National Climate Report - November 2008

Maps and Graphics:

November Most Recent 3 Months Most Recent 6 Months
Most Recent 12 Months Year-to-Date US Percent Area Very Wet/Dry/Warm/Cold
Annual Summary for 2008

PLEASE NOTE: All 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.  As final data become available, the most up-to-date statistics and graphics will be available on the Climate Monitoring Products page and the U.S. Climate at a Glance Web site.

For graphics covering periods other than those mentioned above or for tables of national, regional, and statewide data from 1895—present, for November, last 3 months or other periods, please go to the Climate at a Glance page.

[------- visual page separator -------]

National Overview:

Temperature Highlights
  • For the contiguous United States, the average temperature for November was 44.5°F (6.9°C), which was 2.0°F (1.1°C) above the 20th century mean and ranked as the 20th warmest November on record, based on preliminary data.
  • On the Regional level, much of the southeastern and central U.S. experienced colder than normal temperatures while much of the West, Northwest, and Southwest experienced warmer than normal temperatures during November.
  • Using the Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI - an index developed at NOAA to relate energy usage to climate), the nation's residential energy demand during November was approximately 0.6% below average consumption and ranked as the 54th lowest in 114 years.
Precipitation Highlights
  • This was the 41st driest November in the 1895—2008 record. An average of 1.9 inches (48 mm) of precipitation fell across the contiguous U.S. this month, which is 0.2 inch (5.1 mm) below average.
Highlights from Fall (September-November)
  • Preliminary data indicate that this was the 32nd warmest fall on record for the contiguous United States. The average temperature was 54.9 °F (12.7 °C), which was 0.7 °F (0.4 °C) above the 20th century mean.
  • The precipitation pattern for much of the contiguous United States comprised of both wet and dry extremes which created a near normal average for the month. This was the 53 driest September-November in the 1895-2008 record. An average of 6.7 inches (169.1 mm) fell across the contiguous U.S., which is 0.1 inch (1.2 cm) below average.
  • On the regional level, the West North Central received much above normal precipitation while the Southwest and East North Central regions received below normal precipitation during the fall. Nebraska experienced its 3rd-wettest fall on record and the state of Kentucky experienced its 11th-driest fall on record.
Other Items of Note
  • ENSO-neutral conditions were still present in the equatorial Pacific Ocean during the month of November, but there are signs that reflect a cold phase of ENSO. Through the last two weeks of November, the equatorial sea surface temperature anamolies decreased across areas of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. The Climate Prediction Center was attributing the pattern to subseasonal variabilities, therefore the ENSO-neutral conditions are forecasted to continue into early 2009. For additional information on ENSO conditions, please visit the NCDC ENSO Monitoring page and the latest NOAA ENSO Advisory.
  • Alaska had its 34th coolest November since records began in 1918, with a temperature 2.3°F (1.3°C) below the 1971—2000 average.

  • Alaska had its 18th coolest September—November on record, with a temperature 2.3°F (1.3°C) below the 1971—2000 average.

  • Alaska had its 39th coolest January—November on record, with a temperature 0.9°F (0.5°C) below the 1971—2000 average.

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

[------- visual page separator -------]

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 | Midwest | Southeast | High Plains | Southern | Western

Northeast Region: (Information provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center)
  • The northern third of the region averaged warmer than normal while the southern two-thirds experienced cooler than normal temperatures in November. Maine was the warmest state, with a departure of 1.1°F (0.6°C) above normal. Vermont and New Hampshire also averaged above normal, but just barely: 0.3°F (0.2°C) above normal in Vermont and 0.1°F (0.1°C) above normal in New Hampshire. Temperature departures in the remaining states ranged from 0.6°F (0.3°C) below normal in New York to 3.5°F (1.9°C) below normal in West Virginia. Overall, the average temperature in the Northeast for November was 38.2 °F (3.4°C) which was 1.0°F (0.6°C) below normal.

  • Above normal precipitation totals were confined to Maine, eastern New Hampshire, coastal Massachusetts, Rhode Island, southern New Jersey, Delaware, the Eastern Shore of Maryland and a few areas downwind of Lakes Erie and Ontario. State precipitation departures ranged from 70% of normal in Pennsylvania to 155% of normal in Maine. The Northeast, as a whole, averaged 99% of the long-term mean.

  • According to the December 2, 2008 U.S. Drought Monitor, most of western Pennsylvania was abnormally dry, as was the northern half of West Virginia, the western panhandle of Maryland and southwestern Maryland. The southern half of West Virginia was in moderate drought and the extreme southern tip of the state was still in severe drought. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued a drought watch for 29 counties in western and central portions of the state. The state requested that water users in the affected areas reduce their non-essential water use by 5%.
For more information, please go to the Northeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.

