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November weather: Early predictions, record events and more

Possible swinging temperatures, problematic Thanksgiving Day winds and nor'easters: Here's everything you need to know about November weather.

Dawn Hahn, 15, of Babylon, shovels the walk

Dawn Hahn, 15, of Babylon, shovels the walk in front of her home on Thanksgiving Day 1989. Photo Credit: Newsday/Cliff De Bear

You can keep those bundle-up coats at the back of your closet, at least for now. Long-range forecasters are expecting a warmer and wetter than normal first half of November, on average, in our section of the Northeast.

Right on cue, the first few days of the month on Long Island are all expected to be on the mild side, with rain entering the picture Thursday night through Saturday. 

Generally speaking, though, November is the month when we see fall weather morph into that of winter, and we can expect nor'easters, too. 

Generally speaking, though, November is the month when we see fall weather morph into that of winter, and we can expect nor'easters, too.

While there can be an occasional 70-degree day, “the shorter hours of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere mean a gradual and inevitable cooling,” says Bill Korbel, News 12 Long Island meteorologist.

That diminishing daylight is also a main factor in leaves turning into those reds, yellows, oranges and purples that we love so much — with Long Island’s foliage peaking early in the month. 

10 degrees the drop in normal daily highs from the beginning to the end of November

At this point, too, “storm systems are stronger, and we usually see at least a couple of nor'easters during the month,” Korbel said.

The solace in that for many is that temperatures normally are too warm for snow. (Still, you’ll see below what happened on Thanksgiving Day 1989!)

But winter is not far off. “Best keep the snow shovels and ice melt handy, just in case," Korbel said. "Even if you don't need them, you most likely will in December.”


Nov. 22, this year’s date for turkey — or tofurky — day, is pretty far off.

Still, while conditions were not in clear focus at this point, the end of the week including Thanksgiving could be seeing dry conditions and temperatures warming up to the high 40s in our area, said Paul Pastelok, AccuWeather’s lead long-range forecaster. Not bad conditions for parade-goers — if that forecast holds up. Pastelok's very early prediction is based on a pattern he sees setting up, and much depends on timing.

Historically speaking, Nov. 22 has: 

  • Warmed up to 64 degrees in 1973
  • Warmed up to 31 degrees in 2008
  • Seen zero rainfall to close to an inch in 1985
  • Seen zero to just a trace of snow


Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, 1989 7.6 inches of snow recorded at MacArthur Airport

Under the headline “Turkey in the Snow,” a Newsday story said it was the first white Thanksgiving since 1938.

Dozens showed up for an annual run around Fort Pond in Montauk. “I thought of canceling it, but I figured I would just see if anybody was crazy enough to show up,” the organizer said.

And, what did those 38 racers, who slogged through snow drifts and slipped on icy spots receive for finishing the race? Turkeys, frozen ones.

Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27, 1997 30 mph gusts reported at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 

The wind was problematic at the parade on this day, with the Cat in the Hat balloon, whose signature stovepipe hat shredded, toppling part of a light pole and injuring four spectators — one seriously.

Other balloons were tattered, swaying from side to side, and Garfield lost a limb and suffered a limp tail.

Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, 2005 20 mph gusts reported at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

It was déjà vu in 2005, but this time it was the M&M balloon crashing into a streetlamp, causing a piece to fall and injure two sisters. 



Unless there are certain climate forces at play to make it warmer, it’s mostly a month for a light jacket with a switch, at some point, to a scarf and heavier coat.

November normally starts out with daily highs of 58 degrees, and overnight lows of 41.

By month’s end, make that 48 degrees for highs and 33 for lows — brr.


On average, the month sees 3.67 inches of precipitation.

But, it’s seen as much as 8.3 inches in 1938.

And as little as 0.39 in 1976.


Normal is a measly 1/2 inch of snow.

That blockbuster year, 1989, brought 7.6 inches.


Nov. 4Turn clocks back an hour

Nov. 18: Last chance to catch Al Roker, meteorologist and TV personality, on Broadway

Nov. 22Happy Thanksgiving!

Now, we want to hear from you ... 

In each month's weather preview, we'll include stories from readers related to the weather for the upcoming month.

Do you have a special memory from a December snowstorm? Did you get married in a blizzard? Do you have an annual ritual to prepare for winter hibernation? Or maybe you just associate December with certain feelings -- either excitement or dread of the holidays.

Let us know about whatever December means for you in a form you can find here.

Sources: Norman Dvoskin, retired News 12 Long Island meteorologist; Northeast Regional Climate Center

Research help by: Newsday librarians; photo researcher Peggy Lundquist


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