October 2017 Was Warmest on Record in New England, Record-Wettest in Michigan

Jonathan Erdman and Linda Lam
Published: November 8, 2017

Temperature and precipitation records were set in October, keeping the trend of a warm and wet year going across the United States.

October 2017 was the warmest October on record for all six New England states, according to the latest report from NOAA's National Centers For Environmental Information (NCEI), based on NOAA statewide data dating to 1895.

Significantly warmer-than-average temperatures were observed in the mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions, and when looking at the Northeast region as a whole, it also experienced its warmest October on record.

Average temperature ranks for each state across the contiguous U.S., with 123 corresponding to warmest and 1 as coldest.

Additionally, the average temperature during the January-through-October period across the U.S. was the third-warmest on record, with every state in the Lower 48 experiencing warmer-than-average temperatures year-to-date.

The warmth has really been felt in the Southeast, where North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida have all recorded the warmest January-through-October on record. Arizona also has the record-warmest ranking year-to-date.

These warmer-than-average temperatures have been courtesy of a persistent weather pattern in place for much of October, with an upper-level ridge of high pressure, or northward bulge of the jet stream, over the East.

(MORE: Areas in the South Have Seen the First Snow of the Season, But Maine Is Still Waiting)

Regarding precipitation, Michigan recorded its wettest October and wettest January-through-October.

The U.S. has also experienced a very wet year so far and has currently seen its second-wettest January-through-October on record.

Not Feeling Like Fall

According to preliminary data from the Southeast Regional Climate Center, 20 cities with at least 65 years of historical records tied or set new warm October records in 2017.

(OUTLOOKS: November | Winter 2017-2018)

Among those include New York City's Central Park, topping the previous record from 2007 and 1947, Albany, New York, topping its previous record from 1900 and Burlington, Vermont, crushing its previous record by 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

Every major reporting station in Maine had a record-warm October. Portland's previous record stood since the administration of President Rutherford B. Hayes (1879). 

(MORE: Why Warmth Was Bad News For Fall Foliage)

Locations in the Northeast (with at least a 65-year period of record) that either tied or set new record warm Octobers in 2017.
(Data: SERCC)

Boston, Philadelphia and Providence, Rhode Island, narrowly missed a record-warm October. Only 1947 had a warmer October in both Boston and Providence; in Philadelphia, only 2007 was warmer.

In contrast, six cities reported an October that ranked among the 10 coldest, all in the northern Rockies, including Idaho Falls, Idaho (tie, fourth-coldest), Pocatello, Idaho (eighth-coldest) and Laramie, Wyoming (tie, seventh-coldest).

(MORE: When Winter Weather Typically Arrives)

Strangely Soaked

October was also weirdly wet, particularly in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes.

Three Michigan cities – Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Muskegon – set new record-wet Octobers. Muskegon crushed its previous record from 1991 by almost 2 inches.

Marquette, Michigan, didn't set a record-wet October, but at the location of the National Weather Service office southwest of the city, it was their fourth-wettest month since records began in 1961.

Houghton-Hancock, Michigan, and Traverse City, Michigan, also narrowly missed record-wet Octobers. Chicago's October rainfall (8.7 inches) was topped only in 1954.

(MORE: Six Things You Might See in November's Weather)

October 2017 precipitation anomalies, in inches.

Because of Hurricane Nate early in the month and a late-month Northeast windstorm, a swath from the northern Gulf Coast to New England experienced a top-10 wet October.

(MORE: Five Unforgettable November Atlantic Hurricanes)

Mobile, Alabama, White Sulphur Springs, Virginia and Watertown, New York, each had record-wet Octobers. In Watertown (no pun intended), it was easily the city's wettest month, according to the NWS.

Only an October 99 years ago was wetter than 2017 in Asheville, North Carolina.

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