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Seasonal conditions to return, following a bitter cold start to November

November started off on the pleasant side, but within just a matter of days old man winter reared his head.

The cold outbreaks that have gripped a large portion of the nation are quite uncommon during this time of the year. They are typically more of a midwinter event and not late fall. Within just the first two weeks of the month, one could accurately use the terms snovember, November freeze, or bitter cold to describe a month where temperatures usually hover in the 50s.

It’s a trend that has been occurring since the first of November when temperatures were already falling below seasonal values. While it is uncommon to experience an Arctic outbreak this early in the year, it can happen and it’s all thanks to several factors coming together perfectly.

Thanks to the tilt of the earth away from the sun during the latter half of the year, the North Pole sits in complete darkness. This creates the perfect breeding ground for very cold air masses which eventually creep southward into Canada as winter approaches. Usually, this occurs during the latter portion of the winter which is when we usually see our greatest winter threat. However, thanks to a strong ridge of high pressure that has been anchored across the West Coast, winter arrived early for many.


A ridge of high pressure aloft displaces colder air, which spilled into the eastern half of the nation. It’s this continuous intrusion of cold air that not only smashed records for Mid-Missouri but brought us the coldest month since April. (Important to note, this large area of high pressure also provided support for the devastating wildfires that have been occurring in California.)

At just 36.7 degrees, this November comes in just 2 degrees warmer than the coldest November ever recorded. The ABC 17 Weather Team crunched the numbers and even if the rest of the month featured seasonal temperatures, this month will still close out as the 10th or 11th coldest on record.

Additionally, snow has been quite noticeable across the region. While it’s not the snowiest we’ve seen here in Columbia, two individual records have been broken for daily snowfall totals. It’s a trend that has continued, with another round of wintry weather possible as we head into the weekend.

Currently, the month of November is sitting at 4.1″ of snow, which is the most we’ve seen during the month in 15 years.

There is some good news though. The Climate Prediction Center highlights most of the country will see warmer than normal temperatures to close out the month of November, which for many will be a welcoming relief following record-breaking snow.


Stay with ABC 17 News as we continue to monitor the upcoming warming trend and follow us on Twitter @ABC17Stormtrack.

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