National Overview - October 2009


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

Temperature and Precipitation Ranks
U.S. Percentage Areas
More Information

National Overview:

  • Temperature Highlights - October
  • The average October temperature of 50.8°F was 4.0°F below the 20th Century average and ranked as the 3rd coolest based on preliminary data.
  • For the nation as a whole, it was the third coolest October on record. The month was marked by an active weather pattern that reinforced unseasonably cold air behind weather patterna series of cold fronts. Temperatures were below normal in eight of the nation's nine climate regions, and of the nine, five were much below normal. Only the Southeast climate region had near normal temperatures for October.
  • Statewide temperatures coincided with the regional values as all but six states had below normal temperatures. Oklahoma had its coolest October on record and ten other states had their top five coolest such months.
  • Florida was the only state to have an above normal temperature average in October. It was the sixth consecutive month that the Florida's temperature was above normal, resulting in the third warmest such period (May-October).
  • The three-month period (August-October) was the coolest on record for three states: Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Five other states had top five cool periods: Missouri (2nd), Iowa (3rd) , Arkansas (5th) , Illinois (5th) and South Dakota (5th) . Every climate division in Kansas (nine) and Nebraska (eight) recorded a record cool such period.
  • For the year-to-date (January - October) period, the contiguous U.S. temperature ranked 43rd warmest. No state had a top or bottom ten temperature value for this period.
  • Precipitation Highlights - October
  • The U.S. recorded its wettest October in the 115-year period of record. The nationwide precipitation of 4.15 inches was nearly double the long-term average of 2.11 inches.
  • Regionally, two of the nation's nine climate regions (the East North Central and South) saw their wettest October. The Central region had its second wettest October, while the West North Central had its fourth wettest. This was the first month since December 2007 that no region had below normal precipitation.
  • Three states (Iowa, Arkansas, and Louisiana) saw their record wettest October. Fourteen other states had precipitation readings ranking in their top five category. Only three states (Florida, Utah, and Arizona) saw below normal precipitation.
  • Arkansas continued its remarkable run of wetness in 2009. The state has seen four months with top three precipitation ranks this year (May, 1st wettest; July, 3rd wettest; September, 2nd wettest; October, 1st wettest). As a result, the state's year-to-date average is the wettest in 115 years of record keeping. This contrasted with persistent dryness in Arizona, which saw its second-driest year-to-date period.
  • The three-month (August-October) rainfall was record-setting for many adjacent divisions within Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. It is noteworthy that this occurred despite only one tropical cyclone (Claudette, in August) making landfall in the region during this period.
  • By the end of October, moderate-to-exceptional drought covered 12 percent of the contiguous United States, the second-smallest drought footprint of the decade, based on the U.S. Drought Monitor. Major drought episodes in California and South Texas improved significantly. Drought conditions emerged across much of Arizona.
  • About 45 percent of the contiguous United States had moderately-to-extremely wet conditions at the end of October, according to the Palmer Index (a well-known index that measures both drought intensity and wet spell intensity). This is the largest such footprint since February 2005.
  • Other Items of Note
  • According to the NOAA Midwest Regional Climate Center in Champaign, Illinois, more than half of the long-term stations in the Midwest had one of their five wettest Octobers on record, with one out of five observing its wettest. Combined with the cold, this delayed crop planting and stunted crop maturity. Corn development was as much as four weeks behind in places, and the soybean harvest was well behind schedule throughout the region.
  • Two major snow storms hit the contiguous United States during October. The first struck the Upper Midwest October 9th through 13th, while the second blanketed the western Plains States October 27th through 30th. By month's end, 13.6 percent of the nation was under snow cover, according to NOAA's National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center.
  • Unusually cold and wet conditions across the middle of the country led to several snowfall records. Cheyenne, Wyoming observed 28 inches of snow during October, making this the city's snowiest October on record. North Platte, Nebraska recorded 30.3 inches of snowfall, making October 2009 the snowiest month of all months on record for the city. The previous record was 27.8 inches, in March 1912.
  • October, like September, saw below-normal fire activity in all respects. A total of 3,207 fires burned about 158,000 acres in October, according to the National Interagency Coordination Center. Each of these values is below this decade's average for October.

Alaska:
  • Alaska had its 10th warmest October since records began in 1918, with a temperature 6.3°F (3.5°C) above the 1971–2000 average.

