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October Weather Recap: Coldest in Ten Years

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.



About the author
Mace was born and raised in Minnesota, where his intrigue for weather and broadcasting grew at a young age. His 30 years in broadcasting have taken him all across the Midwest and in the South. During high school and college, Mace first worked at a number of radio stations which helped pay tuition bills and get him ready for a career in television. His first TV Meteorology job was in Wausau, WI, fo... Load Morellowed by stops in Grand Rapids, MI, Fort Myers, FL, Tampa, FL, Cedar Rapids, IA and then across the country on WeatherNation. Mace is one of our Digital Meteorologists, posting weather stories on our website and social media accounts. He is also a game-day Meteorologist for the Minnesota Twins.

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