Climatology 101: Recapping Tucson’s 8th wettest October on record

Courtesy: NWS Tucson
Courtesy: NWS Tucson

It’s like the Monsoon never ended.

2.25″ rain fell at Tucson International Airport in October 2015. The makes for the 8th wettest October on record & the second October in a row with above average rainfall. Last time that happened? 1988-1989. Our wet month helped Tucson secure above average yearly rainfall for the first time since 2011. Meanwhile, Casa de Beamish in Oro Valley registered a whopping 4.04″ rain last month; the wettest month I’ve recorded since July 2012. I firmly believe this is a direct result of the much-discussed El Niño event ongoing.

October also goes down as the 13th warmest dating back to 1895. The biggest temperature note I found was how we started the month. October 1st recorded a high of 101°, good for the 3rd hottest October day on record.

Below is the complete October climate report compiled by the fine men & women at NWS Tucson:

The month started off with the airport threatening the all-time October record high of 102°, which has occurred twice. However the high on the 1st fell one degree short of the record at 101°, which ranks tied with nine other October dates as the 3rd hottest on record.
A Pacific storm system impacted the area on the 5th thru 7th with scattered showers and thunderstorms. A few of the thunderstorms were severe with wind gusts over 60 mph and large hail, especially on the 6th. Even a cold air funnel cloud was observed by NWS personnel on the 7th. This storm system will make a return visit to the area later in the month.
After week of dry weather with high temperatures returning to the low to mid 90s, the above mentioned storm made a return visit after spending time the previous week moving west across northern Mexico and northern Baja California then across southern California. Once again scattered showers and thunderstorms impacted the area on the 15th through 18th. A few of the storms produced quarter size hail on the 18th. .
After a couple of dry days with high temperatures in the mid 80s, another Pacific storm moved across the area with scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms on the 20th and 21st. Another dry period with highs in the low to mid 80s the last storm of the month moved through the area on the 29th and 30th. The coolest high temperature of the month occurred on the 29th (67°)
Temperature extremes for the month ranged from a high of 101° on the 1st to a low of 49° on the 31st. The monthly average temperature of 73.6° is 2.6° above normal and ranks as the 13th warmest on record. The monthly average was heavily influenced by the low temperatures as the airport recorded the 3rd warmestaverage monthly low temperature for October on record at 61.9°. One high minimum temperature record was set during the month (68° on the 15th). The airport recorded four low temperatures that were 70° or warmer which is tied with 2010 for the most on record for October.
October 2015 daily high temperature departure from normal October 2015 daily low temperature departure from normal
Click on image above for larger view
Rainfall amounts across the metro area, using several sources like rainlog.org, the Pima County Regional Flood Control District gages and CoCoRaHS, ranged from 1.50″ to 4″ with localized 5″ areas. At the airport, which is the official recording location in Tucson, 2.25″ was recorded which ranks as the 8th wettest October on record.
October 2015 stats
Month
Normal
Departure
Average high temperature
85.3°
84.8°
+ 0.5°
Average low temperature
61.9°
57.3°
+ 4.6°
Average temperature
73.6°
71.0°
+ 2.6°
Rainfall
2.25″
0.89″
+ 1.36″
The combined rainfall total at the airport of 4.65″ for the months of September and October ranks as the 8th wettest for these two months. And for the first time since 1983, the airport has recorded four consecutive months with rainfall amounts of 1.75″ or greater.
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