The Alabama Climate Report

Brought to you by the Office of the Alabama

Volume 5, Number 2, November 2014

November in Alabama was cold. That's the straightforward way to say it. It was cold. But that doesn't tell us much, so we look at the numbers.

The average temperature for the month was uniformly cold across the state, ranging from 6.4° cooler than normal in Mobile to 5.2° cooler than normal in Calera. A five or six degree departure from normal is fairly rare — especially when we look at November high temperatures that were in the mid to upper 70s both before and after the cold front!

Early reports indicate the lowest temperature reported in Alabama during November was in Addison on Nov. 19, when the temperature there dropped to 11°.

So how do we gauge whether the cold front that hit Alabama in mid November was your garden variety front or something unique?

One way is to look at the records. We see some new climate records — especially daily temperature or rainfall records — in Alabama almost every month. But sometimes you can see a difference.

Two towns, Geneva and Opelika, had their coldest November temperatures on record, Geneva at 18° and Opelika at 15°, both on Nov. 19.

Some records are things you might not think about, such as Montgomery setting a new record on Nov. 19, when the temperature there hit 16° F. That was the earliest report of a temperature below 20° F in Montgomery's 142-year weather record.

Sometimes a record stands out because it is significantly more or less than the old record, such as when Enterprise broke its record for the coldest Nov. 19 temperature by 10 degrees: Enterprise hit 21°, besting the 31° set in 1968.

Even more impressive, Opelika saw cold temperature records broken by 10 degrees on consecutive days, with 15° lows on both Nov. 19 and 20, smashing a pair of records set in 2008.

Sometimes a new record stands out because the old record stood for a long time, even if was eclipsed by only one or two degrees. That happened in Anniston and Selma on Nov. 19, when the low in Selma dropped to 22° and the low at the Anniston airport hit 18°. Both lows broke records (23° in Selma and 20° in Anniston) set on the same date ... in 1903.

Some other Alabama long-time daily low temperature records broken in November included:

- John Christy