November 2022 Climate Summary
Sunrise in Western Kansas, Photo Courtesy of Gannon Rush
November brought relief from the continued above-normal temperatures; however, precipitation was still below-normal for much of the region. Drought conditions will likely continue through the winter, which will affect agricultural production.
A lone bright spot in agriculture was the optimal weather conditions allowed for a rapid harvest this year. Minimal precipitation and favorable temperatures allowed farmers to harvest unimpeded this year. These conditions, however, were not helpful for the early stages of winter wheat production. At the end of November, winter wheat was in the worst condition in the past 20 years. Nearly 40 percent is rated poor to very poor in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska. The continued dryness this fall has amplified the need for snow cover and moisture, or winter wheat will struggle again in 2023.
The first significant winter storm impacted the northern part of the region starting on November 9th, with heavy snow in North Dakota and an ice storm in South Dakota. Much of North Dakota shut down after a foot of snow impacted parts of the state. Bismarck received 17 inches (43.18 cm) on the 10th, the second-highest daily snowfall amount on record. In South Dakota, ice was a significant problem with places receiving up to 0.75 inches. The cooler temperatures that followed for much of the month allowed the ice to linger until Thanksgiving week.
Precipitation and Water Resources
Precipitation was spotty this past month, with pockets of well-above-normal precipitation present and much below-normal. Parts of North Dakota and Kansas received much-needed precipitation, which helped improve drought conditions.
Western Kansas and the front range of Colorado were incredibly dry this past month, with much of the area recording less than 0.10 inches (2.54 mm) of precipitation. Akron, Colorado tied for its 3rd driest November on record, with a meager 0.02 inches (0.51 mm) of precipitation. Goodland, Kansas also ranked 10th driest, with only 0.03 inches (0.76 mm) observed.
With the end of meteorological fall, many locations ranked in the top 10 driest falls. The Dakotas were among the driest of all locations. Grand Forks and Fargo, North Dakota ranked 4th driest on record, with both locations observing less than 1.50 inches (3.81 cm) of precipitation. In South Dakota, Huron, Aberdeen, and Rapid City ranked in the top 4, with only Rapid City recording more than 1 inch (2.54 cm) of precipitation this fall. Nebraska was also very dry, with Chadron, Grand Island, Lincoln, and Omaha ranking in the top 10 driest.
While it is still early into the season, the mountain snowpack is in good shape. The majority of the basins are at or near average. This is favorable for improving streamflow conditions, as they are incredibly low throughout the drought-stricken southern Plains. The Corps of Engineers announced
that releases from Gavins Point Dam will reach wintertime levels by mid-December.
After multiple months of warm temperatures, the region finally cooled off. Much of the region was near to slightly below normal, while the northwestern portion was well below normal. Parts of Wyoming were nearly 10 degrees F (5.6 degrees C) below normal this past month.
Despite the overall cooler temperatures, warm temperatures lingered into the beginning of the month. Temperatures eclipsed 80 degrees F (26.7 degrees C) in Kansas several days during the beginning of the month, only to rapidly cool down. Departures rapidly went from over 20 degrees F above normal to 20 degrees below normal. The dramatic swings were limited to the first half of the month, with the back half of November near normal temperatures.
On the opposite end of the spectrum parts of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming dropped to –30 degrees F (-34.4 degrees C) on the 19th. Multiple days this month reached –20 degrees F (-28.9 degrees C) in Yellowstone.
Cooler temperatures this past month helped limit the overall expansion of drought conditions. While precipitation was below normal in many places, the areas that did receive some greatly benefited from it. Overall, the region observed a 2 percent decrease in D0 to D4 (abnormally dry to exceptional drought conditions).
With the meteorological fall coming to an end, the drought situation remains dire in the region. November offered some relief for parts of Kansas and the Dakotas, however, conditions further deteriorated in Nebraska. Over 85 percent of the state is currently experiencing D2-D4 (severe to exceptional drought). The dry conditions plaguing the state have led to a 25 percent increase since the beginning of September. While extreme drought (D3) conditions have doubled in the state since the beginning of October, with nearly 60 percent of the state under these conditions. Elsewhere in the region, other improvements and degradation were observed.
According to the Climate Prediction Center, La Niña conditions are likely to continue through the end of the year. A La Niña advisory is currently in effect. For more information, visit https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf
The National Weather Service’s long-range flood outlook indicates a low probability of Minor Flooding in eastern Kansas through February. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), fire potential will be limited across the region through next year.
The seasonal temperature and precipitation outlook presented below combine the effects of long-term trends, soil moisture, and when applicable, the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). To learn more about these outlooks, please visit http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov.
The three-month temperature outlook shows an increased chance of above-normal temperatures in the southern part of the United States, while below normal temperatures are favored in the northwestern part. Across the High Plains, there are equal chances of above-, below-, and near-normal
temperatures across much of the region. The Dakotas and parts of Wyoming have increased chances of below-normal temperatures.
The outlook for the next three months indicates below-normal precipitation across the southern parts of the United States and above-normal chances across the northern portions. Above-normal precipitation is slightly favored in parts of the Dakotas and Wyoming. Drought-stricken western Kansas and southern Colorado slightly lean towards below-normal precipitation.
The U.S Seasonal Drought Outlook released on November 17th indicates that improvements will occur in western Wyoming, while development should occur in southern Colorado. Drought should remain entrenched throughout much of the region through winter.
Station Summaries: By the Number
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