by Tom Ross, Meteorologist
Last year we ended wet and we are doing anything but this year. Our last really wet month in Fairview was August, when 8-10 inches of rain fell mostly in the first half of the month. Since that period, for the most part we really haven’t had much rain at all. The cumulative total rainfall for all of September, October and the first half of November this year is not much more than one inch of precipitation.
What a difference a year makes — our long-term climate averages are usually made up of these extreme rainfall differences. What we need are a couple of good rain- or snow-producing systems to head our way from the Gulf of Mexico, but the “Gulf” has been basically closed for the last several months. Our prevailing wind flow has been from the northwest, and that fact combined with no southern storms or moisture means starved, wimpy cold fronts. While the fronts do bring colder temperatures, they bring little in terms of precipitation, since there is no way for these systems to tap Gulf moisture on their trek across the country.
To see the latest on how we are doing with this current drought see NOAA’s Drought Monitor and Drought Outlook information at cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/ products/drought/.
In terms of averages, temperatures continue to drop as we head through the month, with average highs about 53 at the start of the December, dropping to 47 by month’s end. The lows drop from 32 at the start of the month to 27 by the end of November. The warmest day on record was 81 degrees on December 31, 1951, and the coldest was a numbing -7 degrees on the 25th in 1983. The average precipitation for the Fairview area is around 4 inches with the average December snowfall close to 2 inches. Let’s hope we get some major precipitation events to end our current drought.
Meteorologist Tom Ross managed NOAA’s Climate Database Modernization Program during his 25-year career at the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville. He was a senior weather forecaster at Accu Weather in Pennsylvania. Tom teaches classes on weather that HAS and climate at various local venues.