warmest 1998 (+0.54°C/+0.92°F) +0.14°C/decade
    RSS low-trop +0.53°C/+0.95°F 2nd warmest 1998 (+0.57°C/+1.03°F) +0.17°C/decade

    Mid-troposphere

    Current Month / Seasonal Year-to-date

    These temperatures are for the atmospheric layer centered in the mid-troposphere (approximately 3–10 km [2–6 miles] above the Earth's surface), which also includes a portion of the lower stratosphere. (The Microwave Sounding Unit [MSU] channel used to measure mid-tropospheric temperatures receives about 25 percent of its signal above 10 km [6 miles].) Because the stratosphere has cooled due to increasing greenhouse gases in the troposphere and losses of ozone in the stratosphere, the stratospheric contribution to the tropospheric average, as measured from satellites, may create an artificial component of cooling to the mid-troposphere temperatures. The University of Washington (UW) versions of the UAH and RSS analyses attempt to remove the stratospheric influence from the mid-troposphere measurements, and as a result the UW versions tend to have a larger warming trend than either the UAH or RSS versions. For additional information, please see NCDC's Microwave Sounding Unit page.

    The radiosonde data used in this global analysis were developed using the Lanzante, Klein, Seidel (2003) ("LKS") bias-adjusted dataset and the First Difference Method (Free et al. 2004) (RATPAC). Additional details are available. Satellite data have been adjusted by the Global Hydrology and Climate Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). An independent analysis is also performed by Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) and a third analysis has been performed by Dr. Qiang Fu of the University of Washington (UW) (Fu et al. 2004)** to remove the influence of the stratosphere on the mid-troposphere value. Global averages from radiosonde data are available from 1958 to present, while satellite measurements began in 1979.

    Radiosonde measurements indicate that, for the January–November year-to-date period, temperatures in the mid-troposphere were 0.79°C (1.43°F) above average, resulting in the warmest January–November (out of 53 years) since global radiosonde measurements began in 1958. This was the 24th consecutive January–November period with temperature warmer than average. Meanwhile, satellite analyses of the January–November year-to-date period for the middle troposphere was second warmest in the 32-year satellite record.

    Radiosonde measurements indicate that temperatures were 0.62°C (1.11°F) above average during the Northern Hemisphere autumn season, giving September-November a rank of third warmest on record, behind 2006 and 2009. The table below shows that satellite measurements for the season varied from warmest to sixth warmest on record.

    The global mid-troposphere temperatures were well above average during November 2010. As shown in the table below, satellite measurements for November 2010 ranked third warmest to eighth warmest on record.

    November Anomaly Rank
    (out of 32 years)
    Warmest (or Next Warmest)
    Year on Record
    Trend
    UAH mid-trop +0.15°C/+0.27°F 5th warmest 2009 (+0.27°C/+0.49°F) +0.05°C/decade
    RSS mid-trop +0.12°C/+0.22°F 8th warmest 2002 (+0.32°C/+0.57°F) +0.08°C/decade
    UW-UAH mid-trop +0.31°C/+0.55°F 3rd warmest 2009 (+0.40°C/+0.72°F) +0.13°C/decade
    UW-RSS mid-trop +0.24°C/+0.43°F 7th warmest 2002 (+0.39°C/+0.71°F) +0.14°C/decade
    September–November Anomaly Rank
    (out of 32 years)
    Warmest Year on Record Trend
    UAH mid-trop +0.31°C/+0.55°F warmest 1998 (+0.28°C/+0.51°F) +0.08°C/decade
    RSS mid-trop +0.27°C/+0.49°F 6th warmest 1998 (+0.34°C/+0.61°F) +0.11°C/decade
    UW-UAH mid-trop +0.46°C/+0.83°F warmest 1998 (+0.44°C/+0.79°F) +0.16°C/decade
    UW-RSS mid-trop +0.39°C/+0.70°F 4th warmest 1998 (+0.47°C/+0.85°F) +0.18°C/decade
    RATPAC +0.63°C/+1.11°F 3rd warmest 2006 (+0.74°C/+1.33°F) +0.16°C/decade
    January–
    November
    Anomaly Rank
    (out of 32 years)
    Warmest Year on Record Trend
    UAH mid-trop +0.38°C/+0.68°F 2nd warmest 1998 (+0.48°C/+0.86°F) +0.06°C/decade
    RSS mid-trop +0.41°C/+0.74°F 2nd warmest 1998 (+0.52°C/+0.94°F) +0.10°C/decade
    UW-UAH mid-trop +0.51°C/+0.92°F 2nd warmest 1998 (+0.62°C/+1.12°F) +0.12°C/decade
    UW-RSS mid-trop +0.52°C/+0.94°F 2nd warmest 1998 (+0.64°C/+1.15°F) +0.16°C/decade
    RATPAC +0.79°C/+1.43°F warmest 1998 (+0.75°C/+1.36°F) +0.16°C/decade

    Note: RATPAC's rank is based on records that began in 1958 (53 years).

