Weather Trivia for the Month of November

The first systematized and synchronous weather observations were taken at 24 stations across the U.S. at 7:35 am. These observations were transmitted via telegraph to Washington DC for plotting on a national weather map. The Army Signal Service was assigned the responsibility for taking these observations.
Despite being about halfway into fall, temperatures across central Illinois rose into the 80's, establishing record high temperatures for November. Pana reported a high of 84 degrees, with 83 in Springfield and Decatur, 81 in Peoria, and 80 in Champaign.
Normal temperatures across central Illinois decrease significantly during the month, but are still fairly mild early on. Normal highs at the beginning of the month are in the upper 50's, with lows in the upper 30s. By the end of the month, highs in the mid 40's and lows in the mid 20's are more common.
November of 1880 still stands as the coldest November on record in parts of central Illinois. Peoria's average temperature was 30.2 degrees, and Springfield's average was 32.3 degrees.
Radiosondes are weather instruments that measure temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure of the atmosphere. These radiosondes are carried into the sky using weather balloons filled with helium or hydrogen. When inflated, the balloon is about 4-5 feet in diameter and several feet high. However, as the balloon ascends, the decreased effects of barometric pressure cause the balloon to expand. It will usually pop at an elevation close to 100,000 feet off the ground. By this time, the balloon is about the size of a small house.
Late season severe weather caused extensive wind damage across central and southeast Illinois, late on the 5th to just after midnight on the 6th. Peak wind gusts from the storms inclueded 89 mph at the Lawrenceville Airport, and 86 mph at Chrisman, where significant tree and structural damage occurred. Significant damage also occurred west of Bloomington, near Stanford.
A late-season tornado moved across Pike and Brown Counties of west central Illinois. The tornado unroofed two homes at Versailles, and one on the south edge of New Salem. A second tornado took an intermittent path from south of Canton, in Fulton County, to Alta, in Peoria County. Barns were swept away and debris was scattered for miles.
Areas near the Great Lakes frequently deal with lake-effect snow during the fall and winter. These snows are produced when cold air picks up moisture while traveling across the relatively warmer lake waters. The air then rises to form clouds and snow. Generally, these lake-effect snows are found along east or south shores of the Great Lakes, but a northeast wind will produce lake-effect snow in northeastern Illinois.
The average first freeze of the fall season normally occurs in Springfield on October 22nd. However, during the fall of 1956, the first freeze didn't occur until this date, November 8th. This set a record for the city's latest first freeze.
A tornado in southeastern Missouri crossed the Mississippi River into southwestern Illinois, affecting the areas around Chester and Richview. A ferry boat on the river was hit, with much of the debris being blown over a quarter mile. Four people in Chester were killed when the late-night tornado destroyed 14 houses.
A strong tornado moved across Bond and Fayette Counties, from Dudleyville to Brownstown. This tornado, with a track of 30 miles, damaged 175 homes. Much of the damage was in Brownstown, where 25 homes were destroyed and 144 were damaged. 11 injuries were reported.
Severe thunderstorms moving across southern Illinois produced two weak tornadoes, one in Franklin County near Royalton, and one in Jackson County near De Soto. Wind gusts over 60 mph were also reported in many areas, along with golfball size hail north of Eddyville.
Tornadoes moved across Cass and Mason Counties of central Illinois. The Cass County tornado touched down near Arenzville and moved through Virginia, where 100 buildings were damaged. 12 people were injured. In Mason County, the tornado moved from near Easton to the Logan/Mason County border west of San Jose. An infant and an elderly woman were killed in separate homes near Easton.
Peoria normally has its first freeze of the fall season on October 17th. During the fall of 1882 and also the fall of 1946, the first freeze didn't occur until this date, November 12th. These two occurrences mark Peoria's latest first freeze on record.
A strong tornado touched down near Morris, moving northeast to near Channahon, Preston Heights, and Tinley Park. About 100 homes were badly damaged or destroyed by this tornado along its 36 mile path, with damage estimated at $7 million. A separate tornado further southwest destroyed a dozen planes and several hangars at the Streator airport.
A strong tornado moved across Jackson and Perry Counties of southern Illinois, along a 6 mile path. At Campbell Hill, the city hall and 10 homes were demolished, and the downtown area was severely damaged. Seven injuries were reported.
Ice crystals sometimes act as prisms in the sky. If the Sun is positioned right, they can bend light rays and reflect them back to the light source. This causes a display known as a "sun pillar". Sun pillars are most likely around sunrise or sunset. They appear as columns of bright light extending upward or downward from the Sun.
A pair of strong tornadoes affected the eastern St. Louis metropolitan area. The stronger one touched down 3 miles north of Fairview Heights and moved to Troy. 3 electric power line towers were knocked down, and a number of houses and other buildings were damaged. Damage in Madison County alone was $1 million.
