In October, the season’s first 32-degree low temperatures begin to migrate from the high country of northern New England, the Rockies and areas near the Canadian border into much of the interior Northeast, Great Lakes, Midwest, northern and central Plains, and High Plains of the Rockies. This includes areas as far south as the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, parts of the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles, and northern New Mexico.
With only a few more weeks of warmer weather left, some people are looking forward to the first snowfall. With this increasingly cold air, accumulating snow previously restricted to the highest peaks of the Rockies and Alaska in September begins to blanket lower elevations of the High Plains, parts of the northern Plains and northern Great Lakes, Appalachians, Adirondacks, Green and White Mountains in October.
Do you remember superstorm Sandy? October storms can be major events. There have been a number of other recent big October storms: In early October 2013: Winter Storm Atlas, hammered the High Plains with blizzard conditions. In late October 2011: The “Snowtober” storm knocked out power to over 3 million in the Northeast. In late October 2010: The “Octobomb” storm set all-time low-pressure records in Minnesota and Wisconsin and spawned severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in the Ohio Valley and Mid-South. In mid-October 2006: Heavy lake-effect snow damages many trees, knocks out power to one million customers in Buffalo, New York.
As October approaches, the hurricane threat peaks for Florida. Over the past two Octobers, we’ve seen Hurricane Matthew rake up the coast from Florida to the Carolinas, preceded the previous October by Hurricane Joaquin raking the Bahamas as historic flooding swamped South Carolina. In South Florida, October is the month with the most hurricane direct hits. According to NOAA’s Best Track Database, 23 October hurricanes have passed within 100 nautical miles of downtown Miami since 1851. While September may be the active hurricane season for the Atlantic basin, the month of October should be just as feared.