National Weather: Unfavorable Dry Conditions In The Central & Southern Plains

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Unfavorably dry conditions persisted on the central and southern Plains, where a cold spell effectively ended the opportunity for further winter wheat establishment. In fact, thin winter wheat stands on portions of the central and southern Plains contrasted with a well-established, snow-covered wheat crop across the northern Plains and the Northwest.

Additional snow fell during the week from the Northwest into the upper Midwest, while a final round of rain virtually eradicated lingering drought in the eastern Corn Belt. By week's end, a colder weather pattern resulted in widespread snow showers downwind of the Great Lakes. Farther south and east, an axis of heavy rainfall stretched along the Appalachian Cordillera.

Rainfall totals in excess of 4 inches were most common in the southern Appalachians. In contrast, little or no rain fell in the southern Atlantic region, including much of Georgia and Florida, where drought continued to expand and intensify. Elsewhere, cold, stormy weather prevailed in the Northwest, maintaining favorable conditions for overwintering grains. Cool conditions also covered the Southwest.

Early in the week, snow continued to blanket the northern Plains and the Northwest. Daily-record snowfall totals for November 28 included 7.0 inches in Pocatello, ID, and 6.4 inches in Billings, MT. For Pocatello, it was the snowiest November day on record, edging the mark of 6.9 inches set on November 21, 1992. With a monthly total of23.3 inches, Billings completed its second-snowiest November behind only 25.2 inches in 1978. Elsewhere in the West, November snowfall records were broken in locations such as Spokane, WA (25.9 inches; previously, 24.7 inches in 1955), and Ely, NV (20.3 inches; previously, 17.3 inches in 1985). Meanwhile, heavy precipitation shifted into the eastern one-third of the United States. On November 29, both Monroe, LA (1.87 inches), and Jonesboro, AR (1.72 inches), noted daily rainfall records.
A multitude of daily-record precipitation totals were reported on November 30, including 4.11 inches in Asheville, NC; 3.93 inches in Huntsville, AL; 3.03 inches in London, KY; 2.95 inches in Pittsburgh, PA; 2.66 inches in Greenville-Spartanburg, SC; and 2.47 inches in Parkersburg, WV. For Pittsburgh, it was the wettest November day on record, topping the mark of 1.89 inches set just 5 days earlier. For London, it was the second-wettest November day on record, behind 3.53 inches on November 12, 1975.

A severe weather outbreak accompanied the heavy rain, with approximately three dozen tornadoes spotted on November 29-30 across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. Heavy rain continued into December 1 across the Northeast, where daily-record amounts included 2.91 inches in Williamsport, PA, and 1.43 inches in Rochester, NY.

Precipitation ended as snow from the Great Lakes region into the Northeast, with December 1 snowfall reaching 3.4 inches in Rochester and 5.0 inches in Grand Rapids, MI. A few favored locations in Erie County, NY, downwind of Lake Erie, received more than 3 feet of lake-effect snow in a 48-hour period from December 1-3. At week's end, a fast-moving storm deposited a stripe of snow from the northern Plains into the Ohio Valley. Record-setting snowfall totals in North Dakota for December 3 included 5.6 inches in Bismarck and 4.0 inches in Williston. The following day, snowfall records for December 4 reached 5.1 inches in Chicago, IL, and 3.2 inches in Cincinnati, OH.

Cold weather persisted early in the week across the West, where Redding (26 degrees F) notched a daily-record low for November 28. In Oregon, Klamath Falls (1 and -1 degrees F) opened the week with consecutive daily-record lows on November 28-29. On November 30, Tucson, AZ (23 degrees F), reported its fourth-lowest temperature of the century, behind 19 degrees F on December 29, 2003, and 20 degrees F on both December 28, 2003, and January 15, 2007. Elsewhere in Arizona, monthly record lows were established on November 30 in locations such as Douglas (11 degrees F; previously, 14 degrees F on November 23, 1957) and Safford (14 degrees F; previously 15 degrees F on November 22, 1979, and November 26, 1992). Daily-record lows for November 30 included -13 degrees F in Milford, UT, and -4 degrees F in Flagstaff, AZ. The following day, Del Rio, TX (26 degrees F), collected a daily-record low for December 1. Just 2 days earlier, McAllen, TX (93 degrees F), had posted a daily-record high for November 29. Warmth prevailed for much of the week in Florida, where daily-record highs included 86 degrees F (on November 29) in Tampa and 84 degrees F (on November 30) in Jacksonville.

Toward week's end, warmth briefly returned to the south-central United States, where daily-record highs for December 3 reached 84 degrees F in Childress, TX; 79 degrees F in Tucumcari, NM; and 75 degrees F in Pueblo, CO.

Stormy weather persisted across much of Alaska, but abruptly colder conditions held weekly temperatures as much as 15 degrees F below normal across the interior. With 11.6 inches of snow during November, Fairbanks completed its snowiest month since March 2009 (15.5 inches). Barrow's November snowfall reached 20.0 inches, behind only October 1925 (23.2 inches) and October 2008 (21.2 inches) on its all-time list. By December 3, a large low-pressure system over south-central Alaska helped to produce a daily-record snowfall (4.9 inches) in Kotzebue. A day later, Haines (1.40 inches) netted a daily-record precipitation total for December 4.

Farther south, wet weather provided additional drought relief in Hawaii. On Kauai, famously wet Mount Waialeale netted a weekly rainfall total of 16.35 inches, aided by a 24-hour sum of 7.87 inches on December 2-3. On the Big Island, Hilo received 4.50 inches of rain during the first 4 days of December, boosting its year-to-date total to 60.66 inches (52 percent of normal).

Source: AMS/USDA



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