The Streak is Broken: November 2012 Report
Just About Every Condition Imaginable: Fall 2012 Report

Dr. David A. Robinson
New Jersey State Climatologist
Center for Environmental Prediction, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences/NJAES, Rutgers University
December 8, 2012

November Overview

The last month of climatological fall proved to be a rather wintery one across New Jersey. Measurable snow fell on two occasions over portions of the state, and for the first time since January 2011 the statewide average monthly temperature was below normal. Despite the cooler-than-average temperatures and the early-month snowstorm, conditions for the most part were rather tranquil, thus of no great hindrance to the recovery efforts from Sandy.

The average monthly temperature of 41.6° was 4.0° below average, making November 2012 the 19th coolest on record (back to 1895). Chilly conditions were persistent, with about three out of four days below average; there were no extremely cold episodes. The 10th-13th was the only warm interval of the month, with highs into the 60°s and low 70°s in many areas. Dennis Township (Cape May County) and Greenwich (Salem) reached 63° on the 10th. Red Lion (Burlington), Sicklerville (Camden), and Cherry Hill (Camden) led the way with 72° on the 11th. The 12th was the mildest day of the month, with 72° reached at Red Lion, Cherry Hill, and Piney Hollow (Gloucester). Elsewhere, 13 stations in the 54 station NJ Weather and Climate Network topped out at 70° or 71°, while High Point (Sussex) only got to 57°. Mullica (Atlantic), Cherry Hill, and Hammonton (Atlantic) were warmest at 64° on the 13th. The only other day of the month at or above 60° was the 23rd, with 62° in Red Lion and 60° at five locations.

Most locations saw low temperatures dip into the 20°s on a number of November mornings. On 11 days, cold air drainage led to lows in the upper teens at several valley locations. This occurred when overnight skies were clear and winds calm. The usual cold locations of Walpack (Sussex) and Pequest (Warren) took cold honors on most occasions. The 6th saw lows of 16° at these two spots, with 17° at Basking Ridge (Somerset) and 18° in Kingwood (Hunterdon). It wasn't until the 17th that the teens returned, with 19° at Walpack. The 18th saw Walpack at 18° and Pequest at 19°, with Walpack down to 17° on the 19th. Walpack fell to 16° on the 21st, 19° (along with Pequest) on the 22nd, and 19° on the 23rd. Berkeley Township (Ocean) bottomed out at 19° on the 26th, Pequest 18°, Walpack 19° on the 28th, and Pequest 17°, Walpack, and Kingwood 18° on the 29th. The 30th was the coldest morning of the month statewide, with Pequest and Berkeley Township down to 18°, Walpack at 19°, and 23 NJWxNet stations between 20°-25°.

It took until late in the month for three NJWxNet coastal stations to fall to the freezing point for the first time this fall. Harvey Cedars (Ocean) reached 32° on the 25th, West Cape May (Cape May) 28° on the 28th, and Atlantic City Marina (Atlantic) 32° on the 29th. Of all the stations in the state, West Cape May had the longest growing season this year, with a 261-day freeze-free interval from March 12th through November 27th. On the opposite end, Pequest's growing season was only 153 days, running from May 12th through October 11th.

November was a rather dry month, with only three precipitation events of note. The statewide average of 1.44" was 2.20" below normal and ranks as the 12th driest on record (tied with 1965; Table 1). The most precipitation (rain and melted snow) was 2.56" at Asbury Park (Monmouth). This was followed by 2.38" in Lacey Township (Ocean) and the Monmouth County communities of Howell (2.22") and Rumson (2.20"). The least precipitation was the 0.77" observed in Parsippany-Troy Hills (Morris), followed by the Hunterdon County communities of Clinton (0.80"), Stockton (0.82"), and Frenchtown (0.84").

Rank Year Nov. Prcp
1 1917 0.51"
2 1976 0.59"
3 1922 0.83"
4 1931 0.83"
5 1908 0.87"
6 2001 1.00"
7 1933 1.08"
8 1936 1.10"
9 1903 1.15"
10 1998 1.31"
11 1973 1.43"
12 2012 1.44"
12 1965 1.44"
14 1906 1.47"
14 1946 1.47"

Table 1. The fifteen driest Novembers across New Jersey since 1895.

Snowfall for the month accumulated in two events, an unusual circumstance, though not in all locations each time. Examining historic monthly snowfall data for NJ as a whole and for individual regions from 1895-present, November 2012 was the sixth snowiest on record. The 3.4" was 2.6" above normal and the snowiest since 1989 (Table 2). The North region received 4.8" for the month, while Central came in at 5.1" and South at 1.8". This was the snowiest November for the North since 1938, when two separate events in the last week of the month produced heavy snow across the state (all regions averaged over 12.0"). The Central and South totals were the snowiest since 5.3", 5.5", respectively, in 1989.

Rank Year Snowfall
1 1898 15.0"
2 1938 13.4"
3 1953 5.1"
4 1989 5.0"
5 1967 4.2"
6 2012 3.4"
7 1978 2.7"
8 1935 2.5"
9 1906 2.1"
10 1955 2.0"

Table 2. The ten snowiest Novembers across New Jersey since 1895.

