The year 2011 has had its share of active weather. With November wrapping up, let’s take a look at the significant events that occurred during the month. Some of the events includes record cold in Alaska, flooding in Bangkok, severe weather outbreak across the southeast United States, and wildfires across Nevada.
Significant flooding occurred across Thailand from July 2011 into the month of November. By November 20, 2011, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that 17 out of the 76 provinces were still affected by floodwaters. Flooding was caused by monsoonal flow and an unfortunate series of tropical systems that pushed into the area. Msnbc.com reports over 600 people have died from this natural disaster. Deaths were mainly blamed on drowning, but malnutrition and disease were other areas of concern that the people of Thailand had to face. Almost three million people were affected by the flooding. Flooding was also a huge concern across Vietnam and Combodia from similar rains that affected Thailand. Over 350 people lost their lives due to excessive rain. For more information regarding Thailand flooding, check out EarthSky’s post HERE.
Heavy rain resulted in large mudslides across Colombia. The city of Manizales was hardest hit as nearly 40 people were killed and another 20 people were buried beneath rocks and mud. Over 250,000 people were affected by the extreme rain and mudslides across the area. The rainy season across the area is considered one of the worst in recent decades. People were told to evacuate areas prone to mudslides and flooding, but unfortunately, some people did not follow orders. Meteorologists are reporting that December could bring double or triple the normal amount of rainfall across the area.
One of the strongest storms since 1974 hit northern parts of Alaska as hurricane force winds, large storm surge, and heavy rain and snow were produced. The city of Nome, with a population of 3,600 people, were hit hardest with a storm surge of 8.6 feet (2.6 meters). Windows were blown out and minor roof damage occurred as the storm pushed into the region. This seriousness of this storm was predicted by meteorologists in advance, and everyone across the region were able to prepare for the brutal conditions. Extremely cold temperatures pushed into Alaska by the middle of the month as cities such as Fairbanks, Alaska had extreme low temperatures near -40 Fahrenheit for days that broke records.
Severe weather stuck portions of the southeast United States on November 16, 2011. At least 22 preliminary reports of tornadoes were reported by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) across Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. The event was nothing like the outbreak of April 27, 2011, and most of the tornadoes that struck land were in the EF-0 to EF-2 range. Six people were killed and at least 78 tornado warnings were issued on November 16 from Louisiana to North Carolina.
Wildfires dominated parts of Nevada, especially in southwest Reno on November 18, 2011. Strong winds near 70 miles per hour, dry conditions, and a raging wildfire forced almost 10,000 people to evacuate their homes. 32 homes were destroyed, and 1,953 acres were burned. One death occurred during the wildfire, and sources are not sure on exactly how the fire started. It is best to follow the National Weather Service red flag warnings indicating dry conditions which are favorable for wildfires. Wind and dry air are a bad combination. With this in mind, people can help prevent wildfires from spreading by not burning outside or throwing cigarette buds out the window.
On November 28 and 29, a strong cold front pushed through the eastern United States. It formed an upper low which was cut off from the main system. The upper level low (ULL) spun across the southeast United States and brought cold air into the region. Rain turned over into snow across Arkansas, Tennessee, and northern Alabama. ULL’s are tricky because they can easily produce large accumulations of snow based on the track and location of the storm. An area with a forecast of one or two inches could easily be surprised and receive six inches of snow instead. Nearly two to four inches were recorded in northeast Arkansas, with nearly eight inches recorded in Paragould, Arkansas. The storm pushed to the northeast and produced snow across Michigan and Indiana. December officially begins meteorological winter, and more wintry storms are expected for the month of December. In fact, many of the weather models are hinting at a very cold, arctic outbreak spilling it’s way into the Central United States by next week.
Overall, November has seen flooding across Asia, record breaking cold air across Alaska, severe storms in the southeast United States, and wildfires across Nevada. Tropical activity was fairly quiet for the month of November, even though we did see major hurricane Kenneth harmlessly develop in the eastern Pacific ocean. Overall, November was a less active month regarding severe weather across the world, but impacts were still felt. Tomorrow, we will take a look into the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season as it officially wraps up to a close today.
Matt Daniel is Meteorologist for WBRC in Birmingham, Alabama. A self-described "big weather and music geek," Matt has a passion for helping to keep people safe when severe weather strikes and says if you don't have a NOAA Weather Radio ... you should get one.