Phoenix shatters November temperature record that stood since 1949
And it wasn't just Phoenix that experienced record weather. Every corner of the region rewrote its record books in November, including some century-old records that fell during the month's final days.
Residents in Phoenix don't reside in an area known as the "Valley of the Sun" and expect cold weather. However, come November, they likely anticipate something at least slightly cooler than 80 degrees Fahrenheit on most days.
That just wasn't the case this year.
On 25 different days in November, Arizonans who live in Phoenix sweltered under 80-plus-degree temperatures, the most the city had ever recorded in the month better known for Thanksgiving than heat waves. The previous record of 24 days was set back during the Truman administration in 1949.
The wacky month of weather also impacted other portions of the western half of the country, rewriting pages of record books in nearly every state. Here's a few of the most notable.
Phoenix's 80-degree record
The aforementioned Phoenix record fell on the very last day of the month when the city topped out at 80 degrees Fahrenheit on the afternoon of Nov. 30. The city opened the month on 22 consecutive days above the threshold, including three straight days above 90 F.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Javier Hernandez hands out a turkey during a drive-thru turkey giveaway at the Travis L. Williams American Legion Hall Post 65 Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Despite the climatological averages suggesting that Mother Nature would have turned off the desert space heater by that point, a persistent setup kept Phoenix baking all the way through the month.
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Houk, an unrelenting high-pressure dome was to blame.
"The dome of high pressure was persistent across the entire Southwest, including Phoenix, during November," Houk said. "This kept any storms, rain and cooler air associated with the jet stream, or storm track, consistently well to the north."
The month did feature five consecutive days in the high 70s, from Nov. 23 to Nov. 27, then bounced back above the threshold with three more 80-degree days to close out the month. The hot month was a continuation of a sweaty autumn for the city, which opened the season on Sept. 22 by topping out at a high of 103 F.
And, as Houk said, the historically hot month wasn’t limited to just Phoenix either.
People from interior Southern California through New Mexico saw average temperatures during November that were 4 or more degrees above normal, according to Houk.
“Although Phoenix didn’t break any daily high temperatures during the month, it was consistently warm and temperatures averaged 5 degrees above normal.”
Perhaps the only thing hotter than the November weather in Phoenix was the city's NBA team; the Suns won a franchise record-tying 17th straight game on Tuesday night and didn't lose a single game in November.
Neverending snow droughts
Farther north, another notable Western city endured a wacky November with its record-breaking streak, but this one was for very different conditions.
While Phoenix couldn't get its thermometers below 80 degrees, residents in Denver failed to see theirs drop below 32 F to contribute any snowfall, producing the first snowless November the city had ever recorded. The previous record for the latest snowfall was Nov. 21, set in 1934.
With no measurable snow since April 22, the city has now gone 228 consecutive days, as of Dec. 5, without the wintry precipitation its nearby mountains are famous for. The all-time record of 235 days, set in 1887, sits within reach.
The sky is illuminated as the sun sets behind the Rocky Mountains after daytime high temperatures were notched above the 60-degree mark Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Denver. Forecasters predict that the unseasonably warm weather will continue in the intermountain West through at least the first couple of weeks of December, raising concerns about wildland fire dangers in a region parched for precipitation. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
The snowless November can be partially attributed to this year's Pacific jet stream, which is following a La Niña pattern and resulting in decreased precipitation rates for the region. That coupled with the effects of climate change have spelled disaster for nearby ski resorts.
“Even though temperatures will continue to be on the warm side (for Steamboat and Colorado),” Loryn Duke, communications direct for Steamboat Spring Ski Resort, told ABC News, "our crews will continue to work around the clock taking advantage of conditions prime for snowmaking and opening new terrain and lifts as soon as possible.”
However, hope may be in the forecast.
This week is likely to remain snowless, pushing Denver closer to that all-time streak, but there is a chance for a push of cold air to bring wintry weather next week, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
"While it appears Denver will avoid a major snowfall with the setup for early next week, a push of cold air from the northeast on the backside of a departing storm could be enough to bring a period of snow to the Mile High City around Tuesday or Tuesday night," he said. "Typically, storms that track right at Denver or to its north do not bring much in the way of snow to the city."
In the neighboring state of Utah, Salt Lake City has endured a snow drought of its own. According to the National Weather Service, the city typically receives its first snowfall on Nov. 7 but hasn't recorded measurable snowfall this year since March 25.
Relentless, record-breaking rainfall in the Northwest
While much of the region has waited for the relief of precipitation to drop temperatures or alleviate business stresses, one corner of the region has had far more than it can handle.
Kenneth Warner races into the water to help rescue the driver of a car that went into the flooded Nooksack River, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Ferndale, Wash. Warner led a half-dozen citizens into the river, where they stopped the car from floating further and muscled it back onshore. No one was injured. An atmospheric river, a huge plume of moisture extending over the Pacific and into Washington and Oregon, caused heavy rainfall in recent days, bringing major flooding in the area. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Continuing the drenching trends set in September and October, the month of November was another brutally stormy stretch for states along the northern Pacific coast.
Even for a city known for its abundance of rainy days, Seattle residents have certainly seen enough. After what has felt like a dozen different atmospheric rivers, trains of storms and Pineapple Express storms, the city finished the month with its fifth-wettest November on record. Historically, November is the soggiest month of the year for the Emerald City, with an average of 6.35 inches.
For the whole meteorological season, the city also broke its all-time record for rainiest autumn, as over 19 inches of rain fell between September and the end of November. Over 53% of that rain fell in November alone, according to NWS Seattle.
All this rain fell just months after the city recorded its driest spring and summer seasons in 77 years.
Above the border in Canada, multiple cities in British Columbia also had to rewrite their November record books due to unrelenting rainfall.
A swollen creek flows under a washed-out bridge at the Carolin Mine interchange with Coquihalla Highway 5 after devastating rain storms caused flooding and landslides, near Hope, British Columbia, Canada, November 17, 2021. B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure/Handout via REUTERS.
In the city of Vancouver, a total of 12.29 inches of rain fell in the month, according to data from the Meteorological Service of Canada, which included a record-setting day of 2 inches of rain on Nov. 14. That total has added onto the city's wettest fall on record, surpassing Seattle's total with 20.88 inches of precipitation since the beginning of September, more than twice its average, which helped it live up to its "Raincouver" nickname.
But that total doesn't even approach the deluge endured in the city of Abbotsford, British Columbia. The city, located right above the U.S. border, has reported a whopping 32.94 inches of rain since the start of September. The seemingly never-ending barrage of storms has resulted in multiple cases of deadly mudslides, widespread flooding and badly-damaged towns.
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