What a difference a year makes

Last November cold, the winter warm. This year could it be opposite?

The maps below show the national average temperature and precipitation for November of last year and this year.

Both years November was drier than normal for most of our area.

But last year heating demand across the nation was the 12th highest since 1950, while this year national heating demand in November was the 4th lowest.

We are currently in a La Nina condition in the Pacific Ocean.

The composite average of a “La Nina Winter” in our region is warmer and drier than normal on average for the 3-month winter period. But that does not mean it has to be all warm and all dry all the time.

In fact, La Nina winters tend to be more volatile and changeable, variable than El Nino winters:

So we can have the jet stream drop down from the North on occasion to deliver cold and even snow in an otherwise mild winter. A La Nina often tends to have cold early and again late with the greatest warmth in the heart of winter.

I’ve lived in Atlanta for over 3 decades, and while I remember trick or treating with tiny snow flakes on a windy night back in the 90s I think, I have in that time NEVER seen such real snow flurries as we had to end November, that is historically quite early. That’s something that usually holds off until January or February. Food for thought.

There is NO way to know if it’s trying to tell us something or if it’s just a random weather one-off.

However, I find it interesting that we’ve had some huge upper-level lows and Miller A systems show up already and another one coming Friday, although the next one looks less cold and less wet than the one that closed out November:

If you missed my winter outlook for 2020-21 I mentioned then this possibility in that winter outlook issued back in early November:

For daily updates follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.

Kirk Mellish

Meteorologist

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