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    Stratosphere

    Current Month | Seasonal

    The table below summarizes stratospheric conditions for November 2010. On average, the stratosphere is located approximately 16–23 km (10–14 miles) above the Earth's surface. Over the last decade, stratospheric temperatures have been below average in part due to the depletion of ozone. The large positive anomaly in 1982 was caused by the volcanic eruption of El Chichon in Mexico, and the sharp jump in temperature in 1991 was a result of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines. In both cases the temperatures returned to pre-eruption levels within two years.

    November Anomaly Rank
    (out of 32 years)
    Coolest Year on Record
    UAH stratosphere -0.38°C (-0.68°F) 18th coolest 2000 (-0.92°C/-1.66°F)
    RSS stratosphere -0.30°C (-0.54°F) 18th coolest 2000 (-0.90°C/-1.63°F)
    September–November Anomaly Rank
    (out of 32 years)
    Coolest Year on Record
    UAH stratosphere -0.44°C (-0.79°F) 16th coolest 2000 (-0.86°C/-1.54°F)
    *RSS stratosphere -0.35°C (-0.62°F) 17th coolest 2000 (-0.79°C/-1.42°F)

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    For additional details on precipitation and temperatures in November, please visit NCDC's Global Analysis and Global Hazards web pages.


    References

    Christy, John R., R.W. Spencer, and W.D. Braswell, 2000: MSU tropospheric Temperatures: Dataset Construction and Radiosonde Comparisons. J. of Atmos. and Oceanic Technology, 17, 1153-1170.

    Free, M., D.J. Seidel, J.K. Angell, J. Lanzante, I. Durre and T.C. Peterson (2005) Radiosonde Atmospheric Temperature Products for Assessing Climate (RATPAC): A new dataset of large-area anomaly time series, J. Geophys. Res., 10.1029/2005JD006169.

    Free, M., J.K. Angell, I. Durre, J. Lanzante, T.C. Peterson and D.J. Seidel(2004), Using first differences to reduce inhomogeneity in radiosonde temperature datasets, J. Climate, 21, 4171-4179.

    Fu, Q., C.M. Johanson, S.G. Warren, and D.J. Seidel, 2004: Contribution of stratospheric cooling to satellite-inferred tropospheric temperature trends. Nature, 429, 55-58.

    Lanzante, J.R., S.A. Klein, and D.J. Seidel (2003a), Temporal homogenization of monthly radiosonde temperature data. Part I: Methodology, J. Climate, 16, 224-240.

    Lanzante, J.R., S.A. Klein, and D.J. Seidel (2003b), Temporal homogenization of monthly radiosonde temperature data. Part II: trends, sensitivities, and MSU comparison, J. Climate, 16, 241 262.

    Mears, Carl A., M.C. Schabel, F.J. Wentz, 2003: A Reanalysis of the MSU Channel 2 tropospheric Temperature Record. J. Clim, 16, 3650-3664.

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    Wildfires

    Updated: 6 December 2010

    *Data are for the period October 29th–November 26th, and are from the National Interagency Fire Center.


    During the 2010 year–to–date period, 66,013 fires have burned 3.31 million acres across the U.S., which is the lowest year–to–date acreage burned in the last decade. November historically tends to be a relatively inactive fire month, and November 2010 was no exception. Weather conditions, when averaged across the U.S. for the month, indicated that precipitation amounts and temperatures were near normal. The western states tended to be cooler and drier than normal, while the Midwest tended to be wetter and warmer than normal. See the national temperature and precipitation State of the Climate report for additional information on temperatures and precipitation. On November 1st, there were 13 large wildfires burning across the U.S., three in Kentucky; two in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Florida; and one each in Virginia, Colorado, Louisiana, and Mississippi. By the 15th, large wildfire activity was confined to the driest parts of the country — the Ohio River Valley and the Southeast. Four fires were burning in Kentucky, and one was burning in Indiana, Virginia, and Georgia. By the end of the month, wetness in the eastern half of the country helped quiet wildfire activity. Only one large wildfire was burning nationwide — in Oklahoma.

