Publication Date November 7, 2016

A Mild, Tranquil Election Day on Tap

United States
Precipitation forecast for the six hours from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm EST Tuesday, November 8, 2016, as projected by the 12Z Monday run of the GFS model. Image:

[A] number of Midwestern locations could experience their latest first freeze of any year on record this year, including Minneapolis (Nov. 7), Des Moines (Nov. 13), and Detroit (Nov. 15). Here’s another telling illustration of how consistently mild the nation has been over the past several weeks: The preliminary total of U.S. daily record highs either tied or broken for the one-week period ending on November 4 was 887, while the corresponding number of daily record lows was a mere 1. Referring to the 887-to-1 ratio, independent meteorologist Guy Walton said: “Since cataloging record counts starting on 1/1/2000, this is the highest weekly ratio of daily highs to daily lows I have ever seen!” The numbers were almost as lopsided for the week ending November 7 (see Figure below). Preliminary numbers typically grow a bit larger as late-reporting stations come in.

Preliminary data on U.S. records for the week ending November 7, 2016. The month to date has seen saw 1324 daily record highs set or tied, but only 7 daily record lows set or tied. Image credit: NOAA/NCEI.

As we discussed in a post last week, the biggest story of U.S. temperatures in 2016 is not the large number of daily record highs but the phenomenally small number of daily record lows--less than half as many as for any year on record since the 1920s, when enough data had accumulated to make such comparisons.

The absurdly consistent warmth has been especially evident across the South. As noted by’s Jonathan Erdman (@wxjerdman), a remarkable eight-day string of consecutive daily record highs began in Meridian, Mississippi, on October 28 and ended on November 4. The streak included a new all-time November high of 89°F on the 1st. Records in Meridian began in 1889. At the opposite end of the United States--Alaska--you’ll also find incredible mildness (relatively speaking). Readings on the Arctic Ocean coast at Barrow have been above average every day since September 15. The typical high and low in Barrow on November 7 are 9°F and -2°F, but as of Monday morning, Barrow had yet to dip below 13°F this entire autumn. We’ll have more on this this fall’s amazing Arctic mildness later in the week.

Nationwide, at least 272 U.S. stations set or tied all-time monthly highs for November during the first seven days of the month. That’s a large chunk of the 860 monthly highs set or tied during the entire year up to November 7.