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November warmth

University of Jamestown freshman student Jonathan Olson, of Crookston, Minn., catches a Frisbee from classmate Weston Gunther, of Devils Lake, on Monday. The two were enjoying temperatures that reached near 50 degrees by 1 p.m. Tom LaVenture / The Sun

Monday may have been the nicest day of a very nice week, according to Jeanine Vining, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

"Monday was probably the warmest day of the week," she said, "but that doesn't mean the rest of the week will be cold."

Vining said that makes this week a good time, and possibly the last chance, to do any outdoor chores before more serious winter weather sets in.

Forecasts for most days this week show highs in the 40s, well above the average high of 31 degrees in Jamestown the last week of November, according to the National Weather Service.

"This week, the coolest days will be about 10 degrees above average," Vining said. "Next week will be closer to average."

Vining said an upper level high pressure ridge was forcing the jet stream to the north of the area. This kept the cold air from the arctic to the north and allowed warmer air from the southern United States to flow into the region.

The National Weather Service is predicting a weaker form of the high pressure ridge will be in place next week.

"Next week we'll see average conditions with highs generally in the low 30s," Vining said. "It could bring a rain and snow mix."

Daryl Ritchison, interim director of the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network, said next week's precipitation could come in the form of a winter storm.

"Next week we could see a pattern shift back to colder than average," he said. "There are some indications there will be a snowmaker somewhere in the Upper Midwest next week."

The exact track of the storm is still unknown and the Jamestown area could still miss any major snow amounts, although temperatures are likely to be lower.

Ritchison said the long-term forecast for December, January and February is still for lower-than-average temperatures with more precipitation than normal.

"The key to weather is the changes," he said. "Rarely is it consistently above average or below average. We'll see both extremes this winter with some days above average but more days below average temperatures."

The warm days of the past week have still left this month colder than average.

"Even November will finish well below average because of the cold the first third of the month," Ritchison said. "The average at the NDAWN station at Jamestown is 5 degrees below average so far in November."

While November temperatures have been lower than normal, Vining said real winter could come next month.

"It's still looking like the second week in December when we see winter temperatures and conditions," she said. "It is December in North Dakota. Brace yourself."

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