Below normal rainfall during October in north and central Australia bolstered the bushfire threat. Dry lightning ignited numerous bushfires along border areas of the Northwest Territory and Western Australia at mid-month. October's average rainfall in southern Australia was the lowest on record since 1900. In early October, two fires in New South Wales threatened more than 20 coastal homes as gusty winds spread the flames. One of the fires erratically burned near a coal mining operation and forced a closure of the train services between Sydney and Newcastle while charring almost 1,500 acres, according to media reports. During October, efforts to construct Australia's first bushfire resistant home were underway in rural Victoria. The structure — made with steel frame, magnesium oxide, and straw bale insulation withstood over 1000C

for nearly two minutes in bushfire simulations.


Passage of a very cold air-mass across the Mount Lofty and Flinders

Ranges in South Australia produced an unseasonable snowfall in the town of Hallett on October 11th. Deemed as a once-in-a-century October snow event, the measurements varied from 34 mm (1.33 inches) to 8 mm (0.31 inch) around the area surrounding Adelaide (northwest to southeast), according to media reports. Strong southerly winds occurred on the Yorke Peninsula, along with heavy rain which felled power lines and signage that crushed a parked vehicle. Despite precipitation of close to 17 mm

(0.65 inch) associated with the storm, Adelaide experienced its driest October in three years. Monthly rainfall was very much below average across the Adelaide region with many locations receiving less than half of the long-term October average.




Persistent exceptional drought across the Great Plains combined with ferocious northwest winds with gusts topping 113 kph (70 mph) to render a widespread dust storm on October 18^th spanning several states. Reduced visibilities closed sections of interstate highways in the states of Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Kansas. In Oklahoma, a major traffic accident involving over 30 cars and tractor-trailers occurred during the dust storm, resulting in nine persons being injured, according to media reports. Strong winds and drought in the southwestern corner of North Dakota fueled a grassland fire which destroyed 4 homes and 20 other structures, while engulfing over 6,000 acres near the town of Bucyrus at mid-month.


A rare sighting of tornadoes in northern California occurred on October 22nd. Fallen trees and downed power lines resulted as a powerful storm passed through several counties, as well as damages to rooftops and some structures.


The storm also brought the state its first snowfall of the season. About

25 mm (1 inch) of rain fell in the capital city of Sacramento, with up

to 152 mm (6 inches) of snow falling to the east where five tractor-trailer trucks wrecked along California Highway 20 near Nevada City, according to media reports. Heavy snow of up to 0.6 meters (2 feet) fell over the Sierra Nevada range, which helped to replenish the state's water reservoirs.




Bulgaria experienced record high temperatures during October. Five new records for daily maximum temperatures were set on October 1^st in the cities of Lovech, Blagoevgrad, Dragoman, Sofia, and Shabala, ranging from 34.9C (94.8F) to 25.4C (77.7F). Moreover, the records were part of a multi-day streak (begun during September) of unusually warm autumn temperatures, as strong southerly winds blew across the country. On October 16th seven new daily maximum temperature records were set, while on October 28th new extremes occurred at five locations, according to media reports.


Above normal rainfall occurred across much of France during October. The country averaged 107 mm (4.2 inches) for the month, which was 31 percent more than its normal based on the 1981-2010 period of record. Torrential rains in southwestern France inundated the mountain town of Lourdes beginning on October 18^th , according to media reports. Flooding of the

Gave de Pau River on October 20^th resulted in evacuation of more than 420 hotel guests making pilgrimages to the religious shrine as waist-high water filled local streets and buildings. The Red Cross provided assistance with food and shelter. Flash flooding deposited up to 20 cm (8 inches) of mud and debris in the famed grotto and clogged water pumps for the bath halls. Floating tree trunks rendered damages to a hydroelectric power plant and bridges in excess of an estimated $2.5 million U.S. dollars. About six million people visit the Grotto of Lourdes attraction annually.


Central and eastern Europe received heavy snow on October 28th. For several locations it marked an early, first snowfall of the season, according to media reports. Up to 40 cm (15.7 inches) of snow fell across the Alps mountain range. One person was injured in a traffic accident involving eight cars, which resulted in the closure of a road in Fribourg, Switzerland. In southern Poland, three persons perished due to frostbite as the heavy snow caused power outages for over 70,000 residents. Parts of Croatia received around 20 cm (7.9 inches) of snow.

Fallen trees and wet snow blocked roads and delayed rail services in the Czech Republic. In Russia, the city of Moscow received up to 6 cm (2.4 inches). Strong southerly winds along Bulgaria's Black Sea coast forced closure of the ports in Varna and Burgas, while heavy rainfall occurred over the country's southern regions of Smolyan and Kardzhali.




Heavy rains in central Africa caused flooding within northern areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo between late September and the end of October. Three fatalities resulted and 300 homes collapsed during flooding in the town of Gbadolite (Equateur Province) from September 27th-29th, according to humanitarian agency reports. The Red Cross responded to restore drinking water and food supplies. River flooding in the Orientale Province affected at least 3,400 households where the residents of villages in Dungu and Niangara lost homes and plantations and faced increased risks of cholera and malaria.




