National Overview - October 2007


NCDC transitioned to the nClimDiv dataset on Thursday, March 13, 2014. This was coincident with the release of the February 2014 monthly monitoring report. For details on this transition, please visit our public FTP site and our U.S. Climate Divisional Database site.

Maps and Graphics:


October Most Recent 3 Months Most Recent 6 Months
Most Recent 12 Months Year-to-Date US Percent Area Very Wet/Dry/Warm/Cold
Annual Summary for 2006

PLEASE NOTE: All temperature and precipitation ranks and values are based on preliminary data.  The ranks will change when the final data are processed, but will not be replaced on these pages.  As final data become available, the most up-to-date statistics and graphics will be available on the Climate Monitoring Products page and the U.S. Climate At A Glance Web site.


For graphics covering periods other than those mentioned above or for tables of national, regional, and statewide data from 1895—present, for October, last 3 months or other periods, please go to the Climate At A Glance page.

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National Overview:


Temperature Highlights
  • For the contiguous United States, the average temperature for October was 56.9°F (13.8°C), which was 2.1°F (1.2°C) above the 20th century mean and tied with 1918, 1953, and 1956 as the ninth warmest October on record, based on preliminary data.
  • Temperatures were generally warmer than average across the Lower 48 states, with the exception of cooler than average conditions in the states of the West Coast.
  • The states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island set record high average temperatures during October, and the Northeast as a whole was the 2nd warmest on record. Readings on October 8th reached levels more common in the summer months, breaking daily and monthly high temperature records in the New York City metro area.
  • The unusually warm conditions reduced energy demand for heating in the heavily populated Northeast, and, for the nation as a whole, temperature related energy demand was 15% below average based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index.
Precipitation Highlights
  • No new low precipitation records were set; this was the twenty-sixth wettest October in the 1895—2007 record. An average of 2.56 inches (65.0 mm) fell across the contiguous U.S. this month, which is 0.5 inches (11 mm) above average.
  • Although above normal rainfall in October led to a reduction of the drought in parts of western Tennessee, much of Kentucky, and parts of Virginia and North Carolina, much of the Southeast remained in an exceptional drought. Many cities in the region have instituted mandatory water restrictions, with some locations having only a three-month supply remaining. In North Carolina, Gov. Easley has said, "If we do not get significant rain, some areas face the once unthinkable possibility of water rationing and potentially running out of water entirely."
  • More than six inches (150 mm) of rain fell in many drought affected areas of western Tennessee in October, much of it in the last week of the month, but year-to-date precipitation deficits ranging from 10 to 20 inches (250-500 mm) remained widespread. Several communities were already under mandatory water restrictions. Heavy rain brought some drought relief to parts of Virginia and North Carolina, but near the end of October, drought covered 67% of the Southeast. For more information on drought during October, please visit the U.S. Drought Watch page.
Other Items of Note
  • Drought also continued to affect more than half of the western U.S. In late October, ongoing drought and strong Santa Ana winds brought devastating fires to parts of Southern California. According to preliminary estimates, over 900,000 acres (3600 km²) had burned during the month across the southern portion of the state, burning more than 2000 homes and affecting hundreds of thousands of people.
  • Based on preliminary estimates from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), over 9.2 million acres (37000 km²) had burned across the U.S. as of the end of October. Drought, which has affected the West since the late 1990s, has contributed to extremely active wildfire seasons in recent years.
  • The past four years have been the most active on record in terms of acreage burned in the U.S. As of the end of October, the 2007 fire season was the second worst on record, exceeded only by the 2006 season when 9.8 million acres (39700 km²) burned.
  • A dry cold front swept through Southern California on the 16th, kicking up strong winds in the Mojave Desert of California. Winds gusting to 60 mph (96 km/hr) reduced visibility to zero from blowing dust. Four deaths were attributed to the sandstorms with dozens of vehicles involved in at least four separate wrecks.
  • October 2007 was a very busy month for severe weather across the Midwest. Tornadoes occurred during every week except the last, with the peak of the activity occurring during October 17—18, when 67 twisters occurred in the Midwest.
  • La Niña conditions were present in the tropical Pacific Ocean by the end of October. Equatorial sea-surface temperatures remained below average from the Date Line eastward to the South American coast and remained above average in the western Pacific. According to the CPC, nearly all of the dynamical and statistical models are forecasting weak-to-strong La Niña conditions during the next several months. A developing La Niña may result in wetter than normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest and drier than normal conditions in the southwestern and southeastern U.S., as well as above average temperatures in the south-central and southwestern U.S. in the next three months. For additional information on ENSO conditions, please visit the NCDC ENSO Monitoring page and the latest NOAA ENSO Advisory.
Alaska:
  • Alaska had its 37th coolest October since records began in 1918, with a temperature 0.23°F (0.13°C) above the 1971—2000 average.

  • Alaska had its 17th warmest August—October on record, with a temperature 2.03°F (1.13°C) above the 1971—2000 average.