A tornado touched down 7 miles southwest of Newton, in Jasper County. The tornado downed numerous trees and power lines. The majority of the structure damage impacted outbuildings, barns, and grain bins. 11 outbuildings were severely damaged or destroyed. Three homes sustained minor damage. One attached garage was destroyed, with the debris carried 150 yards downwind. The tornado lifted about 3.5 miles northeast of Newton.
An early morning tornado moved across Union County, in southern Illinois. It tore roofs off homes and demolished other buildings along its path, from southwest of Jonesboro to Anna.
A late-season severe weather outbreak produced a total of 75 tornadoes across seven states. Of these, 25 occurred in Illinois, and 14 of those were at least EF-2 strength. One violent, EF-4 tornado was on the ground for 46 miles and caused major damage in Washington, with some debris being found as far away as Chicago. This tornado caused 3 fatalities and 125 injuries. Another EF-4 tornado near New Minden was on the ground for 10 miles, with 2 fatalities and 2 injuries. Total damage from the tornadoes was estimated at $1.05 billion, with over $800 million damage in Washington alone.
Late-season tornadoes moved across northwestern Illinois, affecting Rock Island, Henry, and Lee Counties. Five people near Kewanee were injured when two cars were hurled into a field.
A strong tornado stuck the city of Marion, in southern Illinois, causing $30 million damage. The tornado destroyed 45 homes and damaged nearly 300 more. The tornado was on the ground for about 1-1/2 miles.
Mild weather prevailed across central Illinois during the month. Records for the warmest November average temperature were established at Springfield, with 52 degrees, and Peoria, with 50.2 degrees.
Central Illinois averages about 20 days a year where dense fog reduces visibility to 1/4 mile or less. However, the foggiest areas of the country are in the far western U.S., in mountain valleys and along the coast, in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern U.S., and in southwestern New England. These areas usually see at least 80 days a year with dense fog.
Lenticular clouds are lens shaped in appearance, and frequently form one above another. They may lead to an increase in UFO sightings, because they can resemble spacecraft. Although they may be visible in Illinois on occasion, they are most common in mountainous areas.
Peoria had its earliest sub-zero temperature on record, with a low temperature of 1 degree below zero. This stood as a November record until 1977. Ironically, the all-time November record high was recorded earlier that month.
The early season cold wave continued in central Illinois. High temperatures of 6 degrees in Springfield and 8 degrees in Peoria both established the coldest November high temperature on record. Record lows were also established at both sites, with temperatures below zero.
A tornado moved across 22 miles of Randolph and St. Clair Counties of southwest Illinois. Homes were overturned, a barn destroyed, and livestock killed. The local mail carrier was injured, as was the person that ran to warn him of the oncoming tornado.
Record cold continued across central Illinois. Champaign's low temperature of 5 degrees below zero set a November record for the city. Record lows for the date were also set at Peoria, with a low of 1 below zero, and Springfield, with a low of zero.
A winter storm brought a mixture of freezing rain, sleet, snow, and high winds to central Illinois. This was the result of a strong low pressure system moving northeast from the lower Mississippi Valley, combining with cold air pushing south out of the Northern Plains. Significant icing occurred, causing numerous accidents and power outages. Several injuries were reported.
A tornado moved northeast across Pontiac during the late afternoon. Homes, stores and barns were destroyed by this tornado. No deaths were reported.
Peoria's November record low temperature was established, with a temperature of 2 degrees below zero. The previous record had been set in 1950.
A tornado moved across the southern edge of Rushville, in Schuyler County, and moved northeast causing extensive damage to homes, barns, and trees in the Scab Hollow area. At least 3 homes were destroyed. Another tornado uprooted 36-inch-diameter oak trees in southwest Mason County. A third tornado in Tazewell County destroyed 32 airplanes and 4 hangars as it moved across an airport, causing $1.5 million damage.
Ice crystals in the sky can sometimes cause interesting displays of light. A halo is such a display. Halos are caused when light rays are bent by ice crystals, forming a ring around the sun or moon. Weather folklore says that halos can be used to forecast precipitation. This is sometimes true, because high clouds containing ice crystals are the first clouds to move into an area ahead of an approaching low pressure system.
An area of low pressure intensified as it moved over southeast Illinois, creating strong gradient winds up to 62 mph. These winds only lasted for about half an hour. The winds blew down numerous large trees and power lines in Lawrence and Crawford Counties. No injuries were reported.
A low temperature of 3 degrees below zero was recorded at Springfield's Capital Airport. This set the city's November record low temperature.
Widespread freezing rain and sleet affected many locations in central Illinois west of I-57 on the 30th, changing to snow overnight and into the morning of December 1. Eleven counties in central Illinois reported ice ranging from 1/4 to 2 inches thick, with the thickest ice around Decatur, Taylorville, Clinton and Mt. Pulaski. Eight counties reported heavy sleet ranging in depth from a half to 2.2 inches. The heaviest snow occurred along and west of the Illinois River, where snow amounts were 8 to 18 inches. Areas east of the Illinois River, especially along the I-55 corridor, had snow amounts ranging from 3 to 8 inches on top of the ice and sleet. is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.
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