WALLA WALLA -- October, the first full month of autumn, was slightly warmer and slightly drier than normal.
While daytime temperatures were a tad cooler than average, nighttime lows were overall more than 3 degrees above normal, according to the National Weather Service. The warmest day of the month was 76 degrees on Oct. 2 while the coldest nights were on Oct. 25-26 when the mercury dropped to 33 degrees, just barely above freezing.
The first official freeze of the year didn't come until November arrived last week when the low hit 31 degrees Wednesday night at Walla Walla Regional Airport. Temperatures have dropped to freezing on three successive nights since then, including Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service.
October's precipitation was below normal also, but not drastically. A total of 1.37 inches fell during the month, a mark .31 below average. Measurable precipitation, defined as at least .01 of an inch, fell on 10 days with the heaviest cloudburst delivering .44 inches on Oct. 5.
The total rain and snowfall for the year now stands at 15.17 inches, which is .35 inches below normal based on an average from 1981-2010.
The highest wind gust during the month was 36 mph as measured on Oct. 11 at the airport.
According to the national Climate Prediction Center, the outlook for this month calls for near-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation.
Normal highs for Walla Walla fall from 56 degrees at the start of the month to 42 degrees at the end. Normal nighttime lows fall from 39 degrees to 31 degrees. Normal precipitation, based on a 30-year average, is 2.87 inches.