BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — November featured the first snowflakes for many. The first accumulating snow in the mountains was fairly uneventful. This leaves us with some issues heading into December, such as an increased fire risk across the region. We will break down how we got there in this month’s weather review.
November without a doubt has been a cool month, with temperatures falling to the teens on more than one occasion across the region during the morning hours. Not unheard of in November, but definitely cooler than it should have been at times! Despite our long cool stretches, November stepped up the heat occasionally ahead of a few cold fronts. Two days got to a high of 69F in Beckley while other parts of the area broke 70F those days. Based on the last 30 years, the last 70F day of the year occurs on November 7, so nothing too unusual there. Overall though, the month itself fell 2.9F below normal, a noticeable drop.
With the year nearly over, it does not hurt to look at our overall trend for temperatures to give an idea of how the year will fall in the rankings. So far we are at 54.6F for the year as an average through the end of November, 0.6F above where we should be based on the climate normals from 1991-2020. Overall this ranks as the 15th warmest January to November stretch in Beckley for years with less than 15 days missing from their records.
It goes without saying this has been a very dry month, not just in Beckley, but across the entire state of West Virginia and Virginia. All the climate sites within our general area ended November at least an inch or more below their normal November rainfall. The driest weather was found east of the Appalachians and the Blue Ridge Mountains into Virginia, where both Blacksburg and Lynchburg ended up behind by 2 inches or more.
Back at home, Beckley ended up 1.58 inches short with only 1.22 inches of rain falling. November 2021 falls as the 7th driest November on record (for years missing less than 5 days)! As a result of the dry month, we fall down to below average for the year rainfall-wise. It’s not a significant impact, since we’re still benefiting from a very wet August. Unfortunately, the additional rain we saw in August does not do much to help us now.
While we have not been placed under drought conditions as of the latest release of the drought monitor at the end of November, a continuation of dry weather into December may prompt a return of the “abnormally dry” category for the region. There is no cause for alarm, as we do see the dry periods from time to time but it is something we need to watch as Fall fire season continues.
Fall in Review
Meteorological Fall ran from September 1 to November 30, as a whole the season was on the drier side falling over two inches below average. Most of the deficit came from November, but September also contributed to the deficit after falling nearly an inch short for rainfall. Outside of plain rain, Fall typically features at least some accumulating snowfall, which was also not seen across much of the region. Areas in western Greenbrier such as Quinwood, and Rainelle saw an inch or two from a few November upslope events, the high peaks of Pocahontas County also benefitted from those. But for the rest of us, the snow season is off to a slow start.
Temperatures ran right around where they should have been during Fall settling in at an average of 54.6F, just a few tenths of a degree warmer than it should be. October notably was quite warm, running four degrees above where it should have. In the end, a delicate balancing act played out to keep the average temperature for the season in check.