  • Alaska had its 24th warmest January—October on record, with a temperature 0.58°F (0.32°C) above the 1971—2000 average.
For additional details about recent temperatures and precipitation across the U.S., see the Monthly and Seasonal Highlights section below and visit the October Climate Summary page. For information on local temperature and precipitation records during the month of October, please visit NCDC's Extremes page. For details and graphics on weather events across the U.S. and the globe please visit NCDC's Global Hazards page.

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Regional Highlights:

These regional summaries were provided by the six Regional Climate Centers and reflect conditions in their respective regions. These six regions differ spatially from the nine climatic regions of the National Climatic Data Center.

Northeast | Midwest | Southeast | High Plains | Southern | Western

Northeast Region: (Information provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center)
  • Residents of the Northeast states saved on heating costs as above normal temperatures persisted into October. The first 8 days of the month were the warmest on record at several locations in the Northeast. Readings on the 8th reached levels more common in the summer months, breaking daily and monthly high temperature records in the New York City metro area. JFK Airport's high of 90°F (32°C) on that day was 15°F (8.3°C) warmer than the previous record set in 1990. After a brief slide into below normal readings from the 10th to the 15th, warm conditions returned, making October 2007 one of the warmest on record throughout the Northeast. It was the warmest October on record at 14 Northeast stations, including the LaGuardia airport in New York, whose record average temperature of 65.5°F (18.6°C) was 2.4°F (1.3°C) above the previous record.

  • Drought conditions worsened until much needed rain fell during the last half of October. Amounts as high as 400% above normal fell over parts of eastern New York, eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and West Virginia from the 19th to the 31st. At month's end, extreme southwestern West Virginia had improved from extreme to severe drought conditions. Parts of southern New England, western New York, southern Delaware and Maryland were still experiencing moderate drought conditions. Counties in New York, Maryland and West Virginia were added to the list eligible for federal disaster loans from the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
For more information, please go to the Northeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.

Midwest Region: (Information provided by the Midwest Regional Climate Center)
  • Unseasonably warm temperatures at the beginning of October resulted in hundreds of daily temperature records broken across the Midwest during the first eight days of the month. This very warm start contributed to October 2007 being above average in temperature throughout the entire region. The warmest temperature departures were in northeastern Ohio and northern Michigan with average temperatures for the month as much as 10°F (5.6°C) above normal. In the western half of the Midwest, temperatures were still 2-3°F (1.1-1.6°C) above average. Cleveland and Mansfield, OH experienced their 3rd warmest Octobers on record and Alpena, Gaylord, Sault Sainte Marie and Traverse City, MI all had their 5th warmest Octobers. Indianapolis, IN had their warmest October in 60 years and the 4th warmest on record. Milwaukee, WI and Rochester, MN also had their 4th warmest Octobers on record.

  • Precipitation varied widely across the region but the majority of the Midwest received normal to above normal rainfall during October 2007. Precipitation ranged from 200% to 300% of normal from Iowa northwestward to northern Wisconsin and in the Ohio Valley, to less than 75% of normal in central Missouri. Minnesota and Iowa ended the month with their state average precipitation ranking in the top five of wettest Octobers for the respective states and several individual stations set monthly precipitation records. The rains that fell during the last two weeks of the month were very welcome across the southern Midwest and helped Paducah, KY reach their 8th wettest October on record. The precipitation that fell during the month reduced or finally ended much of the drought that had plagued a large portion of the Midwest during much of the growing season.

  • October 2007 was a very busy month for severe weather across the Midwest. Tornadoes occurred during every week except the last, with the peak of the activity occurring during October 17-18 when 67 twisters occurred in the Midwest. According to the Storm Prediction Center, this outbreak set a national record for tornado outbreaks in October with 87 tornadoes forming nationwide in the three day span of October 17-19, which far surpassed the previous record of 63 tornadoes in 1997. Of the 87 tornadoes, 83 occurred across the midsection of the country and resulted in five fatalities.
For details on the weather and climate events of the Midwest during October, see the weekly summaries in the MRCC Midwest Climate Watch page.

Southeast Region: (Information provided by the Southeast Regional Climate Center)
  • October 2007 in the Southeast Region started with a warm spell between the 3rd and 10th, setting daily high temperature records for the month of October at a variety of stations from Alabama to Virginia. Although the heat abated in the middle of the month, with some cool mornings, there were few truly cold periods. Indeed, stations around Washington and in central North Carolina had their warmest Octobers on record. Reagan National Airport, with records in the area going back to 1871, smashed the old record, set in 1984, by 2°F (1.1°C), averaging 67.1°F (19.5°C) for the month. Other record-setting stations upped the previous temperature records by a few tenths of a degree Fahrenheit.

  • Meanwhile, the drought persisted, particularly in an arc stretching from western Virginia through the western Carolinas to northern Georgia and northeast Alabama. There was some relief on October 24—26 when an upper-level low pressure system to the west brought 2—6 inches (152 mm) of rain over much of the area. As a result, the area in the Exceptional Drought category, which had been increasing early in the month, decreased slightly. At the month's end, 18% of the region was still in Exceptional Drought and nearly a third was covered either by Extreme or Exceptional Drought conditions, a moderate improvement over the previous week. Only the northeast and southern parts of the region saw an overall improvement as the month progressed. For rainfall year-to-date values, many stations were hovering around the second- or third-driest on record. For example, Atlanta has received a total of 26.11 inches (663 mm) of rain in 2007, the third driest on record behind 1931 (23.61 in / 600 mm) and 1954 (24.68 in / 627 mm). The official National Weather Service forecast suggests that the dry conditions will at least persist and possibly intensify for all areas of the southeast during the next few months.
For more information, please go to the Southeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.

