A cold and snowy November turned warmer and wet as the month concluded, but this year will still rank in the top 10 for flurries and chill.
According to measurements taken by the National Weather Service, this year had the coldest November in 11 years and the ninth-coldest overall as temperatures averaged 27.2 degrees, 6.2 degrees below normal for the month. The month also accumulated 26.7 inches of snow at Juneau International Airport (the city’s official measuring point), making it the 10th-snowiest since recordkeeping began in 1936.
Both marks came courtesy of a flood of Arctic air that poured through the gaps in the coast range after the first week in November. A series of typical fall storms moved over top of that cold air but failed to displace it. That meant all their moisture fell as snow instead of rain in the capital city. The chilly conditions brought unseasonably clear weather as well: Juneau had six days of clear skies in the first half of the month, and another 11 days of partly cloudy weather.
Temperatures stayed below freezing for almost two solid weeks, as the thermometer failed to climb above 32 degrees between Nov. 14 and Nov. 27. That period also saw the coldest mark of the season, as the thermometer dipped to 7 degrees on the clear night of Nov. 19.
The Weather Service recorded at least a trace of snow at the airport every day between Nov. 16 and the end of the month. That streak included a record-setting Nov. 17, when 10.2 inches fell at the airport. The season’s first snowfall came Nov. 10, when 3.5 inches was reported at the airport.
Through the first day of December, Juneau’s snowfall is running a foot above normal. By this point in the year, the airport has normally received only 13.9 inches.
That trend is likely to change, however, as the Weather Service is predicting warm conditions to continue through next week after a brief weekend cooldown.
A period of rain and temperatures as high as the lower 40s is expected to begin Sunday night and continue through at least Thursday. Evening temperatures will remain above freezing, precluding severe icing, but conditions will take a toll on Juneau’s remaining sea-level snowpack.
Snow-lovers can take heart from the forecast given by the Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, which is predicting a 40-50 percent chance of below-normal temperatures in December — a higher chance than any other place in the United States.
• Contact reporter James Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 523-2258.