Friday, December 8, 2023

October weather brought few treats

Entering fall, we were already grousing about September being “warmer than normal and exceptionally dry.”  To that, October said, “Hold my beer.”

October in Denton was both exceptionally warm and dry, with five days in early October at or above 90 degrees, topping out at 94 degrees on the 8th. Overnight lows were 60’s and 50’s with a couple 40-degree lows at mid-month. The coolest was 37 on the morning of the 30th.

The average high this October was 84; nearly 6 degrees above normal. The average low was 56, nearly 3 degrees above normal. October’s day/night monthly average temperature of 70 was a strong 4 degrees warmer than normal.

Update from last month: Denton received another .29″ of rain September 28-30, raising the rainfall total to .71″; still 2 inches shy for the month.

October’s rainfall wasn’t terrible, but neither was it terribly helpful, most of it coming on just two days, two weeks apart. Enterprise Airport recorded 1.7″ on October 13th, and another .83″ on the 27th. That same day, the airport registered an 85 mile-per-hour wind gust in a line of severe thunderstorms that blasted through Denton shortly before 3 a.m.

Combined with .33″ on October 10th, Denton registered 2.86″ of rain, well short of the 4.17″ normally received during October. So far this year, Denton has recorded 31.06 inches of rain, roughly 4 inches short for the year. Average annual precipitation in Denton is 38.44 inches.

Wind damage to trees and fences was widely scattered, while several trash cans were reported AWOL. A number of yard spooks, first damaged by the storm on the 27th were assaulted all day long on the 28th by 50 mph winds.

The parent storm circulation, which spawned the severe weather, stalled between Little Rock and Memphis, leaving North Texas on the back side of the counter-clockwise northerly flow for 36 hours. As a result, upper-level and surface winds on the 28th combined to produce nine hours of 40 mph wind gusts with a 52 mile-per-hour gust recorded at Enterprise between 4 and 5 p.m. Over 100 thousand North Texans lost power, while high winds forced DFW and Dallas Love to cancel or delay hundreds of flights. It’s unusual that the day following a severe storm produces more damage than the storm itself, but as October said…

The Climate Prediction Center is still forecasting warmer and drier-than-normal conditions for November through January, in line with the weather normally expected from a La Nina event of cooler-than-normal waters in the Central Pacific. Cooler ocean temperatures breed fewer storms riding the Subtropical Pacific jet stream into Texas. That does not however, preclude Northern Pacific storms from tapping frigid air from Canada’s Northwest Territories and flinging it toward Texas now and then.

Mild temperatures are never a problem here during the colder months of the year, but the mostly dry and gusty winds of winter and early spring will leave firefighters and property owners a bit edgy.

Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist of WBAP 820/570 KLIF.   

Brad Barton
Brad Barton
Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist of WBAP 820 and 570 KLIF. His video weather podcast is posted to and Facebook around noon every Thursday. You can follow Brad on Twitter @BradBartonDFW

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