  • Alaska had its 15th warmest August–October on record, with a temperature 2.2°F (1.2°C) above the 1971–2000 average.

  • Alaska had its 22nd warmest January–October on record, with a temperature 0.9°F (0.5°C) above the 1971–2000 average.

For additional details about recent temperatures and precipitation across the U.S., see the Regional Highlights section below. For information on local temperature and precipitation records during the month, please visit NCDC's Records page. For details and graphics on weather events across the U.S. and the globe please visit NCDC's Global Hazards page.


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 Region: (Information provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center)
  • Below normal temperatures continued in October in the Northeast. The region's average was 47.3 degrees F (8.5 degrees C), which was 1.8 degrees F (1.0 degree C) below the 30-year normal. Maryland ended the month exactly normal; departures among the 11 remaining states ranged from 0.4 degrees F (0.2 degrees C) below normal in Delaware to 2.6 degrees F (1.4 degrees C) below normal in Maine. It was the 18th coolest October since 1895 in the Northeast, the 15th coolest in Vermont, the 12th coolest in New Hampshire, and the 6th coolest in Maine.
  • After a dry September, wet conditions returned to the Northeast in October. Each of the states had precipitation totals that were above normal. Departures ranged from 117 percent of normal in West Virginia to 209 percent of normal in Delaware. The Northeast's precipitation total of 4.67 inches (119 mm) was 134 percent of the 30-year normal. Eight of the states and the region as a whole ranked among the top twenty wettest Octobers since 1895.
  • A few areas in the Northeast got an early taste of winter this month. Low pressure traveling up the eastern seaboard between the 15th and 18th left a dusting to up to 6 inches (152mm) of snow in parts of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The Southern Tier and eastern Finger Lakes region of New York and central Pennsylvania saw the highest totals from these events. Several towns established records for daily snowfall and date of the first inch of snow.
  • For more information, please go to the Northeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • Midwest Region: (Information provided by the Midwest Regional Climate Center)
  • It was much cooler than normal across the Midwest in October, although there was a distinct west to east temperature gradient. Temperature departures ranged from 8 degrees F (4.4 degrees C) below normal in western Iowa to only 2 degrees F (1.1 degrees C) below normal in the far eastern portions of the region. The first half of the month was the coldest with temperature departures ranging from 12 degrees F (6.7 degrees C) below normal in the far west to 2 degrees F (1.1 degrees C) in southeastern Kentucky. More than 900 low maximum and low minimum temperature records were set in the Midwest the first two weeks of October. For the entire month there were 1485 low maximum and 198 low minimum temperature records set or tied. Based on preliminary data, this was the seventh coldest October on record in the Midwest region.
  • Precipitation was frequent in October, and frequently heavy. Precipitation was much above normal across all but far eastern Kentucky and in extreme northern Minnesota, where it was close to average. Precipitation was 300 to 400 percent of normal across the southeastern half of Missouri and the southern half of Illinois, and 300 percent of normal across a portion of western Minnesota. The heavy rain that occurred the last ten days of the month pushed October rainfall totals to record levels at many locations in the central Midwest. Of 965 stations with 30 or more years of records, 192 locations had their wettest October on record, and another 351 locations had their second through fifth wettest October. Based on preliminary data, this was the wettest October on record for the entire nine-state Midwest region. October precipitation ranked in the top five wettest since 1895 in all states except Ohio. It was the wettest October in Iowa, the second wettest in Illinois, Missouri, and Wisconsin, third wettest in Kentucky and Minnesota, fourth wettest in Indiana and Michigan, and 17th wettest in Ohio. The largest precipitation total reported in the region was 17.28 inches (439 mm) by an observer in the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow (CoCoRaHS) network near Winona, Missouri. Average October precipitation for this area in the southeastern part of Missouri is approximately three inches (76 mm). The first snow of the season came rather early to the northwestern third of the region. Snowfall was above normal at the end of the month northwest of a line from the southwest corner of Iowa to the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Snow fell in northwestern Iowa and in Minnesota on October 9-10, with one to four inch (2.5 to 10 cm) amounts common along the Interstate 80 corridor from Council Bluffs to Des Moines, Iowa on the morning of the 10th, including a 6.7 inch (17.0 cm) total at Underwood, Iowa. A second event followed on October 12 and brought more light snow to Iowa and amounts from two to four inches (2.5 to 10 cm) to eastern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. On October 23-24 one to five inches (2.5 to 12.7 cm) of snow fell across northern Wisconsin and the Michigan Upper Peninsula.
