October was 6th wettest on record for U.S., coolest since 2013

Autumn leaves in puddle.

Autumn leaves in puddle. (Image credit: iStock)

The nation’s average temperature took a dip last month, making it the coolest October since 2013 for the contiguous United States. More rain than normal fell across large parts of the U.S., ending the month as the sixth-wettest October on record.

Here’s a closer look at the highlights from NOAA’s latest U.S. monthly climate report:

Climate by the numbers


October 2018
The average October temperature across the contiguous U.S. was 53.8 degrees F (0.3 degree below average), or near the middle value in the 124-year record, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Most of the U.S. interior and areas of the Northeast had below-average temperatures, while locations on the West Coast and in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic were above average.

The average precipitation for October was 3.37 inches (1.21 inch above average), making it the sixth-wettest October on record. Many areas across the nation recorded above-average – and in some cases, record high – rainfall last month.

The year to date I January through October
The average U.S. temperature for the year to date (January through October) was 56.7 degrees (1.7 degrees above average), ranking at the 10th warmest such period on record.  And it was the fifth-wettest YTD on record, with a precipitation total of 28.63 inches (3.27 inches above average).

An annotated map of the United States showing notable climate events that occurred in October 2018.
An annotated map of the United States showing notable climate events that occurred in October 2018. (NOAA NCEI)

More statistics of note

  • Michael’s mark: Hurricane Michael, the strongest hurricane on record to hit the Florida panhandle, left a trail of destruction from Florida to Virginia and caused at least 45 deaths.

  • Improving drought: October ended with 22.0 percent of the contiguous U.S. in drought, down from 29.0 at the beginning of October.

  • “Baked Alaska”: The Last Frontier had its warmest October on record, with a statewide average of 34.5 degrees F (9.0 degrees above average).

More > Read NOAA’s report and download images from the NCEI website.


Media contact
John Leslie, 301-713-0214