Midwest Region: (Information provided by the Midwest Regional Climate Center)
  • Temperatures the first week of November could best be described as balmy, with highs in the 70s °F (21 °C-26 °C) across much of the region. There were five consecutive days where high temperature records were set in the Midwest during the first week. In Iowa, an analysis by the Iowa Environmental Mesonet found this warm spell snapped a record streak of 277 consecutive days (January 29 to November 1) without setting any daily record high temperatures within Iowa. This easily broke the old record of 247 consecutive days without a record high set in 1993. During the first week of November temperatures across the Midwest ranged from 3 °F (1.7 °C) above normal in southeastern Kentucky to more than 14 °F (7.8 °C) above normal in northern Minnesota. The remainder of the month, however, was a different story. Temperatures the last three weeks of the month ranged from near normal in northwestern Minnesota to 7 °F (3.9 °C) below normal in Kentucky. When all was said and done, November temperature departures ranged from 3 °F (1.7 °C) above normal in northern Minnesota to 5 °F (2.8 °C) below normal in southeastern Kentucky.

  • A persistent band of northwesterly winds aloft over the Midwest kept much of the region dry during the month. The heaviest precipitation was in the western portions of the region, on the southern edge of the northwesterlies, and in the lake-effect snow areas. Cold frontal passages, followed by westerly and northwesterly surface winds brought cold air over the relatively warm lake waters which produced frequent days with lake-effect snow. Precipitation for the month of November was above normal in northwestern Minnesota, central Iowa, and downwind of the Great Lakes in Michigan and northeastern Ohio. Elsewhere, precipitation was only 50-75 percent of normal, with an area from southern Missouri through central Illinois with less than 50 percent of normal precipitation.

  • Areas of drought in the upper Midwest and in Kentucky expanded during November. This marks the 4th consecutive month that most of Kentucky has been dry, although some parts of northern Kentucky have had below normal rainfall since the spring. Extreme drought conditions continued over eastern Kentucky where November precipitation was 70% of normal. Eastern Kentucky communities such as Jackson and London are short roughly a foot of rain for the year-to-date which makes 2008 potentially one of the driest years on record for this region. Drought conditions ease somewhat towards western Kentucky but many areas remain in moderate to severe drought.
For details on the weather and climate events of the Midwest during November, 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 2008 were below normal across the entire region including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Nearly half of the region, especially portions of SC, GA, and FL, displayed temperatures that were 4.0 or more degrees °F (2.2 °) below normal. Florence and Columbia SC had their 2nd and 4th coldest Novembers on record, respectively, as Columbia recorded 11 straight days with a daily minimum temperature of less than 32 °F (0 °C). At least four significant cold frontal passages were observed during the month. Strong areas of high pressure filled in behind these fronts and provided for excellent radiative cooling on many nights. There were 440 daily record lows tied or beat during the month. Talladega, AL and Madison, FL dropped to 14 ° and 20 °F (-10 and -7 °C), respectively on the 22nd of the month. Also, Burkes Garden, VA and Waynesville, NC recorded minimums of 2 ° and 7 °F (-17 ° and -14 °C), respectively, on the 19th and 22nd of the month.

  • There was much variability in the monthly precipitation totals across the region. Florida, with the exception of its western panhandle, recorded much below normal precipitation totals. In fact portions of southern FL received less than 25% of the normal precipitation for the month. In contrast, a region of above normal precipitation stretched from portions of southern GA northeastward across central SC, eastern NC, and southeast VA. Several locations within this region recorded monthly totals that exceeded 200% of normal. Precipitation totals for the month were below normal across much of AL, western VA as well as drought stricken portions of northern GA, northwest SC, and western NC. Most of Puerto Rico recorded precipitation totals that were below normal for the month of November. Three significant rain events (Nov. 3-4th, 14-15th 29-30th) contributed most of the precipitation for the month. Savannah and Augusta, GA experienced the 3rd and 4th wettest Novembers on record, respectively, with 5.69" and 7.24" (14.4 and 18.4 cm) of precipitation observed. Cape Hatteras, NC recorded its 3rd wettest November on record with 14" (35.6 cm) observed. Several periods of strong northwesterly flow during the month resulted in orographically enhanced snowfalls across the mountains of western VA, NC and extreme northern GA. Banner Elk, NC recorded 6.2" (15.7 cm) of snow during the month making it the snowiest November since 1983. Also, Burkes Garden, VA measured 15" (38.1 cm) of snow for the month making it the 2nd snowiest November for the period of record, which extends back to 1896. Light snowfalls were also recorded at several lowland stations including Greensboro NC, which recorded 0.6" (1.5 cm) of snow on the 21st of the month. Even N. Myrtle Beach SC observed snowflakes on the 18th of the month.

