Temperatures, rain fall with leaves

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WALLA WALLA -- Fall weather ruled in October.

As in falling leaves, falling temperatures and falling rain.

Aided by the first invasion of arctic air this season, temperatures tumbled early in the month dropping below freezing on two nights.

According to the National Weather Service, the average temperature was slightly above 50 degrees, a mark four degrees below normal. The warmest day came on Oct. 17 with a high of 71 degrees while the coldest night was on Oct. 11 when the mercury dropped to a frosty 26 degrees.

The cooling trend also brought out the fall colors as trees throughout the area went from green to gold seemingly overnight. Aided by gusty winds, leaves also began falling, blanketing lawns, curbsides and cars. Breezy days were the rule, not the exception, during the month with the highest wind gust of 39 mph occurring on Oct. 26 as measured at Walla Walla Regional Airport.

October also brought a surplus of rain with 2.51 inches, a mark that was nearly three-quarters of an inch above normal. Measurable precipitation, defined as at least .01 inch, fell on 11 days with the heaviest rainfall, .96 inches, coming on Oct. 3.

Total precipitation for the year is now 14.42 inches, a mark that is 1.10 inches below normal, according to preliminary figures compiled by the weather service.

October's wet and cool weather defied the last month's prediction by the weather service for below-normal precipitation and near-normal temperatures. The outlook for this month, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center, calls for above-normal temperatures and near-normal precipitation.

Normal highs for the Walla Walla area during November are about 48 degrees and normal lows are about 35 degrees. The 30-year normal average for precipitation is 2.70 inches.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

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