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January through October 2000 USA temperature regional rankingsNovember 13, 2000 — The average October 2000 surface temperature in the United States was above normal but far from a record, according to statistics calculated by NOAA scientists working from the world's largest statistical weather database at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. (Click image for larger view.)

The average October temperature, based on preliminary reports, was 55.8 F, which is 1.0 F warmer than the 106-year average, making it the 25th warmest October since records began in 1895. Temperatures were near normal for the Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Northwest, and West while the rest of the country experienced above normal temperatures. Heavy precipitation brought relief to the drought-stricken Southern Plains and Southwest, while many cities throughout the Southeast received no rainfall in October. The Southeast region experienced it's second driest October on record, and this lack of rainfall in an already dry region, led to numerous wildfires throughout North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia.

Although the average October temperature was far from record-breaking in the U.S., the abnormally warm conditions observed earlier this year made the January-October 2000 average temperature (58.1 F) the warmest such ten-month period on record. Thirteen of the past 15 January-October periods have been above average and have contributed to a temperature rise of 1.0F/century since records began in 1895. Every state in the contiguous U.S., except Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia was warmer than normal, with most of the country west of the Mississippi River much above normal. This was the warmest January-October on record for New Mexico, Texas and Utah. It was the second warmest for Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Wyoming. Data collected by NOAA's TIROS-N polar-orbiting satellites and analyzed by NASA and the Global Hydrology and Climate Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville also indicate that temperatures in the lower half of the atmosphere (lowest 8 km) were the warmest on record (1979-2000) over the U.S. for the year-to-date period.

States in the South and Southeast were much drier than normal including Florida which experienced its driest year-to-date period. Conversely, wetter than normal conditions prevailed in the Northeast, East North Central, and West North Central. For the nation, January - October 2000 was the 24th driest such period since 1895.

Relevant Web Sites
The preliminary maps for October, August-October, the year-to-date, 12-month period, and selected drought maps are online.

A comprehensive report of October and the year-to-date
The site includes a special report on drought and fires.

Global statistics, and a national analysis, will be available on Nov. 15

NOAA's National Climatic Data Center

Media Contact:
Patricia Viets, NOAA Satellite Service, (301) 457-5005