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November will be warmer than average due to large-scale weather patterns

Posted at 5:24 PM, Nov 03, 2023

Day to day, our weather is governed by weather systems that span a few hundred miles and exist for a couple of days to a week. Highs, lows, fronts – these weather makers govern whether you need to carry that umbrella, or the snow scraper, with you as you walk out the door. But on longer time scales, our average weather is governed by a complex balance of much larger climatic patterns known as "teleconnections". These large weather features span thousands of miles, and progress through different “phases” – generally positive to negative, and are semi-permanent. For example, the Madden-Julian Oscillation ("MJO") generally produces periods of enhanced and suppressed rainfall over the course of several months in Colorado. The most well known teleconnection is the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which measures changes in water temperatures in a specific part of the Pacific Ocean, and the resultant impact on weather patterns including for Colorado.

El Nino Temperature Pattern
Temperature Patterns with El Nino in Winter

As we start November, we see a classic El Niño jet stream pattern, known as a split jet stream. With warm Pacific waters, the subtropical jet stream strengthens and flattens, well south of Colorado. Conversely, the polar jet stream tends to be weaker and track farther to the north. When the jet stream moves north, warm air is able to move in from the south, often resulting in above average temperatures.

Jet Stream Winds

The MJO is currently being partly "canceled out" by El Niño, so that's our dominant weather influencer this month. Thus, the Climate Prediction Center has us, and the Western US as a whole in a strongly above average temperature pattern for November.

November Temperature Pattern

If you’ve seen Meteorologist Alex O' Brien's El Niño explainer you may notice that the temperature pattern map doesn’t quite align with the winter El Niño pattern, and that’s due to the impact of other teleconnections like the MJO, as well as other climate variables - things like snow cover, which reflects light and heat back up to space much better than land does, impact our climate patterns.

Current Snow Cover

We have more snow right now in the Northwestern US than usual which also influences the monthly temperature pattern.

Nonetheless - November should be 2-3 degrees warmer than average, due to the impact of El Niño.

In the Springs, between November 1st and November 30th our highs drop from 59 to 47, and our lows drop from 31 to 21. Our average temperature for the entire month including high and low, is 40. With El Niño in place, you should expect our average temperature to be around 2-3 degrees above that mark across the board. That doesn't mean we won't see cold stretches or snow.

In Pueblo, our numbers start at 63 and 29, and fall to 51 and 19 by the end of the month. The larger temperature difference between your average high and low is due to generally drier air in place for the Arkansas River Valley compared to the Pikes Peak Region. Day length drops by 50 minutes even, again, ouch. While the month will generally feature above average temperatures across the board, overall long-range signals suggest a cool pattern at the end of the month like we saw in October.

As for snow – it’s the 5th snowiest month for the Springs with an average of 4.4” – slightly more than the 4.1” average for December. In Pueblo, that 4.1” average is good for your 5th snowiest too, but you see more snow next month with 4.6” headed your way in the 12th month of the year. In both cities, it’s the 4th driest month of the year.

And on that precipitation note, the Climate Predication Center has Colorado in an equal chance zone, meaning we should see near average precipitation this November. But, climate models show a cool and wet end to our month, and some other weather excitement heading our way soon. Our First Alert weather team will be here tracking it all for you.

November Precipitation Pattern

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Have a question or story idea you would like the First Alert 5 Weather team to consider? Email: weather@koaa.com

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Have a question or story idea you would like the First Alert 5 Weather team to consider? Email: weather@koaa.com

Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.