October’s weather was a merciful relief from the record-setting heat and drought of September, and a lot more exciting, too.
The first few days of the month started off much like September with highs in the mid 90’s. The first real cold front came through one week deep into the month. Rain finally showed up on the 10th, followed by an early frost (at least on some lawns) on the 12th and the costliest tornado outbreak in North Texas on the 20th. In other words, October was pretty much normal.
Our hottest temperature was 96 degrees, reached on both the 1st and 6th of October. Our coolest “high” temperature was 48 degrees on the 25th (likely a record as it was at DFW).
Denton Enterprise Airport dipped to 31 degrees on the morning of October 12th. The day-night average monthly temperature was 68 degrees, only slightly above normal.
Rainfall was okay, but not enough to catch up from September’s deficit. A third of an inch fell on the 10th and 11th while .99″ fell on the 19th and 20th, with another 2.49″ from the 24th through the 26th. Total rainfall through October 27 was 3.8 inches, .29″ below normal. Another inch or more was expected on the 29th and 30th ahead of a significant cold front, ushering in the first few days of November.
So far in 2019, Denton has received about 26 inches of rain, roughly 2-3 inches below normal.
October 20th goes into the record books as the costliest tornado outbreak in North Texas. Preliminary damage estimates top $2 billion dollars and are likely to go higher. A total of 10 tornadoes were confirmed in Dallas, Midlothian, Ferris, Allen, Garland, Rowlett/Sachse, Rockwall, Kaufman County (2) and Wills Point.
Wise and Tarrant County reported damaging hail of golf ball-size. No initial reports of storm damage were recorded in Denton County on the official Storm Report summary published by the Storm Prediction Center, but we know some one-inch hail fell in southeast Denton County and more than a few tree limbs were sheared off by gusty winds.
Considering the immense damage done by the EF-3 (140 mph) tornado from Las Colinas to Richardson and the EF-2 (135 mph) tornado that hit Garland, Rowlett and Sachse, it is remarkable that there were no fatalities and only a few minor injuries from flying glass. In the weather business, we call that a success.
Casualties were limited because many people were already under shelter, watching TV inside homes or businesses. As the first severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Parker County at 7 P.M., the entire area was placed under a tornado watch, fully two hours before the first and worst of the tornadoes touched down near Las Colinas Country Club. And Denton County missed the worst of the weather.
Looking ahead, the Climate Prediction Center forecasts slightly warmer than normal temperatures and near-normal rainfall in November.
Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist of WBAP 820/570 KLIF/99.5 “The Wolf.”