October 2011 Global Weather Extremes Summary
October 2011 Global Weather Extremes Summary
October was a relatively calm month so far as global weather extremes were concerned. The biggest story for the United States was the unprecedented snowstorm that struck the mid-Atlantic and Northeast on October 29-30th. Unusual warmth occurred in Europe at the beginning of the month and in southern Africa towards the end of the month. Extreme flooding affected Central America, Italy, and Southeast Asia.
Below are some of the month’s highlights.
The most intense October snowstorm on record left between 22 and 27 dead and 2.5 million without electricity from Virginia to Maine when a classic northeaster cyclone moved up the Atlantic Coast on October 29th and 30th. As of this writing, a week later, some 800,000 are still without power in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Amazing snow totals of over two feet affected the hardest hit portions of Massachusetts and New Hampshire (see Jeff Masters and my blog of Oct. 30). At the peak of the storm on Saturday evening, Windsor, Massachusetts received 26.0” of snow in just a six-hour period.
Unisys surface analysis map for 8 p.m. EST October 29th, around the time when the snow was falling at its heaviest in southern New England.
Concord, New Hampshire had 22.2” in a 15-hour period between 4pm Oct. 29 and 7am October 30. This was the 2nd greatest 24-hour snowfall on record for this city that has experienced many formidable snowstorms since records began there in 1871 (the record 24-hour snowfall was 25” during the famous blizzard of December 26-27, 1969).
Heavy wet snow toppled trees onto parked cars in Worcester, Massachusetts. The storm has become the 14th billion-dollar natural disaster in the U.S.A. so far this year. Photo by Adam Hunger/AP.
In spite of some significant rainfall during the month, portions of western Texas and the Texas Panhandle experienced several intense dust storms reminiscent of the 1930s ‘Dust Bowl’ era. Amarillo, and Lubbock, Texas as well as Dodge City, Kansas remained on track for their driest calendar year on record. In contrast, much of Ohio and Pennsylvania have already achieved their wettest year on record. As of Nov. 1st Williamsport, Pennsylvania has recorded 63.18” (old record 61.27” in 1972), Scranton 54.02” (old record 53.71” in 1945), Harrisburg has recorded 67.59” (old record 59.67” in 1863), Cleveland, Ohio has measured 55.81”(old record 53.83” in 1990), and Binghamton, New York 61.86” (old record 49.33” in 2006).
Hurricane Jova roared ashore on Mexico’s west coast between Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta on October 12th with 100mph wind gusts and killing five.
An amazing nighttime video capture of Hurricane Jova’s winds as the storm came ashore north of Manzanillo, Mexico on October 12th. Photo/video taken by wunderground blogger Mike Theiss at Tenacatita, Mexico.
The coldest temperature measured in the northern hemisphere during October was -61.4°F (-51.9°C) at Summit, Greenland.
SOUTH AMERICA and CENTRAL AMERICA
Extreme flooding in El Salvador and Guatemala resulted in the deaths of at least 105 people the week of October 13-20. It was one of the worst natural disasters in recent history for El Salvador. One location, Huizucar, in El Salvador recorded an astonishing 59.57” (1513mm) of precipitation in the ten-day period of October 10-20.
Map of precipitation totals across El Salvador the period of October 10-20. El Salvadoran National Hydrological Service.
Winds of 75mph in mid-October whipped up fallen volcanic ash (that had accumulated as the result of the eruption of Chile’s Puyehue volcano) closing airports in Argentina and Uruguay.
The United Kingdom recorded its warmest October temperature on record when a reading of 85.8°F (29.9°C) was observed at Gravesend, Kent on October 1st. This surpassed the previous warmest October temperature of 84.9°F (29.4°C) set at Cambridgeshire on October 1, 1985. Wales also broke its warmest October day on record with an 82.8°F (28.2°C) reading at Hawarden, Flintshire on October 1st (previous record was 79.5°F (26.4°C) at Ruthin, Denbighshire on October 1, 1985). Stephen Burt writes me, "At least as noteworthy was the fact that 1 October became the hottest day of the year quite widely in central southern England and in western and northern England. In central southern England, within the last 100 years, the hottest day of the year has never occurred later than 8 September." The month was the 8th warmest October on record for the U.K. since 1910.
