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NWS: Dry air limits chances of November snow

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Lower temperatures may have people shivering but, at least for eastern North Dakota, a lack of snow is delaying the arrival of winter.

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“Generally, eastern North Dakota records its first 1-inch snowfall right around Nov. 1,” said Daryl Ritchison, meteorologist for WDAY and Forum Communications. “Most years we have some accumulation of snow that stays around by the middle of November.”

Records from the National Weather Service indicate that Jamestown receives an average of 7.6 inches of snow during November. But during two years in the last decade — 2004 and 2011 —no snow fell in the month.

“For the last decade, November has been kind to the Jamestown area,” Ritchison said. “But it just takes one storm to dump a lot of snow.”

Ritchison said the region has returned to drier air flows.

“We had that wet stretch with quite a bit of rain,” he said. “Now we’re back to the dry conditions.”

NWS records showed 6.66 inches of precipitation from Sept. 9 through Oct. 21. From Oct. 22 through Nov. 11, Jamestown has recorded 0.01 inch of precipitation.

“We’ve had progressive weather patterns for the past weeks,” said Ken Simosko, meteorologist with the NWS in Bismarck. “The northwest air flow is bringing in a cold air mass but mostly dry air. Unless the flows change to the southwest or from the Gulf  (of Mexico), it will still stay dry.”

Simosko said forecasts indicate a chance of snow for the weekend while the extended six- to 10- day forecast indicates normal temperatures and precipitation.

The extended forecast for the next three months by the Climate Prediction Center indicates equal chances of above normal, normal or below normal precipitation and temperatures, Simosko said. Average temperatures during the beginning November are about 40 degrees while average lows in January are below zero.

A normal winter brings Jamestown about 44.5 inches of snow. The heaviest month is normally January with 11.7 inches.

“Right now you are running behind in snowfall,” Simosko said. “But you might end up catching up before the winter is over.”

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at knorman@jamestownsun.com

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