First month of fall brings firsts

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WALLA WALLA — October was a month of firsts.

First rain in months. First full month of autumn. First frost of the season and first snow in the mountains.

The biggest first for many people was probably the rain that started falling on Oct. 12 and pretty much continued through the rest of the month. The precipitation ended a dry spell that stretched 86 days from July 18 to Oct. 11.

During that time only one day, Aug. 21, had measurable rainfall consisting of .01 inch. There were also four other days that had trace amounts of precipitation, but other than that the period was bone-dry.

But when the drought did break, it broke with a vengeance. Thanks to the copious rainfall that came down during the latter half of the month, October ended up with 2.66 inches of total precipitation, an amount nearly an inch more than normal.

The rains brought the total precipitation for the year up to 18.67 inches, a mark 3.16 inches above average. October also marked the start of the water year, which runs through next September.

In terms of temperature, October was slightly warmer than normal, but just barely. The average temperature was 53.8 degrees, which was one-half degree above average. High temperatures averaged 64.4 degrees, which was about 1 degree above normal and the lows averaged about 43 degrees, which was normal.

The first day of the month was the warmest with a high of 80 degrees and the coldest night came on Oct. 21 when the mercury dropped to 31 degrees, the first freezing night of the season.

The highest wind gust was 41 mph recorded on Oct. 16 at Walla Walla Regional Airport.

According to the federal Climate Prediction Center, the outlook for November calls for near normal temperatures and near normal precipitation. Normal highs for Walla Walla fall from 56 degrees at the start of November to 42 degrees at the end of the month. Normal lows fall from 39 degrees to 31 degrees. The 30-year normal precipitation is 2.87 inches.

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