National Climate Report - October 2010

NCEI added Alaska climate divisions to its nClimDiv dataset on Friday, March 6, 2015, coincident with the release of the February 2015 monthly monitoring report. For more information on this data, please visit the Alaska Climate Divisions FAQ.

Maps and Graphics

Temperature and Precipitation Ranks

U.S. Percentage Areas

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Did You Know?

National Data Flow

NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is the world's largest active archive of weather data. Each month, observers that are part of the National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) send their land-based meteorological surface observations of temperature and precipitation to NCEI to be added to the U.S. data archives. The COOP network is the country's oldest surface weather network and consists of more than 11,000 observers. At the end of each month, the data are transmitted to NCEI via telephone, computer, or mail.

Typically by the 3rd day of the following month, NCEI has received enough data to run processes which are used to calculate divisional averages within each of the 48 contiguous states. These climate divisions represent areas with similar temperature and precipitation characteristics (see Guttman and Quayle, 1996 for additional details). State values are then derived from the area-weighted divisional values. Regions are derived from the statewide values in the same manner. These results are then used in numerous climate applications and publications, such as the monthly U.S. State of the Climate Report.

The U.S. operational suite of products transitioned from the traditional divisional dataset to the Global Historical Climatological Network (GHCN) dataset in the summer of 2011. The GHCN dataset is the world's largest collection of daily climatological data. The GHCN utilizes many of the same surface stations as the current divisional dataset, and the data are delivered to NCEI in the same fashion. Further details on the transition and how it will affect the customer will be made available in the near future.

More about climate monitoring…

National Overview:

The weather patternweather pattern for October over the Lower 48 States generally consisted of a battle between the Bermuda High pressure system and cyclonic storms moving through the mid-latitude jet stream flow. The Bermuda High (also known as the North Atlantic High) brought warmer-than-normal temperatures to much of the country and blocked tropical systems from reaching the mainland U.S. for most of the month. Upper-level ridging in the jet stream helped amplify the warm temperature anomalies over the West, contributing to the fourth warmest October in Wyoming and seventh warmest October in Montana. With tropical systems mostly penned up in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean or deflected into the Atlantic, and the moisture source for cold fronts effectively blocked, much of the southern Plains, Southeast, and Midwest had drier-than-normal weather, with drought intensifying over Florida and from the Ohio to Lower Mississippi Valleys. Florida had the driest October on record, Missouri fourth driest, Texas eighth driest, and Indiana eleventh driest.

Several strong low pressure systems and moist fronts affected parts of the country during the month. The remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole brought beneficial rain to the Northeast at the beginning of the month. A series of strong cyclonic storms dumped rain and snow over much of the West. A particularly an intense low pressure system moved across the central U.S. near the end of the month. This brought record low barometric pressure readings, hurricane-force winds, intense rainfall, hail and tornadoes to a large portion of the country from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico, as well as blizzard conditions to the northern Plains. The cold front associated with the low brought beneficial rain to parts of the drought-stricken Southeast. When all was said and done, October 2010 ranked as the wettest October on record for Nevada, second wettest for Vermont, fourth wettest for New York, fifth wettest for New Hampshire, and seventh wettest for California.

  • Temperature Highlights - October
  • The average temperature for October was 56.9 degrees F (13.8 degrees C), which is 2.1 degrees F (1.2 degrees C) above the 1901-2000 average, the eleventh warmest on record in the United States. Warmer-than-normal conditions prevailed throughout the western U.S. and into the Midwest. Of the nine climate regions, none had below normal temperatures and only two, both along the Eastern Seaboard, experienced an average temperature that was near normal.
  • No state had below normal average temperatures, while more than half were above-average. Wyoming had its fourth warmest October and Montana its seventh.
  • Six-Month Period (May through October) and Year-to-Date
  • Much-above-normal temperatures were widespread during May through October, resulting in the fifth warmest such period nationally. For the period, 31 states, mostly east of the Rockies, had average temperatures among their top ten percent historically.
  • Record warmth persisted throughout the year in the Northeast, where the average year-to-date temperature was 3.0 degrees F (1.6 degrees C) above the 20th century average. Five northeastern states (New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island) were having their warmest year on record to date. The East North Central climate region was also abnormally warm for 2010 to date, 2.5 degrees F (1.4 degrees C) above the long-term average.
  • Texas and Florida were the only two states whose temperature was below average for the year-to-date period. Both of these states had unusually cold months early in the year.
  • Precipitation Highlights - October
  • Average precipitation was 1.85 inches (47 mm), which was 0.26 inch (7 mm) below the 1901-2000 average. Much of the western and northwestern United States saw wet conditions during October, while the Plains, Ohio Valley and the South were drier than average. The Northeast had their ninth wettest October, while the South climate region had their tenth driest.
  • Average precipitation across Florida was 0.39 inch (10 mm), more than 3.4 inches (86 mm) below the long-term average, the driest October since statewide records began in 1895. The second driest October (0.57 inch or 14 mm) was in 1940. Two states (Missouri (4th) and Texas (8th)) also had October precipitation among their ten driest.
  • A persistent weather pattern in the west contributed to Nevada's wettest October on record, 1.54 inches (39 mm) above normal, and gave California its seventh wettest. Elsewhere, Vermont had its second wettest, New York its fourth and New Hampshire its fifth wettest October.
  • Six-Month Period (May through October) and Year-to-Date
  • Much of the East North Central climate region experienced a record wet May-October period. Averaged across the region, precipitation was 7.8 inches (198 mm) above the long-term average. This much-wetter-than-normal pattern extended across the Northern Plains and into the Pacific Northwest.
  • The West North Central and East North Central climate regions have had much above average precipitation for the year-to-date period. Iowa and North Dakota had their second wettest such period; it was the third wettest for Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the eighth wettest for South Dakota.
  • Below average precipitation has persisted throughout much of the year in the south where Louisiana had its fifth driest year-to-date period.
  • Other Items of Note
  • A powerful low pressure system developed in the Upper Midwest on October 25th and intensified rapidly the following day. The storm broke state records for lowest atmospheric pressure observed in Minnesota and Wisconsin. According to preliminary data from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, 78 tornadoes and 514 severe wind events were reported during October 24th -27th from this system. More details about this storm can be found on the Duluth Weather Forecast Office.Comparative pressure readings can be found below.
  • According to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, there were 121 preliminary tornado reports nationwide during October. The final count will likely rank among the five busiest Octobers on record. Eight confirmed tornadoes in Arizona on October 6th was a single-day record for the state.
  • NCDC's Climate Extremes Index (CEI), which measures the prevalence of several types of climate extremes, was about 9 points higher than its historical average for the year-to-date. Factors contributing to this elevated 2010 value were: large footprints of warm minimum temperatures (warm overnight temperatures), an abundance of locations experiencing an unusual number of days with precipitation, with very large precipitation totals on those days.
  • Five hurricanes formed in the Atlantic basin during October, bringing the seasonal tropical cyclone count to 12 hurricanes and seven tropical storms. To date, the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season ties with 1995 and 1887 for third-most named storms during a season, behind 2005 and 1933, and 2010 to-date also ties with 1969 and 1887 for second most Atlantic hurricanes, behind 2005.
  • Based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI), the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand for October 2010 was 6.7 percent below the average consumption.
  • Drought coverage increased during September. The U.S. Drought Monitor reported 13.3 percent of the United States was affected by drought by November 2nd. While improvements were seen along the Atlantic Coast, drought conditions deteriorated during the month in the Lower Mississippi to Ohio River Valleys and along the Gulf Coast.

Selected List of U.S. Pressure Readings
The following list diplays selected minimum central pressure readings from storm systems that were referenced in the context of the Big Fork, Minnesota pressure observation of October 26, 2010. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all intense storm systems. The pressure value observed at Matecumbe Bay, Florida in 1935 is recognized as the lowest sea-level pressure observed in the United States by the National Climate Extremes Committee.
Sea Level Pressure (millibars) (inches of mercury * 33.8637) Date Location Notes
892.3 September 2, 1935 Matecumbe Key, Florida Florida Keys Labor Day Hurricane measured onboad a docked ship at Craig, Florida. For more details see: Monthly Weather Review publication for October 1935
908.9 August 17, 1969 Bay St. Louis, Mississippi Hurricane Camille
922.1 August 24, 1992 Homestead, Florida Hurricane Andrew
926.8 September 14, 1919 Dry Tortugas Atlantic Gulf Hurricane of 1919. Measurement made onboard a moored ship. Official landfall south of Corpus Cristi.
927.0 October 25, 1977 Dutch Harbor, Alaska Not verified
928.9 September 16, 1928 Palm Beach, Floida San Felipe-Okeechobee Hurricane 1928
929.6 September 16, 1928 West Palm Beach, Florida Not verified
929.9 September 1960 Florida Hurricane Donna
946.2 September 21, 1938 Long Island, New York New England Hurricane 1938
951.6 March 3, 1914 Bridgehampton, New York Not verified
955.0 January 13, 1913 Canton, New York Lowest non-tropical system whose pressure can be confirmed
955.0 March 7, 1932 Block Island, Rhode Island Lowest non-tropical system whose pressure can be confirmed
955.2 October 26, 2010 Big Fork, Minnesota NWS Event Page
956.0 January 26, 1978 Mount Clemmons, Michigan Weather Log
956.0 October 26, 2010 International Falls, Minnesota NWS Event Page
957.3 January 26, 1978 Port Huron, Michigan Weather Log
958.5 January 26, 1978 Cleveland, Ohio Verified through NCDC WBAN 14820

Alaska Temperature and Precipitation:

Beginning with January 2010 processing, the Alaska temperature and precipitation report is comprised of several datasets at NCDC, integrating GHCN and COOP datasets. Prior to 2010, the Alaskan temperature timeseries was processed with just GHCN data.

  • Alaska had its 30th warmest October since records began in 1918, with a temperature 2.5°F (1.4°C) above the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 18th warmest August–October on record, with a temperature 1.8°F (1.0°C) above to the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 24th warmest year–to–date on record, with a temperature 1.1°F (0.6°C) above the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 18th driest October since records began in 1918, with an anomaly that was 20.3 percent below the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 7th driest August–October on record, with an anomaly that was 19.7 percent below the 1971–2000 average.
  • Alaska had its 19th driest year–to–date on record, with an anomaly that was 8.0 percent below 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)
  • The tenth month of 2010 was the tenth month in a row with above normal temperatures in the Northeast. The region's average was 50.1 degrees F (10.1 degrees C), which was 1.1 degrees F (0.6 degrees C) above normal. This was 2.8 degrees F (1.6 degrees C) warmer than October 2009 and the warmest October since 2007. All of the states in the region averaged either exactly normal or above. The range of departures was from normal in Vermont to 2.6 degrees F (1.4 degrees C) above normal in Rhode Island. Most locations in the region saw the end to the growing season by the end of October. Eastern Maryland, Delaware, coastal New York and parts of New Jersey, however, were still waiting for their first fall frost by month's end.
  • The Northeast saw above normal precipitation totals in October. The regional total was 5.52 inches (140 mm), which was 159 percent of normal. It was the Northeast's wettest October since 2006. Two states had below normal rainfall totals: Rhode Island (72 percent) and West Virginia (81 percent). Rainfall departures among the rest of the states ranged from 121 percent of normal in Connecticut to 236 percent of normal in Vermont. It was the Northeast's 11th wettest October since recordkeeping began in 1895. Four states were also in the top 11 wettest since 1895: Vermont, 2nd; New York, 4th; New Hampshire, 5th; and Maine, 11th. Heavy rain from a storm that affected the region on September 30th and October 1st set new records at a few locations, including Philadelphia, PA and Wilmington, DE. The 3.00 inch (76 mm) total on the 1st at Philadelphia and 3.26 inches (83 mm) on the same day at Wilmington topped the records last set in 1902. October 2010 was the wettest and whitest October on record at Mt. Mansfield, VT. The precipitation total of 14.71 inches (374 mm) topped the old record of 14.43 inches (366 mm) set in October 2006. The snowfall total of 34.1 inches (86.6 cm) broke the previous record of 31.8 inches (80.8 cm) set in October 2005.
  • Wet conditions during October eased drought conditions throughout the region. As of October 26, 2010, the U.S. Drought Monitor maps indicated the following for the Northeast. Much of eastern West Virginia, including the eastern panhandle, was in moderate or severe drought, while central portions were abnormally dry. The adjoining western panhandle of Maryland was also experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions. South central Pennsylvania was under moderate drought conditions; most of the western half of the state was abnormally dry. Small areas of New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts were also abnormally dry.
  • Severe thunderstorms in the late afternoon and evening of the 11th brought localized reports of over an inch (25 mm) of rain and roadway flooding in northern New Jersey. Hail up to an inch (25 mm) in diameter was observed in Bloomfield (Essex County), with some damage to cars reported. Other hail reports were in the 3/8 (9.5 mm) to 7/8 inch (22.2 mm) range. The most significant of the severe storms delayed by almost an hour the start of the NFL Giants Monday night football game at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford (Bergen County).
  • For more information, please go to the Northeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • Midwest Region: (Information provided by the Midwest Regional Climate Center)
  • October was drier than normal for most of the Midwest. Northeast Ohio was slightly above normal as was northwest Wisconsin. In northern Minnesota there were pockets that received 50 percent more precipitation than normal. The rest of the region was below normal and in many places well below normal. Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, southern Illinois, and western Kentucky got less than half their normal rainfall in October. Statewide Missouri recorded the 4th driest October in 138 years and the driest since 1964. Most of the region received little to no rain for the first three weeks of the month.
  • October was warmer than normal with temperature departures ranging from 0 degrees F (0 degrees C) up to 5 degrees F (3 degrees C) above normal in northern Minnesota. Maximum temperatures were even more above normal while minimum temperatures were closer to normal. The enhanced daily temperature range was consistent with the dry weather and high pressure in place for most of the month. The growing season came to a close for most of the region with surges of colder temperatures on the 3rd and 4th, the 22nd, and the 29th of the month.
  • One of the strongest extratropical storm systems to ever hit the continental United States moved across Iowa and Minnesota from Oct 25th to 27th. The lowest pressure was recorded at Big Fork, Minnesota where the reading (adjusted to sea level) was 955.2 millibars at 5:13 pm on October 26th. Winds of over 60 miles per hour extended across several states. Severe weather broke out along the trailing cold front leading to hundreds of severe wind reports and dozens of tornadoes on the 25th and 26th. Most of the tornadoes were weaker with only one reported to reach EF2 levels. There were two injuries due to the tornado in southeast Wisconsin. On the 27th, a Notre Dame student died filming football practice when the lift that held him 50 feet in the air was blown over onto a parking lot.
  • Harvest progressed rapidly and earlier than normal. Crops matured early and the weather in late September and most of October provided ideal conditions for fieldwork. Given the chance to bring in the crops early, the farmers took advantage wrapping harvest up at one of the earliest times on record.
  • For details on the weather and climate events of the Midwest, 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 were generally above normal across the Southeast region. The greatest departures occurred through portions of central North Carolina and Virginia [3-4 degrees F (1.6-2.2 degrees C) above normal] while South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama were 1-2 degrees F (0.5-1.1 degrees C) above normal. In contrast, temperatures were near normal to slightly below normal across much of Florida and Puerto Rico. The predominantly dry weather regime that prevailed across the Southeast in October resulted in strong radiational cooling and some chilly nights across a broad stretch of the region. Belle Mina, AL and Perry, FL recorded record minimum temperatures of 33 and 34 degrees F (0.6 and 1.1 degrees C), respectively, on the 7th and 17th of the month. In contrast, warm southwesterly flow became established over the Southeast region from the 25th to the 28th of the month in response to an intense low pressure system centered over the upper Midwest and a deep ridge over the Atlantic Ocean. This resulted in unusually high daytime and overnight temperatures across the Southeast. Remarkably, over this four-day period, a total of 520 daily high minimum temperature records were either tied or broken. Another 412 daily maximum temperature records were also tied or broken during this period.
  • October was an extremely dry month across nearly the entire Southeast, owing to a lack of tropical storms and persistent ridging across the southern U.S. The lack of rainfall was particularly noteworthy across Florida, where 19 locations experienced their driest October on record. In fact, 16 of these locations recorded no measurable precipitation for the month. This included the Jacksonville Area, which experienced its first precipitation-free October and third precipitation-free month ever in a record extending back to 1871. Orlando Intl Airport recorded a streak of 33 consecutive days without measurable precipitation, the fourth longest precipitation-free streak ever in a record extending back to 1954. Strong storms in advance of a cold front connected with the intense Midwest cyclone brought some much needed rain to parts of the Southeast towards the end of the month. These storms dumped between 3 and 5 inches (76.2 and 127 mm) across sections of southern Alabama, northern Georgia, and western North Carolina. Alberta, AL recorded 5.87 inches (149.1 mm) of rain on the 28th, which shattered the previous daily rainfall total for the month by over 3 inches (76.2 mm). Parts of the region were also affected by two tropical cyclones in the month of October. Hurricane Otto dumped over 12 inches (304.8 mm) of rain across Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands between the 5th and 7th of the month, resulting in severe flooding on the islands. For the month, the Charlotte Amalie Airport on the U.S. Virgin Islands recorded 16.2 inches (411.5 mm) of rain, making it the wettest October on record and coming within 0.3 inches (7.6 mm) of setting a new all-time monthly record. Hurricane Paula brought heavy rains to parts of the Florida Keys on the 13th and 14th of the month. Nearly 4 inches (101.6 mm) of rain fell at Curry Hammock State Park, while less than 2 inches (50.8 mm) fell at Key West Intl Airport. Traces of snowfall were observed on some of the higher peaks of the southern Appalachian Mountains (Beech Mountain, NC and Mount Mitchell, NC) on the 6th of the month in association with a deep upper-level low centered over the mid-Atlantic region.
  • There were 278 reports of severe weather across the Southeast in October, including 36 tornadoes. The vast majority of these reports occurred during the final week of the month, as the cold front connected with the intense Midwest cyclone swept through the Southeast. Five tornadoes were reported in Alabama (one EF-2) and two were reported in Georgia on the 24th of the month. A tornado moving through Mobile, AL caused severe damage to the Festival Center Shopping Center as air conditioning units were blown off of roofs and gas lines were severed. There were numerous reports of hail across Georgia and South Carolina on the 25th of the month, including a report of baseball-sized hail near Allendale, SC. Five separate tornadoes were reported in north-central North Carolina on the 27th of the month, including two EF-1 tornadoes in Person and Orange Counties. These tornadoes caused significant structural damage and blew numerous mobile homes off their foundations. According to the Georgia State Climate Office, the widespread wind damage across the region from this outbreak was likely exacerbated by drought-weakened trees that were more susceptible to broken limbs and uprooting. Severe weather also occurred between the 12th and 14th of the month as a cold front moved through the Southeast. Pea and quarter-sized hail were reported in parts of central Alabama and central South Carolina.
  • The overall dry pattern in October resulted in an expansion of drought conditions (D1 and greater) throughout the Southeast, particularly in the southern tier of the region. The most notable change in the Drought Monitor was the expansion of severe (D2) and extreme (D3) drought through Alabama, the Florida Panhandle, and the east coast of Florida from Jacksonville to West Palm Beach. The impacts of the dry weather on agriculture across the Southeast were mixed. The harvesting of row crops, such as peanut and soybean, was made especially difficult in October due to the hardened soils. However, the continued warm, dry weather allowed grape harvests in parts of Virginia to thrive, and wineries in the region projected a successful 2010 vintage.
  • 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 2010 was warmer than normal across the High Plains Region. Average temperatures were up to 4 degrees F (2.2 degrees C) above normal in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska, and up to 8 degrees (4.4 degrees C) above normal in Wyoming and the Dakotas. Several locations in Wyoming ranked in the top 10 warmest Octobers on record. With an average temperature of 50.9 degrees F (10.5 degrees C), Riverton, Wyoming had its 2nd warmest October on record (period of record 1907-2010). The warmest October was in 1963 with an average temperature of 52.0 degrees F (11.1 degrees C). Sheridan, Wyoming recorded its 3rd warmest October on record (period of record 1948-2010) with an average temperature of 52.4 degrees F (11.3 degrees C). Like Riverton, the record at Sheridan was also set in 1963 with an average temperature of 54.6 degrees F (12.6 degrees C). The warm weather was also coupled with dryness for most of the month which allowed producers to make significant harvest progress. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, many row crop harvests across the Region were ahead of the 5-year average by the end of the month.
  • October was a dry month for most areas of the High Plains Region. Large portions of eastern Colorado, central Kansas, and eastern Nebraska along with smaller areas of southwestern North Dakota, western South Dakota, and western Wyoming received less than 25 percent of normal precipitation. The ongoing lack of precipitation caused abnormally dry and moderate drought conditions to expand in eastern Colorado, southwestern Wyoming, and the panhandle of Nebraska. The exceptions were west-central Colorado, eastern Wyoming, and south-central South Dakota where total precipitation for the month was 150 percent of normal or greater. In west-central Colorado, many locations ranked in the top 10 wettest Octobers on record. For example, Taylor Park, Colorado had its 2nd wettest October on record with a liquid precipitation total of 3.31 inches (84 mm). This could not beat out the old record of 4.89 inches (124 mm) recorded in 1969 (period of record 1940-2010). Taylor Park also recorded its 8th snowiest October on record with 8.2 inches (21 cm). The snowiest October was also set in 1969 when 43.0 inches (109 cm) of snow fell. An intense low pressure system brought rain, snow, and strong winds to parts of the Region October 26-27. In North Dakota, precipitation started as heavy rain which caused a few flood warnings to be issued. The rain turned to snow and totals were generally in the 2-6 inch (5-15 cm) range; however a narrow band in the north-central portion of the state reported snowfall totals of 8-13 inches (20-46 cm). In South Dakota, the precipitation from this storm was enough to push Sioux Falls up to the wettest year on record (period of record 1893-2010). By the end of October, the total precipitation at Sioux Falls this year was 36.25 inches (921 mm), which beat out the old annual precipitation record of 36.11 inches (917 mm) set in 1993. In addition, strong winds with gusts of 50-60 miles per hour (80-97 kilometers per hour) were reported in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska.
  • October brought some changes to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Below normal precipitation and declining soil moisture levels led to the expansion of abnormally dry conditions (D0) in western Kansas. A new area of D0 developed in central Nebraska as well. The moderate drought conditions (D1) in central Colorado and extreme southern Wyoming that developed last month spread further east in Colorado, and into the southeast corner of Wyoming and the panhandle of Nebraska. Only small areas of D1, in north-central and southwestern South Dakota, north-central Colorado, and extreme western Wyoming, were eliminated. According to the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook released October 21st, the D1 areas in western Wyoming were expected to improve and the D1 areas in eastern Colorado, the panhandle of Nebraska, and far southeastern Wyoming were expected to persist through December 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)
  • October average daily temperatures varied throughout the Southern Region, however; for the most part, values remained near normal. For instance, average temperatures for the month remained within two degrees F of normal in most of the Southern Region. The highest anomalies occurred in the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma. Stations in those areas reported monthly average daily temperatures that ranged from 3-5 degrees F (1.67 - 2.78 degrees C) above normal. Conversely, sections of central Texas and south eastern Oklahoma experienced temperatures that were 2-3 degrees F (1.11 - 1.67 degrees C) below expected values. All state temperature rankings for the month fell within the two middle quartiles.
  • For the majority of the Southern Region, October was a very dry month. In fact, the region-wide averaged precipitation total was only 1.25 inches (31.75 mm), making it the eleventh driest October on record (1895-2010). The state of Texas averaged only 0.8 inches (20.32 mm) of precipitation for the month, which makes it the eighth driest October on record (1895-2010). Both Arkansas and Louisiana experienced their thirteenth driest October on record (1895-2010), with state average precipitation values of 1.23 inches (31.24 mm) and 1.25 inches (31.75 mm), respectively. Only a small area of the region experienced above normal precipitation for the month. This included eastern Tennessee, northwestern Texas, and eastern Oklahoma. Precipitation totals there varied from 130-200 percent of normal. In the case of north western Texas and eastern Oklahoma, most of the monthly precipitation was delivered from one rainfall event that occurred on the twenty-second of the month. For example, Slaton, Texas received 3.66 inches (92.96 mm) for the month, of which 3.61 (91.69 mm) fell on the twenty-second alone. Elsewhere, most stations reported values that ranged from 5 to 50 percent of normal. The driest areas included much of southern Texas where most stations reported less than a tenth of an inch (2.54 mm) for the month. This area was extremely dry, with over 50 stations failing to record any precipitation at all. None of the stations in Texas Climate Division Ten reported precipitation. Conditions were also extremely dry in north eastern Arkansas. Most of the stations in that division reported less than an inch of rain (25.40 mm). In Louisiana and southern Mississippi, a majority of stations reported precipitation values that fell 2-3 inches (50.80 - 76.20 mm) below the monthly normal.
  • Drought conditions in the Southern Region have deteriorated over the past month over vast areas of the Southern Region. As of September 28, 2010, 20 percent of the Southern Region was reporting moderate drought conditions or worse, 6.8 percent was reporting severe drought conditions or worse and only 0.8 percent of the region was reporting extreme drought conditions. As of November 2, 2010, 37 percent of the Region is now reporting moderate drought conditions or worse. The expansion from 20 percent of the region includes parts of southern Texas, eastern Texas and southern Tennessee. In addition, the areal coverage of severe drought has tripled over the Southern Region. The areal coverage of severe drought conditions or worse now makes up 18.6 percent of the region (as of November 2, 2010). Severe drought has expanded in areas including southern and eastern Arkansas, northern and western Louisiana, western Mississippi, and western Tennessee. Moreover, there was also an expansion of extreme drought from 0.8 percent last month to 4.2 percent this month (as of November 2, 2010). Areas experiencing severe drought include central and north eastern Louisiana, south eastern Arkansas, south western Mississippi, north eastern Arkansas, and north western Tennessee.
  • In Texas, the October dryness and an anticipated lack of precipitation during the 2010-2011 cool season has fueled fears that the upcoming wildfire season could be one of the worst in years. Burn bans are currently in place across most of Southeast Texas and much of East Texas as soil moisture levels have dropped to critically low levels. The region of most concern for the upcoming cool season is in North Texas, where rainfall during the first nine months of 2010 has been abundant. This has allowed for growth of vegetation that is expected to dry out and act as fuel for wildfires during the upcoming period of forecasted dryness. The combination of plentiful rainfall and warmer temperatures during the second half of summer was a good recipe for cotton, which was expecting a near-record yield. However, there was concern that hail and heavy rains caused damage to a number of South Plains cotton fields. The same combination of above normal precipitation earlier in the year and recent dryness was expected to produce a bumper pecan crop in West Texas. This fall's deer season was expected to be great because of an abundance of forage and overall good health of the Texas deer population. Severe weather reports were sparse the first few weeks of the month of October. Golf ball sized hail hit the Waco area on the eleventh but little damage was reported. An EF0 tornado caused damage to a Fort Worth apartment complex. Several tornadoes were reported in Northeast Texas on the twenty-fifth; the most significant an EF2 tornado in Navarro County that damaged five homes in Rice and caused extensive damage to Rice Elementary School. A freight train was knocked onto its side near Rice and an 18-wheeler on Interstate 45 was flipped onto a car, causing four injuries not thought to be life-threatening. (Information provided by the Texas State Climate Office)
  • On October 24, baseball-sized hail was reported in several Texas counties, including Camp County, Ellis County, and Henderson County. On the same day, a 70 mph (112.65 km/h) wind gust was reported in Bowie County Texas.
  • For more information, please go to the Southern Regional Climate Center Home Page.
  • Western Region: (Information provided by the Western Regional Climate Center)
  • Temperatures were above normal throughout the West except for portions of California and Oregon. Parts of Montana and Wyoming had a very warm month. In Cut Bank, MT, and Sheridan, WY, it was the warmest October since 1965 and in Great Falls, MT, it was the warmest since 1974. Generally speaking, the warmth of this month was influenced more by the above-average nightly minimum temperatures. Consequently the region saw far fewer days below freezing than in typical Octobers. Daytime temperatures were cool in California and Nevada.
  • Rainfall was well above normal for most of the Great Basin, southern California, southern Utah and northern Arizona. The Pacific Northwest was above normal while much of the Rockies were below normal. Reno, NV, recorded their wettest October on record (1937+), and in fact has received about 35 percent of their annual water year precipitation in the first month of the new water year. Winnemucca, NV, recorded their 2nd wettest October in 100 years. San Diego, CA, measured their 4th wettest October in 96 years while Santa Barbara, CA, their 3rd wettest in 70 years. Oddly enough, the 3 wettest Octobers on record in Santa Barbara have all occurred in the past 7 years.
  • A cutoff low that stalled over the Great Basin brought locally heavy rain and severe weather to Nevada, Utah, Arizona and southern California. Up to 5 inches (127 mm) of rain fell in during the 5 day period in portions of south central Utah while location in Nevada picked up over 2 inches (51 mm) of rain. On the 4th, the Western Regional Climate Center building in Reno received 0.92 inch (23.4 mm) in 1 hour, among the heaviest hourly totals ever recorded in the city. Severe thunderstorms in Bellemont, AZ, near Flagstaff, spawned tornados that damaged or destroyed 14 homes on the 6th. Twenty-one railcars were thrown off the tracks and numerous trucks overturned on the highways.
  • Another cutoff low formed over southern Nevada bringing more rain, hail and strong thunderstorms to the Southwest. An EF0 tornado touched down near Kingman, AZ, on the 18th damaging w homes. Heavy hail near Williams, AZ, caused 9 crashes on I-40 injuring 6 people. This event brought nearly 4 inches (102 mm) of rain to parts of southern California causing local flooding and mudslides.
  • This storm hit northern California and the Sierra Nevada with strong winds of over 130 mph along the mountain crests and heavy rain. One automated weather station in the Sierra Nevada measured 11.38 inches (289 mm) of rain in 60 hours with 8.33 inches (212 mm) falling on the 24th.

See NCDC's Monthly Records 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 any period, 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 Temperature and Precipitation Maps page and the Climate at a Glance page as they become available.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: National Climate Report for October 2010, published online November 2010, retrieved on July 23, 2017 from