Transition to winter (with a very white Thanksgiving)

By Russell Russ

It has been said that November’s weather can predict the coming winter’s weather. This November was interesting in that it began warm and dry and then ended up cold and snowy. Overall, November ended up a little colder and a lot snowier than average with the second half of the month being quite cold and snowy. We transitioned from autumn to mid winter in the span of this one month. Fairly common actually, just as March can be the transition month into spring. With several days towards the end of the month in the teens, one day in single digits, and nearly a foot of snow on the ground for Thanksgiving it sure seemed like winter set in early and that we would be in for a good old fashioned winter.

Many smaller ponds, including Tamarack, McMullen and Pond Hill, began icing over around November 16. By November 22 they had iced over, only to go out and then back in by the end of the month. Tobey Pond and Wangum Lake stayed open throughout the month.

The month’s high temperature of 63 degrees was observed on November 4 and the low temperature of 9 degrees was observed on November 29. The average mean temperature was 35.5 degrees, 1.5 degrees below normal. Temperature-wise it was very similar to our last two Novembers, making it three in a row that were a little colder than normal. You have to go back to 1997 to find a colder November than our last three. In fact, Novembers 1995-1997 were also three in a row that were colder than normal, then we had fourteen in a row that were warmer than average. Could this be a pattern?

The total precipitation for the month was 3.53 inches, 1.11 inches below normal. Through November this year, the total precipitation amount was 50.64 inches. For the first eleven months of the year we were 2.39 inches above normal for this time period. With still one month to go until year’s end it is looking like a fairly normal year as far as precipitation goes.

The month’s snowfall total was an impressive 16.3 inches, 9.8 inches above normal. In 83 years of recording it was the ninth snowiest November on record. The snowiest November was 1968 with 24.7 inches. The snowstorm on November 26-27 measured 11.8 inches and according to our GMF weather records that was the third highest 24-hour snowfall total for a November since we began observations in 1932. This year’s 24-hour amount was only surpassed by November 25, 1938 with 16.8 inches and November 30, 1945 with 12.9 inches. Through November, the yearly snowfall amount for 2014 was 81.3 inches, 8.1 inches above normal and nearly 26 inches more than last year.

With one month to go until the end of the year it is looking like 2014 will go down as a fairly average year; a year with a few extremes here and there, but fairly average in the end.

This month’s weather photo, taken November 27, shows GMF’s 1979 International F2554 log truck covered in November snow. Very soon GMF will be decommissioning the old International and “upgrading” to a 1966 Mack R600. The Prentice log loader will be moved from the International to the Mack. So begins a new era here at GMF.