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NOAA image of October 2005 temperature rankings by state.Nov. 18, 2005 From Maine to Delaware, the northeast United States experienced its wettest October on record, thanks to several powerful, rain-producing storms. The global surface temperature was warmest on record for the month, according to scientists at the NOAA National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. (Click NOAA image for larger view of October 2005 temperature rankings by state. Please credit “NOAA.”)

U.S. Temperature
NOAA reported the average temperature for the contiguous United States for October (based on preliminary data) was 1.4 degrees F (0.8 degrees C) above the mean for the period of reliable measurements from 1895 to 2004. Thirty-two states were warmer than average in October. Statewide temperatures for the August - October period were above average for each of the lower 48 states. Two states set records for the period. New Jersey was 68.4 degrees F, 4.4 degrees F warmer than average, while Rhode Island was 65.0 degrees F, 3.4 degrees F warmer than average.

NOAA image of October 2005 precipitation rankings by state.U.S. Precipitation
Precipitation was near average for the United States overall during October, with major regional variations. Unusually dry conditions prevailed for much of the Lower Mississippi Valley, contrasting with extreme wetness for the Northeast. Many Climate Reference Network stations in the Lower Mississippi region reported less than an inch of monthly rainfall, including the stations of Newton, Miss., (0.03 inch), Lafayette, La., (0.50 inch) and Monroe, La., (0.45 inch). North Little Rock (Ark.) Airport set a new record for 32 consecutive days with no measurable rainfall. Severe drought remained across portions of the southern Great Plains, southern Great Lakes and the Northwest. (Click NOAA image for larger view of October 2005 precipitation rankings by state. Please credit “NOAA.”)

Nine states in the Northeast had their wettest October on record. Monthly totals reached more than 14 inches for several northeastern stations, including Old Town, Maine (14.30 inches). Some areas, such as Kingston, R.I., Durham, N.H., and Millbrook, N.Y., received more than 17 inches of rain — more than three times their monthly averages. Several storms contributed to the extreme monthly totals, including torrential rains from Oct. 7-12 and Oct. 14 -16.

During the last week of the month, a Nor'easter produced additional precipitation and the first significant snowfall for much of the region. Mount Washington, N.H., recorded winds exceeding 100 mph with that storm and additional snowfall that brought the monthly total to 78.9 inches, which shattered the old record of 39.8 inches in October 2000.

A record-breaking tropical cyclone season had occurred by early November, with a total of 23 named storms, 13 of which became hurricanes, seven were classified as major. For October 2005, four hurricanes and two tropical storms formed, tying a record last set in 1950 for the greatest number of named storms for October. In addition, Hurricane Wilma became the third Category 5 hurricane of the season, setting a new record for the most Category 5 storms in the Atlantic Basin in a single season.

Tropical Storm Tammy made landfall in northeastern Florida on Oct. 5, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and localized rainfall totals of 3-5 inches. Based on central pressure measurements, Hurricane Wilma was the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Basin. It first made landfall near Cancun, Mexico at Category 4 strength, before turning to the Northeast and moving toward Florida. Wilma eventually made landfall as a Category 3 storm near Cape Romano, Fla., Oct. 24.

The average global temperature anomaly for combined land and ocean surfaces for October (based on preliminary data) was 1.22 degrees F (0.68 degrees C) above the 1880-2004 long-term mean. This was the warmest October since 1880, the beginning of reliable instrumental records. Land surface temperatures also were the warmest on record for October with warmer-than-average conditions across many areas of the globe, including Canada, Scandinavia, Russia, the U.S., Brazil and northern Africa. Ocean temperatures were fourth highest on record. Neutral El Niño Southern Oscillation conditions remain in the tropical Pacific at month's end.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.

Relevant Web Sites

NOAA Satellite and Information Service

NOAA National Climatic Data Center

NOAA Drought Information Center

Climate of 2005— October in Historical Perspective

Media Contact:
John Leslie, NOAA Satellite and Information Service, (301) 457-5005