Mild and Much Quieter in October

November 15, 2023 // Article by: Steven Weinstein

The month of October brought much quieter weather to the Northeast as severe weather season finally wound down. The month began and ended on a very mild note, but also saw some seasonable and cooler stretches mixed in with many interior areas experiencing their first frosts of the season as fall foliage peaked. While periods of drier weather dominated, the month still saw its fair share of weather producing systems though they were generally lighter with any flooding problems essentially nonexistent. As such, precipitation ran below average for most climate sites.

Much of the first week of October was dry and quite mild across the Northeast as high pressure remained locked in and temperatures 5 - 10 degrees above average. Some record highs were set with temperatures well into the 80s up and down the Eastern Seaboard. The first system of the month moved through on the 6th and 7th and while some areas into New England saw 1-2"+ of rainfall, it was the passage of a strong cold front that was most notable, which ushered in more seasonable to even below average temperatures into the middle part of the month. Otherwise, the second week October was largely dry before the next weather-maker brought showers and periods of cold rain to much of New Jersey / Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic on the 14th. As this low then pivoted offshore, hit or miss showers lingered across New England into the start of the third week of the month with temperatures still running near average.

Tweet from NWS Mt Holly showing water vapor plumes caused by nearby refineries the morning of October 18th, 2023.

A coastal disturbance followed this storm and brought periods of rain to New England on the 20th - 21st, with some lighter showers occurring elsewhere and widespread breezy conditions occurring all along the east coast. Meanwhile, isolated heavy rainfall amounts of 2-3" did fall across New England though the rainfall was over a long enough period to mitigate any flooding issues. Quieter conditions then quickly settled in as a strong high pressure built back across the Northeastern U.S. during the final week of the month. It was during this time that some inland areas, mainly outside of the major cities, saw their first frosts of the year, as well as a spectacular display of fall colors coinciding with the peak foliage. Temperatures then moderated once more, and ran 10 - 20 degrees above average as highs surged well into the 80s from Richmond, VA to Boston, MA! A final system then worked across the Northeast on the 29th - 30th bringing widespread rainfall with localized 1"+ amounts into New England and the return of a much cooler airmass to all.

Tweet from NWS Mt Holly showing vibrant displays of fall foliage on October 28th, 2023. 

Overall, high and low temperatures for the month ran 2 - 5 degrees above average across the entire Northeast. Precipitation wise, below average precipitation was notable just about everywhere with deficits of 1 - 2.5", though parts of the Hudson Valley were an exception to this. Despite a dry October, any areas of drought still remain rather isolated and confined to the Mid Atlantic where some spots are running abnormally dry.