November 2011 Climate Summary for Lubbock and Childress

Temperature

Like September and October, November was a very typical autumn month, punctuated by some sharp swings in temperature. Overall, the average temperature at both Lubbock and Childress was just less than one degree above normal which makes November 2011 the 16th consecutive month where "above normal" temperatures were experienced across the region. In general, fair conditions were observed across the region during the month as an upper-level ridge of high pressure was the main feature controlling the regional weather pattern. November started off very warm across the area, as the mercury topped off at 81 degrees at both Lubbock and Childress. The high of 81 degrees recorded at Lubbock was the highest temperature observed during the month. Due to several dry cold fronts that pushed into through the region, high temperatures oscillated between the upper 60s and 70s to the 50s across the area in November, with overnight lows generally bottoming out in the 30s and 40s for most of the month. The first hard freeze the region had experienced since late March occurred on the 3rd as a low of 27 degrees was observed  at Lubbock. A more pronounced warming trend occurred Veteran's Day weekend as highs peaked in the upper 70s at Lubbock and the lower 80s at Childress. The reading of 82 degrees observed at Childress on the 13th was the highest reading for the month there. A strong upper-level low pressure system and its associated cold front pushed on the 20th and 21st, dropping highs back into the upper 40s. A warm-up ensued heading into Thanksgiving as a ridge of high pressure built back into the area and highs climbed back into the upper 60s and 70s. Then another strong cold front, brought strong winds and a cooler temperatures to the area on 26th, which helped to knock lows into the 20s at Lubbock for the remainder of the month. After a brief warm-up into the 70s at Lubbock on the 28th, another dry cold front dropped highs back into the 50s to low 60s on the 29th and 30th to close out November.

NOTE: Some temperature data for Childress exists before 1928 and goes as far back as the 1890s. However it is a very incomplete record as there are many large gaps in the data before 1928 (some as large as 20 years). Therefore, this analysis will only compare the observations from the November 2011 to data from the complete temperature record which is from 1928-present.

November 2011 temperature graphs for Lubbock (LBB) and Childress (CDS). The red bars indicate the actual observed daily high and low temperatures and the extended black lines denote the daily record highs and lows.


  

November Statistics Lubbock Childress
Average Monthly Temperature  50.7  52.4
Normal November Temperature  49.8  51.6
Deviation From Normal  0.9 Above
 0.8 Above
Monthly Ranking  33rd Warmest (since 1914)  26th Warmest (since 1928)
Warmest November
 57.3 (1965)
 57.6 (1934)
Coolest November
 42.2 (1972)
 41.5 (1929)
Highest Temperature (November 2011)  81 on the 1st
 82 on the 13th
Lowest Temperature (November 2011)  22 on the 17th
 28 on the 17th
All-Time Highest Temperature

 100 (October 3, 2000)     

 93 (November 3, 2005)

      (November 5, 1945)        

All-Time Lowest Temperature

 -1 (November 23, 1957)     

  9 (November 30, 2006)      

Record Highs (November 2011)

 91 on the 25th

 92 on the 16th

 88 on the 24th

 94 on the 25th

Record Lows (November 2011)  None  None

* Period valid (1928-2011)

 

Precipitation

In general, November 2011 could be categorized as fairly dry across the area. However, one strong upper-level storm system brought portions of the area some meaningful rainfall on the 21st.  While the majority of the heaviest precipitation that occurred missed Lubbock, Childress recorded its wettest November day on record! This made November 2011 almost 1.75" above normal for precipitation, despite very little rainfall occurring there during any other time in the month.  The heavy rainfall that occurred was the result of some showers and thunderstorms that were generated by a cold front and lift from an approaching upper level storm system. The heaviest activity continued to redevelop over the southeastern Panhandle for several hours, which allowed Childress to officially record 2.38" of rain for the day. In addition, this rainfall pushed the yearly total at Childress 10.53”. Although still over a foot below normal for the year, this does now ensure that 2011 will not be an all-time record dry year for Childress. The driest year on record at Childress is 1956, when only 10.44” fell. Lubbock, on the other hand, only recorded 0.22". This raised Lubbock's yearly total to a paltry 4.30”, or still 13.83” below normal. Unless the end of the year brings unprecedented precipitation, 2011 is likely to go down as the driest year on record for Lubbock. Currently, the driest year on record at Lubbock is 1917, when 8.73” of rain was recorded.