There were only three precipitation events in November that saw liquid totals exceeding 0.10" at one or more locations. The first was during the daylight hours of the 7th into the early morning of the 8th. A mix of rain and snow fell across most of the state, the largest totals in Monmouth and Ocean counties. The western portions of Sussex and Warren counties only saw flurries or very light snow accumulations. The most rain/melted snow was the 1.88"observed in Brick (Ocean), followed by Asbury Park (Monmouth) with 1.83", Lacey Township's (Ocean) 1.62", and Freehold's (Monmouth) 1.54". Snowfall was heavy in inland portions of Monmouth and Ocean counties, peaking at an incredible 13.0" in Freehold, followed by 12.0" in Allaire (Monmouth), Jackson Township (Ocean), and Manchester Township (Ocean) (maximum county totals are posted in Table 3). To only begin to appreciate the exceptional nature of these totals, 20 miles to the northwest in New Brunswick (Middlesex), where complete daily records exist back to 1893, the 4.8" from this event marked the largest early season total on record. To find a larger total, you have to go to November 23, 1989, when 6.1" fell (the October 2011 storm brought 3.0"). In several respects, it was fortunate that the eastern half of the state was in the snow for this storm (often found on the far western side of a coastal storm), as this meant the strong nor'easter was far enough offshore to keep the heavy surf away from the vulnerable coast. Winds gusted to 40 mph at Sea Girt (Monmouth), with 12 other NJWxNet stations recording gusts between 30-38 mph. While not as strong a storm as feared, the event slowed Sandy recovery efforts and placed more homes and businesses back into the dark, joining others that had yet to have power return since the October 29th storm.

County Snowfall Town
Atlantic 4.0" Estell Manor & Folsom
Bergen 7.6" Tenafly
Burlington 5.0" Chesterfield Twp
Camden 3.5" Voorhees
Cape May 2.4" Woodbine
Cumberland 2.5" South Vineland
Essex 6.2" Newark Airport
Gloucester 3.0" Franklin Twp
Hudson 6.0" Jersey City
Hunterdon 3.2" Wertsville
Mercer 7.2" Hightstown
Middlesex 7.8" Cheesequake
Monmouth 13.0" Freehold Twp
Morris 7.5" Long Hill Twp
Ocean 12.0" Jackson Twp & Manchester Twp
Passaic 5.3" Little Falls Twp
Salem 3.5" Pittsgrove Twp
Somerset 7.5" Warren Twp
Sussex 3.8" Vernon Twp
Union 7.5" Berkeley Heights
Warren 3.0" Hackettstown

Table 3. Maximum reported snowfall in NJ's 21 counties from the November 7-8 snowstorm. For a complete listing of totals, click here.

Rain fell most heavily during the morning of the 13th on the two northwestern counties that saw little precipitation from the event on the 7th. Meanwhile, little rain fell near the coast. Montague (Sussex) and Blairstown (Warren) received 0.85", while two other Blairstown stations caught 0.84" and 0.80". The final November storm during the daylight hours and early evening of the 27th again brought snow, with accumulations limited to areas roughly north of Route 1 in Mercer and Middlesex counties. Rain and melted snow totaled approximately 0.20" to 0.70" statewide, with the largest totals in Moorestown (Burlington) and Ringwood (Passaic), both with 0.77", and 0.72" in the Mercer county towns of Princeton and Ewing. At least one snowfall observation of 4.0" or more was noted in eight counties, including Sussex, Warren, Morris, Passaic, Bergen, Essex, Hunterdon, and Somerset. Topping the list was 6.0" in West Milford (Passaic) and 5.0" at both Lake Hopatcong (Morris) and Randolph Township (Morris).

Barometric pressure was highest on November 17th and 18th, ranging from about 30.65"-30.70". It was lowest on the 1st at 29.50"-29.55" as the remnants of Sandy slowly departed the Northeast. Wind gusts equaled or exceeded 40 mph on six days, but aside from the aforementioned 40 mph gust at Sea Girt on the 7th, such gusts were only observed at the Sussex County locations of High Point Monument and Wantage. Wantage got to 41 mph on the 4th, with the Monument and Wantage gusting to 50 mph and 46 mph, respectively, on the 8th. Both peaked at 48 mph on the 13th, when no other station saw a gust greater than 30 mph. The Monument also gusted to 43 mph on the 24th and 40 mph on the 25th.

Fall Overview

As is often seen in a transition season, conditions can vary widely over the course of three months. Perhaps never has this rung more true than in fall 2012 across New Jersey. Actually, just within the last week of October and the first week of November, the state experienced its most devastating storm on record and one of its largest early season snowstorms. No counties were impacted worse by both storms than Monmouth and Ocean, with coastal communities devastated by an unprecedented storm surge on October 29th and inland towns buried under as much as 13" of snow on November 7th. Toss in some early season heat and the first sub-average temperature month since January 2011 (November) and this was indeed a memorable season.

The average temperature of 55.3° was 0.2° below average and tied with 1960 and 1934 as the 43rd warmest of the past 118 falls. Despite the cooler fall, all a function of the chilly November, the first 11 months of 2012 are New Jersey's warmest on record (Table 4).

Rank Year Jan.-Nov. Avg. Temp.
1 2012 57.4°
2 2010 57.0°
2 1998 57.0°
4 2002 56.7°
5 2006 56.5°
5 2011 56.5°
7 1949 56.4°
8 1991 56.2°
9 1990 56.0°
10 1999 55.9°

Table 4. The ten warmest January to November intervals across New Jersey since 1895.

Precipitation during fall 2012 average 11.90" across NJ. This was 0.26" above average and ranked as the 45th wettest fall on record. January through November precipitation totaled 37.84", which is 5.18" below average and the 34th driest. For the fall, Stone Harbor (Cape May) received the most precipitation, with 18.40" accumulating. The next three highest totals included White Township (Warren) with 18.26", West Milford (Passaic) with 17.77", and Middle Twp (Cape May) with 17.09". Much drier conditions were observed in the northeast quadrant, with Maplewood (Essex) only receiving 6.39", Palisades Park (Bergen) 7.19", and North Arlington (Bergen) 6.84".

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

Interested in receiving our monthly summaries at the end of each month? Send us your e-mail address here to join the mailing list.

Past Climate Summaries