Ups and downs of weather

2010-11-27 23:08:56.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

As you may have read in other Observer Comments, we all pretty much love winter up here. So, when we exited October, and monthly averages were computed, most of us were living pretty optimistic about the wintry months ahead. At the end of the month or October, the temperature was 2.5F below the normal average monthly temperature. So that meant that the start of our winter months (October thru May) was starting off colder than normal. Precipitation saw a surplus of 0.40 inches which is always nice to see. But it was the 6.5 inch surplus of snowfall that had us all living on cloud nine (or in the summits case, in cloud nine). This meant that we were starting our season 6.5 inches above normal.

November started and things continued to look good for a few days. Temperatures were remaining below normal and we were still getting some decent storms providing a few inches of snow here and there. But then our overly optimistic feelings started to head south as warmer, drier weather obliterated our snowfall surplus that we had coming into the month. By the middle of the month we turned from hoping to regain our surplus back to just hitting averages. Luckily things have shifted back to a more typical November weather pattern for the second half of the month but since the month is almost over, hitting averages now seems unlikely.

As of the 26th, the summit temperature was seeing a surplus of 3.1F above normal. That’s warm but that number may come down a bit looking at the weather ahead. While being warm is “bad”, it’s really our precipitation and snowfall totals that are like taking a hit to the gut. Precipitation so far has a deficit of 7.04 inches from normal and snowfall was seeing a deficit of 25.9 inches from normal. Both of these totals will be shaved down a bit after today’s (the 27ths) totals are added in but after this, there really isn’t anything on the horizon to make a dent in these sizable deficits. So it looks like we will leave the month of November with a deficit when it comes to our precipitation totals and total snow pack.

Now while these numbers aren’t the numbers we would like to see, they are far from an indication as to what winter might bring. When it comes to winter here, I have learned never to invest too much in any particular month’s numbers. One month or a stretch of months may bring a lot of snow leaving a sizable surplus but then one or more months will arrive that will strike that surplus down with ease. So, kind of like sports, a game (in this case winter) can be turned around in an instance. So while October had us in the lead and November will more than likely leave us trailing a bit, we have roughly 5 to 6 months to turn things around. And being a fan of winter myself, I’m staying optimistic; hopefully you and my coworkers will too.


Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

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