A Tranquil Respite: November and Fall 2011 Summary

Dr. David A. Robinson
New Jersey State Climatologist
Center for Environmental Prediction, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences/NJAES, Rutgers University
December 11, 2011

November Overview

November 2011 was one of the more tranquil months of this past dramatic weather year across New Jersey. In fact, it was rather quiet for most any November in terms of temperature and precipitation. Temperatures were on the mild side, with the statewide average of 48.9° ranking as the 10th warmest of the past 117 years (Table 1). This is 3.3° above the 1981-2010 average. NJ's mean temperature has been above average for eighteen of the past 21 months. A remarkable twelve of these eighteen above-average months rank in the top ten warmest of their respective months dating back to 1895.

Rank Year Nov. Temp.
1 2006 49.9°
2 1975 49.6°
2 2009 49.6°
4 1931 49.5°
5 1948 49.3°
6 1994 49.2°
6 2001 49.2°
8 1985 49.0°
8 1999 49.0°
10 2011 48.9°
11 1902 48.7°
11 2003 48.7°
13 1979 48.6°
14 1963 48.1°
15 1946 47.9°

Table 1. The fifteen warmest Novembers across NJ since 1895.

More so than daily low temperatures, it was the maximums that were unusually mild. For instance, New Brunswick's (Middlesex County) mean maximum for the month was 7.3° above average while the minimum departure was only +1.4°. The afternoon warmth was reflected in at least one location in the state reaching 70° or higher on eight days and highs in the 60°s on twelve others. The 8th was the warmest day, with Basking Ridge (Somerset) and New Brunswick both reaching 75° and 33 of the 47 NJ Weather and Climate Network stations reaching 70° or higher. The coolest location was Bivalve (Cumberland) at 60°.

New Brunswick hit 70° on the 9th and 71° was achieved at Hawthorne (Passaic), Haworth (Bergen), and New Brunswick on the 10th. Warmth returned on the 14th with 75° in Howell (Monmouth), 74° at Sicklerville (Camden), and Point Pleasant (Ocean) topping off at 71° on the 15th. The last week of November saw Sicklerville reach 71° on the 26th, Hillsborough (Somerset) and New Brunswick at 74° on the 28th, and 70° achieved at Upper Deerfield (Cumberland), Woodstown (Salem), and New Brunswick on the 29th.

While one or more locations fell below freezing on 24 days, November ended without Seaside Heights (Ocean), Harvey Cedars (Ocean), or Atlantic City (Atlantic) having yet fallen to the freezing mark this season. As usual, the valley station at Walpack (Sussex) was quite often the cold spot in the state, but even for this location, achieving this rank on 22 days this past month was unusual. This was the only station that dipped into the teens in November, reaching 19° on the 5th and 13° on the 6th. Pequest (Warren), another valley location in the northwest, was second coldest on both mornings, some 3 degrees milder on the 5th, but a notable 8 degrees higher on the 6th. There were eleven other mornings when Walpack had a low from 20°-25° (November 1-2, 7, 12-13, 18-19, and 24-27). Other stations shared this range on four of these days, including Pequest at 25° on the 2nd and 7th and 23° on the 18th, and Berkeley Township (Ocean), a traditionally cold Pinelands station, at 23° on the 18th and 20° on the 19th. Statewide, the 19th was the coldest morning of the month, with twelve stations bottoming out between 20°-25° and only six remaining above freezing.

Precipitation wise, November was close to average. At 3.86", rainfall was 0.22" above average and ranks as the 42nd wettest November since 1895. This was enough rainfall to raise the statewide calendar year total to date to 60.50". This surpasses the calendar year record of 58.98" in 1996. North Jersey has been wetter than average compared to south Jersey this year, but all areas have been well above average. The past twelve-month total (December 2010-November 2011) of 63.80" ranks as the 3rd wettest consecutive twelve-month record. This only sits behind the 66.60" total established from April 2009-March 2010 and 64.36" from May 2009-April 2010. A quite impressive feat when realizing that there have been 1393 twelve-month intervals since the first statewide averages were generated in 1895.

As has often been the case in 2011, the northwest portion of New Jersey was wettest in November. The largest totals included White Township (Warren) with 5.74", Holland Township (Hunterdon) at 5.55", and 5.35" in Oxford Township (Warren). On the low end were locations in the southwest and coastal north. This included 2.18" in Woolwich Township (Gloucester), 2.84" at Wall Township (Monmouth), and 2.87" in Berlin Township (Camden).

