Tim's Weather World: October's weather whiplash


Another case of weather whiplash…


September went down in the books as the 6th warmest for the contiguous US. , or 2.5° above the 20th century average.  Temperatures then tumbled in October.  October was the 37th coolest on record, 0.6° below average.  Locally, Chicago had an average temperature of 53.1°,  .6° below average in October.  That followed a warmer than average September here that was 2.6° average.


While it was cold for most of US it was almost balmy in Alaska.  Alaska had an average temperature 8.8°F above the 1971-2000 average making it the warmest October on record.



Here are more highlights from the National Climatic Data Center’s summary for October:


  • Below-average temperatures dominated west of the Mississippi River. Oregon had its 11th coolest October, with a monthly temperature of 46.3°F, 3.0°F below average. No state had October temperatures that ranked among the ten coolest.
  • The year-to-date contiguous U.S. temperature was 55.7°F, 0.7°F above the 20th century average, and the 32nd warmest January-October on record
  • The October national precipitation total was 2.23 inches, 0.12 inch above the 20th century average.
  • An early-season blizzard hit northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota on October 3rd–5th, dropping up to three feet of snow with winds in excess of 70 mph. Rapid City, South Dakota received 23.1 inches of snow, breaking several October snowfall records for the city. An estimated 20,000 head of cattle died during the event in South Dakota, approximately 15 to 20 percent of the state’s entire cattle population. The storm was rated a Category 3 (Major) on the Regional Snowfall Index.
  • According to analysis by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the October snow cover extent across the contiguous U.S. was the fifth largest in the 46-year period of record at 132,000 square miles, more than 60,000 square miles above average. Conversely, the Alaska snow cover extent was 53,000 square miles below average, and the ninth smallest October snow cover extent on record.
  • According to the October 29th U.S. Drought Monitor report, 34.7 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, down 6.5 percent compared to the beginning of the month and down 26.4 percent since the beginning of the year. Drought improved for parts of the Central Rockies and Great Plains, while drought conditions developed across parts of the Northeast.
  • On a local basis during October, there were slightly more (1.2 times as many) record cold daily highs (698) and lows (407) as record warm daily highs (242) and lows (689).




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