We've had an atypical November, both in terms of temperatures (mild) to rainfall (extreme). It's quite different from one year ago, when Columbus had its coldest November in 38 years and the 4th coldest in modern records, including a string of record lows from the 18th through the 20th. This year it's been mild, temperatures running roughly 4 degrees above November averages to date. Rainfall, of course, has been off the scale as we've been drenched with almost 9½ inches of rain with only two-thirds of the month gone.
What's coming over the weekend may help balance out both those extremes. Saturday we will see a cold front slide through the Southeast, passing Columbus sometime Saturday night. Behind it will be a dry, cold air mass of Canadian origin, likely the coldest air we've experienced so far this fall. Sunday's highs will remain in the lower end of the 50s, and assuming winds diminish and skies remain clear Sunday night, we are likely to see the first freezing temperatures of the season Monday morning. In Columbus the average date of our first freeze is November 10, so we're just a bit late this year.
This weekend system is an interesting one because of the very energetic upper air flow acting upon it. The cold front we'll see here is attached to a surface low traveling through the Midwest that will bring the first significant snowstorm of the season to cities like Des Moines, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Lansing. A narrow stripe of as much as 10" of snow could fall within a wider band of lesser accumulation. Of note is that it's a football Saturday in Big Ten country, but the venues located in the heaviest forecasted snow won't have games as Michigan State, Michigan, and Illinois are all on the road; Northwestern plays Wisconsin in Madison where they could get dumped on, but the snow should be over in time for the late afternoon start - it's the fans that may have trouble even getting to the game! (It'll be extremely nice weather for the games in Tuscaloosa, Athens, and Auburn FWIW...)
Midwest model snow forecast
After temperatures bottom out Monday morning, they can only go up under the projected pattern for Thanksgiving week. We'll likely remain below normal until midweek, when a warming trend will set in to put us into the 60s and maybe as warm as 70º on Thanksgiving Day. The other bit of good news for the holiday week is that we are likely to stay rain-free with no significant storms on the horizon for the nation's southern tier. We could use a good chance to dry out after getting repeatedly soaked the last several weeks, and to have a Thanksgiving week without rain would be a boon to holiday travelers.
As always, the First Alert weather team is keeping daily watch on any new weather developments, so check in periodically for the latest updates.
Kurt Schmitz, Senior Meteorologist