An Average October

By Russell Russ

Many recent months have been high ranking for temperature or precipitation, or both. Something we have not seen much of lately is an average weather month, but that is just about what October was. The month started out warm with some late summer-like weather. That all changed by the second week of the month when temperatures dropped back down to normal and even below normal. The fall foliage season peaked about a week or two later than normal. This followed the trend we have seen for the last several years. Our normal peak is being extended a week or two beyond what we used to call our peak foliage time. Arguably, it was not one of our finer foliage seasons around here.

The month’s high temperature of 77 degrees was observed on October 10. The low temperature of 27 degrees was observed on October 19 and 31. The monthly mean temperature of 47.7 degrees was exactly normal for October. Being exactly normal does not happen often. Norfolk’s warmest October was in 2001 with 55.3 degrees. The coldest was in 1974 with an average temperature of 42.0 degrees. There were about seven days with frost in the area. There were four days with frost at the weather station, the first was on October 18.

The total precipitation for the month was 4.55 inches, just 0.28 inch above normal. Not much above normal, but it was yet another month this year with above normal precipitation. 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 53.63 inches. This was 10.23 inches above normal through the month of October. With still two months to go to finish off the year, Norfolk was 1.11 inches above our normal yearly precipitation average of 52.52 inches. With just a trace of snow and sleet on four days, the monthly snowfall total was just a trace. This is 0.9 inch below normal. For the 2018 calendar year through October, we are currently 24.9 inches above normal for snowfall – and we still have two months to go.

Through November 20, temperatures for November were running about normal and with 6.96 inches of total precipitation, Norfolk was already 2.37 inches above the average amount for the entire month – with ten days still to go. The season’s first measurable snowfall came on November 15 and 16 when Norfolk received a total of 8.5 inches of heavy wet snow. While it was a shock to everyone that winter was coming, it was not any kind of November snowfall record for Norfolk. What might be record setting are the low temperatures predicted for the time around Thanksgiving. Single digit temperatures are in the forecast.

November is typically the transition month into winter for Norfolk and it happened again this year. After a relatively warm first few days, giving us one last taste of autumn, the temperatures then turned down to be much more typical for November. With ten days still to go, November seemed so very cold and snowy, but in reality it was just about normal. Perhaps we all have forgotten what normal really is.