Sunday, December 1, 2019

The final stretch approaches along with first snow, sort of.

November is traditionally the wettest month of the year, but 2019 had other plans. I collected a measly 1.98 inches of rain in a month I usually see close to 8 inches. The last few years have been a bit dry so I wonder when that trend will reverse? November was a tad cooler overnight but a smidge warmer by day resulting in a slightly cooler than normal mean temp.

I mentioned in the title first snow and that is a bit of click bait. It did snow, but late in the evening just as midnight approached, flurries of snow began to fall. Only a tiny bit collected on the windshield of my car, barely enough to measure. The snow continued for an hour or so into this morning. By day break it was all gone.

Despite the rather mediocre weather last month did produce a few daily records. On the 5th and 7th lows of 31.1° and 32.7° were actually the chilliest I have recorded on those dates. On the morning of the 30th I recorded the coolest temp of the month, a genuinely crisp 20.8° but that fell well short of the daily record I posted back in 2015 of 16.1° and further off the all time November record for my station of 13.1°.

November also posted up a daily record high for my location when the mercury topped out at 62.8° on the 11th. The warmest mark of the month was the first day of  the month when the temp hit 63°. Overall I had nine mornings below freezing, nine days failing to reaching 50°, five days busting into the 60s, nine days with rain, 5 sunny days, and a lot of clouds.

Precipitation was light with the wettest day a mere 0.39 inches. Four days managed to produce a 1/4 inch or more. The last few days of the month presented a weather pattern that is the classic setup for heavy snow and the dreaded ice storm, had it been the end of December rather than November. The system that spit out the flurries came form the south. Northern California got a healthy dose of the pineapple express dumping copious amounts rain on the lowlands and huge volumes of snow in the mountains. Some of that warm wet air migrated north into our region and as the low pressure moved in the winds through the gorge brought in cold interior air. Deeper into winter that scenario can yield devastating weather like it did back in 2003-2004 when a foot and a half of snow fell from New Year's eve to the first week of January, followed by a solid INCH of ice in the biggest ice storm in a generation. But thankfully, November tends to be a bit warmer in the interior than December and January. This time the warmer air aloft mixed in with the cooler surface air and the result was just some flurries and a tiny bit of ice.

Looking ahead the models seem to indicated a warming trend with showers of rain and some highs in the 50s to start of the last month of 2019. 

Friday, November 1, 2019

The Autumn Plunge has begun

October is in the books and it was a chilly one by 'normal' standards. My observed morning lows averaged almost 6 degrees under normal and daily highs were nearly 3 degrees under. We had an outbreak of early arctic air that led to a week of genuinely chilly mornings and that no doubt pushed the averages down. But honestly the whole month of October was pretty cool. There was not one single day in which the thermometer at my station was able to break through the 70° barrier. Along with the cooler temps was drier air with only about a third of normal precipitation falling. The last five days of the month had below freezing mornings and 4 of them were daily low records. Oddly the 27° mark on the morning of Halloween was three degrees warmer than the record at my station of 24° set back in 2006.

Overall the temps were cool and I had NINE daily record lows fall in October of 2019! That's nearly a third of the month with record lows! Despite the chilly morning temps, the all time record at my station for October was safe as that was the aforementioned 24° on Halloween, 2006. I did get a 24.1 on the 30th this year which was the coldest temp of the month and just a tenth off the all time mark. I even had a coldest daytime high all time record for the month of October when the merc only reached 45.5 on the 29th. The warmest temp was on the afternoon of the the 6th when we got oh so close to seventy with a mark of 69.4°. We had one warm overnight low of 50.4° on the 16th. October 2019 gave us seven days with morning lows below freezing, and more than half the month failed to reach 60°.

The rain bucket stayed pretty dry only catching 1.64 inches well below the typical 4.15 inches for October. Just 9 days with any rain and not a single day over 1/2 inch. There were just three days over a 1/4 inch. The soggiest day this October could muster was a 0.44 inch on the 17th.

So is this cold October a herald for what is to come this winter? It is hard to say, but I do remember a chilly October back in 2003 that led to a snow event in late November and and very cold and snowy January 2004. That 2003-04 winter is the second snowiest I have on record at this location with nearly two feet falling that season. We can only wonder what dastardly deeds Old Man winter has planned. I like snow, so bring it on ;)