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NATIONAL STORM SUMMARY
1-7: Fast-moving Hurricane Nate made landfall around 12:30 am CDT on October 8 near Biloxi, Mississippi, with sustained winds near 85 mph. Heavy showers associated with Nate later spread northward from the central Gulf Coast into the Ohio Valley and parts of the Northeast. However, antecedent dryness and the storm’s rapid forward speed helped to significantly limit flooding. As a result, primary impacts included local wind damage and coastal effects related to storm surge. Prior to Nate’s arrival, a non-tropical storm produced heavy rain and triggered local flooding across Florida’s peninsula, particularly along the Atlantic Coast. Farther north, however, dry conditions persisted across the remainder of the Atlantic Coast States. Farther west, heavy rain (locally 2 to 4 inches or more) soaked the central and southern Plains and parts of the Midwest.
Early-week downpours in Florida resulted in a daily-record total (5.23 inches on October 1) in Melbourne. Interestingly, Melbourne had just completed its wettest September on record, with a 20.94-inch total. Farther west, the month opened with soaking rains across the upper Midwest. In South Dakota, Mitchell netted a daily-record rainfall (2.22 inches) on October 1. The following day, record-setting totals for October 2 included 3.05 inches in Grand Island, NE, and 2.18 inches in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. It was also Grand Island’s wettest October day on record, surpassing 2.85 inches on October 6, 1914. Meanwhile, parts of northern Montana were blanketed with more than a foot of snow. On October 2-3, Havre, MT, received 13.0 inches of snow, which melted to 1.70 inches of liquid. Havre’s previous 2-day snowfall record in October was 12.6 inches, which occurred on October 1-2, 1898. Later, another round of heavy rain erupted across the nation’s mid-section. Record-setting rainfall totals for October 3 included 1.91 inches in Sioux Falls, SD, and 1.50 inches in Sioux City, IA. And, daily-record amounts for October 4 reached 2.81 inches in Salina, KS, and 2.79 inches in Oklahoma City, OK. From October 3-5, the 4.02-inch total in Dalhart, TX, was boosted by a daily record sum of 2.18 inches on the 5th. Yet another soaking rain across the upper Midwest resulted in daily-record totals for October 6 in locations such as Sioux City, IA (2.85 inches), and Broken Bow, NE (1.85 inches). The weekly (October 1-7) rainfall total in Sioux City reached 6.18 inches. At week’s end, Hurricane Nate surged northward toward the Gulf Coast. More details will appear next week, but daily-record rainfall totals for October 8 included 3.73 inches in Lexington, KY, and 3.65 inches in Chattanooga, TN. A wind gust to 70 mph was recorded in Biloxi, MS, at Keesler Air Force Base, at 11:53 pm CDT on October 7, minutes before landfall.
8-14: The fast-moving remnants of Hurricane Nate contributed to early-week showers in the eastern U.S., while cold fronts produced periodic, locally heavy showers across the Midwest and environs. Rainfall in excess of 4 inches soaked parts of northern Illinois and southern Michigan. Late-season warmth prevailed in the eastern one-third of the U.S. and across the nation’s southern tier. In contrast, below-normal temperatures dominated areas from the Pacific Coast to the northern and central Plains. Weekly temperatures ranged from 10 to 15°F above normal from the eastern Gulf Coast region into the Northeast, but averaged at least 10°F below normal in scattered locations across the northern Great Basin and northern Intermountain West. On October 10-11, the season’s first widespread freeze occurred from the central High Plains into the upper Midwest, although most summer crops had matured enough to withstand the cold weather. Meanwhile, fast-moving, north-bound Hurricane Nate made landfall around 12:30 am CDT on October 8 near Biloxi, MS, with sustained winds near 85 mph. A wind gust to 70 mph was recorded at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi at 11:53 pm CDT on October 7, minutes before landfall. Nate’s forward speed at landfall was 20 mph, and by Monday morning, October 9, the storm’s remnants were racing northeastward at 45 mph through western Pennsylvania. Daily-record rainfall totals for October 8 included 3.73 inches in Lexington, KY, and 3.65 inches in Chattanooga, TN. On October 9, as the remnants of Nate began to merge with a cold front, daily-record amounts in New York reached 3.67 inches in Watertown and 2.39 inches in Rochester. During the mid- to late-week period, the focus for heavy rain shifted to the Midwest. South Bend, IN, reported daily record totals (1.62 and 3.81 inches, respectively) on October 11 and 14. The latter sum represented South Bend’s wettest October day on record, surpassing 3.47 inches on October 17, 1988. Chicago, IL, also experienced a record-wet October day with a 4.19-inch total on the 14th (previously, 3.95 inches on October 3, 1954). Elsewhere on October 14, daily-record amounts included 3.38 inches in Moline, IL; 2.89 inches in Lansing, MI; and 2.61 inches in Chanute, KS. Elsewhere, showers also clipped Deep South Texas and spread into the Pacific Northwest. McAllen, TX, received a daily-record rainfall of 5.07 inches on October 10. Daily-record totals in the Northwest included 0.53 inch (on October 12) in Walla Walla, WA, and 0.37 inch (on October 13) in Kalispell, MT. Snowfall totaled 0.3 inch in Colorado Springs, CO (on October 9), and Missoula, MT (on October 12), setting daily records in both locations.
