Five Unusual Things From the Past Week's Weather

Linda Lam
Published: November 9, 2017

The first week of November has brought some unusual and record-setting weather across the United States.

(MORE: Six Things You Might See in November's Weather)

Here's a look at five of these interesting occurrences that we have seen over the past week.

1. Record Warmth For November

The beginning of November started with an upper-level ridge of high pressure in place across the South and East. This allowed a southerly flow to bring warm temperatures northward across the South and into parts of the Midwest and Northeast at times.

(MORE: Warm Start to November in the South, Midwest and Northeast)

The above-average temperatures were most pronounced toward Texas, where highs surged into the 90s, much warmer than the average early-November highs, which are in the 70s.

Red dots indicate monthly record highs, while orange dots depict daily record highs.
(NOAA's National Centers For Environmental Information)

The result was dozens of daily record highs and record warm low temperatures across much of the South. Record high temperatures for November were also set.

This impressive list includes Dallas-Fort Worth, where the first 90-degree temperature in November was recorded twice. The first occurrence was on Nov. 2 when the mercury soared to 94 degrees setting a new monthly record, and the second time was on Nov. 4, when a high of 90 degrees was observed.

Wichita Falls, Texas, also set a new monthly record high of 90 degrees, set both on Nov. 2 and Nov. 4. Waco, Texas, tied its warmest November temperature on Nov. 2 with a high of 92 degrees.

Hobby Airport in Houston even tied its November record for warmest low temperature on Nov. 3 with a low of 75 degrees.

2. Early Snowfall in Seattle, Texas Panhandle

While the East was experiencing notable warmth, the weather in the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies was influenced by an upper-level trough, or southward dip in the jet stream, to start November.

On Nov. 3, enough cold air poured into western Washington to produce snow at sea level – very unusual for this early in the season. Snowflakes were observed in the Seattle metropolitan area, with a trace of snow recorded at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Another system moved through on Sunday, bringing a second round of snow to portions of western Washington. At Seattle's airport, where temperatures were only in the 30s, 0.4 inches of snow was measured on Sunday.

Snow is not typically seen in the Seattle area in early November. The measurable snowfall (defined as 0.1 inches or more of snow) that occurred on Sunday was the third-earliest measurable snowfall in more than 120 years of records.

(MORE: Is the Pacific Northwest Poised For Another Cold, Snowy Winter?)

On Nov. 7-8, a disturbance moved through portions of the southern Plains, where enough cold air was in place to bring snow to portions of the Texas Panhandle.

A trace of snow was observed in Amarillo, with 2.3 inches measured in Dalhart, Texas. Based on 30-year averages from 1981 to 2010, the first measurable snow of the season is usually in mid- to late November in this area.

3. Late Snow in Maine

While parts of the South and Pacific Northwest have seen snow, portions of the Northeast – including Maine – were still waiting.

Caribou, Maine, is still waiting for its first measurable snowfall of the season, but a trace of snow was finally observed on Nov. 7; the average date of Caribou's first measurable snow is Oct. 23, based on the 1981 to 2010 climate averages.

Snow depth early on Nov. 9, 2017.
(NOAA)

The map above shows where snow was on the ground on the morning of Nov. 9. Portions of the interior Northeast have some snow on the ground, just not in many of the locations where you might expect it, including Maine.

(MORE: Interior Northeast Finally Sees Snow)

The latest date for the first snow in Caribou is Nov. 13, set in 1977. The arrival of arctic air will likely bring some light accumulating snow to interior Maine late this week.

4. Rare 'R' Named Storm in the North Atlantic

Tropical Storm Rina developed on Nov. 6 in the central Atlantic far from land. Rina added to the active 2017 Atlantic hurricane season as the 17th named storm.

This placed 2017 tied for ninth place for most named storms in a season in the Atlantic, with records dating to 1851.

Satellite and location of Tropical Storm Rina on the morning of Nov. 8, 2017.

It is not common for the "R" name to be used in the Atlantic Basin. There have only been five other occurrences of the "R" name getting used since 1950, when hurricane names began.

Rina became post-tropical on Nov. 9 and it never attained hurricane strength, making it the first "R" storm to not reach hurricane status, according to meteorologist Bob Henson of Weather Underground.

(MORE: How Often Do We Get This Deep Into a Named Storm List in the Atlantic?)

Also of note is how far north Rina retained tropical characteristics given that it is November. Rina was a tropical storm as far north as 44.5 degrees north latitude, about 330 miles east-southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland, on the morning of Nov. 9.

According to Colorado State University tropical scientist Dr. Phil Klotzbach, Rina is the farthest north Atlantic named storm in November since Hurricane Noel in 2001.

5. Notable Streaks in New England Without a Freeze

The prevailing upper-level pattern has brought above-average temperatures to the Northeast for much of the fall. All six New England states experienced the warmest October on record, according to the latest report from NOAA's National Centers For Environmental Information (NCEI).

In addition, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center, almost all of New England is seeing its warmest fall-to-date through Nov. 7 (fall is defined as September through November), with most of the Northeast placing in the top-10 warmest on record.

This anomalous warmth resulted in Worcester, Massachusetts, breaking the record for consecutive days without a freeze. Worcester experienced 219 consecutive days this year, from April 3 to Nov. 7, without dropping to the freezing mark. The previous record was 217 days, set in 1916.

Hartford, Connecticut, saw its ninth-longest streak between 32-degree temperatures, with 205 days, which ended Oct. 31.

Providence saw its first freeze on Nov. 9, placing 2017 in the top 10 for longest time between freezes.

(MORE: Arctic Cold to Invade Northeast, Midwest Late This Week)

As of Nov. 9, Boston has not yet seen a freeze. Boston has gone 227 days this year without a freeze, which is still well short of the current record: 256 days, set in 2006. Arctic air is expected to drop temperatures into the 20s by Friday night, putting to end the streak of above-freezing temperatures.


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