NOTE — Rainfall and temperature information is based on data kept at Milford Lake by the Corps of Engineers. For more information contact Chuck Otte, 785-238-4161.

October was warmer than normal, which, as we head into the fall and winter months, is usually a good thing for our heating bills. While it didn’t rain very often in October, it did rain enough that we had about normal rainfall. Many of us saw occasional scattered frosts on lawns and cars thanks, to evaporational cooling, but we’ve yet to have an official temperature of 32 degrees or below. We’ve pushed right past our average first frost date.

The average daily high for October was 71.9, 4.0 degrees above normal. Our average overnight low was 49.7, 4.7 degrees above normal. This resulted in a monthly mean temperature of 60.8 which is 4.4 degrees above the long-term average. The highest temperature for the month was 91 degrees on the 10th. The lowest temperature was 33 degrees on the 29th. The monthly mean temperature was the seventh warmest October on record (dating back to the late 1940s). It was still well below the record hottest October of 1963, which had a monthly mean temperature of 69 degrees. The coldest October is a tie between 2002 and 2009, with a monthly mean temperature of 49.1 degrees. There were no temperature records set or tied during the month.

Dating back to 1951, our average first frost (official temperature of 32 degrees or lower) is Oct. 19, and two years out of three it’ll fall within 12 days of that date. We did not have an official temperature of 32 or lower for the month, so our first frost date is likely to occur sometime in November. The latest it has occurred is November 10th (1998 and 2016). In fact, since 1951 we have only had ten times that the first frost occurred during November. Of those ten, four have occurred during the past 15 years. Additionally, the long-term moving average (30 years) first frost date, has become almost a week later over the past 15 years.

Nicely spaced rainfall events during the month gave us a total of 2.55 inches at Milford Lake and 2.43 inches in Junction City. Average October rainfall is 2.48 inches, so both reporting stations were within a few hundredths of an inch of normal. These rainfall events gave a nice balance between dry weather for fall harvest and providing soil moisture to get the newly planted wheat crop germinated and growing. The wettest November on record was in 1941 when an amazing 12.12 inches of precipitation fell. The driest October was in 1938 when only .02 inches were recorded. Year to date rainfall for Milford Lake is 24.59 inches and for Junction City 29.30 inches. Normal is 30.98 inches so both reporting stations are lagging behind normal. There was no snowfall recorded during the month.

November can bring brutal cold and snowy weather as well as unusually warm and dry weather. But we will invariably see a noticeable cooling and drying pattern as we head towards winter and our driest months of the year. Average daily highs start the month at 60 and by the end of the month we are down to 48. Average overnight low on the 1st is around 38 and by the 30th we should be seeing frost and freezes every night with an average temperature of 27. Rainfall continues to decline, with normal precipitation for the month of 1.42 inches. Chance of measurable snowfall does increase, with the long-term average November snowfall of one inch. While not commonly occurring, low temperatures into the single digits can happen during November. Our earliest below zero temperatures have occurred in late November. Nov. 28 and 30, 1952, gave us lows of -4 and -1 degrees respectively.

CHUCK OTTE is the agricultural and natural resources agent with the Geary County Extension Office.

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