October 2007 is Ninth Warmest on Record for Contiguous United States
Global Temperature Sixth Warmest on Record, as La Niña Continues
November 16, 2007
Temperatures in October 2007 were the ninth warmest on record for the contiguous U.S., and especially warm in the Northeast, where five states had their warmest October on record. The January-October 2007 U.S. temperature was the seventh warmest since national records began in 1895, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The global surface temperature was sixth warmest on record for October.
Precipitation was above average across the U.S., but not enough to quench the drought plaguing many parts of the country. At the end of October, 35 percent of the contiguous U.S. remained in moderate-to-exceptional drought, and unusually dry conditions contributed to destructive wildfires in southern California.
U.S. Temperature Highlights
- In the contiguous United States, the average temperature for October was 56.9°F (13.8°C), which was 2.1°F (1.2°C) above the 20th century mean, making it the ninth warmest October on record, based on preliminary data.
- Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island had their warmest October on record, and the Northeast overall its second warmest.
- The unusually warm conditions reduced energy demand for heating in the Northeast. For the nation overall, temperature related energy demand was 15 percent below average based on NOAA’s Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index.
U.S. Precipitation Highlights
- An average of 2.56 inches fell across the contiguous U.S., which is 0.5 inches above average.
- More than six inches of rain in October helped ease the drought in western Tennessee, much of Kentucky, and parts of Virginia and North Carolina, but 67 percent of the Southeast remained in moderate-to-exceptional drought. With year-to-date precipitation deficits as high as 20 inches, many cities in the region have instituted mandatory water restrictions, as some locations have only a three-month supply remaining.
- Ongoing drought and strong Santa Ana winds brought devastating fires to parts of Southern California. According to preliminary estimates, more than 900,000 acres had burned in October, torching more than 2,000 homes and affecting hundreds of thousands of people.
- Based on preliminary estimates from the National Interagency Fire Center, more than 9.2 million acres had burned across the U.S. by October’s end. The 2007 fire season was the second worst on record, exceeded only by the 2006 season, when 9.8 million acres burned.
- In October, tornadoes erupted nearly every week, with the peak occurring during October 17-19, when a record 87 twisters tore through the Midwest.
- The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for October was the sixth warmest on record, 0.88° F/0.49° C above the 20th century mean. For the January-October year-to-date period, the global land surface temperature was the warmest on record. La Niña ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) conditions persisted in the equatorial Pacific in October.
- In Costa Rica, heavy rain that fell between October 10-11 caused widespread floods that washed away over 800 homes and prompted a deadly mudslide. The mudslide was reported to be the worst weather disaster for Costa Rica in years, claiming more than 10 lives and burying hundreds of homes in the town of Atenas.
- Tropical Storm Noel became the deadliest storm of the 2007 season and made landfall in Haiti on October 29, with maximum sustained winds near 50 mph. The storm caused widespread floods, prompted landslides across the island of Hispaniola, and claimed more than 140 lives in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
NOAA and other federal and state agencies have formed an expert drought group that has created an early warning system to detect drought and raise public awareness about why drought occurs and its affect on humans and nature, called the National Integrated Drought Information System. NIDIS was created in response to extended drought conditions over the past decade, with strong advocacy from the Western Governors Association and other groups.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.
Note to Editors: October 2007 data, graphics, and analysis are available online.