4-10: A vast areas across the Plains, Midwest, and mid-South had mild, mostly dry weather. Critically dry conditions existed from southern Oklahoma and eastern Texas into central Mississippi, where little rain has fallen during the last 3 to 4 months. Elsewhere, northern California and parts of the interior Northwest continued to miss out on the beneficial precipitation that has been falling in other areas of the West. In addition, weekly temperatures generally ranged from 5 to 10F above normal in the nation’s northwestern quadrant. In fact, near to above normal temperatures covered much of the U.S, with consistently cool conditions limited to the southern Rockies and northern New England. Late season warmth briefly spread northward across the Plains, with readings topping the 90-degree mark on October 10 as far north as the Dakotas. From October 6-9, temperatures of

90F or greater were common across the South from southern and eastern Texas to the Mississippi Delta. Late week temperatures topped 100F in parts of the Desert Southwest.

Across the South, an early-week cool spell was soon replaced by warm weather. Greenwood, MS, remained below 70F from October 2-4, but posted consecutive daily record highs (92 and 91F, respectively) on October 7-8. Similar warming was noted across the nation’s midsection. International Falls, MN, noted a low of 20F (not a record) on

October 7, followed 4 days later by a monthly record-tying high of 88F. In fact, late week warmth in the central U.S. was a precursor to a wave of monthly record highs on October 11. In South Dakota, Aberdeen logged consecutive daily record highs of 93F on October 10-11. Impressive warmth also covered much of the West. With a high of 108F on October

9, Camarillo, CA, easily set an all-time record high (previously, 103F on September 24, 1978). Downtown Los Angeles reported triple-digit highs on 3 consecutive days (October 9-11) for the first time since April 1989, and for the first time in October since 1958. Elsewhere in southern California, triple-digit, daily record highs for October 9 reached 106F in Santa Ana; 105F in Long Beach; and 104F in Burbank and Riverside. In Reno, NV, the week ended with consecutive daily record highs (92 and 88F, respectively) on October 9-10.


11-17: Dry weather dominated the country. However, topsoil moisture shortages continued in portions of the Plains, lower Midwest, and interior Northwest. Meanwhile, significant short-term drought continued to grip the South, primarily from the southeastern Plains to the Mississippi Delta. In addition to concerns about recently planted winter wheat, Southern drought issues included stress on pastures and late-maturing summer crops; an elevated risk of wildfires; and diminishing surface water supplies. In stark contrast, dry weather in South Carolina and environs favored flood recovery efforts. Across the central and eastern U.S., a period of warm weather was replaced by sharply cooler conditions. As a result, near normal weekly temperatures were noted across the Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast, while cooler than normal conditions covered the Ohio Valley. At week’s end, a widespread freeze ended the Midwestern growing season—as much as 1 to 2 weeks later than the normal first freeze in some locations. Elsewhere, a period of record setting western warmth preceded the late week arrival of a slow moving storm system. Weekly temperatures averaged at least 10F above normal in several Western locations, particularly across California, the Great Basin, and the Intermountain West.  Significant rainfall was scarce for most of the week, although high winds fanned several wildfires in the north-central U.S. early in the week. Just north of Casper, WY, the 10,000-acre Station fire destroyed more than 40 structures. On October 11, gusts were clocked to 59 mph in Lander, WY; 58 mph in

Aberdeen, SD; and 55 mph in Valentine, NE. The following morning, wind gusts in North Dakota reached 67 mph in Jamestown and 65 mph in Minot. High winds also swept into

the Midwest on October 12, when gusts included 59 mph in Mobridge, SD, and 55 mph in Alexandria, MN.

The week opened on October 11 with a flurry of monthly record highs. All-time October records were eclipsed in locations such as Broken Bow, NE (98F); Norfolk, NE (98F); Fargo, ND (97F); Grand Island, NE (97F); and Wheaton, MN (97F). Also on October 11, Hastings, NE, tied a record (97F) first achieved on October 5, 1947, while Sisseton, SD, tied a record (95F) originally set on October 10, 1955. Farther south, Little Rock, AR, experienced its hottest October day (93F on October 12) since 1981, followed by its hottest October day on record (98F on October 15). Other all time October records set in Arkansas on the 15th included 97F in Monticello and Stuttgart. In Louisiana, Shreveport (98F on October 15) just missed its monthly record high of 99F, set on October 1, 1938. With a high of 93F on October 15, Memphis, TN, reported its latest reading above the 90-degree mark (previously, 92F on October 14, 1963). Farther west, triple-digit, daily-record highs on October 14 included 102°F in Needles, CA, and 100F in Phoenix, AZ. On October 12-13, Death Valley, CA, notched consecutive daily record highs of 107F. In stark contrast, the week ended with sharply colder conditions in the Midwest and Northeast. By October 17, daily-record Midwestern lows included 26F in Lincoln, IL, and 30°F in Cape Girardeau, MO.


18-24: Elsewhere, mostly dry weather prevailed in the Pacific Coast States and gradually overspread the remainder of the West. Despite the recent boost in soil moisture in many areas of the West, long-term drought effects such as below average reservoir storage persisted. Very cool weather lingered early in the week across the eastern U.S., where record setting lows for October 18 included 19F in Montpelier, VT; 26F in Parkersburg, WV; and 31F in Danville, VA. Montpelier posted another daily record low (17F) on October 19. Other daily record lows on October 19 dipped to 18°F in Massena, NY; 24F in Worcester, MA; 29F in Baltimore, MD; and 39F in Alma, GA. In contrast, warmth expanded across the nation’s midsection. Daily record highs for October 18 reached 86F in Rapid City, SD, and 82F in Dickinson, ND. Warmth also reached the Northwest, where Yakima, WA, collected a

Daily record high (75F on October 19). Late in the week, lingering warmth was mostly focused across the South, where Tampa, FL, logged a daily-record high (89F) for October 23. In Mississippi, Greenwood registered consecutive daily record highs of 87F on October 22-23. In the Northeast, snow showers accompanied the early week cool spell. On October 18, a trace of snow was reported in locations such as Bridgeport, CT, and Albany, NY. Bangor, ME, received a trace of snow on October 19.


25-31: Near or above normal temperatures dominated much of the U.S., with late season warmth especially prominent across the Southeast and Far West. Cool conditions were mostly limited to the east-central Plains and the western Midwest Billings, MT, recorded its first autumn freeze (31F) on October 28, breaking the record set on October 27, 1940, 1967, and 2006. Meanwhile, unusual warmth persisted in coastal southern California, where Santa Barbara posted a daily-record high (91F) on October 28. A large number of locations in southern California, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Barbara, and Santa Maria, set records for the highest average October temperature—7 to 9F above normal. Downtown Los Angeles reached or exceeded 80°F on 25 October days, breaking the record of 22 days set in 1999 and 2008. Farther east, warmth prevailed in advance of late October storminess. In Texas, daily record highs for October 28 climbed to 96F in McAllen and 92F in Corpus Christi. At week’s end, Western warmth expanded prior to the arrival of Pacific storminess. Daily record highs for October 30 reached 85F in Sacramento, CA, and 73F in Wenatchee, WA. October ended on a record-warm note in locations such as Gilroy, CA (90F), and Reno, NV (77F).

Jim G. Munley, jr.

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