October outlook: forecast vs. average

Weather Blog

After what will go in the record books as the hottest September on record at Camp Mabry in Austin… our confidence grows for the unseasonably hot weather to continue into October.

The Climate Prediction Center (a product of the National Weather Service) issues various temperature and precipitation outlooks, anywhere from 2 weeks to 13 months in advance. The maps show the probabilities of being above or below seasonal averages.

Temperature outlooks:

Unfortunately, the forecast looks grim for any significant relief from the warmer than normal temperature trend we’ve seen in Central Texas recently. Below are various outlooks taking us through the month of October:

2 week outlook valid October 6th – 12th
3-4 week outlook valid October 12th – 25th
Monthly outlook valid October 1st – 31st

As depicted in these outlooks, there is high probability that we’ll see above average temperatures continue through a good portion of October.

It’s important to note, “above average” does not mean temps in the 90s & 100s. It simply means that temps are favored to be warmer than the 30-year average, a baseline used in climatology. Using these values, Austin’s average temperature (or “seasonal normal”) starts at 86° on October 1st and drops to 77° by October 31st.

Precipitation outlooks:

2 week precipitation outlook valid October 6th – 12th
3 to 4 week outlook valid October 12th – 25th
Monthly outlook valid October 1st – 31st

There is a little more optimism in the precipitation outlooks with normal to even above normal precipitation in the forecast. However, this is highly variable as October storms are notoriously difficult to forecast.

Fall is known as a “transition season”… where storms dropping in from the northwest want to be winter storms tapping into cold air digging deeper into the Plains, but typically end up being too warm for any frozen precipitation here in Texas. Therefore, you get a mixed bag of weather and a nightmare of a forecast.

The bottom line:

The key point to remember with these outlooks is that they are forecasts and not promises. We very well could see a pattern shift that gives us normal or below normal temperatures and normal to more than normal precipitation in October.

However, it is looking very likely that we will stay warmer than average and near to drier than average for at least the first week of October.

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