Warm November Continues

Another November day with sunshine and mild temperatures. Our high today was 53 degrees. Today’s average high is 46 degrees. Ten of fifteen days this month has had highs above average. The nicest part of this November is the unusual amount of sunshine. November is tied with December as the cloudiest month on average. Our temperatures will continue to be above average every day this week except for Thursday.

Last weekend’s big snowstorm that missed us to the west was the first snowstorm of the season in Wisconsin. It may seem early for a storm of this magnitude, but it actually is pretty average for timing in Wisconsin. Take a look at the last 30 years in Wisconsin.

Last year, Wisconsin did not have a major winter storm until December 13, and 14th , however you can see some years had storms as early as the first week of October. SE Wisconsin does not usually get big snowstorms in November, but that changes as we get into December. I want to thank the National Weather Service in Sullivan for the graphic.

The above graphic is very interesting to me. It goes back to the mid 1970s counting the number of major winter storms that hit Wisconsin. I found it pretty surprising to see more major winter storms in the 1990s and 2000s than in the 1970s and 1980s. A winter storm is defined by the following:

1. Snow accumulations of 6 inches or more,

2. Blizzard conditions for 3 hours or more – visibility below 1/4 mile due to falling and/or blowing snow with frequent wind gusts 35 mph or higher,

3. Ice accumulations of 1/4 inch or more in 12 hours or less due to freezing rain

4. Sleet accumulations of 2 inches or more in 12 hours or less,

5. Snow accumulations of 3 to 6 inches with sustained winds or frequent gusts of 25-34 mph and intermittent reductions in visibility to less than 1/2 mile resulting in closed roads, etc.

I was surprised that the 1970s had fewer storms. As a kid, I always thought the 1970s were much snowier than the last 20 years. If you have any theories of why, let me know in the comments section.

Finally, I wanted to share the visible satellite image from today.

The areas with snow cover had highs in the 30s today. The surrounding areas had highs around 50. The snow will quickly melt as the week goes on. Thanks for reading.



7 Responses

  1. If the 1970s weren’t as snowy here, it was a different story nearby in Chicago. Apparently their snowiest decade was the 70s and by a sizable margin at that.


    • Daniel,

      Nice post. The same could be said in St. Louis, where I grew up. That’s why I was surprised.

  2. Mark – statistics are a bit deceiving. What is “normal”? If it is zero degrees departure from norm, then since June there has only been five days that were “normal”. Since normal or average is simply the mean of past days likely with a wide range of variance, “normal” is a tough thing to hit. Here is an interesting article written by the maverick Dr. Chuck Doswell on this topic. I find it interesting and amusing.


    As far as the snow trend…keep in mind – much like tornado statistics, as you go further back in records – there was less folks taking readings and less precise instruments. I cannot say the information is wrong, but something to think about. Here is an AMS article speaking to this quandary.


    Sorry..sometimes I do pop in time to time when something makes me think to research. 😉

    • lrcweather, thank you for the the links. They are great reads. I recommend everyone reading them.

  3. The same is true in Oshkosh as well, however, the graph Mark displays is of the number of winter storms to hit the state, not the amount of snow that fell in the area. The 70’s could have been bombarded with snowfalls that were not “storms”, but maybe a many series of clippers… I have a list of data that shows the amount of days each winter in Oshkosh has had measurable snowfall. If interested I can link you.

    I feel, the reason many of us think it snowed more when we were younger, is just that. We were younger and everything was bigger than we were…

    Fun post!

    • Josh, I thought the same thing, but it still seems odd. I think the record keeping has become better in the last 20 years.

      I’d love to see the link.

      Our memories will never be of snowless times, but of the big snows of our youth.


  4. Mark, the list of data from Oshkosh can be found by following the link below. Data from 1971-2006 was obtained from the NWS GRB for the official NWS observation site in Oshkosh and the data from 2006-2010 is from my UCOOP NWS precipitation observation site.


    lrcweather, included in the list of data I added the count of Missing Data per season. As the link you posted about heavy snow points out for other regions, there must have been a transition happening in Oshkosh in the early 80’s. I know Oshkosh has a great group of people taking the “official” measurements each season at the WWTP (over 25 years now) but yet being only 1.5 miles apart in distance our snowfall totals differ often as I believe they measure once a day at 7am while I will be taking measurements every 2-3 hours when a storm is taking place, or even any typical snowfall for that matter… regardless, all I can control is what I do. Great links by the way. It’ll make for some great lunch reading material this afternoon.

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