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Forecast | Dave Epstein

November arrives with hard frost in some areas before a pleasant weekend

A tree in full fall color along the Charles River in Cambridge on Nov. 9, 2021.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The 11th month has arrived, and it’s a transitional time between autumn and winter. November usually brings the first flakes and even today some folks north and west of Route 495 saw their first snow. This month the weather continues to become colder, most of the leaves fall off the trees, and there’s simply a feeling of heading into winter. This is also Thanksgiving month, so there’s that.

This chart shows how precipitation and temperature typically trend on average. Actual data will be much more variable.NOAA

In the short run temperatures are going to moderate a bit over the next few days after a cold start Thursday. Sunrise readings will be in the 20s and 30s and most of us will experience a hard frost or freeze. This will put an end to what has been a very long growing season.


Our upcoming weekend, meanwhile, is looking quite nice, with clouds and sunshine. It will be a great time to continue the fall clean-up activity or simply enjoy watching a soccer or other field game.

Temperatures below freezing are likely in many areas for Thursday morning.WeatherBELL

There’s no way I can predict an entire month of weather, but we can look at November in general to get an idea of what the next four weeks are likely to bring. Temperatures on average fall another 10 degrees or so, and the ground even gets a light freeze to it on and off throughout the month. This is a good month to put in driveway stakes, although I typically wait until after Thanksgiving.

November is a clean-up month, but you can leave some leaves in the garden as protection — although I tend to take them off the lawn. If you’re itching to plant, it’s not too late to put in some bulbs. You can also put your garlic in the ground during November. I’ve waited as late as Thanksgiving, and it has still grown fine the following year.


Average snowfall for Boston in November is just under an inch, but in actuality most years produce little or no snow.NOAA

In terms of snowfall, Boston averages under an inch of snow in November. Of course, we have had November snow storms, though they are not very frequent. Check out the biggest single-day snowfall for Worcester and Boston below.

The November days with the most snowfall in Boston.National Weather Service
The November days with the most snowfall in Worcester.National Weather Service

Finally, if you are wondering about the winter overall, it is of course impossible to say, but if you look at winters with strong El Nino patterns, like the one that is expected to be in place, snowfall is generally under average, and it is typically warmer than average. This is only a probability, and there have been snowy El Nino years with periods of deeper cold. I will have more on winter predictions in the coming weeks.

Snowfall during the three months January to March is typically under average in moderate to strong El Nino years.NOAA