Contiguous U.S. Experiences Wetter and Warmer Than Average Autumn, While November Was Drier and Cooler Than Average

By: NOAA
By: NOAA

The report card is out from NOAA on how the United States fared versus "normal" this past autumn season.

While the change between Summer and Winter started out on a warm and wet note for much of the United States, November brought several Arctic blasts across much of the country -- including Texas.

Here are some of the bullet points on how the Southern Region and Texas shaped up:

-- November was a cooler than normal month for the entire Southern Region, with most stations averaging between 2 to 4 degrees F (1.11 to 2.22 degrees C) below normal. Temperatures averaged slightly lower than this in central Texas, northern Louisiana and western Tennessee. In these areas, temperatures averaged between 4 to 6 degrees F (2.22 to 3.33 degrees C) below expected values. The statewide average temperatures are as follows: Arkansas averaged 47.30 degrees F (8.50 degrees C), Louisiana averaged 55.20 degrees F (12.89 degrees C), Mississippi averaged 51.10 degrees F (10.61 degrees C), Oklahoma averaged 46.10 degrees F (7.83 degrees C), Tennessee averaged 44.60 degrees F (7.00 degrees C), and Texas averaged 52.80 degrees F (11.56 degrees C). For Tennessee, it was their fifteenth coldest November on record (1895-2013), while both Arkansas and Mississippi experienced their eighteenth coldest November on record (1895-2013). Louisiana experienced its twenty-fourth coldest November on record (1895-2013), while Texas experienced its twenty-fifth coldest November on record (1895-2013). For Oklahoma, it was their twenty-eighth coldest November on record (1895-2013).

--November precipitation totals in the Southern Region varied from below normal in northern states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee, to slightly above normal in the central portions of the region. The latter included western and central Mississippi, southern Arkansas, eastern Texas and parts of northern Louisiana. Conditions were quite wet in the southern counties of the Texas Trans Pecos climate division and in the extreme south of Texas. In those two regions, precipitation totals averaged between 150 to 400 percent of normal. The statewide average precipitation totals are as follows: Arkansas reported 4.25 inches (107.95 mm), Louisiana reported 4.77 inches (121.16 mm), Mississippi reported 5.60 inches (142.24 mm), Oklahoma reported 1.79 inches (45.47 mm), Tennessee reported 3.65 inches (92.71 mm), and Texas reported 1.93 inches (49.02 mm). With the exception of Mississippi which experienced its twenty-fourth wettest November on record (1895-2013), all statewide precipitation rankings fell within the two middle quartiles.

--Drought conditions over the month of November changed only slightly in Texas, however; significant changes were observed in Louisiana and Mississippi, which are considered drought free as of November 26, 2013. Similar improvements were also observed in Arkansas, where just a small area of moderate drought remains. In central and eastern Texas, significant precipitation totals managed to eradicate moderate drought conditions. Drought conditions in Oklahoma have persisted, with the panhandle still experiencing moderate to severe drought with some extreme and exceptional drought in the south western counties and along the Texas border.

--On November 17, 2013, two tornadoes touched down in Tennessee. One occurred in Sumner County, and reports indicate that a roof was blown off a fire hall in Portland. The other occurred in Lincoln County near the 400 block of Haysland road. Three vehicles were reported damaged and a porch roof was blown off a home.

--In Texas, a mid-month storm dumped double-digit rainfall accumulations on Austin, causing an estimated $14.4 million in flooding damages, including destroying approximately 1,000 homes. The same storm system knocked out power to over 16,000 in Houston and required a disaster declaration for Guadalupe County. The year's first winter weather event arrived for much of Texas from the twenty-third to the twenty-fifth, bringing snow flurries from Amarillo to Huntsville. The storm system caused as many as 30,000 power outages across the state and canceled 300 flights out of DFW Airport during the busiest travel time of the year. (Information provided by the Texas Office of State Climatology).

--In Texas, cotton harvesting has finished, with estimates below the 10-year average but better than in previous years. Ongoing hydrological problems are leading to increased salinity along the Gulf Coast, reducing oyster collection numbers by nearly 50%. The increased threshold for releasing water down the Colorado River has rice farmers fearing for the future of their industry as well (Information provided by the Texas Office of State Climatology).

--Cooler than normal temperatures in Texas has helped much of the state in preventing significant loss of soil and lake moisture, since the state did not see normal rainfall accumulations this month with the exception of the Lower Valley, Big Bend, and a band through central and eastern Texas. Streamflow conditions in the east remain normal, while statewide reservoirs maintained their levels at around 63%. There were some notable changes in hydrological policies, however, with Wichita Falls entering Stage 4 Drought Disaster water restrictions and the Lower Colorado River Authority increasing the threshold required for water to be released downriver from 42% to 55% (Information provided by the Texas Office of State Climatology).

--The state of Louisiana experienced one of its coldest Thanksgivings in recent memory, with temperatures dipping as low as 21 degrees F (-6.11 degrees C) in northern Louisiana, and down to 27 degrees F (-2.78 degrees C) in Baton Rouge. Daily minimum temperatures in Baton Rouge hit below 30 degrees F (-1.11 degrees C) on three consecutive days from November 28 to November 30.

For more information, go to the Southern Regional Climate Center Home Page.

To see how the rest of the country played out over the Autumn months, here is the original article from NOAA.


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