U.S. Sees Wettest October on Record; Arkansas Records are Washed Away

The U.S. has just endured the wettest October in the 115-year period of record. The nationwide precipitation of 4.15 inches for October 2009 was 2.11 inches -- nearly double the long-term average.


Also, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):

  • "Regionally, two of the nation's nine climate regions (the East North Central and South) saw their wettest October. The Central region had its second wettest October, while the West North Central had its fourth wettest. This was the first month since December 2007 that no region had below normal precipitation.
  • Three states (Iowa, Arkansas, and Louisiana) saw their record wettest October. Fourteen other states had precipitation readings ranking in their top five category. Only three states (Florida, Utah, and Arizona) saw below normal precipitation.
  • Arkansas continued its remarkable run of wetness in 2009. The state has seen four months with top three precipitation ranks this year (May, 1st wettest; July, 3rd wettest; September, 2nd wettest; October, 1st wettest). As a result, the state's year-to-date average is the wettest in 115 years of record keeping. This contrasted with persistent dryness in Arizona, which saw its second-driest year-to-date period. "

Read more about the impacts of the recent rains in Arkansas in our posting here.  Particularly noteworthy is the magnitude of the rains over the last six months in Arkansas; it was nearly double the long-term mean and shattered the previous record by about ten inches.

Arkansas Statewide Precip, May-October, 1895-2009

As records were washed away, the U.S. also experienced the third coolest October on record.   However, when global data is released later this month, it will tell a different story for the globe as a whole.  Global temperatures were anomalously high in October, continuing the long term warming trend.  As temperatures over some portions of North America have been below average, other areas of North America -- and most of the rest of the world -- were well above normal.  It was the tenth warmest October on record for Alaska.

Global data for September 2009 released earlier this month shows that the month was the second warmest September on record.  The January through September period was the sixth warmest on record globally.

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