Intense storms battered southern Argentina with heavy rain and hail in late October. As much as 200 mm (8 inches) of precipitation fell within two hours in Buenos Aires on the morning of October 29th, according to media reports. Two fatalities (one from drowning, another from electrocution) resulted from the flooding of the Rio de La Plata areas, where nearly 3,000 people were evacuated to shelters. Transportation services were disrupted while widespread power outages led to numerous traffic accidents.




The hurricane season's above-average activity in the Atlantic Basin continued during October as three tropical storms and two hurricanes developed. Tropical storms included Oscar (Oct 3rd- 5th), which formed west of the Cape Verde Islands, Patty (Oct 11th-13th), which skirted the eastern edge of the Bahamas, and Tony (Oct 20th-25th), which remained at sea to the southwest of the Azores. Hurricane Rafael (Oct 12th-17th) brushed by Bermuda, bringing strong winds and rain while about 400 homes lost power and one person perished. Sandy (Oct 22nd-30th) originated in the Caribbean Sea, making landfalls in Jamaica, Cuba, and the United States. At least 170 fatalities resulted from the massive storm. In addition to the devastating impacts of large-scale flooding, wind damage, and power outages at over 8 million households, Sandy brought blizzard conditions to several U.S. states along the Appalachian Mountains.


Moderate activity continued in the Eastern Pacific as two tropical storms and one hurricane formed during October. Tropical Storms Olivia (Oct 6th -9th) and Rosa (Oct 30th-Nov 4th) remained entirely at sea to the southwest of Mexico. Hurricane Paul (Oct 13th-17th) made landfall in Mexico's Baja peninsula on October 17th, which resulted in flooding and power losses affecting nearly 16,000 people and damaged close to 1,000 homes, according to media reports. A major port at San Carlos was closed in advance of the storm, as well as four smaller ports used by locals to fish shrimp, tuna, and sardines.


The Western Pacific's very active season continued during October with two typhoons and one tropical storm occurring. Typhoon Prapiroon (a.k.a. Nina; Oct 5th-19th) formed northeast of Guam, then meandered in the Philippines Sea before tracking to the northeast of Japan, while its heavy rains drenched the archipelago islands. Tropical Storm Maria (Oct 13th-20th), which emerged near the Northern Mariana Islands, also tracked northeast of Japan.


Typhoon Son-Tinh (a.k.a Ofel; Oct 19th-30th) developed in the western Pacific Ocean, and crossed the Philippines before making landfall in Vietnam. As many as 35 people died as a result of the storm, according to media reports. In the Philippines, where the storm caused landslides and flash floods, at least 27 persons were killed with 19 injured, and at least 9 others were missing. In Vietnam, the Category 3 typhoon caused 7 deaths, injured over 40 people, and left 5 others missing as well as downed power lines, destroyed 47,000 acres of rice crops, and damaged more than 13,000 Vietnamese homes. Another death in southern China was attributed to the typhoon, while at least five others were missing, and close to 126,000 residents were evacuated.


Three tropical cyclones developed in the North Indian Basin during October marking the start of its hurricane season. Tropical Depression

Bay of Bengal (BOB) 01 (Oct 10th-11th), which formed from a remnant of Tropical Storm Gaemi , battered the southeast coast of Bangladesh, resulted in at least 30 fatalities and over 180 persons injured, with close to 60 fisherman missing, according to media reports. The storm uprooted trees, disrupted electricity, and affected over 100,000 people.

At least 30,000 homes (constructed of mud, straw, and tin) were destroyed. Winds and tidal surge caused losses of crops and livestock.

The island of Hatiya was considered to be the worst-hit. Humanitarian efforts mobilized to provide tarpaulins, water, and food including pressed rice and molasses. Tropical Storm Murjan (Oct 23rd-26th) developed in the Arabian Sea and made landfall in the Horn of Africa, where it brought heavy rains to northern Somalia, Djibouti, and eastern Ethiopia.


Tropical Storm Nilam (Oct 28th-Nov 2nd), formed in the Bay of Bengal and made landfall on the southern Indian coast near Chennai. According to media accounts, the storm, which caused at least 8 fatalities in India and Sri Lanka, displaced over 8,500 people in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as storm surge of up to 1.5 m (5 ft) flooded its low-lying areas. One of the deaths occurred when a life boat capsized during the rescue efforts of a 37-member crew of a stranded oil tanker. The storm damaged roads, uprooted trees, disrupted power and rail services, and submerged standing crops of rice and bananas. Nuclear reactors at the Madras Atomic Power Station were safeguarded and no wind damages were reported. Schools were closed at least three days and port operations in Chennai were suspended.


In the Southwest Indian Ocean, the first tropical cyclone of the Southern Hemisphere's 2012/2013 hurricane season, Tropical Cyclone Anais (Oct 12th-19th) formed southwest of Diego Garcia and dissipated near the northeast coast of Madagascar without making landfall. Notably, the storm (equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic Basin) was deemed as the strongest hurricane to occur so early in the season and the second earliest hurricane of any intensity, after Tropical Cyclone Blanche, which formed in October 1969, according to media accounts.


Jim G. Munley, jr.

Return To Weather Summaries Page

If you have any questions about, or any suggestions for this website, please feel free to either fill out our guestbook, or contact me at