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November ends cold, December brings warm-up

Posted by David Epstein  November 29, 2012 08:37 AM

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A cold few days will close out the 11th month and keep the ground frozen as we head into the weekend. Temperatures will be significantly under what one might expect for this time of the year. If you took the past 30 years and averaged them together temperatures would end up in the upper 40s for late November. The chart below shows the average high and low for the month. The red denotes the general range high temperatures have taken over the past few decades and the blue is the general range low temperatures have taken. The rest of the week our highs and lows will be in the colder part of the range. I marked tomorrow's temperatures on the chart so you can see where they will fall in the range. By the second half of the weekend warmer air will stream north and the mercury will start to move above the average and stay that way into next week.
november temperatures.png
Ask me a weather or gardening question on Twitter at @growingwisdom and be sure to get my latest updates to the forecast there as well

As we close the month of November it is worth noting this will end up being a colder month than average. This tends to bode well for a more typical winter in terms of cold. Last year when we had a very warm fall I was confident in low snow totals for the winter. As I wrote earlier this week, I am thinking around 35-45 inches of snowfall for Boston this winter's totals. There are many factors that go into a seasonal forecast and this type of forecasting is not as accurate as day to day forecasting. However, there are big picture weather phenomena like the lack of El Nino or La Nina and a trend towards a negative North Atlantic Oscillation that point us towards a snowier winter.

Now through the weekend

Two areas of high pressure are going to affect us the next several days. Today, the first high brings chilly, but not arctic air to the region. Friday and Saturday a colder high will build in from Canada and give the area just a taste of arctic air. We will be on the southern fringe of that frigid air mass To illustrate how much colder it gets the further north you go, temperatures over northern Maine Friday will be sub-zero in the morning and barely reach the teens in the afternoon. In contrast, temperatures across southern New England will not make it out of the 30s for Friday or Saturday. The cold air will move eastward on Sunday as milder air comes back to the region. As the warmer air clashes with the cold air a period of light snow, rain or just drizzle will push through. The best chance for any snow will be late Friday night and Saturday. Once the warm air moves into the region on Sunday we will see a few breaks of sunshine mixing in with the clouds. While there could be a brief rain shower Sunday, the big change to the weather will be high temperatures warming into the 50s. Highs Sunday will reach 50F to 55F and be a bit milder Monday. Monday very well could feel like spring with sunshine and those warm temperatures for early December.

Not much light
December is our darkest month with just about 9 hours of daylight each day. The length of the day doesn't change by very much the entire month. However, there is a tiny bit of good news in December with regard to light as the sunsets will get about 10 minutes later by New Years.
Sunrise boston.png During a dark and cold month I start looking for even the smallest signs of improvement in the light department. You can see from the chart just how fast our daylight decreases during the fall but it also increases just as quickly once we start the new year. By the end of January we will have gained over an hour of daylight.

More precipitation

November is a cloudier and wetter month and that trend continues during the winter months. precipitation boston.pngYou can see that the chances of a day having some precipitation are highest in late fall and early winter when the jet stream is closest to our area. By summer, we tend to dry out when most of the activity shifts north. You can click on the image to make it bigger.

Gardening this week
This week I am continuing the long process of putting the gardens to bed for the winter. I don't cover tender plants until the ground is frozen. Putting straw, hay etc. around the plants too early creates a good home for mice and voles. I did plant my garlic yesterday however, just in the nick of time I feel. Check out the video below to see how I mulch many of my plants for winter.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this blog or any others. Please follow me on Twitter at @growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at GrowingWisdom.com

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

David Epstein has been a professional meteorologist and horticulturalist for three decades. David spent 16 years at WCVB in Boston and currently freelances for WGME in Portland, ME. In 2006, More »
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