Content

U.S. had its warmest autumn and 2nd warmest November on record

Drought-fueled wildfires had significant impacts in the Southeast
December 7, 2016
Wildfires are one of many fall weather hazards. Pictured here are the devastating wildfires that raged in and around Great Smoky Mountain National Park in November 2016.

The average U.S. temperature in autumn was 57.6 degrees F (4.1 degrees above average) and surpassed last fall as the warmest on record, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Precipitation during this period was about average for the nation, with wet extremes in the Northwest and dry extremes in the Central Rockies, Gulf Coast region and interior Southeast.

The month of November was the 2nd warmest on record, with an average temperature across the contiguous U.S. of 48 degrees F, 6.3 degrees above average. Every state in the Continental U.S. and Alaska were warmer than average during November. The precipitation total for the month was 0.50 inch below average. 

The year-to-date (January-November) average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 56.9 degrees F, 3.1 degrees above average. All Lower 48 states and Alaska observed above-average temperatures during this 11-month period. Precipitation during this time  was 1.37 inches above normal.   

Here's a map of significant climate events that occurred in the U.S. in November and during Autumn 2016.
 
(NOAA NCEI)

Other noteworthy November climate event include: 

  • Drought: The area of extreme to exceptional drought in the Lower 48 increased from 4.9% to 8.7%; in the Southeast it nearly doubled from 19.7% to 36.2%. 
  • Wildfires: In November, 8,560 wildfires raged across the Continental U.S. and burned more than 275,000 acres, most notably in the Southeast.
  • North Dakota experienced temperatures 12.8 degrees F above average, nearly 2 degrees above the previous record set in 1999.
  • Alaska experienced its warmest year to date on record, a full 6 degrees F above average.
  • Pacific Northwest experienced above-normal precipitation during autumn along the coast. Washington state was record wet.  

 

More: Find NOAA’s report and download related maps and images by visiting the NCEI website.

Media contacts

John Leslie, 301-713-0214
Brady Phillips, 202-407-1298