There aren't too many months that can bring hurricanes, 90 degree heat, below freezing temperatures, and snow. The month of October can and has delivered on all of these weather extremes over the years here in Charlottesville. Let's start by detailing some of the temperature extremes we've seen over the past 100 years.
October can bring wild fluctuations in our daily weather, especially with regards to temperatures. The warmest high temperature we have ever recorded in October was 98 degrees in 1941. The coldest low temperature on record was 26 degrees set in 1917 and 1972. Since we've had so many 90 degree days this year, I looked up the latest 90 degree day on record and it occurred on October 18 in 1938. Hopefully that's a record we won't break this year. Our average highs in October are in the mid 70s at the beginning of the month and by Halloween, the average high has dropped into the mid 60s. Our average lows start in the lower 50s and by the month's end are in the lower 40s. It's the crisp, cool nights that trigger the changing of the leaves, giving us brilliant color by the second and third weeks of the month.
Typically, October is a rather dry month. The driest month on record in Charlottesville was October of 2000, when a measly 0.01" of rain fell over the course of 31 days! Of course, a landfalling tropical system can ramp our rainfall totals up significantly, since we're still in hurricane season. For the snow lovers, October marks the beginning of our snow season, as the earliest snowfall on record occurred in this month.
What's your favorite thing about October? My favorite thing is the crisp, cool nights and the smell of leaves. Takes me back to my childhood of jumping into big piles of leaves!
Have a great weekend,