There have been some impressive temperature swings over the past couple of weeks. During the middle of last week (October 27 and October 28), we had temperatures in the 70s. A few days later on Sunday, we had a rain/snow mix in Providence and they were clearing snow off of the field at Gillette! Here is a picture from Freetown, Mass on Sunday morning courtesy of Derek Adesso.
Based on the up and down temperatures, I have been hearing this comment frequently, “Wow, the weather has been really crazy lately!” Part of me agrees; I took the AC units out of my windows a few weeks ago and I was kind of wishing I had them back in during the warm weather last week. However, it seems that every year around this time, I get the “this weather is crazy” comment. This led me to the following question: If these wild temperature swings are something that happen at this time every year, is the weather this year really THAT crazy?
To determine if this year was especially crazy, I decided to look at temperatures over the past 5 years from October 27 (when our warm spell started this year) into the first week of November (around the present). Basically, I am looking at temperatures over the past 2 weeks to look for differences between this year and past years.
RECAP OF THE PAST 5 YEARS: LATE OCTOBER TO EARLY NOVEMBER (Using NWS data from TF Green Airport)
This year (2014): As I mentioned above, we had all kinds of weather the past couple of weeks. After highs in the mid 70s last week, we had some snow with temperatures in the mid 30s this past Sunday morning. But then it was back to the upper 60s yesterday (Wednesday), and now I am sitting with a cold rain coming down outside the window with temperatures in the 40s.
2013: During the end of October, high temperatures generally ranged from the mid 50s to mid 60s. But on November 1st, we hit a high of 70. Four days later, overnight lows dipped to the mid 20s and and highs only made it to 50.
2012: The last 5 days of October were balmy with 3 days in the upper 60s, but by November 5th, highs were only in the mid 40s and overnight lows were below freezing.
2011: This was the year of SNOW-TOBER with several inches of snow falling on the night of October 29th into the morning of October 30th. But that snow didn’t stick around very l0ng: by November 3rd we were back into the 60s. On November 8, we reached 70!
2010: October went out like a blowtorch with a high of 71 on October 27th and a high of 77 on October 28th. But November put an end to all of that with highs in the low 50s and lows in the 20s by November 3.
CONCLUSION: LATE OCTOBER INTO EARLY NOVEMBER FREQUENTLY HAS BIG TEMPERATURE SWINGS
While the temperature roller coaster might be a little more extreme this year, it’s a ride that we have been on many times before. From a meteorological perspective, this makes sense because during this time of year, we are susceptible to arctic blasts from the north, but also milder (and sometimes tropical) air masses from the south. So while the fluctuating weather often feels kind of crazy, it’s a craziness that is as almost as regular as the changing of the seasons.
WHAT IS NORMAL?
Historically for the past two weeks, NORMAL high temperatures are in the upper 50s. But the word NORMAL is kind of deceiving, because it makes it seem like high temperatures are USUALLY in the upper 50s. You can think of the normal temperatures more like an average (technically, it’s not an exact average but it’s close enough for the purpose of this blog). To get the average, you have some numbers that are above the average, some that are below the average, and some that fall right at average.
Thanks for reading and hopefully the rest of the week isn’t too crazy for you! -Pete Mangione