Long Island just closed the door on the warmest fall and the warmest November on record. And long-range forecasters say December also will probably be milder than normal.
The average temperature for November at Long Island MacArthur Airport was 49.9 degrees, which is 4.8 degrees above normal. Metrological fall, which runs from September through November, came in at 58.6 degrees, 3.6 degrees above the norm.
Those temperatures edged out those of 2011, which delivered the previous warmest fall and November, said Jessica Spaccio, climatologist with the Northeast Regional Climate Center, based at Cornell University.
As for the region, which runs from New England to West Virginia, November temperatures were mostly 3 to 6 degrees above the norm — with fall bringing record warmth to five of the area’s airport climate sites: Central Park, Newark, and MacArthur, LaGuardia and Kennedy airports, according to climate center data.
Long Islanders reveling in the warmth can thank El Niño, a climate pattern affecting weather worldwide, and which “is characterized by unusually warm temperatures” in the tropical Pacific, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“El Niño has weakened the polar jet stream, so that it has stayed north of the Northeast U.S.,” Spaccio said, with the subtropical jet stream blowing warmer air up from the Southwest.
What’s more, “above normal warmth is expected to continue into December,” she said.
The Climate Prediction Center is indicating a likelihood, 60 percent to 70 percent, for the area including Long Island to see above normal temperatures through the rest of this month. The norm for December is 35.6 degrees.
It’s looking like the next two weeks will bring temperatures somewhat above normal, “as we continue the mild weather that November brought,” said News 12 Long Island meteorologist Bill Korbel. There’s “not much of a chance” for snow through mid-December, but “there is a small chance the weather on LI could turn more wintry for the last week or two of the month,” he said.
As for precipitation, November ranks as the seventh driest November since 1984, when records started being kept at the airport, she said. The period from January through November ranks as the third driest for that time frame, with a precipitation deficit of 8.91 inches below normal. Long Island since May has been in the U.S. Drought Monitor’s moderate drought category.
There’s a tilt too toward above-normal precipitation for the month, the prediction center said, with 4.06 inches the norm.