We’re calling it Weather Whiplash.
It started last month when Bakersfield residents experienced one of the warmest Octobers on record — the fifth warmest since 1893, to be exact.
Finally, after some seasonal cooling kicked in, it seemed more like fall. But that fall lasted little more than a week.
Then it began snowing Nov. 7. The mountains and foothills of Kern County were hit with a winter storm — nearly three weeks before Thanksgiving.
"It felt like we skipped fall and went right to winter," said Andy Bollenbacher, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Hanford.
According to the October 2020 Weather Summary for the Central California Interior, compiled by NWS Climatologist Brian Ochs, the month of October "was generally much warmer than average with little precipitation throughout the interior region of Central California."
There were some brief fall-like respites, especially later in the month, but "relatively warm temperatures and dry weather continued until the end of the month, and daytime highs remained around 3-5 degrees above average.
"Little or no precipitation occurred in much of the region during this month," Ochs said in his report. "October 2020 ended up much warmer than average."
And it was the second driest October on record in Bakersfield.
"In October, we were stuck under a ridge of high pressure, keeping highs in the 80s and 90s through most of the month," Bollenbacher said.
Then a bit of weather whiplash.
"Last Monday it got really cold. We saw some rural areas get down to 28 or 29 degrees."
Bollenbacher called it a roller coaster.
Now it’s time to buckle your seatbelts again, Bakersfield. Unseasonably warm temperatures are returning early next week.
According to Bollenbacher, average temperatures in Bakersfield and up and down the Central Valley have been trending warmer for years. And, unfortunately, 2020 is no exception.
The computer models are showing a La Nina pattern that is certain to continue, he said of the Pacific weather phenomenon that tends to keep winter storms coming out of Alaska from dropping further south.
In the short term, Bakersfield could see the daytime highs pushing back toward the high-70s — maybe even flirting with 80 — by early next week, in what he called an "abrupt shift." But highs over the weekend are expected to remain in the mid-60s.
Bakersfield's weather may be unseasonable, but it's going to be beautiful. And we're not complaining.
Said Bollenbacher, "We'll see where it goes from there."