Thanks to a steady stream of 80-degree days and a couple of highs in the 90s, this was Tucson’s warmest November on record, according to the National Weather Service.
“We sounded like broken records talking about broken records,” said Ken Drozd, a NWS meteorologist.
This is a typical La Niña year — cooler-than-normal ocean temperatures drove the jet stream north — locking in dry and hot weather for the entire southwestern United States, while bringing colder, wetter weather to the Northwest.
November’s average temperature in Tucson of 69.2 degrees was 3.5 degrees higher than the last heat record for November, set in 2007. The 30-year normal average November temperature between 1981-2010, the standard yardstick for meteorologists, is almost 10 degrees colder.
“We basically destroyed that,” said NWS meteorologist John Glueck.
Last month’s average high temperature was 84.2 degrees, another monthly record.
November saw at least 22 days of 80 degrees or higher temperatures — and 13 of those days the highs were 10 or more degrees above the normal for this time of year. The two days of 92-degree highs were 17 to 18 degrees above normal for this time of year, according to NWS records.
A five-day streak of record-breaking heat gripped Tucson starting on Thanksgiving Day with a high of 89 degrees, tying as the warmest Thanksgiving on record since 1924, and peaking at 92 degrees on Nov. 26 and Nov. 27.
To top it off, Tucson boasted the nation’s high temperatures four times last month: Nov. 12 and Nov. 16 when it hit 89 degrees and again on Nov. 26 and Nov. 27 at 92 degrees. Temperatures finally dropped to the upper 70s on Nov. 28.
“It’s better to have record warmth now than in June, but we’d certainly like to get some rain,” Drozd said.
Tucson received very little rain in November — 0.09 of an inch, which was 0.45 of an inch below normal. Trace amounts of rain fell at Tucson International Airport on Sept. 13 at the tail end of the monsoon. Fifty-four days later, on Nov. 7, it rained again.
Rain hasn’t fallen since.
For the year we are at 10.27 inches of rain, just under the average amount of rainfall.
The heat and dry spell is likely to continue throughout December and early 2018 because of La Niña.
And, 2017 could be the warmest year on record for Tucson if the heat sticks around for much of December. The NWS said we are on track to break the record for the warmest year on record, which is an average temperature of 72.1 degrees set in 2014 and again in 2016.
Right now, our average temperature for the year stands at 74.8 degrees. The NWS said forecasting out the rest of the year using the seven-day forecast and normal daily highs for December would bring us to an average temperature of 72.8 degrees by Dec. 31.
The NWS of Tucson is tracking this possible record at www.weather.gov/twc.