November weather forecast for the DC area: cool and dry

By | November 1, 2023

Our frosty opening through November contrasts sharply to the record heat that closed the month of October. This new month is known for its temperature variations, and we expect more highs and lows in the weeks to come.

Even though temperatures fluctuate, there’s a good chance we’ll end up on the cool side of normal. We expect the average temperature in November to be between 47 and 49 degrees, a hair below the 49.9 degree average of recent years.

Since spring, we have experienced drier than normal weather most of the time, and we expect this to continue for another month. We expect between 1.5 and 2.5 inches of rain, compared to the November norm of 2.91 inches.

November is the first month of the season in which DC receives on average some snow, but only 0.1 inch. Even though we are heading into slightly cooler than normal temperatures, we are not seeing a strong signal of measurable snow this month. That said, it is almost impossible to predict snow potential more than 5-7 days in advance.

What computer models predict for the month

Computer models predict slightly cooler and drier conditions than normal over the next two weeks. Here are the latest temperature (top) and precipitation (bottom) simulations from the American (left) and European (right) models:

Although these models agree relatively strongly on the cool and dry first two weeks of the month, the predicted deviations from norms are only slight, so small changes in actual weather could alter the results.

For the second half of November, the models show mixed signals. The U.S. Long Range Modeling System forecasts warmer and drier than normal weather conditions, while the European model simulates near-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation.

You would think that the El Niño phenomenon – which often brings wetter conditions to the mid-Atlantic this time of year – would tip the scales towards more precipitation. However, we have not yet seen this signal emerge. The European model seems to suggest this could come into effect later this month. Even if this is the case, the dry first half of November could prevent precipitation from reaching normal levels for the entire month.

Our forecast for a drier than normal November follows a particularly dry October. Only 0.65 inches of rain fell, the lowest total in 23 years and tied with 1912 for the 10th driest on record. Measurable rain fell in just six days.

Temperatures were very variable but more often hot than cold. The average temperature of 63.1 degrees was 2.3 degrees warmer than normal, and it tied with 2016 as the 13th warmest October on record.

A month ago, we correctly predicted that October would be warmer and drier than normal. Our forecast that October would be 1 to 3 degrees warmer than normal was correct, but our projection of 3 to 3.65 inches of rain – although less than normal – was too wet.

Here’s how the month went:

During the month, no records were set at Washington’s official observing site at Reagan National Airport; however, several occurred at Dulles International and Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airports during the heat wave at the end of the month:

  • Dulles set a record of 81, breaking the old mark of 80 in 2021.
  • Dulles set a record of 84, breaking the old mark of 82 in 1978.
  • Baltimore set a record of 83, breaking the old mark of 81 in 1978.
  • Dulles set a record of 86, breaking the old mark of 83 in 1984.
  • Baltimore set a record of 82, tying the old mark from 1963.

With October forecast, 2023 continues to be an exceptionally warm and dry year.

Washington is experiencing its third hottest year on record, behind 2012 and 2017:

And it is experiencing its 15th driest year on record:

Records in Washington date from 1872.

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