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By Bob Valen 

An abnormally warm November

Weather Watcher


There was a big change in mean temperature for the month of November, not only here but statewide.

Here at the home weather station I recorded a November mean of 44.7˚F. The all-time mean temperature for November is 37.5˚, giving us a +7.2˚ difference. Those extra warm days gave us time to keep working on those fall tasks.

Here are the other readings for this past month. Our high temperature was 63.1˚ (all-time high 69˚) on Nov. 3. Our low was 27.9˚ (all-time low -10˚) on Nov. 29. We were up on precipitation with a reading of 1.56 inches (mean is 1.24 inches).

Because this column didn’t appear last month, I’d like to mention a new and important record for this region for the month of October. The previous October precipitation record was nearly 70 years old, occurring in 1947 at 2.95 inches. Well, that fell as a new record was established with 3.98 inches. That’s an increase of 1.03 inches or just about a 35-percent increase.

We’ve been seeing less sunlight for the past number of months, and that’s about to end. On Wednesday, Dec. 21, we will have reached our Winter Solstice, or the first day of winter for 2016. That means we will begin the slow process of gaining daylight. If you are in the Southern Hemisphere on June 20, 2017, you’ll experience that winter solstice. Two winter solstices in less than a year — a bucket list thing to do!

According to the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) information, they have been right on the mark for December, at least so far. La Nina conditions are present in the tropical Pacific Ocean. With that established, the CPC is showing higher chances of below-normal average temperatures and higher chances of above-normal precipitation throughout Washington state. The long-range outlook for December, January and February is calling for equal chances of below, near-normal or about-normal temperatures statewide. While the CPC is showing higher chances of above-average precipitation east of the Cascades.

I’d like to share this from our friends at EarthSky: “Two of the five bright planets rise to great prominence in December 2016. Venus and Jupiter almost seem to balance two sides of our sky. Venus, the brightest planet, blazes in the west first thing at dusk. Jupiter, second brightest, commands the eastern half of sky before sunrise. Mars joins Venus in the evening sky, though it’s higher up than Venus and sets in the west after Venus does. Venus and Mars remain evening objects throughout December, but Saturn is now lost in the sun’s glare. We expect the notoriously elusive bright planet Mercury to become visible at dusk/nightfall by early December. Day by day, Mercury climbs upward to reach its greatest evening elongation in the evening sky on December 10.”

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