We are at the midpoint of October and so far only a measly .13" of rain has fallen in Wausau. Considering the fairly wet summer and September which we experienced, it may come as a bit of a surprise. However, it is not unusual to have a change in the weather pattern durning the fall months. First off, autumn and spring for that matter, are seasons of transition. The jet stream in the weeks ahead will continue to move farther to the south, in the process dragging chillier air toward the western Great Lakes. At the same time, the upper level ridge which has dominated across the middle of the country the last couple of weeks, will gradually break down, with either the jet stream becoming more zonal in nature (aligned flatly from west to east across the country) or the trough that has fluctuated to our west and east will reposition, setting up shop in our region.
After basking in unseasonably warm conditions the 2nd and early 3rd week of this month, there has been a change toward the more seasonal when it has come to temperatures. Gone are the daytime highs in 70s and 80s, replaced instead by 50s and 60s. However, at the moment, we are cut off from having a moisture ladened storm system tracking in our direction. This fairly dry pattern appears to hold on for the next week to 10 days. This is good news if you have some raking to do in the yard, as grabbing those dry leaves is a whole lot easier to do versus when they are wet and plastered to the grass. However on the flip slide, with the growing season winding down, this type of scenario does increase the fire danger. To this point, we haven't reached the point of not having camp fires or working with open flames outside, but if there are brisk and mild days down the road without any significant rainfall, that could change.
Flipping through the record book, the last time Wausau had this lack of rainfall through mid-October was in 2003 and 2000. Seven years ago the month started fairly similar to this year with a round of wet weather kicking off the month, following by a period of dry conditions. In contrast, there was a soaking .62" of rain on October 11, 2003, which was then followed by 15 days in a row without a drop of precipitation. Moving back in time to 2000, the first drop of rain didn't fall until 13 days in and the couple of days that followed only produced about a quarter inch of rain. In all, October 2000 went down as the 3rd driest on record in Wausau with only .34" in the rain gauge. At this point, I'm not going to make any predictions on whether this October will go down in the record books in the top 10 driest category, but we certainly have gotten a head start with 12 days straight of rain free(through October 14th).
What appears to be a safe bet is that we will have more ups and downs with temperatures for the 2nd half of the month. I'm not foreseeing any runs at record highs or lows, but we will likely run the gamut with highs ranging from the 40s to the 60s, with just a small outside chance of perhaps tagging 70 one more time this fall. More so, as the jet stream continues to realign, there will be more days with clouds and the risk of precipitation. Considering the winter months tend to be rather gloomy and cold, make the most of this stretch of bright sunshine!
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