  • The cold, wet October weather was the last thing agricultural producers needed this year. Wet weather resulted in late planting of corn in many areas, and a cool growing season further delayed maturity of the crop. At the beginning of October corn development was as much as four weeks behind, especially in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan. An early to normal occurrence of freezing temperatures halted crop maturity in many of the areas where it was farthest behind. There were few periods of dry weather of more than a day or two during them month across most of the region. That slowed or prevented further drying of the corn and kept producers from making any significant harvest progress. At the end of October soybean harvest was behind schedule in all nine states, averaging 50 percent complete compared to a 5-year region average of 86 percent. Corn harvest was only complete in Kentucky, and ranged from 38 percent to 67 percent behind normal in the remaining eight states. Corn harvest was furthest behind in Illinois at 19 percent complete compared to a 5-year average of 86 percent. Only 12 percent of the corn in Minnesota was harvested, compared to a 5-year average of 69 percent.
  • For details on the weather and climate events of the Midwest during May, see the weekly summaries in the MRCC Midwest Climate Watch page.
  • Southeast Region: (Information provided by the Southeast Regional Climate Center)
  • Average temperatures for October 2009 were normal to slightly below normal across much of the region. Temperatures were 2 to 4 degrees F (1.1 to 2.2 degrees C) below normal across small portions of northern Georgia, Alabama, the Carolinas, and Virginia. In contrast, temperatures were 2 to 5 degrees F (1.1 to 2.8 degrees C) above normal across most of Florida, extreme southern Alabama, and Georgia. As is typical of October, several outbreaks of cool air swept across the region. Cuthbert, Georgia and Crestview, Florida recorded record minimums of 28 and 33 degrees F (-2.2 to 0.6 degrees C), respectively, on the 11 and 19th of the month. And Bland, Virginia registered a minimum of 23 degrees F (-5.0 degrees C) on the 20th of the month. The warmest temperatures of the month occurred on the 10th and 11th as hot air expanded northward ahead of an approaching cold front. Andrews, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina reached daily maximums of 92 and 90 degrees F (33.3 to 32.2 degrees C) respectively, and Front Royal, Virginia reached 88 degrees F (31.1 degrees C). Also, the dryness in South Florida contributed to very high maximum temperatures on several days. Okeechobee, Florida recorded a maximum of 96 degrees F (35.6 degrees C) on the 7th, which was an all-time record for the month of October. In fact, all-time daily maximum records were smashed at 8 locations across South Florida. There were 553 daily maximum temperature records broken during the month with the vast majority of them registered in Florida. While daily maximums for the month were unusually high across South Florida, persistent clouds and precipitation kept daily maximums relatively low on many days across the remainder of the region. In fact, 762 records were set for the lowest daily maximum, with a vast majority of these occurring between the 15th and 20th of the month. For the second straight month, San Juan, Puerto Rico registered an average temperature of 84 degrees F (29 degrees C) making it the warmest October in a record extending back 59 years.
  • Similar to the prior month, broad portions of Alabama, Georgia and western North Carolina recorded much above normal precipitation totals during the month of October. Precipitation totals were more than 300 percent of normal across small portions of central Georgia, Alabama, and extreme western Florida. The circulation was much more cyclonic than normal for the month of October and featured the frequent passage of cyclones and frontal systems across the region. Most unusual is the fact that most locations did not experience an extraordinary amount of precipitation on any given day. Mitchell Dam, Alabama recorded 11.48 inches (292 mm) of precipitation for the month, which was nearly 9 inches above average. The heaviest daily precipitation total for this station, however, was only 1.49 inches (38 mm). A number of locations in the region registered the wettest September- October on record. Helen and Athens, Georgia recorded over 25 and 19 inches (635 and 483 mm) of precipitation, respectively, during the 61 day period, breaking longstanding 53 and 65-yr records. Also, Lake Toxaway, North Carolina recorded over 36 inches (914 mm) of precipitation during this two-month period. This broke the prior record, which was set in 2004 when three tropical storms passed across the area. Interestingly, none of the precipitation in 2009 was associated with tropical cyclones. Dry conditions were observed across much of Florida, eastern and east-central North Carolina, southeastern Virginia, and Georgia as well as extreme eastern South Carolina. Most notably, Okeechobee, Florida and Elizabeth City, North Carolina recorded only 0.13 inches (3 mm) and 0.32 inches (8 mm) of precipitation, respectively, for the month. Monthly precipitation totals were below normal across all but the west most portions of Puerto Rico.
