NOAA: Near Average Temperature and Precipitation in U.S. for October;
West North Central Much Wetter than Average
November 7, 2008
October 2008 temperature and precipitation were near the long-term average for the contiguous United States, according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., based on records dating back to 1895.
The average October temperature of 54.5 degrees F was 0.3 degree F below the 20th Century average, based on preliminary data. Precipitation across the contiguous United States in October averaged 2.10 inches, which is 0.10 inch below the 1901-2000 average.
U.S. Temperature Highlights
- October temperatures were cooler than average across the southern Plains, Southeast, and Northeast U.S., and warmer than average in the Southwest and western U.S.
- The western United States had its ninth warmest August-October period on record. This contrasted with the South which had its seventh coolest August-October.
- Based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index, the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand was 4.3 percent above average in October.
U.S. Precipitation Highlights
- The United States measured above-average precipitation across much of the Great Plains from the Texas panhandle to the Dakotas and Minnesota. However, October was drier than average across much of the West, the western Gulf Coast States, and the mid-Atlantic States.
- It was the seventh wettest October in the 1895-2008 record for the region, which includes Montana, Nebraska, the Dakotas and Wyoming. Last month also was among the top 10 wettest Octobers for Kansas and North and South Dakota. Nebraska had its wettest October on record, with a statewide average of 4.43 inches of precipitation.
- Persistent dryness during the last three months resulted in the third driest August-October on record for Nevada, fifth driest for Kentucky, sixth driest for Idaho, seventh driest for Ohio, ninth driest for West Virginia, and tenth driest for Wisconsin.
- Drought conditions across the United States showed little change during October. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, only slight improvements were seen in the northern Plains and parts of the Southeast, while minor worsening occurred in parts of the Tennessee and Ohio valleys, southern Texas, the Pacific Northwest, and Wisconsin.
- At the end of October, 22 percent of the contiguous United States was in moderate-to-exceptional drought, a slight decrease compared to last month. Meanwhile, extreme-to-exceptional drought conditions persisted in the western Carolinas, northeast Georgia, eastern Tennessee, southern Texas, and Hawai’i.
- About 29 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in moderately-to-extremely wet conditions as of the end of October, according to the Palmer Index, an increase of about three percent compared to last month.
- A significant winter storm brought heavy snowfall to areas of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho on October 10-12. The storm brought record snowfall. As much as 33 inches of snow was measured in several Wyoming counties, with Red Lodge, Mont., reporting 42 inches of new snow.
- At the end of October, large wildfires were active in California, Utah, Arizona and Oklahoma. From January 1 through October 31st, nearly 74,000 fires had burned 5,052,109 acres across the country. October saw 6,392 new fires, which is third highest in the 1999-2008 period.
NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.