  • There was very little change in the drought lingering across portions of the region. Exceptional drought continued to plague northwestern South Carolina and expanded into extreme northeastern GA and extreme western NC. Moderate drought conditions continued to affect central GA and extreme northeastern AL as well as southwestern VA and northeastern NC. There were 11 preliminary tornado reports across the region during the month, and they were all associated with a nighttime outbreak across eastern SC and NC on the 14th - 15th of the month. One of the tornadoes registered as an EF-3 on the enhanced Fujita scale and was responsible for two deaths near Wilson, NC. There were 17 tropical cyclones (i.e. tropical storms and hurricanes) observed over the Atlantic basin and adjacent waters through the end of November of 2008, and six of these had some impact in the southeastern U.S.
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)
  • Overall, November was warmer than normal across the region. Monthly average temperature departures from normal generally ranged from 2-6°F (1.1-3.3°C), however several locations exceeded 8°F (4.4°C) above normal. Record setting locations include Northglenn, CO, Clark 3 NE, WY, Lander Hunt Airfield, WY, and Chugwater, WY. Northglenn, CO had an average temperature of 46.8°F (8.2°C) which was the 2nd warmest November on record. Clark 3 NE and Lander Hunt Airfield both had their 3rd warmest November on record with each location having an average temperature of 38.8°F (3.8°C) and 38.6°F (3.8°C), respectively. Meanwhile, Chugwater, WY experienced the 4th warmest November on record with an average temperature of 42.1°F (5.6°C).

  • Areas that received above normal precipitation include North Dakota, the western half of South Dakota, and northwest Nebraska. Drought conditions have improved across western North Dakota where many locations received over 200% of normal precipitation. On the other side of the state, many locations received over 300% of normal precipitation. One particularly wet location was Cavalier 7NW, ND which received 2.97 inches (75.4 mm) of precipitation, or 437% of normal. This was the 3rd wettest November on record for Cavalier.

    Dry locations included Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and north central South Dakota with less than 50% of normal precipitation. The Perry Stokes Airport in Trinidad, CO did not record any measurable precipitation and tied the record for driest November (last set in 1965).

  • A blizzard struck western South Dakota early this month. While most areas received at least 10 inches (25.4 cm) of snow, the storm brought over 48 inches (121.9 cm) of snow to certain areas in the Black Hills. In addition to the snow, winds over 60 mph (96 km/h) were reported. This powerful storm created travel woes as not only were roads closed, but so was the Rapid City Regional Airport. Power was also cut to many people as the blizzard damaged or destroyed power poles and power lines.
For more information, please go to the High Plains Regional Climate Center Home Page.

Southern Region: (Information provided by the Southern Regional Climate Center)
  • In the month of November, average temperatures in the Southern Region were generally near normal, with the exception of northern Texas and western Oklahoma, where monthly temperature departures varied by as much as 4 to 6°F (~2-3°C) above normal. Elsewhere, temperature averages for the month remained within 4°F (~2°C) of normal.

  • For most of the southern region, precipitation was quite scarce during the month of November. Only small pockets of above normal monthly precipitation values were observed, specifically in north central Louisiana, eastern Texas, and southeastern Mississippi. Western and central Texas observed the largest precipitation deficits for the month, with many stations reporting 5% or less of normal. Similar values were also observed in western and southern Oklahoma. In the state of Arkansas, most stations in the southern most counties did receive as much as 50-70% of normal, however; elsewhere the bulk of the stations received only 25-50% of normal precipitation for the month. Similar values were also observed in southeastern Louisiana, western Tennessee, and northern Mississippi.

  • Drought conditions in the Southern Region have changed slightly over the past month. Due to extremely dry conditions in central and southern Texas, the United States Drought Monitor has now recognized a small area of exceptional drought (D4) in the Austin, TX area. This is the highest level of drought that is recognized by the United States Drought Monitor. The area of D4 drought extends from just north of Austin, to just south of New Braunfels. It also extends east to an area just west of Bastrop, and it extends west to an area just west of Johnson City and Blanco. Areas in Texas of lesser drought that surround the bullet of D4 have changed little over the past month, indicating persistently dry conditions. Similarly, drought has also continued to persist in eastern Tennessee. In Tennessee, there has been a slight westward migration of extreme and moderate drought. Conditions in the western half of the state have also deteriorated slightly from near-normal to abnormally dry.
For more information, please go to the Southern Regional Climate Center Home Page.

Western Region: (Information provided by the Western Regional Climate Center)
  • Temperatures were above to well above normal for almost the entire western region except for some isolated pockets in New Mexico. The greatest temperature departures occurred in Montana and Wyoming with Havre, MT recording their warmest November since 1917. Helena, MT was 9.5 °F (5.3 °C) above normal, and Bozeman's departure of +10.2 °F (+5.7 °C) was the 3rd highest since airport records started in 1941. The average maximum temperature in downtown Los Angeles was 77.7 °F (25.4 °C) which combined with October's average maximum temperature of 84.9 °F (29.4 °C) was the warmest Oct-Nov average maximum on record.