  • Drought conditions continued across the eastern half of North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina. The small region of severe drought (D2) in extreme northeastern South Carolina contracted slightly as the accompanying region of moderate drought (D1) expanded across eastern portions of NC. Abnormally dry conditions developed across portions of Florida in response to the recent lack of precipitation.
  • Exceptionally cold air was advected southward behind a cyclone off of the Atlantic Coast and contributed to the occurrence of light snow across some of the higher elevations of southern Appalachian Mountains. Banner Elk, North Carolina and Mount Weather, Virginia recorded 1.0 and 1.5 inches (25 and 38 mm) of snow, respectively, on the 18th of the month.
  • The prodigious precipitation totals over the last several months in Georgia caused Lake Lanier, the main water supply for Atlanta, to reach full pool in mid-month for the first time since September 6, 2005. Further upstream, the waters of Lake Allatoona reached 12 feet above full pool flooding several marinas there. The excessive precipitation caused problems for farmers trying to harvest hay and other crops; it also contributed to the rotting of cotton, hay, and sprouted corn that was exposed to wet conditions before harvest. As reported above, none of this precipitation was associated with a tropical cyclone; in fact, there was no tropical cyclone activity anywhere along the Southeast Coast during the months of September or October. Dense fog in Atlanta, Georgia on the 27th of the month caused multiple traffic accidents during the morning commute.
  • 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)
  • October 2009 was cold and wet for the High Plains Region. Temperatures were below normal for the entire Region as temperature departures of 6 degrees F to 10 degrees F (3.3 degrees C to 5.5 degrees C) below normal were common. The majority of the Region was wet as precipitation totals greater then 200 percent of normal were observed in every state. These wet and cool conditions stalled harvest all across the Region this month. One state hit particularly hard was Nebraska and, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, by the end of the month corn harvest lagged by four weeks and soybean harvest lagged by two weeks. Numerous locations across the Region recorded the coldest October on record and countless others had average temperatures which ranked in the top 10 coldest Octobers on record. An intense cold spell during the weekend of October 10th led to an interesting record being broken in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The high temperature on October 10th was 17 degrees F (-8.3 degrees C) and this temperature was well below the previous record lowest high temperature of 34 degrees F (1.1 degrees C). Interestingly, however, it was also lower than the record low for the day of 19 degrees F (-7.2 degrees C).
  • October 2009 was wet and snowy for the majority of the Region. The only exception was extreme southern Wyoming and the western half of Colorado, where drought continues. Each state in the Region had widespread heavy precipitation that resulted in large swaths where 200-300 percent of normal precipitation was received. Three major winter storms impacted the Region this month. The snowfall was quite early in the season and a blanket of snow covered colorful autumn trees, green lawns, and blooming flowers. The first system brought record breaking snow to Nebraska and record cold to every state in the Region. The second system came through later in the month and brought snow to areas of Nebraska and heavy rains to Kansas and Nebraska. But, it was the third system at the end of the month that really pounded the Region by bringing over 3 feet of snow to the Front Range and foothills of Colorado, over a foot of snow to eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska, and blizzard conditions east of Denver. Numerous roads, highways, schools, and businesses were closed in all three states. Although countless precipitation records were set this month, this month's snowy spot was North Platte, Nebraska. The total October snowfall for North Platte was 29.4 inches (74.68 cm) which crushed the old October snowfall record of 15.7 inches (39.88 cm) set in 1969. The snowfall received this month also set the new record snowiest month for North Platte, beating the previous record of 27.8 inches (70.61 cm) recorded in March 1912. In addition, this month's snowfall has already topped the average seasonal snowfall of 28.5 inches (72.39 cm).
  • Improvements were made to the U.S. Drought monitor this month as heavy rain and snow helped erase the abnormally dry conditions (D0) in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. After receiving significant rainfall in southeastern Nebraska, the state was completely free of drought and abnormal dryness for the first time in over 10 years (since October 5, 1999). Meanwhile, Wyoming remained drought free for the fourth month in a row. Drought conditions remained in southwest Colorado where an abnormally dry monsoon season led to reduced streamflows, lowered reservoir levels, and decreased soil moisture. According to the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook released October 15th, the drought conditions in the southwest corner of Colorado are expected to improve through January 2010.
