Ongoing drought also intensified in the South and Southeast last month
October is typically a month for crisp weather and fall jackets, but for many across the U.S., it felt more like bathing suit season.
The contiguous U.S. experienced its third warmest October in 122-years of record-keeping, with an average temperature of 57.7 degrees F, 3.6 degrees above the 20th-century average. Forty-seven states were warmer than average. The precipitation total for the month was 0.17-inch above-average.
According to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, the average October temperature in the Lower 48 states has warmed by 0.65 degrees per decade during the last 30 years. Only the month of September has, on average, warmed more per decade.
The year to date (January-October) for the contiguous U.S. was the 2nd warmest on record with an average temperature of 57.8 degrees — 2.8 degrees above average. All Lower 48 states and Alaska observed much above-average temperatures during this period. Total precipitation for the year-to-date period was 1.80 inches above average, making it the the 21st wettest.
Other notable climate events in October:
- Drought: The total area of drought increased from 19.4 percent to 26.8 percent of the Lower 48, mainly from expansion in the South and Southeast.
- Hurricane Matthew, a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 mph, made landfall in South Carolina on October 8, causing widespread flooding in the region.
- New Mexico experienced record warmth in October, with an average temperature increase of 5.8 degrees.
- Alaska had its driest October on record.
- Pacific Northwest: Idaho, Montana and Washington each had their wettest October on record, while Oregon experienced its second wettest.
More: Find this NOAA’s climate report and download images by visiting NCEI's climate monitoring website.