National Climate Report - September 2003

Maps and Graphics:

Current Month Most Recent 3 Months Most Recent 6 Months
Most Recent 12 Months US Percent Area Very Wet/Dry/Warm/Cold

Monthly Drought Indices
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National Overview:

Temperatures were near average nationally for September. Persistent upper-level wind and pressure patterns were responsible for below normal monthly averages in the Central Plains to the Southeast, and warmer temperatures in the West and extreme northeastern U.S.

Precipitation was light in much of the West, but was greater than average for many states in the East. Hurricane Isabel contributed to anomalously high precipitation totals from North Carolina into the Ohio Valley and Northeast.

For additional details, see the Monthly Highlights section. For details and graphics on weather events across the U.S. and the globe go to NCDC's Global Hazards page.

The eastern North Pacific hurricane season has had near average cyclone activity for 2003 thus far, with 3 tropical systems developing in September: Tropical Storm Kevin, and Hurricanes Linda and Marty. See the East Pacific Hurricane page for more details. (Available on October 8th).

In the Atlantic Basin, 5 tropical cyclones developed during September and a 6th, Fabian, developed in August and continued into September. Hurricane Isabel caused serious damage to the east coast of the United States in the middle of the month. Other storms in September were Tropical Storm Henri, Tropical Depression #14, Hurricane Juan and Hurricane Kate. See the Atlantic Hurricane page for further details.

Indices used to determine the state of ENSO suggest that the Equatorial Pacific is in a neutral ENSO phase and Sea Surface Temperatures are now near normal across the eastern equatorial Pacific. To see the latest NOAA advisory and typical impacts of a La Nina or El Nino episode for the U.S., go to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.
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Monthly and Seasonal Highlights:


  • September 2003 ranked as the 56th coldest September in the 1895 to present record. The preliminary nationally averaged temperature was 65.4°F (18.6°C), which was 0.1°F (0.06°C) below the long-term mean.
  • September 2003 was near average for precipitation nationally, ranking 40th wettest. Wet conditions predominated in the mid-Atlantic to the Northeast, while the West and Northwest were mostly dry for September.

    For tables of national, regional, statewide and selected city data from 1895-present, for September, summer or other periods, please go to the Climate At A Glance page

  • July-September temperature was above average and ranked as the 14th warmest such period in the 1895 to present record. The preliminary nationally averaged temperature for July-September was 72.0°F (22.2°C) which was 1.1°F (0.6°C) above the long-term mean.
  • July-September 2003 was wetter than average, ranking 35th wettest in the last 109 years.

  • October 2002-September 2003 ranked as the 34th warmest such 12 months in the 1895 to present record. The preliminary nationally averaged temperature was 53.2°F (11.8°C) which was 0.4°F (0.2°C) above the long-term mean.
  • Precipitation was greater than average for October-September leading to a rank of 23rd wettest for the last 12 months based on a record of 108 such periods.

Regional and Statewide:

See NCDC's Monthly Extremes web-page for weather and climate records for the month of September.
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It should be emphasized that all of the temperature and precipitation ranks and values are based on preliminary data. The ranks will change when the final data are processed.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: National Climate Report for September 2003, published online October 2003, retrieved on January 19, 2018 from