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November in Like a Lamb?

Matt Ross @ 1:00 AM


Today will be nothing short of brilliant, with sunny skies and afternoon highs in the low 70s. In fact, the whole week looks just great with highs averaging about 10 degrees above normal. Any meaningfully colder air shouldn't be a concern until late this weekend or early next week. Of course this doesn't necessarily apply to the overnight hours. Radiational cooling this time of year allows the temperature to plummet at night when conditions are favorable. So expect some very chilly mornings to quickly give way to sunny skies and warmer temperatures. I believe the second half of November has the potential to be like much of the 2nd half of October, cold and wet. This could mean some persistent highs in the 40s and low 50s. So please appreciate the afternoons this week. It could be a while until we see a repeat.

Image courtesy of Accuweather

Snow in October and November?

The elevation snows in the interior Mid-Atlantic and Northeast last week in addition to Boston's first flakes of the season raise some questions about early season snow in our area. We have in fact seen accumulating snow in October in DC, but it has occurred only a handful of times in over 100 years of records, such that we average a trace for the month. November is of course a different story. I am sure many of you remember the famous Veteran's Day storm of 1987 that dumped a foot of snow over much of DC, or the Thanksgiving snow in 1989 that led into one of our coldest Decembers ever. While the 1987 storm is the extreme all time November event, it is not nearly as rare to see snow in November as in October. While our monthly average is only 0.7", historically we have a better than 50-50 chance of seeing some flakes in November and about a 1 in 4 chance of seeing some snow stick to the ground. Despite the chances, it has been 9 years since we saw measurable snow in November. Perhaps the early season snows of last week are an omen that we will see snow over the next 30 days. It would fit the pattern of variability that is likely this winter.

October Recap

Despite the cool end to the month, October becomes the 5th consecutive month to finish with above normal temperatures as it winds up at about 1.6 degrees above normal. As stated earlier at CapitalWeather, October is also the wettest on record with 9.41" of rain, much of which fell in the huge storm following Tammy early in the month. Even though October finished only slightly above normal, it is the warmest we have seen since 1995. While many readers have seen low temps in the 30s or even colder, the heat island of National Airport has not seen its temperature dip below 40 degrees yet, despite ten consecutive low temperatures in the 40s. As October is the favorite month of many weather lovers, including myself, I am sad to see it go. But I leave pleased that it provided us with a number of days that justified its reputation, as well as some memorable weather events to boot.

Fall foliage beginning to assert itself at Great Falls yesterday. By photographer Kevin Ambrose.

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