  • For more information, please go to the High Plains Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • Southern Region: (Information provided by the Southern Regional Climate Center)
  • All six states in the Southern Region reported negative October mean temperature anomalies. However, with the exception of Oklahoma and Arkansas, mean October state temperature departures remained within 3 degrees F (1.7 degrees C) of normal. Mean October temperatures in Oklahoma were exceptionally cool. In fact, the state reported an average mean temperature of 54.3 degrees F (12.4 degrees C), or 7.2 degrees F (4.0 degrees C) below the 1895-2009 average. This value made October, 2009, the coldest October in Oklahoma since record keeping began in 1895. The previous record of 54.4 degrees F (12.4 degrees C) was set in 1925. Arkansas recorded an average October mean temperature of 56.6 degrees F (13.7 degrees C), which was 5.37 degrees F (3.0 degrees C) below the 1895-2009 average. This was the fourth coldest October in Arkansas since record keeping began in 1895. Incidentally, the state was only 1 degree F (0.56 degrees C) warmer than the coldest October (55.6 degrees F (13.1 degrees C)), which was recorded in 1976. The warmest areas of the Southern Region were observed along the gulf rim and in the Texas Trans-Pecos Climate Division, where mean temperature values ranged from 0-2 degrees F (1.1 degrees C) above the monthly normal.
  • October, 2009 proved to be an exceptionally wet month in the Southern Region. The majority of stations reported precipitation totals that ranged from 200 to over 300 percent of the monthly normal. The highest precipitation totals were observed in the central portion of the region. Altogether, it was the wettest October in the Southern Region, which averaged 7.7 inches (195.6 mm) of precipitation, or 4.8 inches (121.9 mm) above the 1895-2009 period of record normal. Arkansas received 13.7 inches (348.0 mm) of precipitation, making it the wettest October since record keeping began in 1895. This value was a whopping 10.1 inches (256.5 mm) above the 115 year (1895-2009) average. The previous October precipitation total record for Arkansas was 12.7 inches (322.6 mm), which was set in October, 1984. On a more local scale, many stations in Arkansas recorded over 15 inches (381.0 mm) of precipitation for the month, while several others recorded monthly totals that were over 20 inches (508.0 mm). For example, Leola, Arkansas received an incredible 23.1 inches (586.7 mm) of precipitation in October, which was 18.6 inches (472.4 mm) above normal for the month and over 40 percent of the annual average of 53.83 inches (1366.5 mm). To the end of October, Leola received 87.07 inches (2212.3 mm) of precipitation on the year, making 2009 the wettest year in the station's period of record (1948-2009) with two months left to be counted. Louisiana also recorded its wettest October on record (1895-2009). The Bayou State received a total of 13.2 inches (335.3 mm) of rainfall, or 9.6 inches (242.8 mm) above the 115 year (1895-2009) average. The previous record in Louisiana was 12.3 inches (312.4 mm) set in 1985. It was also the wettest October for many individual stations in Louisiana. For instance, Hosston, Louisiana, which has a period of record that goes back to 1940, received a total of 21.9 inches (556.3 mm) of precipitation or 17.6 inches (447.0 mm) above the monthly normal. This value shattered the previous October monthly precipitation record which was 12.6 inches (320.0 mm) set back in 1984. From the start of the year to the end of October, the station received 70.5 inches (1790.7 mm) of precipitation, which similar to Leola, Arkansas, was the wettest year on record with two more typically wet months to go. Elsewhere in the Southern Region, Mississippi recorded 9.64 inches (244.9 mm) of precipitation, or 6.6 inches (167.6 mm) above the 1895-2009 average. It was also the second wettest October over the 1895-2009 period of record and only one hundredth of an inch (0.25 mm) below the record. Oklahoma recorded 6.7 inches (170.7 mm) of precipitation, making it the sixth wettest October (1895-2009). Tennessee received 6.4 inches (162.6 mm) of precipitation, which was the fifth wettest October on record (1895-2009), while Texas received 5.8 inches (147.3 mm) of precipitation, making it the seventh wettest October on record (1895-2009). In contrast to the above, southern Texas remained dry for most of the month. Precipitation totals for the month ranged from 25 to 70 percent of normal. Similar values were also observed in the Texas Trans-Pecos Climate Division and in an area just south of the northern Texas panhandle.
