Western Regional Climate Center


November in the West

November 2013

Slightly warmer than normal temperatures were observed in much of the West this month, though the northern tier of the region and a number of Southwest locations were somewhat cooler than normal. Despite several storms passing through the West, precipitation remained below normal for much of the region. A cutoff low pressure system over the Southwest brought significant precipitation to the area during the latter half of the month.

Drier than normal conditions were observed in the Northwest and Rocky Mountain states this month, continuing the below normal precipitation trend seen in October. Many locations received less than 75% of anticipated precipitation. Klamath Falls, Oregon, reported only 15% of normal November precipitation at 0.34 in (9 mm), the 3rd driest in a 39-year record. North Bend, Oregon, logged its 9th driest November since records began in 1902 at 2.7 in (69 mm). Seattle, Washington received 3.79 in (96 mm) of precipitation, 57% of normal. In Northern California, 0.85 in (22 mm) of rain fell in Ukiah, 20% of normal and the 14th driest November in a 121-year record. Elsewhere in the area, Crescent City and Arcata received 25% of their normal precipitation. Similar conditions prevailed throughout Montana, where Missoula and Billings both received 53% of their normal precipitation at 0.54 in (14 mm) and 0.34 in (9 mm), respectively. This was the 22nd driest November in Billings since records began in 1934. In contrast, Kalispell, in northwest Montana, collected 2.54 in (65 mm) precipitation, 178% of normal. After a wet October, Wyoming saw dry conditions with Rock Springs only 0.03 in (<1 mm) precipitation, 6% of normal and the 5th driest November since records began in 1948.

In the Southwest, wetter than normal conditions prevailed due to a slow moving low pressure system that stalled over the region from the 21st through the 24th. Winslow, Arizona saw its wettest November in a 121-year record at 2.54 in (65 mm). Phoenix, Arizona recorded 2.43 in (62 mm), their 7th wettest November since records began in 1895. The precipitation received during this single storm represents 30% of Phoenix’s year-to-date precipitation. Mountainous regions of southeast Arizona received over a foot of snow (30 cm). Further north, Alamosa, Colorado received 18.1 in (46 cm) of snow from this storm to secure its second snowiest November in a 66-year record. Alamosa’s average Novemeber snowfall is 4.1 in (10 cm). Portions of Southern California also received much needed rainfall from this storm. Barstow, which typically receives only 0.34 in (9 mm) in November, recorded 1.76 in (45 mm) for the wettest November since records began in 1948. Bakersfield posted 0.94 in (24 mm) of precipitation, 147% of normal and tied for 19th wettest November in the station’s 77-year record. This month’s abundant precipitation continued improvement of persistent drought in the Southwest. Snow water equivalent was near normal to slightly above the 1981-2010 median throughout the Rocky Mountains, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Much of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range were at 50% of median or less of snow water equivalent in their snowpack.

After a cooler than normal October, above normal temperatures returned to much of the West for November. The greatest temperature anomalies were observed in California, Nevada, and Southern Idaho. In Elko, Nevada, the average November temperature was 38.7 F (3.7 C), 4 F (2.2 C) above normal and the 20th warmest year in Elko’s 126-year record. Temperatures averaged to 58.5 F (14.7 C) in Fresno, California, to make the 6th warmest November on record. Year-to-date, 2013 is the warmest in Fresno’s 65-year record. Los Angeles, California, temperatures averaged to 64.1 F (17.8 C) for the month, the 9th warmest in a 78-year record. In Arizona, Phoenix also logged its 9th warmest November at 66.7 F (19.3 C). Pocatello, Idaho, recorded 36.6 F (2.5 C) for the month, 2.1 F (1.2 C) above normal and the 29th warmest November in 75 years.

In Alaska, a wetter than normal trend that began in September continued for much of the state. With a month to spare, Valdez secured its wettest calendar year on record at 94.78 in (2407 mm).The previous record was 93.3 in (2369 mm) in 1981. Records at Valdez began in 1949. Fairbanks received 1.35 in (34 mm) of precipitation this month for the 10th wettest November in an 85-year record. Anchorage experienced its wettest November day on record when 1.27 in (32 mm) of precipitation fell on November 10. Further south, precipitation was variable across the Hawaiian Islands. Many locations on Oahu reported above normal precipitation, though Honolulu received only 80% of normal. On Maui, Kahului reported 4.64 in (118 mm), for the 7th wettest November since records began in 1905. On the Big Island, Hilo logged 6.66 in (169 mm), 8.84 in (225 mm) below normal and the 10th driest November on record. Year-to-date, 2013 is the 9th driest in Hilo’s 65-year record.

Significant Events for November 2013

November 7-14: Strong storms and coastal flooding in Alaska: A series of severe storms damaged five communities in Western Alaska. The hardest hit was Kotlik, where flooding from storm surges destroyed the town’s water and sewage systems. At least three homes were destroyed and many others damaged during the storm events.

November 20-24: Strong storm impacts Southwest: Heavy rain and snow as well as strong winds were observed throughout the Southwest. In California, three storm-related fatalities were reported and over 58,000 people in the San Francisco Bay area lost power. In eastern Nevada, 50-60 cars were trapped in snow on Highway 93 between Pioche and Ely. Power outages and areas of minor flooding were reported in Arizona.

© Western Regional Climate Center