How's this for the transitional weather month of October in North Central Wisconsin. Out of the first 20 days of the month, a little more than half (11 days altogether) have featured highs below 50 degrees. In addition, our warmest day of the month was on Monday as highs in much of the Wisconsin River Valley finally managed to soar into the mid 60s. Sadly, it appears this kind of autumnal warm is going to be hard to come by as we work through the final couple of weeks of October.
Meantime when was the last time you saw snow falling during an NFL game in the middle of October? Sure there was an instance of lake effect snow that blasted the Buffalo area a couple years back, but it certainly seemed odd watching the Titans vs. Patriots on Sunday as the grounds crew in New England attempted to keep the yard lines visible. The unseasonably cold air that invaded last week here, finally migrated to the east coast, allowing for the flakes to fly with a Nor'easter rolling up the eastern seaboard. State College, PA...which is the home of Penn State, picked up their earliest snowfall on record October 15th, with nearly 5" falling in town and almost 10" on the ridge tops of Mount Nittany. The snow persisted (mixed with rain at times) into Homecoming weekend, causing some events to be moved indoors, 20,000 parking spaces to be closed, plenty of downed trees along with power lines, and a curtailing of tailgating prior to the big game.
Of course if it's cold in one part of the country, it's bound to be hot in another and that held true in the western US. The 2nd game of the NLCS between the Phillies and Dodgers in L.A. was played during the afternoon last Friday and the mercury soared to 98 degrees in downtown Los Angeles. As you might suspect, it was even hotter in parts of the desert southwest, where highs easily topped 100. Keeping the focus along the Pacific Coast, Hurricane Rick intensified to a Category 5 storm, with max winds of 180 mph Saturday afternoon in Sunday morning. Not only that, but it got into the record books as the 2nd strongest hurricane in the eastern Pacific, only topped by Hurricane Linda in this part of the tropics. In case you are wondering, the strongest hurricane/typhoon ever in the Pacific Ocean (or any warm ocean waters as a whole) was Typhoon Tip which ravaged through the western Pacific in October 1979, before making landfall in Japan as a minimal typhoon. Super Typhoon Tip had max winds of 190 mph, a record low pressure of 870 mb and spanned over 1,300 miles in diameter. The good news is that Hurricane Rick will be weakening as it rolls over the Baja Peninsula and into western Mexico later on this week.
So we've got some winter weather, ongoing summer-like conditions and perhaps sprinkled in from time to time almost seasonal autumn type weather in parts of the U.S. Closer to home, cooler and wet weather is back in the forecast for this week as a wave of low pressure traverses across the Badger State on Wednesday. In the wake of this, a second area of low pressure may roll up from the southern plains into the Great Lakes on Friday. Early indications are that this storm system may track just a bit too far to our south to make much of an impact in North Central Wisconsin. For now it appears however that chilly enough air is going to be in place for flurries or snow showers Friday and Saturday, along with a brisk breeze. Factoring all of that in, the fall colors that have been present across the area over the past week or two are going to fade fast. Be sure to get those snapshots in soon, otherwise you'll probably have to head southbound into southern Wisconsin or Illinois if you want to check out what's left of the fall foliage.
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