November in Colorado is looking to end up like a steak cooked medium-rare in the temperature department: warm on the outsides with a cool center.
The month is already off to a very warm start. With several more afternoons flirting with record highs, Denver will likely close out the first third of November with a monthly temperature departure of 15-20 degrees above normal.
A big pattern change will start cutting into those positive departures significantly as the middle of the month approaches. Several high-pressure systems with arctic origins will dive into the western and central United States after the 10th of the month. The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has building confidence in a large area of well-below-normal temperatures sprawling from the west coast to the central Plains, with the possibility of record cold in the northern Plains.
— NWS Climate Prediction Center (@NWSCPC) November 2, 2020
This colder pattern could also combine with a more active storm track to yield multiple snow threats for Colorado in the middle third of November. The first chance of snow arrives later this weekend, especially in the mountains. Several more storms could swipe the state in the two weeks that follow, leading up to Thanksgiving.
This period is the most promising for Colorado to receive some much-needed moisture during the month. Despite the chance of a wetter couple of weeks, the CPC is forecasting Colorado have a drier-than-normal November. This means that Denver will likely come up short of the city’s normal monthly snowfall total of 7.4 inches.
In the final week of November, there are hints that the cold and active pattern will relax. This would result in a warmer and drier finish to the month. The average high in Denver at the end of November is in the middle 40s, with average overnight lows in the upper 10s. A “warm” finish would likely only be with respect to average and not nearly as warm as this month has kicked off.
However, Denver’s latest reading of 80 degrees or higher did come just three years ago, when the mercury soared to 81 degrees on Nov. 27, 2017. So, temperatures of that level are not entirely out of the realm of possibility.
How would this warmer than average and drier than average November compare to last year? Well, if the pattern shakes out as advertised, it would be as close to a polar opposite as you can get. November 2019 started out cold, before transitioning to a very warm mid-month period, and concluding with a cold and snowy end.
Ben Reppert is a meteorologist with WeatherNation TV.
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