Dublin, Ireland, reported 82.2mm of rainfall in 24 hours on October 24th, its wettest October day since 1954. Two people died in flooding as a result. The coldest temperature measured in the U.K. during October was -3.3°C at Santon Downham, Suffolk on October 20th. The highest wind gust measured was 77mph at Killowen, County Down on October 17th.
Incredible flash flooding struck much of Italy on October 26th killing at least nine and devastating towns in the Liguria region near Genoa and also in central Tuscany. An amazing 450mm (17.72”) of rain fell in just four hours at Quezzi, Liguria. The torrential rains also affected extreme southeastern France where up to 600mm (23.62”) of rain in 12 hours were reported.
A flooded street in Genoa during the intense rainfall of October 26th. Photo by Luca Zennaro/EPA
An extreme heat wave affected Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia during the last week of October. All-time absolute maximum temperatures were recorded in Harare (98.1°F/36.7°C) and Bulawayo (101.3°F/38.5°C), Zimbabwe; Livingston (106.3°F/41.3°C), Zambia; and Francistown, Botswana where the 107.8°F (42.1°C) was just shy of the national record for Botswana of 108.3°F (42.4°C) recorded at Gomo in January 1932.
The hottest temperature observed was 112.3°F (44.6°C) at Buffalo Range, Zimbabwe on October 25th. This was also the warmest temperature observed in the southern hemisphere during October.
The big story in Asia during October was (and still is!) the flooding in Thailand where Bangkok remains submerged as of this writing and the situation seems to be getting worse as flood waters continue their march toward the heart of the city. For details on the Bangkok flood see my previous blog. Some 507 people have died in Thailand so far as a result of the floods.
In Burma (Myanmar), over 100 people died in the city of Pakokku, which rests on the banks of the Irrawaddy River in central Burma, on October 21-22 when a flash flood swept away 2000 homes in Pakokku and four other towns in the Magwe Division.
The main bridge of Pakokku, Burma (Myanmar) swept away by floodwaters on October 22nd. Photo taken by unidentified resident of Pakokku.
Heavy rains also pelted the South China island province of Hainan in early October as the result the passage of Tropical Storm Nalgae. The city of Haikou apparently recorded 13.13” (333.6mm) of rain in 24 hours and 20.35” (517mm) in 48 hours, the greatest accumulations on record for the site.
The warmest temperature in the northern hemisphere and the world during October was 113.7°F (45.4°C) measured at Mecca, Saudi Arabia on October 1st.
Temperatures were close to normal in most of Australia during October and precipitation was considerably above normal (152% of normal nation-wide to be precise) making this the 17th wettest October in over 112 years of record.
The normally wet top station of Bellenden Ker, Queensland measured 58.82” (1494mm) of precipitation during the month, the highest such figure ever measured during October at any site in Australia. 17.32” (440mm) of this total fell on the singe day of Oct. 19th, the 2nd greatest calendar day measurement for October in Australian history (record is 21.70”/551.2mm at Pacific Heights, Queensland on Oct. 8, 1914).
Map of rainfall deciles for October, 2011. It was the 3rd wettest October on record for Western Australia. Map courtesy of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
The warmest temperature measured during the month was 111.2°F (44.0°C) at Wyndham Aero, Western Australia on October 12th. The coldest temperature was 18.0°F (-7.8°C) at Thredbo, New South Wales on October 3rd.
The coldest temperature in the southern hemisphere and the world during October was -98.5°F (-72.5°C) recorded at Dome Fuji on Oct. 14th.
KUDOS Thanks to Maximiliano Herrera for global temperature extremes data and Stephen Burt for the U.K. extremes.
Christopher C. Burt