    2010 Wildfire Statistics

    (Source: NIFC)
    Year–To–Date Totals as of November 26th Nationwide Number of Fires Nationwide Number of Acres Burned
    11/26/2010 66,013 3,305,227
    11/26/2009 77,044 5,835,801
    11/26/2008 75,786 5,131,089
    11/26/2007 79,129 8,900,885
    11/26/2006 89,792 9,508,251
    11/26/2005 60,678 8,433,600
    11/26/2004 64,220 8,063,941
    11/26/2003 57,637 3,815,952
    11/26/2002 71,342 7,117,812
    11/26/2001 79,513 3,355,138
    11/26/2000 91,094 7,309,887
    5–yr average
    (2005 – 2009)
    76,486 7,656,854
    10–yr average
    (2000 – 2009)
    74,624 6,794,700

    According to statistics from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), at the end of November, the nationwide number of fires year–to–date was 66,013 which burned 3.31 million acres (1.3 million hectares), with an average of 50.1 acres (20.3 hectares) per fire. During November, an estimated 122,728 acres (49,667 hectares) burned across the U.S., which is 39 percent below the 2000–2009 average. A total of 4,277 new fires were reported during the month, which is 9 percent above the 2000–2009 average. The average number of acres burned per fire was 28.7 acres (11.6 hectares) during November, which is 38 percent (less than half) of the ten-year mean.

    According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the overall size of the drought footprint increased little during November 2010, while some areas experienced drought improvement and others experienced deteriorating conditions. Drought conditions generally improved one to two categories across the Ohio River Valley where numerous storm systems dropped several inches of rain during the month. Drought worsened for most of Florida during November, where very little to no precipitation fell. Nearly the entire state was experiencing drought conditions by the end of the month. Drought also worsened for south Texas and parts of southeast Colorado by two to three categories. Across the rest of the contiguous U.S., drought conditions did not change much. The ongoing drought conditions across Hawaii improved during November; at the end of the month only 49 percent of the state was experiencing drought, compared to 72 percent at the end of October.

    According to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Wildland Fire Assessment System, on November 1st, high fire danger was present across areas of the Ohio and mid-Mississippi River Valleys, the northern Rockies, and the Southwest. By the middle of the month, the high fire danger lessened across the northern Rockies, where snowfall was widespread. High fire danger spread in dry areas including the Southeast, lower Mississippi River Valley, western Texas, and the Southwest. A storm system moving through the eastern half of the country during the last few days of the month lowered the fire danger across the Southeast. Dry conditions persisted across the central and southern Plains, where very high fire danger was observed. The high fire danger in the Southwest persisted through the end of November.

    According to the USFS Wildland Fire Assessment System, at the beginning of the month, 10-hour and 100-hour fuel moistures were low across a large portion of the country stretching from the Southwest, into the Rockies, across the central and southern Plains, and into the Ohio River Valley. The largest fuels (1,000-hour fuel moistures) were dry across the mid-Mississippi River Valley, the High Plains, and the Southwest. Precipitation across the interior Southeast and lower Mississippi River Valley increased 10-hour and 100-hour fuel moistures by November 15th. While low 10-hour and 100-hour fuel moistures persisted for the mid-Mississippi River Valley and the Southwest. Low 1,000-hour fuel moistures were present across the Southwest and High Plains of Colorado and New Mexico. By the end of the month, precipitation across the eastern and northern regions of the country increased fuel moistures of all sizes there. The only dry fuel moistures were present in the Southwest.

    According to the USFS Wildland Fire Assessment System, at the beginning of the month, high Keetch–Byram Drought Index (KBDI) values were consistent with regions experiencing drought. By November 1st, the highest KBDI values were observed across the lower Mississippi River Valley, the Gulf Coast, the Ohio River Valley, and the Southwest. By the 15th, conditions improved for Louisiana and Mississippi, while high KBDI values persisted for the Ohio River Valley, the eastern Gulf Coast, and the Southwest. On November 30th, conditions improved across most of the central and eastern parts of the United States, while they worsened in Florida and Texas. Conditions also worsened for the Great Basin and the Southwest.


    Citing This Report

    NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate for November 2010, published online December 2010, retrieved on November 26, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/2010/11.