All Four Seasons In One: October 2016

Posted: November 1, 2016, 3:19 pm by spatrick
The first frost of the season in Nazareth, PA, Oct. 11, 2016. Picture courtesy of meteorologist Mike Mihalik.


October of 2016 incorporated each of the four seasons. The second week of October really showed its fall colors, not only literally from its changing leaves, but also figuratively with many from Mount Pocono, PA to New England seeing the season's first freeze. Then, a taste of spring occurred as much of central Massachusetts saw heavy rain and significant flooding on October 21st. On the 27th, northeastern PA and extreme northern New Jersey through the Hudson Valley and Connecticut caught a glimpse of winter with their first accumulating snow & ice of the season. Finally, October 30th felt more like summer as many areas (particularly in the mid-Atlantic) soared into the 70s and even low 80s, and was accompanied by late day showers & thunderstorms that produced torrential downpours, strong to borderline severe winds, and even small hail.

While select colder spots and elevated locations across the Northeast saw the first freeze on October 11th, the first widespread freeze over the interior didn't occur for much of the mid-Atlantic into New England until the end of the month. In fact, direct coastal locations and major cities like Boston, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. failed to see their first freezing temperatures in October. Below is a chart showing the first locations in the region to see the initial freeze of the season this year compared to the normal first freeze date. The first freeze is notable because it signifies the end of the growing season.


 The first freezes of the season experienced in our forecast/alert regions in the Northeast on October 11, 2016, and the typical first freeze dates for those locations.


Much of New England saw significant rain on the 21st of the month, resulting in flash flooding and water rescues due to cars trapped in flooded roadways. Worcester Airport received a whopping 4.10"! Even with this significant rainfall, much of New England is (unfortunately) still deep into extreme drought. Likewise, lack of significant rainfall elsewhere into the mid-Atlantic is still holding much of a region in abnormally dry to low-end drought conditions, according to the US Drought Monitor. 

  Monthly precipitation totals for October as reported by airports across the mid-Atlantic and New England.

Unfortunately, the rainfall was not nearly enough to help areas improve their drought conditions, including central Massachusetts.


Not long after the heavy rainfall on the 21st, Old Man Winter decided to pay his first visit on the 27th by gracing parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut with their first wintry mix. Snow, sleet, and freezing rain developed first in the Poconos of PA, then spread eastward across extreme northern New Jersey, the Hudson Valley, then into Connecticut. Some areas picked up 2-3" of snow and sleet over the hardest hit areas of New York and Connecticut, with up to 0.25" of ice in parts of northeastern PA.



Finally, October felt the need to dress up as a summer month the day before Halloween, as much of the mid-Atlantic soared into the 70s and even some 80s. This was ahead of a potent cold front that trekked eastward, and produced severe weather across southern Pennsylvania into New Jersey. The associated showers and storms were impressive for this late in October, moving at a rate of 50 mph as they produced locally heavy downpours, strong to damaging winds of 40-60 mph, and even some small hail in northeastern New Jersey into New York City.


Director of Forensic and Data Services / Lead Meteorologist
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