Tuesday, December 1, 2015

We Just Ended One Of The Warmest Vermont Novembers On Record

An unsuall sight: Foliag still clings to trees amid
temperatures approaching 70 in early November
in Richmond, Vermont. Trees are normally
bare and temperatures much cooler than that
in November. 
Up here in Vermont, we've basked, sort of, in a remarkably warm November.

In Burlington, the mean temperature for the month was 43.5 degrees, making this the second warmest November on record.  It was also 5.3 degrees above normal.

Only 1948 was warmer, with a mean temperature then of 44.4 degrees.

I'm sure other weather stations in the Northeast will report they had among the warmest Novembers on record, too.

Things were dry in New England, too. We in northwestern Vermont only had about an inch and quarter of rain in November, when normally we get three inches or so.

Snowfall was lame, too. In Burlington, there was only 0.2 inches of snow, tying for third place the least snowiest November on record. (There's a five-way tie for least snowiest November, a trace)

So far, 2015 in Burlington, the mean temperature comes out to only a fraction of a degree above normal for the year, despite the fact the Earth as a whole is experiencing its hottest year on record.

It's been generally very warm in Vermont since spring. May and September, for instance, were the hottest on record in Burlington. But the winter was very cold, with February being the second coldest on record. March was much colder than normal, too.

Signs indicate that December is going to be warm, too, for New England. In fact most of Canada and at least the northern half of the United States could be quite warm in December. This includes areas in the Upper Plains socked by winter storms lately.

Long range forecasts area always dicey. I take anything beyond a few days out with a grain of salt. However, forecasts for the month of December overall have been incredibly consistent for months, which leads some credence to the forecast.

This December forecast is classic El Nino. We're undergoing perhaps the strongest one on record. When there is a strong El Nino, the northern United States tends to have warm winters. Especially the early parts of winter.

Don't give up on a White Christmas, though. Some signs indicate December is going to be stormy.  You can get a storm just before Christmas that hits amid warmer than normal weather,  but warmer than normal can mean below freezing in New England. Which would mean snow.

Already, the predicted warm, stormy pattern for December is beginning in Vermont and the rest of the Northeast. Freezing rain advisories are up for patches of the Northeast today as a warm front from a storm approaches.

This storm will be mostly rain in the Northeast. One wave of low pressure will go by to the west tonight, and another one will move northeastward along a cold front right through New England Wednesday.

As conditions cool off later Wednesday, the rain will change to snow in the northern New England mountains, and those higher elevations could get a few inches of snow out of this.


  1. Matt, enjoyed your post. I wonder what "classic" el nino looks like as we get deeper into winter?

    1. "Classic" gets iffy later in winter. In the past late winter has usually been colder and stormier than early winter during strong El Ninos, but that's not always the case.