The first two weeks of November saw little or no rain across the entire state. Late on the 15th until the early hours of the 17th, most of NJ received at least 0.50". This included 1.00" to almost 2.00" in the southeast, with top totals in the Cape May County towns of Wildwood Crest (1.92"), Dennis Township (1.68"), Upper Township (1.64"), and Woodbine (1.64" and 1.63" reports). A secondary maximum of 0.75"-1.00" occurred in the northern third of the state. A moderate event on the 20th-21st again brought the southern quarter the most rain. Woodbine was dampened with 0.58", and both Upper Township and Hamilton (Atlantic) with 0.49". Totals fell off to under 0.10" in northern NJ.

The most notable event of November was a rainstorm from late on the 21st to the morning of the 23rd that deposited 1.00-3.00" of rain over most of the state. Taking top honors was Bethlehem (Hunterdon) with 3.37", followed by Lacey Township (Ocean) at 3.16" and White Township (Warren) with 3.15". On the low end, Wildwood Crest and Stone Harbor in Cape May County came in with 0.82". Of 189 Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network reports for this event, ten exceeded 3.00" and 122 ranged from 2.00"-2.99". Warren, Hunterdon, and coastal Ocean county locations had 2.50" to over 3.00", the southern quarter of NJ received 1.00"-1.50", and the remainder saw 1.50"-2.50". Some streams and rivers briefly reached bank full or low flood stage, closing some commonly flooded roads.

The final rain event of the month occurred from midday on the 29th to early on the 30th. Approximately 1.00" fell in the northwest, with the remainder of the state receiving about 0.50". White Township (Warren) received 1.27", Blairstown (Warren) had 1.21", and Mt. Olive (Morris) and Hackettstown (Warren) each caught 1.20".

This was a snow-free month for New Jersey, with the exception of the melting snow cover that remained from the late October storm. The month began with a covering in north and central counties that exceeded 5" at higher elevations. Most of this was gone by the 4th, although patches of snow were observed in shady locations through at least the 8th. Accompanying the melt was the restoration of power to remaining customers, who immediately following the storm numbered close to one million. Approximately 375,000 were without power on the 1st, with that number declining to 9,000 by the 5th.

Fog plagued portions of NJ on the 7th, 9th, 10th, and 17th, particularly on the middle two dates. The maximum pressure for the month was in the 30.55"-30.60" range on the 6th and lowest from 29.55"-29.60" on the 23rd. Wind gusts were 40 mph or greater at three locations over eight days. On the 4th, Atlantic City Marina (Atlantic) gusted to 40 mph. Wantage (Sussex) reached 44 mph on the 10th, High Point Monument (Sussex) 42 mph on the 11th, and Wantage 44 mph and High Point Monument 40 mph on the 14th. High Point Monument had gusts to 46 mph on the 18th, 43 mph on the 19th (when Atlantic City Marina reached 40 mph), 41 mph on the 29th, and 40 mph on the 30th.

Fall Overview

Fall 2011 was warm and damp throughout New Jersey and, for several days, quite white in the northern half of the state. The average temperature for September-November was 58.1°, which is 2.7° above average and makes this the 4th warmest fall on record (Table 2). Temperatures each month were above average, with September (5th) and November (10th) in the top ten going back 117 years.

Rank Year Fall Temp.
1 1931 59.1°
2 2005 58.5°
3 2007 58.2°
4 2011 58.1°
5 1961 58.0°
6 1900 57.9°
6 1946 57.9°
8 1985 57.7°
9 1941 57.4°
10 1971 57.3°
11 1959 57.1°
12 1970 57.0°
13 2010 56.9°
14 2001 56.8°
15 1999 56.7°

Table 2. The fifteen warmest falls (September-November) across New Jersey since 1895.

Fall precipitation totaled 14.72", which is 3.08" above average and ranks as 18th wettest. The remnants of Tropical Storm Lee in early September boosted the monthly total to a 10th place ranking. This was followed by slightly above average totals in October and November. By far the largest October snowstorm on record clobbered central and northern areas of the state at the end of the month; an event that like several others in 2011 will long be remembered in New Jersey weather and climate annals.

For those seeking more detailed information on hourly, daily and monthly conditions, please visit the following Office of the NJ State Climatologist's websites:

NJ Weather and Climate Network
NJ Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network
NJ Snow Event Reports

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