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Nation got record-setting drenching in October

Thu., Nov. 19, 2009, midnight

According to the National Climatic Data Center, October was the wettest in history across the U.S. The long-term average of precipitation across the country is 2.11 inches. Last month, an amazing 4.15 inches was reported.

The wettest states were Iowa, Arkansas and Louisiana, which saw their all-time wettest October. Only three out of the 50 states – Florida, Utah and Arizona – were drier than normal.

At Spokane International Airport, the mean temperature for October was 4 degrees below normal with a reading of 43.2 degrees. The average high was 6.3 degrees below normal with a reading of 52.2 degrees. Despite the chilly conditions in November, we’re only 1.2 degrees below normal levels as of early this week.

The soggy weather also eased drought conditions in many areas in the U.S. According to Brian Fuchs, a climatologist with the National Climatic Data Center, “This is the least amount of the country that’s been in drought in the past 10 years.”

In addition to the damp conditions, last month was the third-coldest in the U.S. since records began in 1895. The normal U.S. average temperature is 54.8 degrees, but October came in at 50.8 degrees, 4 degrees below average. October of 1976 and 1925 were colder.

Other parts of the world were shivering as well. For example, parts of New Zealand had its coldest October in more than 64 years. Heavy snows trapped motorists and residents there saw the latest spring snow to hit that area since 1951.

In our area, there is a chance that we will see a white Thanksgiving in the lower elevations, but mainly toward the Idaho Panhandle. Many ski resorts in the region may be able to open by Thanksgiving weekend, so get those skis and snowboards ready.

The full moon phase of Dec. 2-9 may bring much colder temperatures across the Inland Northwest. There may be as much as 6 inches to a foot of snow during the first half of December in our part of the country.

It does appear that El Niño, a warm-water, sea-surface temperature event in the south-central Pacific Ocean, is beginning to influence global weather patterns. Therefore, I still see milder weather in our region in the late fall and early winter.

Contact Randy Mann at randy@longrange

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