Warm and Wet

By Russell Russ

October 2017 was the warmest October on record for all six New England states (as recorded at each state’s official recording location). For many Northeastern US cities, from Newark, New Jersey to Bangor, Maine, it was the warmest October on record and this included Hartford, Bridgeport and Albany. It was Boston’s second warmest on record. It was Norfolk’s third warmest October over the last 86 years.

Norfolk’s beautiful extended late summer-like weather went all through September and well into the third week of October. One could argue that the fall colors may not have been as good as in the past. The colors may have been affected by the lack of cold temperatures, last year’s drought, and possibly a wet leaf-out period in the spring – or all of the above. The peak foliage time is typically around Columbus Day in Norfolk, but this year it was delayed about a week or two.

The month’s high temperature of 74 degrees was observed on October 7, 8 and 22. The low temperature of 29 degrees was observed on October 17. The monthly mean temperature of 54.1 degrees was 6.4 degrees warmer than normal. The top three warmest Octobers for Norfolk are 2001 with 55.3 degrees, 2007 with 54.3 and 2017 with 54.1. Norfolk’s coldest October was in 1974 with an average temperature of 42.0 degrees. There were about seven October days with frost in the area, but only October 17 produced frost at the weather station.

The total precipitation for the month was 8.08 inches, 3.81 inches above normal. The month was running a little below normal until October 29-30 when we received 5.32 inches of rain in about a 24 hour period. Other parts of the state measured 6 inches to even 10 inches from this one storm. The late month storm made this October Norfolk’s sixth wettest October on record. Norfolk’s wettest October was in 1955 with 17.28 inches and the driest was in 1963 with just 0.63 inches.

Through October, the total precipitation amount for the year was 41.68 inches. This is just 1.72 inches below normal. Norfolk’s slowly growing 2017 deficit was nearly wiped out by just this one late October storm. There was no snowfall this month, but measurable snow will be coming to town soon. For the 2017 calendar year through October we are currently 14.3 inches below normal for snowfall.

The big late October rain event seemed to signal a change for Norfolk’s weather. The extended warm and pleasant weather conditions that we enjoyed during September and October finally came to a close. Looking ahead to November, after a relatively warm first week, giving us one last taste of warmth, the temperatures then turned down to be much more typical for November. The first snowfall of the season came on Election Day, November 7, when nearly an inch fell during the early evening hours. Flurries and light snow fell on several other days through mid-month. The low temperature of 14 degrees on November 11 missed a daily record by just 2 degrees.

November is typically the transition into winter for Norfolk and it happened again this year. The leaves are all down, temperatures have gone back to a cool normal, we have seen some snowfall, and it gets dark before 5:00 pm. It is finally time to get ready for winter.