November in the West
Thanks to record setting cold the final 10 days of November, temperatures were near or below normal for almost the entire region. The first week of the month saw record setting high temperatures in many locations. Seattle hit 74 F (23.4 C) on the 3rd, tying a November record going back 61 years. San Diego broke their all-time November record by 3 degrees F with a 100 F (37.8 C) reading on the 4th. This was also their hottest day of 2010. A few weeks later record cold hit the region. Ely, NV, recorded their lowest all time November temperature with -20 F (-28.9 C) on the 25th, while Tucson, AZ, recorded a new November record low with 23 F (-5.0 C) on the 30th. Great Falls, MT, had a 95 F (59 C) swing between the extreme maximum (74 F, 23.4 C) and minimum (-21 F, -29.4 C) temperature for the month, their greatest range ever for November. Meanwhile, in Alaska, Fairbanks recorded their 2nd warmest November in the past 30 years.
Precipitation was near normal for most of the West Coast, above normal for the northern Intermountain region and Great Basin and well below normal for the Southwest. Great Falls recorded their 3rd wettest and 2nd snowiest November on record while Billings, MT, recorded their 3rd wettest and 2nd snowiest. Ely had their snowiest November on record and 3rd wettest dating back 72 years. No rain fell at all in parts of New Mexico and Arizona. Fairbanks measured their 3rd wettest November on record thanks to a very unusual rain event late in the month.
Significant Events for November 2010
November 10: Large Waves along Oregon Coast: Two people who stopped to watch the large waves along the Oregon Coast near Newport died when they were swept into the water. Wind speeds along the coast were very light that day and no High Surf Advisories had been issued.
November 20-24: Major Winter Storm: A dangerous and powerful winter storm slammed the west just before the Thanksgiving holiday. In Washington Interstate 90 was closed at Snoqualmie Summit on the 22nd due to heavy snow. Snow in Seattle caused numerous accidents (1,557 collisions in 24 hours) and flight delays at the airport. Strong winds and heavy snow left over 117,000 customers without power in Western Washington. At least 3 deaths in Washington were attributed to the storm. Blizzard conditions were reported in portions of Montana and Idaho leading to numerous school and business closures. An avalanche at Wolf Creek Ski Area in southwest Colorado took the life of the Ski Area Director after 18 inches of snow fell. In the Sierra Nevada near Donner Summit up to 100 inches (254 cm) of snow fell over the entire event, closing Interstate 80 at times. Extreme cold moved into the region behind the front causing wind chills of -40 F (-40 C) in Montana and a killing frost in Central California Thanksgiving morning.
November 22: Rain and Freezing Rain in Alaska: A very unusual winter freezing rain event occurred throughout the state causing numerous problems. Beginning on the morning of the 22nd, much of the precipitation fell as either freezing rain or rain that froze on deeply frozen snow-packed roadways. This nearly brought Fairbanks to a halt and closed schools and state and federal offices for most of the week. Numerous flight delays and some cancellations occurred at both Anchorage and Fairbanks airports.
November 2010 Departure from Normal Temperature and Percent of Normal Precipitation for Western United States