  • Precipitation was a mixed bag with extreme northwest Washington, southern California and portions of the northern Rockies recording wetter than normal conditions. With the warm conditions, however, mountain snowpack remained well below the December 1st average. The Lake Tahoe drainage was at 3% of normal snowpack on December 1st and had fallen to just 2.0 inches (5.1 cm) above its natural rim. An unusually wet system crossed southern California on the 26th producing locally heavy rain and flooding in some areas. It was the wettest November on record in Yuma, AZ, with 2.2 inches (5.6 cm), all of it falling on the 26th and precipitation percentages of 500-1100 percent of average noted in many places. An automated station near Quinault, WA, measured 28.1 inches (71.4 cm) for the month.

  • During November 1-4, the first serious winter storm of the season hit the Sierra beginning on October 31st. Rainfall totals in some areas were over 6 inches throughout the 5-day event with winds reaching over 115 mph along the Sierra Crest on the 3rd. Snow levels were relatively high during most of the event with up to 2 feet falling above the 8,000 foot level. This was the only significant event in the central Sierra for the month.

    On the 6th, 73 mph winds and heavy snow produced blizzard conditions in parts of northeast Wyoming with drift up to 4 feet high in Sundance. This same storm dropped over 4 feet of snow in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

    During the 6th and 7th of the month, 3 to 7 inches of rain in the Olympic Peninsula and up to 10 inches in the Cascades caused numerous rivers in western Washington to exceed flood stage. Major flooding occurred on 7 out of 11 rivers in the region.

    Fueled by strong downslope winds three separate wildfires destroyed numerous homes and required large mandatory evacuations from Santa Barbara to San Diego on the 13th - 17th. Wind gusts reached over 70 mph with temperatures in the mid 80's and low 90's accompanied by very low humidities. A total of over 41,000 acres were burned with over 1000 homes destroyed and up to 15,000 people evacuated during the wind event.

    On the 26th, a storm crossed the southwest producing locally heavy rain with some flash flooding and local road closures in parts of southern California accompanied by lightning and spotty hail. Yuma, AZ, reported 2.22 inches of rain which totaled more rain than the first 10 months of 2008 combined. Amounts near Las Vegas ranged up to just over 1.50 inches (3.8 cm).

For more information, please go to the Western Regional Climate Center Home Page.

Alaska: (Information provided by Audrey Rubel at NOAA NWS Alaska Region Headquarters.)
  • Much of Alaska experienced below average temperatures during November with an average of 2.3°F (1.3°C) below the 1971-2000 normal. November temperatures were uniformly above average for southeast Alaska with the greatest departures from normal occurring over the northern and central inner channel locations. In Fairbanks the average temperature was -1.4°F ( -17°C) which was 3.7°F ( 2.1°C) below normal and ranked as their 30th coldest in the 104 year period of record. For the September - November period, the average temperature of 20.0°F (-6.7°C) was more than four degrees below normal and is tied with 1999 for the 10th coldest autumn on record. Kotzebue's temperature for November averaged 5.6°F (-14.7°C) which was a 2.7 °F (1.5°C) departure from normal. The average temperature for the month in Nome was 9.1 °F (-12.7°C). This ties the mark for the 13th coldest November on record. Further north, Barrow experienced a warmer than normal temperature for the month, as the average was 4.9°F (-15.1°C) above the mean.

  • The state of Alaska posted monthly precipitation totals that were near normal for the month of November. Precipitation across the panhandle was below normal for the month of November with the exception of the central inner channel and southern locations. In Fairbanks, the airport recorded 0.28 inches (7.1 mm) of precipitation. The snowfall, totalling 6.5 inches, (165 mm) was less than half of normal. This marks the 25th driest November on record for Fairbanks. Precipiation and snowfall were below normal for Kotzebue and Nome. In Nome, the total precipitation for January through November was 9.92 inches (252 mm), making the year through November the 8th driest on record. For the month in Barrow, there was 12.3 inches (312 mm) of snow which is four times the average amount of 3.2 inches (81 mm). This ranks as the 5th snowiest November on record. For the period from October through November, there has been 35.5 inches (902 mm) of snow, making it the 2nd snowiest period on record. The most snowfall during this period was in 1925 when 40.2 inches (1021 mm) was recorded.

See NCDC's Monthly Extremes web-page for weather and climate records for the month of November. For additional national, regional, and statewide data and graphics from 1895-present, for November, the last 3 months or other periods, please visit the Climate at a Glance page.

[------- visual page separator -------]

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 Climate Monitoring Products page and the Climate at a Glance page as they become available.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: National Climate Report for November 2008, published online December 2008, retrieved on January 17, 2018 from