  • Heavy October rainfall totals have helped alleviate drought conditions in Texas. As of November 3, 2009, only 8.7 percent of the state was designated at severe drought or worse, and 4.3 percent of the state was designated as exceptional drought or worse. This was approximately a 50 percent improvement from the latter part of September, 2009.
  • A series of tornadoes were reported on October 10, 2009. The storms were scattered from Arkansas to Mississippi and Tennessee. One fatality and two injuries were reported in Bolivar, County, Mississippi. In Robertson County, Tennessee, over 100 trees were uprooted or snapped. In addition, damage to several mobile homes was reported in Washington County, Mississippi.
  • Eleven tornadoes were reported in Louisiana. No injuries were mentioned in the reports. Near Elton, Louisiana, several trees were reported down and a barn was damaged. On the 29th of the month, dozens more tornadoes touched down near the Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas border region. One twister in Bossier Parish, Louisiana left 9 people injured. Another injury was also reported in Columbia County, Arkansas. One fatality was reported in Caddo Parish, Louisiana. KTBS News reported that a man was killed when his car crashed into a tree on the road. CBS News reported that thousands of Arkansas customers were without power as a result of the storms.
  • For more information, please go to the Southern Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • Western Region: (Information provided by the Western Regional Climate Center)
  • Temperatures in the West were below normal throughout the entire region except for a small pocket of northwest Oregon and limited portions of southern Arizona and southern New Mexico. Many locations in the Rockies and northern Plains set new low October temperature records. Casper, Cheyenne, and Lander, Woming, and Pueblo, Colorado, all had their coldest October on record. Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado, had their 2nd coldest while Billings and Great Falls, Montana, recorded their 3rd coldest October on record. Alaska, conversely, was well above normal throughout most of the state with Barrow recording their second warmest October on record.
  • Precipitation was mostly above normal throughout the region except for the Southwest. The storm in Central California on the 13th left many cities with new October rainfall records. Santa Barbara had their wettest October dating back almost 70 years, while Sacramento had their 2nd wettest on record. Cheyenne, Wyoming, had their wettest October since 1946 and their snowiest October ever.
  • On October 3 a wildfire in the San Gabriel Mountains near Wrightwood burned over 7,000 acres before destroying one residence and five other structures. Eight firefighters were injured before containment on the 7th. Wrightwood was evacuated for two days but no homes in town were destroyed.
    On October 10-11 a landslide covered State Highway 410 near Naches, Washington, damming the Naches River, flooding 25 homes. An estimated $20 million in damage to highway, roads, homes and property occurred.
    On October 11 an unusually cold air mass for so early in the season brought very cold air into the Northern Plains with portions of Montana reaching -16 F (-27 C).
    On October 13 remnants of Typhoon Melor slammed into Central California bringing heavy rain and strong winds over a 24-hour period. Rainfall reports of 15 to 20 inches (381 to 508 mm) were received for the central Coast Range with some locations reporting wind gusts of over 80 mph. Local flooding occurred in the burned areas of Santa Cruz County leading to 60 residents being evacuated from their homes. One home was destroyed in a mudslide. The strong winds caused blowing dust in Kern County leading to an 11 car pile-up, which resulted in 3 fatalities and 5 injuries. Downed trees caused power outages to about 288,000 people in the region. Numerous 24-hour October rainfall records were set including 2.48 inches (63 mm) at San Francisco Airport and 6.14 inches (156 mm) in Kentfield. Sierra Nevada gusts reached 135 mph near Lake Tahoe.
    On October 28-29 very heavy snow fell from Montana to New Mexico with up to 44 inches (112 cm) falling along portions of the Front Range in Colorado. Numerous auto accidents were reported along Interstate 80 in Wyoming. Some injuries were reported but no fatalities. Flights were delayed in Denver and numerous college campuses closed from Denver to Western Nebraska.
  • 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 May. For additional national, regional, and statewide data and graphics from 1895-present, for May, the last 3 months or other periods, please visit the Climate at a Glance page.


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 provided on the Climate Monitoring Products page and the Climate at a Glance page as they become available.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: National Overview for October 2009, published online November 2009, retrieved on November 27, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2009/10.