Record to near-record warmth west of the Mississippi
Climate experts said this week the average temperature across the U.S. during October was the warmest for the month since 1963, at 3.3 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. The first 10 months of 2015 will go into the books as the sixth-warmest such period on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center’s monthly update.The heat was focused on the western half of the country, where many weather stations recorded record warmth for the month. Only Washington reported a record statewide average temperature, but eight states reported record-warm minimum temperatures: California, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico — all states were ski resorts depend on cold nighttime temperatures to make snow.
October precipitation was 0.59 inches above average, for the 20th wettest October on record. The wettest parts of the country were the the Southwest, Southern Plains, and Southeast, where many stations reported near-record totals.
According to the November 3rd U.S. Drought Monitor report, 26.2 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, down about 5.2 percent compared to September 29th. Drought conditions dramatically improved across parts of the Southern Plains and Lower Mississippi River Valley where heavy precipitation flooded the region in late October. Drought also improved across the Southeast and in parts of the Northwest.
Drought conditions worsened across parts of the Central Plains and Midwest. Precipitation was spotty across the West with long-term drought conditions continuing to plague the region.
For the year to date, the average U.S. temperature is at 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit above average and the warmest 10-month start to the year since 2012. Overall, 16 states, including Alaska, were much warmer than average. Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington were each record warm. Below-average temperatures were observed in the Midwest and Northeast.
Information compiled from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: National Overview for October 2015.