So despite some of the beneficial rainfall that occurred across portions of the area during November, extremely dry conditions continue to still plague much of the region. However, because of some of the heavier rainfall the occurred across the southeastern Panhandle and northern Rolling Plains in October and November, the drought status there has been lowered to D-2 (Severe) and D-3 (Extreme) for the time being. Still, a vast majority of the area (particularly the South Plains and lower Rolling Plains) still remains in D-4 (Exceptional) drought status, the highest ranking possible. This ranking points to how critically dry the area really is as a drought of this stature is incredibly rare with a probability of occurring once every 50-100 years. As a result of this very significant drought, fuels such as grasses, mesquite, and juniper continue to be extremely stressed and are at record levels of dryness. These extremely dry fuels act as kindling to wildfires and along with very strong winds, allow them to grow and spread rapidly once they are initiated. Given the state of these fuels, an elevated fire danger continues to exist across the entire region even on non-windy days. Unfortunately, despite some of the recent rainfall events, these severe to exceptional drought conditions are expected to persist (and could even worsen further) if the region does not begin to consistently experience any meaningful rainfall in the coming weeks. 

 


November Statistics Lubbock Childress
Total Precipitation  0.26"  2.97"
Normal Precipitation  0.85"  1.25"
Departure From Normal  0.59" Below  1.72" Above
Monthly Ranking  55th Driest (since 1911)  25th Wettest (since 1924)
Wettest November  6.65" (2004)  6.72" (2004)
Driest November  0.00" (last occurred in 2005)  0.00" (last occurred in 2005)
Wettest Day (2011)  0.22" on the 21st  2.38" on the 21st
All-Time Wettest November Day  1.59" (November 15, 2011)  2.38" (November 21, 2011)

 

November Statistics Lubbock Childress
Total Snowfall  0.0"  0.0"
Normal Snowfall  0.1"  0.1"
Departure From Normal  0.1 Below
 0.1 Below
Monthly Ranking  Tied For Least Snowiest  Tied For Least Snowiest
Snowiest November  21.4" (1980)  6.7" (1980)
Snowiest Day (November 2011)  None
 None
All-Time Snowiest November Day  10.6" (November 25, 1980)  6.5" (November 30, 2006)

 
  Winds

November Statistics Lubbock Childress
Average Wind Speed (mph)  11.9  11.7
Normal Wind Speed (mph)  11.8  11.8
Highed Sustained Wind Speed (mph)  43 on the 26th  44 on the 26th
Highest Wind Gust (mph)  56 on the 26th  53 on the 26th

 

The Outlook for November, December, and January from the Climate Prediction Center



The three-month temperature outlook for the winter indicates a higher probability of above normal temperatures for the southern Texas Panhandle, South Plains, and Rolling Plains. Click on the image for a larger version!  The three-month precipitation outlook for the winter indicates a higher probablity of   below normal precipitation for the southern Texas Panhandle, South Plains, and Rolling Plains. Click on the image for a larger version!

 

 The latest drought outlook for the state of Texas:



As of early December, drought conditions were persisting across all of Texas, though some improvement did occur in some areas during October and November. However, D-4 (Exceptional) drought conditions continued to prevail across all of the South Plains and lower Rolling Plains. 100% of the state was experiencing D1 (Moderate) drought or higher. Also, 94% of the state was in a D-2 (Severe) drought or higher, and about 83% of the state had entered a D-3 (Extreme) drought. In addition, 53% of the state was experiencing D-4 (Exceptional) drought, the highest category possible. These drought conditions are extremely rare, with the probability of extreme drought occurring on the order of every 20-50 years and exceptional drought every 50-100 years! Click on the image for a larger version!

 

The latest seasonal drought outlook for the United States:


Given the higher probabilities for below normal precipitation this winter, significant drought conditions are expected to persist or even worsen across the Lone Star State. Click on the image for a larger version!

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