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Northeast Overview - November 2012

Monthly Summary

Despite a mid-month warm up, the Northeast was cooler than normal for November 2012. With an average temperature of 37.2 degrees F (2.9 degrees C), it was 2.5 degrees F (1.4 degrees C) cooler than normal and the coolest November since 1997. All states reported below average temperatures for the first time since October 2009. West Virginia and Maine were the coolest at 4.1 degrees F (2.3 degrees C) below average. It was West Virginia's 16th and Maine's 18th coolest November in 118 years. Departures for the rest of the states ranged from 4.0 degrees F (2.2 degress C) below normal in New Jersey to 0.9 degrees F (0.5 degrees C) below normal in Vermont. Autumn's average temperature of 50.0 F (10.0 degrees C) was average for November in the Northeast. Five states reported cooler than average temperatures while the other seven were slightly warmer than average. West Virginia was the coolest at 1.6 degrees F (0.9 degrees C) below average making it their 19th coolest autumn on record. Of the warm states, Vermont was the warmest at 1.1 degrees F (0.6 degrees C) above average.

Even though it was a wet start to the month for several states, November 2012 went into the record books as the 2nd driest since 1895. With an average of 1.04 inches (26.42 mm), the region received only 27 percent of normal precipitation. The record driest November was 1917 when the Northeast received only 0.88 inches (22.35 mm) of precipitation. All states were drier than average. Departures ranged from 16 percent of normal in Connecticut, their 2nd driest November, to 37 percent of normal in New Jersey, their 11th driest. Of the remaining states, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia had their 2nd driest November; Delaware, Maine, Maryland and New York had their 3rd driest; and in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts November ranked in the top 10 driest. The Northeast was slightly drier than average for autumn with 11.36 inches (288.54 mm) of precipitation (98 percent of normal). The region was split down the middle with half of the states drier and half the states wetter than normal. Connecticut took the title of driest state with only 78 percent of normal while Delaware led the wet states with 120 percent of normal. The latest US Drought Monitor, issued November 27, indicated abnormal dryness continued in upstate New York while a new area of abnormal dryness popped up near the Vermont-New Hampshire border and in central/southern West Virginia.

At the start of November, the Northeast was still dealing with the aftermath of Sandy. Damage to fuel terminals and power outages caused twelve northern counties of New Jersey, New York City, and Long Island to institute gas rationing. It was the first time since the energy crisis of the 1970s that New York City had implemented this system. The rationing lasted just over two weeks in New York City and 10 days in New Jersey. As per the Associated Press, the estimated cost of recovering and rebuilding from Sandy increased to $42 billion in New York and to $37 billion in New Jersey. A Nor'easter dropped snow on areas still trying to clean up from Sandy on the 7th and 8th. Some inland areas received over a foot of snow and more than twenty snowfall records were set, in some cases for the first time, at sites from Maryland up to Maine. For instance, JFK Airport, NY, reported 4.0 inches (101.6 mm) of snow on the 7th and 0.3 inches (7.6 mm) on the 8th. Snowfall had never been recorded on those dates. High winds, with gusts above 60 mph (26.8 m/s), downed already vulnerable trees and power lines. Around 115,000 new power outages (according to NBC News) were reported in places where many people had just gotten power back. According to the Department of Energy website, "All customers who are able to receive electricity and who lost power due to Sandy and the Nor'easter have had their electricity restored. As of December 3, in New Jersey there are less than 19,000 customers and in New York there are less than 17,000 customers who are unable to accept electric service." A couple days later, a mid-month warm-up, with temperatures topping out from 65 degrees F (18.3 degrees C) to 75 degrees F (23.9 degrees C), broke high temperature records in several cities in the Northeast. Just after Thanksgiving, the lake-effect season kicked off in parts of New York. On the 25th, a band of snow off Lake Erie dropped up to 7.0 inches (177.8 mm) around Buffalo. The snow continued into the 26th off of Lake Ontario dropping up to 15.0 inches (381.0 mm) in parts of New York's North Country. Holiday traffic was disrupted when the southbound side of Interstate 81 was closed and the northbound side was backed up for several hours in Oswego County on the 25th due to weather-related accidents.