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November 2018: Cold and snowy with record precipitation

By Doug Webster - Weather & Climate | Dec 9, 2018

If storms bring you excitement then November was your month. An endless stream of moisture laden storms brought record precipitation to our area. Winter-like cold arrived early turning some of the rainfall into snow.

The jet stream was on steroids during November with nearly non-stop waves of energy moving across the nation bringing storm after storm. El Nino likely played a part in the active pattern. It’s well known that the South sees lots of wet weather during El Nino’s and this fall has been no exception.

The 2018 version of El Nino is termed a Modaki El Nino and is a variation to the normal El Nino. The core of the warm strip of ocean in the Pacific is in a slightly different zone which changes the effects on North America’s winter weather.

During many El Nino’s we see mild, dry conditions across the northern U.S. and Canada. This year’s version of El Nino opens the door for the southern wetness to reach further north at times. Also of note is less warmth across Canada thus creating a chance of more snow and ice than we would expect during a normal El Nino.

In the short term the storminess has shifted back to the southern U.S. which is more like a normal El Nino. More than likely we’ll see a return of a stormier pattern later this month. If there is enough cold air around then it will snow, if not then rain would fall.

For November Nashua saw the wettest November of record during the past 135 years with 9.74 inches of precipitation, including melted snowfall. The old record was set in 1921 with 8.38 inches. November’s rain total was 5.48 inches above normal.

Measurable rain and snow fell on 16 days which was not a record but 13 days saw 0.10 inch or more tying 1942 for the November record. No daily precipitation records were set last month.

For 2018 we now have a healthy surplus of water. The total through the end of November sits at 54.94 inches, 10.82 inches above normal.

Rain wasn’t the only precipitation type we had to deal with during fall’s final month. 6 inches of snow midmonth brought out the snow shovels, car brushes, and a quick recall of snow driving skills.

While snow during November isn’t unusual we did see our 13th snowiest November since 1885 with 7.9 inches. There are 114 years with snowfall records during that time. November’s snowfall was 5.8 inches above normal.

No daily snowfall records were set. If you were thinking the 6.0 inches that fell on the 16th was a record, 11.0 inches fell on the same date in 1967. The snow brought on a rather wintry scene right on past Thanksgiving, making it feel more likely Christmas.

Snow cover data is rather incomplete for Nashua for Thanksgiving Day but during the past 34 years in Hudson there have been 8 years with a white Thanksgiving.

The turn to early winter weather during late fall had to do with the earlier than normal southward expansion of the snow cover across Canada. Nearly all of Canada had a snow cover by the middle of November helping to refrigerate the air above it.

With the weather pattern allowing the cold to move southward and mix with the frequent storms crossing the U.S. the result was snow and ice for many. Record November snows were observed across parts of the Midwest.

Cold temperatures were also a major factor last month. Cold air trailing the storms kept readings below normal with high frequency after the first week of the month. 19 of the final 25 days of November were below normal with Thanksgiving Day being the peak of the cold.

The high temperature on Thanksgiving Day of 18 degrees set 2 records. It was a record cold high reading for any Thanksgiving Day and it was the lowest high temperature of record for the month of November since 1885.

For the month the average temperature of 35.8 degrees was 3.9 degrees below normal tying 1972 as the 13th coldest November since 1885. The low of 10 on the 22nd tied the reading first set in 1951.

Official fall, the months of September, October, and November saw near normal temperatures for the Gate City. The average temperature of 50.2 degrees was but 0.1 degrees above normal.

September was unseasonably warm followed by a slightly cooler than normal October. November then chimed in with unseasonably cold readings bringing us the near normal season.

Precipitation during fall set a record. The total of 22.83 inches was 10.41 inches above normal making fall 2018 the wettest of the past 134 falls for Nashua.

Fall snowfall totaled 7.9 inches, 5.8 inches above normal and the 13th snowiest fall of record out of 114 years with snowfall data. A few spots saw a trace of snow around the area during the middle of October with the bulk of the fall snow falling during the middle of November.

While it’s been quiet during the first week of December we should be prepared for more storminess near the middle of the month. The question will be how often the active El Nino induced southern stream meets up with the polar stream this winter.

Modiki El Nino’s have a history of bringing busy weather to our region. Will we continue with the snowy ways of the past quarter century or will the winter finally take a breather with respect to snow?

The shortest days of the year come along in just a couple of weeks and then we start to see a slow increase in day length by Christmas. A white Christmas has a 58 percent chance of occurring in Nashua based on records dating back to the 1880s. Six of the past 10 Christmas’s have been white ones in Nashua.

November Facts and Feats dating back

to 1884

November 2018

average temperature

35.8 degrees, 3.9

degrees below normal


45.8, 1999


32.8, 1904, 1901

All-time November


81, Nov. 3, 1950

November 2018 high

61, Nov. 8

All-time November low

7 below zero, Nov. 25, 1936

November 2018 low

9, Nov. 23, 24

November 2018


9.74 inches, 5.48 inches above normal



9.74 inches, 2018

Driest November

0.63 inches, 1939

2018 annual precipitation

54.94 inches, 10.82 inches above normal

November 2018 snowfall

7.9 inches, 5.8 inches above normal

Snowiest November

1898, 17.5 inches

2018-19 seasonal


7.9 inches, 5.8 inches above normal


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