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October was windy, warm and dry

The first two days of October also happened to be the first weekend of the month, and it was beautiful — the air was comfortably warm, the humidity was low, there was not much wind and sunshine was abundant.

The near perfect stretch of weather lasted five full days, with high temperatures in the upper 60s and low to mid 70s — much warmer than it typically is this late in the season.

But Oct. 6 brought a change, with a round of late morning showers followed by a very windy afternoon as a cold front made its way across the area.

Behind the front, much cooler air arrived and hung around for a number of days creating a string of nights with patchy frost.

The cool stretch also had a number of breezy days, bringing down early-turning leaves of popple, birch and box elder.

But like the phoenix rising from the ashes, warmth returned in a big way on Oct. 11 when we hit 81 degrees for a high temperature, just one degree away from the record for the date set way back in 1928.

Unfortunately, it was a one-day affair, as another cold front arrived with rain, wind and sharply colder temperatures the very next day, marking the beginning of what would be a week-long cold snap that felt more like mid-November.

Oct. 14 was a particularly miserable day; it was wet and damp and dark with occasional light rain at times mixed with some flakes of wet snow — our first of the season.

The cold, unsettled stretch of weather continued, reaching a bit of a climax the morning of Oct. 17 as showers or a rain/snow mix were found here, including some minor slushy accumulations of snow all the way south to Milwaukee.

It was worse for northern Wisconsin where several inches of snow accumulated, and more than a foot fell in portions of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula close to Lake Superior.

By this time the cold blast had spread across much of the eastern half of the country, finding its way all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, prompting freeze alerts for the Florida Panhandle.

It was beginning to seem like true autumn weather was here to stay, complete with a raw, bone-chilling wind Oct. 17-18 that brought frequent gusts near 50 mph and created tsunamis of leaves moving across lawns and streets.

But Oct. 21 brought another twist in the weather as a new round of more tranquil, warmer weather unfolded — including several more days in the 70s.

The relatively quiet, mild weather lingered through month’s end, making for a very pleasant ending to October.

October statistics
The warmest temperature all month was 81 degrees on Oct. 11; the coldest temperature was 30 degrees the morning of Oct. 27.

Remarkably, there were nine days at or above 70 degrees.

At month’s end, the overall temperature averaged 2.4 degrees warmer than the 30-year average.

The month was dry with only 1.55 inches of precipitation, 1.12 inches less than average.

Snowfall measured one-tenth of an inch.

It was a windy month with 14 days having wind gusts of 25 mph or greater.

Three of those days had gusts of 40 mph or greater, with the fastest being 48 mph on Oct. 18.

November changes to note
During the month we will lose a total of 63 minutes of daylight.

By the end of the month the average high temperature drops to 37 degrees; the average low 23 degrees.
November precipitation (rain and melted snow or ice) averages 1.98 inches; the 30-year average snowfall is 3.1 inches.

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