2006-12-01 11:30:09.000 – Jim Salge, Meteorologist
The weather books closed on November last night, and today begins the monthly task of finalizing, checking and summarizing the month’s data. And what a month it was. Four daily record highs have rewritten the record book (including yesterday), and the monthly average temperature ended 9.2 degrees above normal at 29.8F. This was warm enough to push November 2006 into second warmest November at the Mount Washington Observatory. The warmest, 1938 was 30.2F, and third place now is 1966 at 27F. Just for the record, the coldest, November 1976 averaged 11F for the month!
While it has certainly been warm, the lack of snowfall has truly been the story of the month. With only 7.4 inches falling on the peak, November 2006 also now has the distinction of being the second least snowiest November’s on record, behind November 1953, when only 6.1 inches fell. The month’s snowfall was nearly three feet below normal, and over seven feet below the snowiest November, November 1968.
Already the questions are numerous as to what this type of weather pattern will mean for the coming winter. While my expertise certainly does not lie within the specialty of long-range forecasting, I was intrigued to see what stories were told by our historical record. And as an avid winter weather fan, I was hoping to find some “good news!” So yesterday afternoon Mike and I starting pawing through our weather data.
The first set we looked at was seasonal snowfall totals after low November totals. There have now been only six Novembers in the station’s history with less than 10 Inches of snowfall. Looking at the previous five, all of those winter’s ended up significantly below normal on the summit, with seasonal ranges between 150 – 190 inches for the year. These numbers are all well below Mount Washington’s 30 year averages of around 300 inches. This data was not encouraging.
The next set we looked at was the top ten warmest Novembers as they correlated to seasonal snowfalls. This proved rather inconclusive, as the data was scattered all over the place, but it did include such memorable winters as 1977-1978. This was encouraging.
Lastly, we looked at high snowfall Octobers and low snowfall November together, to try to see a connection. Well, this just proved nearly impossible, as we’ve only once had a such a significant weather switch before. It also happened in 1969 and 1970, a year that ended up with over 400 inches.
So there you have it. Nearly complete inconclusiveness. My suggestion therefore is for a seasonal outlook from the Climate Prediction Center or more simply, the NOAA press release here!
Back to what the Mount Washington Observatory is known for, observing the weather on the summit is going to get ‘interesting’ over the next 24 hours! The pendulum that swung forth between October and November is poised to swing back again in its seemingly monthly oscillation tonight. A cold front will bring sharply falling temperatures, high winds and snow to the peak. For the crew though, it isn’t coming soon enough as heavy rain will soak the peak today. Look for a re-invigorated wintry comment tomorrow, just in timefor Sunday’s visit from The Weather Channel!
Jim Salge, Meteorologist