High Plains Region: (Information provided by the High Plains Regional Climate Center)
  • Several October precipitation records were broken in the eastern High Plains, as rains pummeled parts of eastern South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas, with many experiencing over 300% of normal just within the first 2 weeks of October. Several locations in eastern Nebraska, Kansas and South Dakota received more than 3 inches (76 mm) above normal during the month, setting new records. Above normal precipitation hindered soybean and corn harvests up until the 3rd week of October, at which time dry conditions took over and farmers were able to successfully harvest their crops. Dry conditions continued to dominate into early November 2007 across much of the region.

  • Dry conditions persisted from September into October for much of the already dry western High Plains, particularly lacking in far SW Kansas and parts of Southern Colorado and Central North Dakota.

  • Temperatures remained mild across the region for much of October 2007, with monthly average temperature departures from normal ranging from 2-4°F (1.1-2.2°C) above average for almost all of the High Plains region.
For more information, please go to the High Plains Regional Climate Center Home Page.

Southern Region: (Information provided by the Southern Regional Climate Center)
  • In early October, the United States Drought Monitor (USDM) reported that 16.7% of the state of Mississippi was experiencing severe drought or higher. Throughout the month of October, rainfall was generally higher than normal in Mississippi. As a result, drought conditions in Mississippi have greatly improved. On October 30, 2007, the USDM reported that only 4% of the state was still experiencing moderate drought and no portions of the state were in the higher drought categories. In addition, only 19% of the state was considered abnormally dry, which was an improvement of over 51% from the preceding month. In view of the intense drought conditions that did persist through the past three months, the USDA declared 60 counties in the state as primary natural disaster areas.

  • At the beginning of October, the entire state of Tennessee was experiencing severe drought or worse, but conditions improved during October in the western parts of the state. Despite the rain in the west, rainfall deficits throughout the state during 2007 remained impressive. Almost all stations that report on a regular basis showed year-to-date deficits ranging from 10 to 20 inches (250-500 mm). The highest deficits were observed in the east, where exceptional drought was prevalent, while the lowest deficits were observed in the west, where rainfall has brought some drought relief.

  • In the southeastern Tennessee town of Orme, conditions were so dry that the town water was turned on for only a three hour period each day through the end of the month. Brian Boyd, a senior service hydrologist with NOAA in Tennessee, reported that some citizens in the state were resorting to showering on a weekly basis. He also reported that the city of Maryville was under mandatory water restrictions. According to Knoxnews.com, a total of 3,000 fires have burned in Tennessee from the beginning of the year through the end of October.
For more information, please go to the Southern Regional Climate Center Home Page.

Western Region: (Information provided by the Western Regional Climate Center)
  • October 2007 temperatures were generally slightly below normal all along the West Coast and slightly above normal throughout the intermountain region. These cooler temperatures were mainly due to the lower average maximum temperatures, as average minimum temperatures were near normal. Precipitation was generally above normal except for the Southwest.

  • A dry cold front swept through Southern California on the 16th, kicking up strong winds in the Mojave Desert of California. Winds gusting to 60 mph (96 km/hr) reduced visibility to zero from blowing dust. Four deaths were attributed to the sandstorms with dozens of vehicles involved in at least four separate wrecks. This event produced 138 mph (222 km/hr) winds on Mt. Warren (12327 ft / 3757.2 m) near Yosemite on October 17th. A powerful Pacific storm barreled into the Northwest over the next two days, causing strong winds and heavy rain in many locations. Almost 5 inches (127 mm) of rain fell in a 24-hour period at Cooskie Mountain RAWS near Eureka in Northern California on the 18—19.

  • Fueled by strong Santa Ana winds numerous large fires broke out in Southern California. Within a week, over 2000 homes had been destroyed and over 500,000 acres (2020 square km) burned, with more than $2 billion in damage from preliminary estimates. This event followed one of the driest seasons on record in Southern California although, oddly enough, a localized rain event left downtown Los Angeles with 0.95 in (24 mm) on the 12—13th, just prior to the fires. This rain fell mainly on the coast with the mountain areas and the San Diego region getting very little.
For more information, please go to the Western Regional Climate Center Home Page.

See NCDC's Monthly Extremes web-page for weather and climate records for the month of October. For additional national, regional, and statewide data and graphics from 1895-present, for October, the last 3 months or other periods, please visit the Climate At A Glance page.

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PLEASE NOTE: All of the temperature and precipitation ranks and values are based on preliminary data.  The ranks will change when the final data are processed, but will not be replaced on these pages.  Graphics based on final data are available on the Climate Monitoring Products page.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: National Overview for October 2007, published online November 2007, retrieved on September 30, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2007/10.