Well, today is the last day of September. Tomorrow we start the real fall season. October is the month where we see the biggest changes in our weather pattern, generally speaking. Fall color peaks in mid to late autumn. And, we normally see our first nighttime lows dip to the freezing mark.
Then, there is the change back to standard time. We usually do that on the last Sunday of October. This year, though we hold off until November 1st. So, technically, no time change this October!
On average, we generally see our first 32° nighttime temperatures around the middle of the month in the Valley. The first freeze brings an official end to the local growing season.
This week will kick things off with a series of fronts and troughs that will bring some breezy days, occasional chances for rain, and colder air. Friday and Saturday will be the coldest days this week – and pretty chilly by early October standards. We probably won’t see any freezing temperatures quite yet, but nighttime lows will get down to the upper-30s for the first time this season Friday night. Gardeners will need to keep a close eye on Friday night’s forecast for a frost potential.
Temperatures around our area will moderate to the mid/upper-60s next week. There are even decent chances for a couple of 70-degree days mid-week next week.
This milder temperature pattern is expected to continue through the middle of October. The long-range temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center indicates elevated odds that temperatures will be warmer than average in the 8 to 14-day outlook.
Our normal average high temperature here in the Valley this period is around 66.5° and the average low is about 42°. So temperatures could hover in the upper-60s to around 70° for a few days.
It appears then that October starts out with a chill, then warms up with above-average temperatures for the second half of the month. And, for the month as a whole temperatures might be warmer than average, according to projections from the CPC.
So, does this mean that we won’t see any freezing nighttime temperatures in October? Of course not. If you recall, we started out October last year with a 3-day string of 91-degree temperatures in the Valley. That’s really hot by October standards. But, we still had our first (and only) 32-degree nighttime low on the 19th. There were still plenty of lows in the mid-30 mid-month last year as well.
The thing you need to remember as a gardener is that we USUALLY see our first freeze at some point in October, so you just need to be prepared – if you want to keep things growing a bit longer.
Precipitation-wise, there is no clear signal on whether precipitation will be below or above average for the month.
October is one of our dryer months. Normal rainfall in October is 2.75-inches. Only the winter months (Dec, Jan, Feb) are dryer. February is our dryest month of the year at only 2.36-inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent.