National Climate Report - October 2013
Maps and Graphics
Temperature and Precipitation Ranks
U.S. Percentage Areas
Supplemental October 2013 Information
- Year-to-date temperature evolution for select U.S. cities
- Year-to-date precipitation evolution for select U.S. cities
- October daily temperature extremes
- Warm and Wet October in Alaska
- Climate Highlights — October
- The average temperature for the contiguous United States during October was 53.6°F, 0.6°F below the 20thcentury average, making it the 37th coolest October on record.
- Below-average temperatures dominated west of the Mississippi River. Oregon had its 11th coolest October, with a monthly temperature of 46.3°F, 3.0°F below average. No state had October temperatures that ranked among the ten coolest.
- Above-average temperatures were observed across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Delaware tied its tenth warmest October with a monthly temperature 3.5°F above average. Near-average temperatures were reported across much of the Midwest and the Southeast.
- The Alaska statewide average temperature during October was 8.8°F above the 1971-2000 average marking its warmest October on record in the 95-year period of record. The previous record warm October occurred in 1925, when the temperature was 7.7°F above average. Locally, the Fairbanks average October temperature of 36.1°F was 11.9°F above normal. In addition to the above-average temperatures, many low elevation locations received much-below-average snowfall.
- The October national precipitation total was 2.23 inches, 0.12 inch above the 20th century average.
- The near-average October precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. masked both wet and dry extremes. The East and West Coasts were drier than average during October. California and Oregon both had their 11th driest October. Rhode Island and Massachusetts had their fourth driest and ninth driest Octobers on record, respectively.
- Much of the central U.S. was wetter than average, stretching from the Southern Plains, into the Northern Plains and Midwest. Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming each had a top ten wet October.
- The Alaska statewide average precipitation during October was 74.5 percent above the 1971-2000 average and marked the third wettest October in the 95-year period of record for the state. The weather pattern that brought the above-average temperatures to the state also brought an abundance of precipitation, mainly in the form of rain, causing minor flooding. Valdez received 17.83 inches of rain during October, 8.69 inches above average, and the wettest October on record for the location.
- An early-season blizzard hit northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota on October 3rd–5th, dropping up to three feet of snow with winds in excess of 70 mph. Rapid City, South Dakota received 23.1 inches of snow, breaking several October snowfall records for the city. An estimated 20,000 head of cattle died during the event in South Dakota, approximately 15 to 20 percent of the state's entire cattle population. The storm was rated a Category 3 (Major) on the Regional Snowfall Index.
- According to analysis by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the October snow cover extent across the contiguous U.S. was the fifth largest in the 46-year period of record at 132,000 square miles, more than 60,000 square miles above average. Conversely, the Alaska snow cover extent was 53,000 square miles below average, and the ninth smallest October snow cover extent on record.
- According to the October 29th U.S. Drought Monitor report, 34.7 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, down 6.5 percent compared to the beginning of the month and down 26.4 percent since the beginning of the year. Drought improved for parts of the Central Rockies and Great Plains, while drought conditions developed across parts of the Northeast.
- On a local basis during October, there were slightly more (1.2 times as many) record cold daily highs (698) and lows (407) as record warm daily highs (242) and lows (689).
- Based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI) , the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand during October was eight percent below average and the 58th lowest in the 1895-2013 period of record.
- Climate Highlights — year-to-date (January-October)
- The year-to-date contiguous U.S. temperature was 55.7°F, 0.7°F above the 20th century average, and the 32nd warmest January-October on record. Above-average temperatures were observed in both the West and the Northeast. California had its 12th warmest January-October. New Hampshire and Vermont had their ninth and tenth warmest year-to-date period, respectively. Below-average temperatures stretched from the Upper Midwest, through the Ohio River Valley, and into the Southeast.
- When comparing the national temperature departure from average for the January-October period as calculated by NCDC's operational dataset (USHCN) to the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN), the USHCN temperature anomaly was 0.05°F less than the USCRN anomaly value. The USHCN-based temperature was 0.16°F below the 1981-2010 average and the USCRN-based temperature was 0.11°F below the 1981-2010 average. For more information on this temperature comparison, please visit our National Temperature Index page.
- The year-to-date contiguous U.S. precipitation total of 27.01 inches was 2.23 inches above the 20th century average and the 14th wettest January-October on record. Most locations, from the Rockies to the East Coast, were wetter-than-average during January-October, while the Far West was drier than average.
- Record and near-record wet conditions during the first 10 months of 2013 were observed across the Northern Plains, the Midwest, and the Southeast. South Dakota, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia each had a top ten wet January-October. North Dakota and Michigan both had the wettest January-October on record. The North Dakota precipitation total of 23.41 inches was 7.13 inches above average, and the Michigan precipitation total of 33.66 inches was 6.95 inches above average.
- California had a record dry January-October with 5.90 inches of precipitation, 10.36 inches below average. The previous record dry year-to-date period for the state occurred in 2002, when the 10-month precipitation total was 7.19 inches.
- The components of the U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI) that examine extremes in 1-day precipitation totals and the spatial extent of drought ranked as the 12th and 14th highest on record for January-October, respectively. When combining all components of the USCEI, the index was slightly below average. The USCEI is an index that tracks the highest and lowest 10 percent of extremes in temperature, precipitation, tropical cyclones, and drought across the contiguous United States.
- Based on REDTI, the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand during January-October was seven percent below average and the 50th lowest in the 1895-2013 period of record.
Alaska Temperature and Precipitation:
- Alaska had its warmest October since records began in 1918, with a temperature 8.8°F (4.9°C) above the 1971–2000 average.
- Alaska had its 4th warmest August-October since records began in 1918, with a temperature 3.6°F (2.0°C) above the 1971–2000 average.
- Alaska had its 15th warmest January-October since records began in 1918, with a temperature 1.8°F (1.0°C) above the 1971–2000 average.
- Alaska had its 3rd wettest October since records began in 1918, with an anomaly that was 74.9 percent above the 1971–2000 average.
- Alaska had its 3rd wettest August-October since records began in 1918, with an anomaly that was 38.6 percent above the 1971–2000 average.
- Alaska had its 10th wettest January-October since records began in 1918, with an anomaly that was 21.9 percent above the 1971–2000 average.
For additional details about recent temperatures and precipitation across the U.S., see the Regional Highlights section below and visit the . For information on local temperature and precipitation records during the month, please visit NCDC's Records page.
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)
- Warmer-than-normal temperatures returned to the Northeast in October. With an average temperature of 51.9 degrees F (11.1 degrees C), it was 2.6 degrees F (1.4 degrees C) above normal. The region's twelve states were all warmer than normal with Vermont and Maine having the greatest departure, +3.2 degrees F (+1.8 degrees C). With a departure of +3.1 degrees F (+1.7 degrees C), Delaware had its 10th warmest October on record. Departures for the rest of the states ranged from +3.0 degrees F (+1.7 degrees C) in Pennsylvania to +1.3 degrees F (+0.7 degrees C) in West Virginia. The low in Portland, Maine, did not fall to 32 degrees F (0.0 degrees C) or below until October 25, which tied the site's latest date for freezing temperatures.
- October was another drier-than-normal month in the Northeast. The region's 2.72 inches (69.09 mm) of precipitation was 71 percent of normal. Nine states were drier than normal, one was normal, and two were wetter than normal. Of the nine dry states, five ranked this October among their top fifteen driest: Rhode Island, 4th driest; Massachusetts, 9th driest; Connecticut, 12th driest; and Maine and New Hampshire, 15th driest. Departures for the dry states ranged from 20 percent of normal in Rhode Island to 81 percent of normal in New York. Pennsylvania ended the month at normal while Delaware received 107 percent of normal precipitation and Maryland received 148 percent of normal, their 20th wettest October on record. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, had its wettest October on record with 11.04 inches (280.42 mm) of precipitation (see below for more information) while Bridgeport, Connecticut, had its driest October on record with 0.32 inches (8.13 mm) of precipitation.
- At the start of the month 19.99 percent of the Northeast was experiencing abnormal dryness, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor released on October 3. Heavy rain during the first half of the month eased dryness in southern parts of the region, but in northern parts, moderate drought was introduced in southeastern New York and some areas of southern New England by the end of the month. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor released on October 31, 21.44 percent of the Northeast was abnormally dry while 3.27 percent was experiencing moderate drought conditions
- A powerful cold front moved across the Northeast on October 7. The system packed wind gusts up to 60 mph (27 m/s), which resulted in over 100 wind damage reports, mainly downed trees and power lines. The system also produced an EF-1 tornado in Paramus, New Jersey, that snapped and uprooted trees. The remnants of Tropical Storm Karen stalled off the Mid-Atlantic coast from the 9th through 13th, bringing up to thirteen inches (330.20 mm) of rain to southern parts of the Northeast. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, set back-to-back daily rainfall records on the 10th (4.02 inches, 102.11 mm) and 11th (5.72 inches, 145.29 mm), which contributed to the site's record-wet October. The system's heavy rain caused flooding inland while high tide combined with pounding waves caused coastal flooding and beach erosion. On the 20th and again on the 24th, several waterspouts were spotted over Lake Ontario.
- For more information, please go to the Northeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.
- Midwest Region: (Information provided by the Midwest Regional Climate Center)
- Temperatures averaged close to normal in October across the Midwest. Temperatures in the western parts of the region were 1 to 2 degrees F (1 C) below normal and ranged to 2 degrees F (1 C) above normal in southeast Ohio with much of the region right about normal. Looking at October temperatures throughout the month gives a very different picture with much above normal conditions in the first half of October across the Midwest followed by well below normal temperatures for the latter half of the month also region wide. With the seasonal transition to cooler temperatures added to the transition in October 2013, temperatures saw a drop of about 15 degrees F (8 C) when comparing the first and last half of the month.
- October precipitation ranged from less than 75 percent of normal in the extreme southeast reaches of the Midwest as well as some pockets along the Mississippi River to more than 150 percent of normal. The areas receiving above normal precipitation extended along the western border of the region, across much of Minnesota and northern Wisconsin and Michigan, and along the Ohio River and then northward to Lake Erie. The wet areas picked up 3 to 6 inches (76.2 to 152.4 mm) of precipitation during the month. The first week of the month was particularly wet with widespread areas receiving 200 to 500 percent of normal precipitation.
- The first snow of the season fell in northern parts of the Midwest in the latter half of the month. Snowfall totals were light with lake effect snow downwind of the Great Lakes as well as a system that tracked to the southeast on the 21st through the 23rd dropping snow across northern and eastern Iowa, northwest Illinois, and even southwest Indiana.
- Despite some wet areas, much of both the corn and bean crops were harvested in October. Yields have been reported to be highly variable due to varied planting dates and spotty late season rainfall. Drought that emerged late in the growing season seemed to have a more limited impact on yields than was feared based on preliminary yield estimates.
- The percentage of the Midwest in drought dropped slightly in October. At the beginning of the month just over 30 percent of the region was in drought with over 11 percent in severe drought. In the last US Drought Monitor report on the 29th, those percentages fell to just over 24 percent and under 9 percent. The areal extent of drought was similar throughout the month, extending from central Minnesota to central Missouri and eastward into parts of Wisconsin and Illinois. Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio remained free of drought in October while northwest Indiana had just a small area of drought early in the month.
- For details on the weather and climate events of the Midwest, see the weekly summaries in the Midwest Climate Watch page.
- Southeast Region: (Information provided by the Southeast Regional Climate Center)
- Mean temperatures were generally above normal across the Southeast in October. The greatest departures were found across northern and eastern sections of Virginia, where monthly temperatures were as much as 3 degrees F (1.8 degrees C) above normal. Most other locations were between 1 and 2 degrees F (0.5 and 1.1 degrees C) above normal, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The warmest weather occurred during the first week of the month, as temperatures reached the upper 80s F (30 to 32 degrees C) across parts of eastern Virginia. Temperatures returned to normal for much of the middle of the month until a cold Canadian air mass overspread the region, resulting in the first widespread freeze of the season. Subfreezing temperatures were reported as far south as southern Alabama and Georgia between the 23rd and 26th of the month, while minimum temperatures dropped into the 20s F (-6 to -2 degrees C) across the northern half of the region. Unseasonably warm weather returned during the final few days of the month, with temperatures reaching 80 degrees F (26.7 degrees C) across eastern North Carolina.
- October was a dry month across the Southeast, as precipitation totals were less than 50 percent of normal across much of the region. Precipitation was also below normal across most of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The driest locations in the region were found across central and eastern portions of the Carolinas, Georgia, and the northern half of Florida, where monthly precipitation totals were less than 25 percent of normal. Orlando, FL recorded its second driest October on record (1892-2013) with 0.15 inches (3.8 mm), while nearby Gainesville, FL recorded its third driest October on record (1890-2013) with just 0.08 inches (2.0 mm) of rain. Warrenton, GA, located west of Augusta, failed to record any precipitation in October, marking the first such occurrence at that station for any month in a record extending back to 1914. The majority of the precipitation in October occurred during the first half of the month, as moisture connected with the remnants of Tropical Storm Karen and a low pressure system off the Carolina coast overspread much of the Southeast region. Daily rainfall totals as high as 2 to 4 inches (50.8 and 101.6 mm) were recorded across portions of northwest Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas from the 6th to the 8th of the month. Extreme eastern portions of North Carolina and Virginia received 8 to 12 inches (203.2 to 304.8 mm) of rain from the 7th to the 12th of the month in association with the coastal low. Cape Hatteras, NC recorded 6.3 inches (160.0 mm) of rain on the 9th of the month, making it the third wettest October day in a record extending back to 1893. The surge of cold air towards the end of the month contributed to the first snowfall of the season across the Southern Appalachians. Up to 2 inches of snow fell across the higher elevations of southwestern Virginia and western North Carolina, while a mixture of snow and ice pellets were reported across the foothills of Virginia between the 24th and 26th of the month.
- There were only nine reports of severe weather across the Southeast in October, the fewest of any October since 2000. One of these reports included a waterspout, which made landfall at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL on the 8th of the month. No damage was reported. The remaining reports were for damaging winds associated with isolated thunderstorms across parts of North Carolina and Virginia on the 6th and 7th of the month. Tropical Storm Karen formed in the Gulf of Mexico on the 3rd of the month and was initially forecasted to make landfall along the northern Gulf Coast. Although the storm was downgraded before reaching land, it contributed to high surf and dangerous rip currents along the coast of Alabama and northwestern Florida.
- The dry weather pattern across the Southeast over the past two months resulted in a re-emergence of abnormally dry (D0) conditions on the U.S. Drought Monitor, particularly across some of the major river basins in the region (e.g. the Cape Fear River basin in North Carolina and the Savannah River basin along the South Carolina-Georgia border). The dry conditions along the Savannah River led the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reduce outflows from reservoirs along the basin. Abnormally dry conditions were also re-introduced across parts of central Alabama, southeast Georgia, and northeast Florida. Some farmers in these areas reported that pastures were drying out and recently planted winter forage and small grains were in need of rain. On the other hand, the dry weather helped many farmers complete their harvests and prepare fields for winter wheat, fruits, and vegetables. Some exceptions were noted across parts of Georgia where a lack of soil moisture made it difficult to plant small grains. Most crops were reported to be in good condition, though some yields were running slightly behind average due to the wet summer. In addition, some freeze damage was reported on cotton across parts of Alabama towards the end of the month, while citrus growers continued to report adequate moisture levels across much of South Florida.
- 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)
- Overall, October 2013 was a cool, wet month for most of the High Plains Region. Precipitation received over the first half of the month combined with cooler conditions slowed crop drydown and impacted harvest progress. Producers welcomed drier weather at the end of the month as many were able to resume harvest activities. But, even with drier weather, some producers were still battling muddy fields. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, harvest efforts in some areas of North Dakota will not resume until the ground is frozen solid. By the end of the month, temperature departures indicated that all but a few locations were below normal. The areas with the largest departures included north-central Wyoming and western South Dakota where temperatures were 4.0-6.0 degrees F (2.2-3.3 degrees C) below normal. A few locations in these cooler areas managed to sneak into the top 10 coolest Octobers on record. Rapid City, South Dakota had an average temperature of 42.6 degrees F (5.9 degrees C). At 5.1 degrees F (2.8 degrees C) below normal, this was the 4th coolest October on record (period of record 1942-2013). The 2009 record firmly held at 38.7 degrees F (3.7 degrees C). Casper, Wyoming was also on the cool side this month with an average temperature of 41.5 degrees F (5.3 degrees C) which ranked as the 7th coolest. The record of 37.0 degrees F (2.8 degrees C) was also set in 2009 (period of record 1940-2013).
- For a second month in a row, heavy precipitation was the big story for the High Plains Region. Precipitation totals over 200 percent of normal were common across Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, and northern and eastern Nebraska. Some locations even topped 300 percent of normal, including eastern Wyoming, southern portions of North Dakota, western and central South Dakota, and northern portions of the panhandle of Nebraska. While much of the Region was drenched, some areas actually did miss out on the heavy rain and snow and received less than 50 percent of normal precipitation. Those areas included central and southeastern Colorado, southwestern Nebraska, and a few pockets of Kansas. Just like last month, numerous records were set this October including daily, monthly, and even some all-time records. The Dakotas had numerous locations rank in the top 10 wettest Octobers on record. One example of a new precipitation record comes from Bismarck, North Dakota which had an October total of 4.73 inches (120 mm). This total was 378 percent of normal and just beat out the old record of 4.30 inches (109 mm) set in 1982 (period of record 1874-2013). Just south, a station near the border of the Dakotas had its wettest and snowiest October on record. Those records were set by Lemmon, South Dakota which received 23.5 inches (60 cm) of snow and 7.06 inches (179 mm) of liquid precipitation. Even with a couple more months to go, 2013 is already the wettest year on record (period of record 1909-2013)! So far this year, Lemmon has received 33.18 inches (843 mm) of precipitation. Lemmon's old annual precipitation record was set recently, in 2010, with 25.56 inches (649 mm).
- The first big snowstorm of the season came with a vengeance. During the first weekend of October, a strong low pressure system brought an intense storm to the Region with blizzard conditions on the cold side and severe weather on the warm side. While South Dakota got pummeled with snow, in some cases several feet worth, eastern portions of the Region dealt with large hail, high winds, and tornadoes. The most violent ripped through Wayne, Nebraska and was rated as an EF-4. Tornadoes are pretty rare for Nebraska during the month of October and tornadoes of that magnitude are exceedingly rare even on the national scale. According to the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the last time a tornado that strong occurred in October was October 3, 1979 in Connecticut. Meanwhile, on the cold side of the storm, temperatures were warm and precipitation began as rain. As temperatures dropped, the rain turned to a heavy, wet snow. In addition, high winds developed which created blizzard conditions with very low visibility. By the time the storm exited the area, the snowpack was deep and a multitude of impacts were apparent ranging from catastrophic cattle losses to tree damage to travel issues. Ultimately, there were widespread snowfall reports of more than 20.0 inches (51 cm), with the highest amounts in the Black Hills reaching 40.0-60.0 inches (102-152 cm). One of the highest official reports came from Lead, South Dakota with 55.0 inches (140 cm) over the 3-day period. 42.0 inches (107 cm) of that total fell in just one day — October 4th — setting a new 1-day snowfall record for October (period of record 1909-2013). These impressive snowfall reports were indeed record breaking and some stations even set new records for 1-day snowfall totals for not just October, but for any month. Belle Fourche, South Dakota was one such station. On October 5th, 24.0 inches (61 cm) of snow fell which beat the old record of 20.0 inches (51 cm) set on April 18, 1970 (period of record 1908-2013). Many of the impacts from the storm were due to timing. For instance, the heavy, wet snow fell during a time when many trees still had their leaves — this resulted in major tree and limb damage as well as power outages. The catastrophic cattle losses were also due, in part, to the timing of the storm. According to the State Veterinarian of South Dakota, cattle losses in South Dakota alone were at 15,000-30,000, with more losses in Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wyoming. There were several other factors which contributed to the severity of the impacts. This early in the season, livestock were still out on open range with little shelter as they had not been moved to winter pasture yet. In addition, the cattle did not have their protective winter coats yet. Because the precipitation started out as rain, the animals were completely soaked before the snow and winds hit. In the end, the combination of falling temperatures, high winds, and snow was just too much for the animals who could not find shelter from the storm. Because the snow drifted over fence lines, there were even reports of displaced herds due to wandering cattle. To make matters worse, the storm coincided with the traditional marketing window for spring calves. According to iGrow, ranchers were being encouraged to delay marketing until the calves had time to recover from the added stress of the storm. In the end, the economic losses, both direct and indirect, could be up to $1.7 billion.
- The U.S. Drought Monitor showed improvements in drought conditions over the past month for each state in the Region. At the end of September, approximately 49 percent of the Region was in moderate (D1) to exceptional (D4) drought, but by the end of the month this was down to about 22 percent. Heavy precipitation fell this month and a large area stretching from eastern Wyoming through central South Dakota and southern North Dakota received over 300 percent of normal precipitation. In terms of improvements, Wyoming was the big winner this month - eliminating all of its extreme drought (D3) and nearly all of its severe drought (D2). Significant improvements were also made in the Dakotas where drought conditions have been eliminated. Only some abnormally dry (D0) spots remained. Unfortunately, some areas in eastern Colorado, western Kansas, and southwestern Nebraska missed out on the heavy precipitation and had little to no change in drought conditions. According to the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook released October 17th, current drought conditions should persist across Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado through January 2014. Improvements are expected in Wyoming.
- 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 temperature in the Southern Region were generally near normal, with values ranging within 2 degrees F (1.11 degrees C) of normal. Much of the state of Oklahoma experienced a slightly cooler than normal month. This was also the case for counties in north western Texas and north western Arkansas. Elsewhere, most stations reported monthly temperature averages that were only slightly warmer than normal. The statewide average monthly temperatures for October are as follows: Arkansas averaged 61.20 degrees F (16.22 degrees C), Louisiana averaged 68.20 degrees F (20.11 degrees C), Mississippi averaged 65.30 degrees F (18.50 degrees C), Oklahoma averaged 60.50 degrees F (15.83 degrees C), Tennessee averaged 59.40 degrees F (15.22 degrees C), and Texas averaged 66.60 degrees F (19.22 degrees C). All state temperature rankings fell withing the two middle quartiles.
- Precipitation totals varied significantly this month over the Southern Region. Mississippi and Tennessee remained quite dry with most stations reporting less than 70 percent of normal precipitation. In fact, only slightly less than half the stations reported less than half of normal. This was also the case for north western Texas, the western Texas panhandle, and the southern most counties of Texas. Conversely, the central and east central portions of Texas were quite wet, with precipitation totals ranging from near normal to over 200 percent of expected monthly values. Conditions were also quite wet in northern Louisiana, and in southern Arkansas. The statewide averaged precipitation totals for the month are as follows: Arkansas reported 5.09 inches (129.29 mm), Louisiana reported 4.12 inches (104.65 mm), Mississippi reported 2.01 inches (51.05 mm), Oklahoma reported 3.16 inches (80.26 mm), Tennessee reported only 1.79 inches (45.47 mm), while Texas reported 3.53 inches (89.66 mm). For Arkansas, it was twenty-second wettest October on record (1895-2013), while for Texas, it was their thirty-third wettest October (1895-2013). The state of Tennessee recorded its twenty-seventh driest October on record (1895-2013). All remaining state rankings fell within the middle two quartiles.
- Drought conditions over the month of October changed only slightly. Heavy rains in the south of Arkansas and in northern Louisiana resulted in a one category improvement. There was also some minor improvements in southern Oklahoma and central Texas.
- In Texas, the month of October brought many short rain events, however, two particular events stand out. On October 13, and then again on October 31, torrential rains fell across central and south Texas causing extreme flooding. The Austin area received nearly 12 inches (304.80 mm) of rain on the fourteenth of the month, flooding many streets and causing the cancellation of the final day of the Austin City Limits Music Festival. The heavy rains ruined the Oak Hill Sports Complex baseball fields and flooded many homes. Just two weeks later, another rainstorm hit the Austin area on the last day of the month, flooding over 1,000 homes and causing many high water rescues to be made all across the state. Wimberley, Texas experienced 14 inches of rain (355.60 mm), prompting the cancellation of classes across Hays County due to safety concerns. Flooding occurred all the way to Beaumont where street flooding closed many roadways. Storms in the Houston Area also caused over 100,000 people to lose power. (Information provided by the Texas Office of State Climatology).
- An early season freeze occurred for the south plains on October 19, worrying farmers of decreased cotton yields; this comes in addition to heavy rainfalls earlier in the month, which delayed the cotton harvest and caused some damage as well. In other areas of the state, yields were the highest in years because of better rainfall, and heavy fall rainfall has winter wheat planters optimistic. The cold snap didn't keep people away from local events such as the Peanut Festival in Whitesboro where they had one of the best turnouts in years. (Information provided by the Texas Office of State Climatology).
- For more information, please go to the Southern Regional Climate Center Home Page.
- Western Region: (Information provided by the Western Regional Climate Center)
- Cooler than normal temperatures dominated the West this month for the first time since the beginning of the year. The southwestern portion of the region had warm days and very cool nights, whereas the northeastern portion of the region had very cool days and warm nights. Several low pressure systems swept cold air into the region, and clear skies and low humidity between systems allowed for enhanced nighttime cooling. Precipitation was below normal for a majority of the West, though southeastern Montana and Wyoming saw near record rain and snow. Many locations throughout the West saw their first measurable snowfall of the season.
- After a record wet September in the Northwest, many locations saw one of their 10 driest Octobers. Spokane, Washington received 0.09 in (2 mm) rainfall, 1.09 in (28 mm) below normal, the 5th driest October in a 125-year record. Missoula, Montana recorded its third driest October in a 121-year record at 0.06 in (2 mm), 7% of normal. Eugene, Oregon received 0.58 in (15 mm), the 5th driest October since records began in 1939. Dry conditions returned to northern California, where Eureka rainfall totaled 0.05 in (1 mm), 2% of normal, the 2nd driest October in a 121-year record. Downtown San Francisco received no measurable October precipitation for the 5th time in the past 100 years. Dry conditions persisted in southern California, where many locations received less than 10% of normal rainfall. Downtown Los Angeles logged 0.06 in (2 mm), a scant 9% of normal. Elsewhere in the Southwest, Phoenix, Arizona received only trace precipitation and Albuquerque, New Mexico recorded 16% of its normal October precipitation.
- In contrast, locations throughout Wyoming saw one of their top-ten wettest Octobers. This was extremely beneficial for a state that has been experiencing severe, persistent drought. By the end of the month, the area of the state with drought designations in the US Drought Monitor had been reduced by 20%. Casper, in central Wyoming, received 3.03 in (77 mm) of precipitation, 272% of normal, the location's 3rd wettest October in a 75-year record. It was also the 4th snowiest October in Casper with 16.4 in (42 cm) of snow measured for the month. Lander, Wyoming saw its 5th wettest October at 3.08 in (78 mm), 239% of normal. Southeastern Montana also received impressive precipitation. Billings logged its 5th wettest October in an 80 year record with 2.57 in (65 mm). Several locations in the lee of the Sierra also received above normal precipitation. Winnemucca, in northern Nevada, had its 3rd snowiest October since records began in 1877 at 6.6 in (17 cm). Precipitation at Winnemucca totaled 1.48 in (38 mm), 220% of normal. Throughout mountainous areas of the West, snow water equivalent was generally above normal due to early season snowfall, though many of these areas saw below normal precipitation totals for the month.
- October temperatures averaged moderately to much cooler than normal throughout the West, with several long-record stations observing one of their 10 coolest Octobers. Kalispell and Butte, Montana both logged their 5th coolest Octobers at an average 39.2 F (4.0 C) and 36.7 F (2.6 C), respectively. Records began in Kalispell in 1899 and in Butte in 1894. Lander, Wyoming recorded an average 40.5 F (4.7 C) for the month, 5 F (2.8 C) below normal and the 6th coolest October since records began in 1948. Winnemucca, Nevada observed its 7th coldest October in a 137-year record at an average 49.3 F (9.6 C). In eastern Oregon, John Day recorded its coldest October since consistent records began in 1953 at 43.3 F (6.3 C), or 5 F (2.8 C) below normal. Winslow, Arizona recorded an average 52.5 F (11.4 C) for October, the 6th coolest since records began in 1898. Winslow, Kalispell, and Winnemucca last saw below normal October averages in 2009; Butte, Lander, and John Day all noted below normal October averages in 2012 as well.
- While cool temperatures dominated the contiguous western US, a persistent ridge over Alaska brought record high temperatures to the state. Above normal temperatures were recorded throughout the state, with the greatest anomalies in the Interior region. Temperatures at Anchorage averaged 44.2 F (6.8 C) for the month, 9.4 F (5.2 C) above normal and the warmest October on record. In McGrath, average temperature was 13.5 F (7.5 C) above normal at 38.7 F (3.7 C), the warmest since records stared in 1941. The average temperature in Fairbanks was 36.1 F (2.3 C), 11.9 F (6.6 C) above normal and the third warmest since records began in 1930. Precipitation was abundant in southern Alaska this month, with Valdez recording 17.83 in (453 mm), 216% of normal and the wettest October on record. Hawaii saw a much drier October, with a majority of stations reporting <50% of normal rainfall. Molokai Airport recorded 0.17 in (4 mm), 9% of normal and the 5th driest October in a 65-year record. On Oahu, Kaneohe reported only trace precipitation, 2.98 in (76 mm) below normal. Kauai fared better than the other islands, with Lihue receiving 7.99 in (203 mm), 209% of normal. Lihue had not seen above normal October rainfall since 2004.
- October 3-5: Wyoming/SE Montana Blizzard: Storm snowfall totals at higher elevation locations were around 30 in (76 cm). Heavy snow snapped tree limbs and knocked out power lines. Travel was impacted in eastern Wyoming due to highway closures. The blizzard impacts were much more severe over the state line in South Dakota.
- October (all month): Warm temperatures in Alaska: Warm late autumn temperatures delayed the freeze-up of lakes and rivers in Alaska's Interior. These bodies of water are typically beginning to freeze by late October.
- For more information, please go to the Western Regional Climate Center Home Page.
See NCDC's Monthly Records web-page for weather and climate records for the most recent month. 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.