October Weather Recap: Coldest in Ten Years

news image
Special Stories
7 Nov 2019 2:00 AM
[An aerial photo of the Getty fire taken October 28 by the Air Ops team from the Los Angeles County Fire Department of California] [NOAA]  October 2019 was rather cool across the contiguous U.S., ending as the coldest October in a decade. The nation’s soggy streak also continued, with a record-wet year to date. Several western cities saw their coldest October on record, while in the Southeast, many areas experienced the hottest October.

Tragically, dry, windy weather in the West helped spark several destructive wildfires in California, some of which continue to burn.

Here are more highlights from NOAA’s latest monthly U.S. climate report:

Climate by the numbers

October 2019

The average temperature for October across the contiguous U.S. was 52.3 degrees F (1.8 degrees below the 20th-century average), making it the coolest October since 2009. It ranked in the lowest third of the 125-year record.

Alaska had an average October temperature that ranked in the warmest third of the historical record. Below-average temperatures were present from the High Plains to the Pacific Coast, while above-average temperatures blanketed the eastern third of the country.

The average precipitation last month across the contiguous U.S. was 3.14 inches (0.98 of an inch above average) and ranked as the eighth wettest October on record.

Above-average precipitation fell across much of the eastern half of the country, with record precipitation occurring across portions of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Valley. Below-average precipitation fell across parts of the West as well as in the central and southern Plains.

Year to date | January through October 2019

The average U.S. temperature for the year to date (January through October) was 55.5 degrees F, (0.5 of a degree above the 20th-century average), ranking in the warmest third of the record.

The contiguous U.S. had its wettest year to date on record. Above- to much-above-average precipitation dominated much of the country with record-wet conditions occurring in South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan.

Notable climate events

  • Fires blaze across CaliforniaLarge and lethal wildfires scorched parts of Northern and Southern California during October and some remained active at the beginning of November.

  • A busy month, tropics-wise: Post-tropical cyclones Nestor and Olga impacted the Gulf Coast with heavy rain, winds, and tornadoes. Subtropical Storm Melissa churned off the East Coast, bringing winds and coastal flooding from Virginia to New York.

  • Drought improved slightly: By the end of October, approximately 18% of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, down from 19% at the beginning of the month.

   
All Weather News
More
Record Warmth to a Blizzard in the Plains

Record Warmth to a Blizzard in the Plains

A powerful frontal system is sweeping across

27 Feb 2024 3:50 PM
Tornado Threat: Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit Today

Tornado Threat: Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit Today

A powerful low-pressure system running into r

27 Feb 2024 2:55 PM
Over 60k Acres Burn in a Day in Texas Panhandle

Over 60k Acres Burn in a Day in Texas Panhandle

Extreme fire danger helped to spread massive

27 Feb 2024 2:50 PM
Wet Weather - Rain and Snow for the East Coast

Wet Weather - Rain and Snow for the East Coast

The same system moving through the Midwest wi

27 Feb 2024 2:50 PM
Wild Temp Swings & Snow for Colorado

Wild Temp Swings & Snow for Colorado

Colorado's Front Range is known for some pret

27 Feb 2024 2:35 PM
Leap Day: 8 Things You Didn't Know

Leap Day: 8 Things You Didn't Know

A leap year is every four years and adds one

27 Feb 2024 2:10 PM
Record Breaking Warmth Across the US

Record Breaking Warmth Across the US

A high-pressure system across the central Uni

27 Feb 2024 3:30 AM