Climatology 101: Warmest October on record for Tucson

An all-timer for the Old Pueblo last month.

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With an average temperature of 77.5°, Tucson recorded its warmest October in weather history. This mark supplants the old record of 76.8° set in October 1950. An amazing month temperature-wise, which saw the following:

– The latest calendar occurrence of 95°, 96° & 97° highs (October 27th)
– Latest calendar occurrence of back-to-back 96° highs (October 21st & 22nd)
– 2nd most number of days with highs 90° or warmer – 26 days (tied with 1950)
– 5th longest stretch of consecutive days with highs 90° or warmer – 18 days
– Four daily high temperature records being set or tied (21st, 22nd, 27th & 29th)
– Four daily high minimum temperature records being set or tied ( 21st, 22nd, 23rd & 28th)
– 5th October on record with no high temperatures cooler than 80° (1902, 1950, 1952, 1955 & 2016)

In short, September was extended another 31 days.

Here’s the full breakdown of the October 2016 climate report, compiled by the fine folks at NWS Tucson:

The culprit for the record warm October was strong high pressure aloft that persisted near or over the area throughout much of the month. The table below shows the progression of the record warmest Octobers for Tucson. The starting point is after 30 years of data had already been collected.
Year
Progression of Record Warmest Octobers
1926
71.2°
1933
72.1°
1944
72.8°
1950
76.8°
2016
77.5°
Temperature extremes for the month ranged from a high of 97° on the 27th to a low of 54° on the 4th. Eight temperature records were set or tied during October (4 highs and 4 high minimums). The eight combined temperature records is the most in October since 1934 (8).
October 2016 daily high temperature departure from normal October 2016 daily low temperature departure from normal
Click on image above for larger view
A couple of weather systems pushed through the area bringing isolated to scattered showers and a few thunderstorms. Rainfall amounts across the metro area, using several sources like rainlog.org, the Pima County Regional Flood Control District gages and CoCoRaHS, varied widely and ranged from less a tenth of an inch to over 1″. The highest totals mainly were west of Interstate 10 and 19 with most of the rain occurring on the 25th. At the airport, which is the official recording location in Tucson, a mere tenth of an inch was recorded which ranks as the 39th driest October on record.
October 2016 stats
Month
Normal
Departure
Average high temperature
92.5°
84.8°
+ 7.7°
Average low temperature
62.5°
57.3°
+ 5.2°
Average temperature
77.5°
71.0°
+ 6.5°
Rainfall
0.10″
0.89″
– 0.79″

2016
The average yearly temperature of 74.5° ranks as the 3rd warmest on record to date, six-tenths of a degree behind 2014 (75.1°). 2016 rainfall at the airport, which is the official recording location in Tucson, of 10.23″ is slighlty above normal and ranks as the 47th wettest January thru October period on record.
2016 stats thru October
Year
Normal
Departure
Average high temperature
88.5°
86.0°
+ 2.5°
Average low temperature
60.6°
58.3°
+ 2.3°
Average temperature
74.5°
72.2°
+ 2.3°
Number of 100°+ highs
61
62
– 1
Rainfall
10.23″
10.09″
+ 0.14″
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