Dry weather may continue this month

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Meteorologist Brad Barton

Denton County’s weather in October continued the cooling trend begun during September, culminating an early (light) freeze.  Unlike September, we suffered a mini-drought in October.

Average temperatures don’t always tell the full story.  Our average high during October was 76 and our average low was around 50 which seem pretty comfortable, but there were a lot of extreme in those two numbers.

We had eight days, several in a row, when temperature reached or exceeded 88 degrees.  Our hottest day was October 11th, when we touched 97 degrees.  On the 27th, our high temperature was only 39 degrees which is probably a record for the date, although record “cool daily maximums” for Denton were not maintained until a few years ago.  DFW set two record “cool highs” of 41 on the 27th and 46 on the 28th.  Toward the end of the month, Denton County saw six mornings with lows in the 30’s including October 30th, when the temperature briefly dipped below freezing to 31 degrees.  That represents a 66-degree temperature range during the month.

Meanwhile, rainfall was noticeably scarce from a 43-day mini-drought that began on September 10th.  From then until October 23rd, nothing but .13” was recorded over the 21st and 22nd of September.  The next time it really rained was during a severe weather outbreak on October 23rd (1.8″).

Putting all the averages together, Denton’s average temperature for the month was 63, which is two degrees cooler than normal, and rainfall was 2.25″, which was 2.3″ below normal.  Lack of rain during October nearly wiped out our 3-inch rainfall surplus for the year-to-date.  Running total for the year is now 43.98″, roughly an inch above normal through October.

Only one severe weather event visited North Texas for the month, on the morning of the 23rd.  After a buildup of Gulf moisture, a strong upper-level storm system intensified in the Texas Panhandle at the same time a strong Arctic front was emerging from the plains.  The moisture, storm energy and approaching cold front set off two lines of heavy to severe storms that dropped heavy rain, small hail and did some minor wind damage, mostly southwest of DFW.  No official storm reports from Denton County were turned in that day.

Looking ahead, our long range forecasts are now being influenced by the development of a weak La Nina, which represents cooler-than-normal ocean temperatures in the central Pacific.  On average, La Nina winters in Texas are generally (but not always) warmer and drier than normal.  And that is precisely the forecast for November from the Climate Prediction Center.

If that verifies, this will be our fifth “mild” winter in a row.  Mild, dry winters are pretty popular here in North Texas.  There are really only two downsides.  They fail to recharge our rivers, streams and lakes before spring winds and wildfire season and they keep on spoiling us all before the next really rough winter, which is sure to come someday.

Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist of WBAP 820/570 KLIF. Paul Ruekberg of NewsWatch Dallas contributed to this report. 

About The Author

Brad Barton

Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist of WBAP 820/570 KLIF/99.5 “The Wolf” and the Texas Rangers Baseball Club. Read his column on Denton County weather each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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