Ninth Wettest October on Record

By Russell Russ

The weather in the Norfolk area had been quite nice since June. The summer months were on the warm and dry side. Pleasant had been a way to describe the weather for this span of four months, including through September. That all ended when the calendar turned to October. A thunderstorm during the morning of October 1 signaled (with a bang) that a change in the weather was on the horizon. The fall foliage season, which began in September as one of the best in recent memory, peaked as usual around Columbus Day. The nice fall foliage extended into October, but the month’s wet and often stormy weather did put a damper on it.

Of October’s thirty one days, seventeen were mostly cloudy, thirteen were partly cloudy and only one was classified as mostly clear. Rainfall was observed on twenty days during the month. There were at least seven days with frost reported in the area. Some people say winter can begin when the swamps are full. The swamps were definitely full by the end of the month.

The month’s high temperature of 76 degrees was observed on October 2. The low temperature of 30 degrees was observed on October 5. It was close on a few days during the early part of the month, but there were no daily high or low temperature records set this month. The monthly mean temperature of 49.3 degrees was 1.5 degrees above normal. Norfolk’s warmest October was in 2001 with 55.3 degrees. The coldest was in 1974 with an average temperature of 42.0 degrees. The first frost observed at the weather station this year was on October 5, last year it was on October 18.

The total precipitation for the month was 7.12 inches, 2.80 inches above normal. This October was Norfolk’s ninth wettest October over the last 88 years. So ends Norfolk’s long stretch of pleasant and mostly dry weather. Norfolk’s wettest October occurred in 1955 with 17.28 inches (also second wettest of ANY month). The driest October was in 1963 with just 0.63 inch (also the second driest of ANY month). Wintery precipitation (snow/sleet) can occur in October here in Norfolk. Often the first flakes of the season fall in October. The average snowfall amount for the month is 0.9 inch, but there was no wintery precipitation observed this October.

Through October, the total precipitation amount for the year was 42.10 inches. This was 1.39 inches below normal for the year, but October’s surplus took a considerable bite out of the running yearly deficit. There are still two months to go in 2019, but it is looking like it could be a fairly average year for precipitation.

It has been stated that November can sometimes predict what type of winter we will have. To be more precise with this “out on a limb” prediction, if November’s average monthly temperature is four degrees above or below the monthly average, then it often foretells the winter temperatures to come.

The first snow of the season came on November 7. Through November 20, both total precipitation and snowfall were running about normal for the month. What was not normal were the temperatures. Norfolk’s temperatures were running about 4.5 degrees below normal. It was also a cold first part of November for much of the U.S. This just might mean that a cold, and perhaps snowy, winter lays ahead. Stay tuned.