Poet Thomas Hood in his ode to November, a poem entitled "November" offered this description of the next to the last month of the year:
'No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
What a fearful month it can be from coast to coast. The jet stream swings south from Canada into its winter position in November. The winter jet stream runs west to east across the US from the Northwest to the Great Lakes and on to the Atlantic Ocean. With some of the fall warmth and moisture still hanging on to the south of this line, and the first winter cold blast from the arctic to the north, well, the clash of the two makes fierce storms that last for days bringing November wind, rain and snow.
And it's these November winds that brought down the suspension bridge over the Tacoma Narrows in Washington State. You know the video that every high school physics teacher uses to show harmonic motion, with the guy running from his car as the bridge goes bananas -- November wind. And the Edmund Fitzgerald was lost in Lake Superior "when the gales of November came slashing" as the song goes.
So, while November does show a stark landscape with little life, the sky is just revving up for a winter of meteorological action. The Weather Notebook is a production of New Hampshire's Mount Washington Observatory where the record November windspeed is 163 miles per hour. Thanks to Subaru and the National Science Foundation.