15-21: Multiple rounds of heavy precipitation overspread the Northwest, where weekly totals west of the Cascades generally ranged from 4 to 12 inches. Rain and high-elevation snow also reached the northern Rockies and briefly spread southward across northern California. In the latter region, the October 20-21 precipitation event aided wildfire containment efforts. Late-week rain also developed across the nation’s mid-section, stretching from the upper Mississippi Valley southward to the Gulf Coast. On October 21, locally severe thunderstorms dotted the southeastern Plains. Before rain reached northern California late in the week, the state’s nearly two dozen large wildfires—many of which started on October 8—resulted in at least 42 deaths, well over 8,000 structures destroyed, and nearly one-quarter million acres of charred timber, brush, and grass. The two largest blazes—the Nuns and Atlas fires—collectively burned more than 100,000 acres of vegetation and destroyed approximately 2,000 buildings in Napa, Solano, and Sonoma Counties. The deadliest and most destructive incident, the Tubbs fire in Napa and Sonoma Counties, was responsible for at least 22 fatalities, as well as the destruction of more than 5,000 structures and nearly 37,000 acres of vegetation. Farther east, high winds raked the northern High Plains, especially on October 17. On that date, gusts in Montana were clocked to 68 mph in Cut Bank; 61 mph in Great Falls; and 60 mph in Havre. It was Havre’s highest October wind gust since 1914. Also, with an average wind speed of 27.6 mph, the 17th was the second-windiest October day on record in Havre. Starting on October 18, heavy rain arrived in the Pacific Northwest. During the 5-day period from October 17-21, rainfall in western Washington totaled 6.17 inches in Hoquiam and 5.82 inches in Olympia. More than three quarters of Hoquiam’s rain fell on October 18 and 21, setting a pair of daily records (2.12 and 2.63 inches, respectively). Other record-setting totals for October 21 included 3.79 inches in Astoria, OR, and 2.91 inches in Olympia, WA. A day earlier, on October 20, Alturas, CA, had received a daily-record amount (0.58 inch). At week’s end, developing showers across the nation’s mid-section led to daily-record totals for October 21 in St. Joseph, MO (1.88 inches), and Waterloo, IA (0.95 inch).
22-28: Two rounds of significant precipitation occurred along and east of the Mississippi River. Rain was especially heavy—totaling 4 inches or more—in parts of Michigan, stalling fieldwork and causing local flooding. Weekly rainfall also topped 4 inches in several other areas, including portions of the Tennessee Valley, New England, and the southern Appalachians. Tropical Storm Philippe formed near western Cuba before racing northeastward. Philippe, the sixteenth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, later merged with a cold front after delivering locally heavy showers to southern Florida. Lingering precipitation in the Pacific Northwest led to record-setting totals for October 22 in Washington locations such as Satus Pass (1.93 inches) and Goldendale (1.10 inches). Meanwhile, heavy rain erupted in the East, including the Great Lakes region. In Michigan, October precipitation records were established in several communities, including Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Lansing; through October 28, month-to-date totals in those respective locations reached 9.36, 9.17, and 8.59 inches. On October 23 alone, daily-record amounts in Michigan totaled 3.99 inches in Houghton Lake; 3.16 inches in Alpena; 2.81 inches in Grand Rapids; and 2.80 inches in Muskegon. Elsewhere, record-setting totals for the 23rd included 3.52 inches in Asheville, NC; 2.90 inches in Greenville-Spartanburg, SC; and 2.41 inches in Bluefield, WV. By October 24, rain swept into the Northeast, where Bridgeport, CT, netted a daily-record sum of 3.29 inches. Heavy rain lingered in New England, where Concord, NH (2.65 inches), and Augusta, ME (2.28 inches), measured daily-record totals for October 25. Additional heavy rain on October 26 brought daily-record amounts to locations such as Caribou, ME (2.92 inches), and Worcester, MA (2.26 inches). Late in the week, a new storm system brought renewed rain to the eastern U.S. and heavy snow across the upper Great Lakes region. Duluth, MN, received 10.6 inches of snow on the 27th—the snowiest October day on record in that location (previously, 10.0 inches on October 23, 1933). Elsewhere in Minnesota on the 27th, Rochester reported a daily-record snowfall of 2.6 inches. On the same date, a trace of sleet fell in Little Rock, AR, marking the city’s earliest frozen precipitation on record (previously, October 28, 1925). A trace of snow or sleet also occurred on October 27 in locations such as Abilene, TX; St. Louis, MO; and Indianapolis, IN. By October 28, the return of heavy showers across the East resulted in daily-record totals in Fort Lauderdale, FL (2.18 inches), and Blacksburg, VA (1.78 inches). In southern Florida, October 28-29 rainfall associated with Tropical Storm Philippe topped 5 inches in a few locations, including West Palm Beach (6.72 inches) and Pompano Beach (5.65 inches). During the same 2-day period, wind gusts were clocked to 42 mph in Miami; 41 mph in Key West; and 40 mph in West Palm Beach.
29-31: Heavy Northeastern rain eradicated short-term drought, as weekly rainfall totaled 2 to 4 inches or more in the northern Mid-Atlantic States and parts of New England. Farther east, the week had opened with a powerful storm lashing the Northeast. Record setting rainfall totals for October 29 included 4.02 inches in Islip, NY; 3.86 inches in Newark, NJ; 3.33 inches in Williamsport, PA; 3.00 inches in Bridgeport, CT; and 2.51 inches in Worcester, MA. Early on October 30, official wind gusts were clocked to 69 mph in Portland, ME; 66 mph in Bangor, ME; and 63 mph at the Blue Hill Observatory near Milton, MA. Near the Maine coast, a wind gust to 92 mph was recorded on the 30th on Matinicus Rock. Following back-to back storms in the Northeast, October 24-30 rainfall totals climbed to 8.11 inches in Worcester, MA; 7.86 inches in Hartford, CT; 7.03 inches in Concord, NH; and 6.63 inches in Augusta, ME.
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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