November’s a week old, but if not for a certain electoral matter that keeps hogging the headlines you might not have noticed the new month’s arrival.
Had you stepped outside and sampled the air during the first 5 days in particular, you wouldn’t have had much reason to believe we’ve entered the year’s penultimate month.
November, which frequently marks the transition to icy, frigid winter in Baker County, has instead put on a convincing impersonation of something that looks suspiciously like September.
In the previous 77 Novembers, a total of 2,310 days, the temperature reached 70 degrees during November on just 4 of those days at the Baker City Airport.
(Which is .0017%, if you prefer percentages and multiple decimal points.)
This November pulled off that feat on 3 of the first 5 days.
(A hearty 60%.)
And it came close on one of the other two.
This unseasonably balmy stretch has rewritten the record book for the Baker City Airport, where temperature records date to 1943.
On four straight days — Nov. 2-5 — the high temperature broke the daily record at the Airport.
The temperature topped 70 on the last 3 of those days — 71 on Nov. 3 and 4, and 72 on the 5th.
The average high temperature for those days is 52 on Nov. 3 and 4, and 51 on Nov. 5.
The atmospheric impetus for this mild interlude was a persistent southerly wind flow that pushed warm air from California into Eastern Oregon, said Jay Breidenbach, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Boise.
The specific culprit was a ridge of high pressure that shunted cool, damp Pacific storms to the north, Breidenbach said.
But that pattern began to break down on Friday with the first in a series of Pacific cold fronts forecast to push through the region over the next several days, bringing the brand of weather much more typical of November — clouds, showers of rain and snow, and temperatures that will on some days fail to reach 40, much less 70.
“That finally shuts off the connection to the warm air, and is the start of a more wintry pattern,” Breidenbach said. “It’s a rapid transition to more seasonable conditions.”
Although November’s first 5 days were anomalous in their warmth, the fall in general has been mild.
In October, the high temperature was above average on 21 of 31 days. During September, 23 of 30 days were warmer than average.