October 2014 Global Weather Extremes Summary

Published: 9:59 PM GMT on November 22, 2014

October 2014 Global Weather Extremes Summary

October was globally the warmest such on record according to NOAA (see Jeff Master’s blog for more about this). Extreme heat waves affected southern South America and California with exceptional warmth in Europe and Australia as well. Intense rainfalls plagued southern France and Italy. Deadly flooding and mudslides occurred in Sri Lanka. A blizzard in Nepal killed at least 43 trekkers and their guides. Hurricane Gonzalo was the first CAT 4 tropical storm in three years to form in the Atlantic Basin and struck Bermuda. Typhoon Vongfong was the Earth’s most powerful storm of the year.

Below are some of the month’s highlights.


It was the 4th warmest October on record for the contiguous U.S. with an average temperature of 57.1°F (13.9°C), some 3.0°F (1.7°C) above the long-term average and the first month since July 2013 that no single state reported an average temperature in the below-average category (bottom third of the historical record). The warmth was most pronounced along the Pacific Coast where Seattle, Portland, and many sites in California had their warmest October on record (San Francisco had its 3rd warmest October since records began 140 years ago at the downtown location). Normally cool Monterey, California reached 94°F (34.4°C) on October 3rd and Cachuma Lake (in southern California) hit 106°F (41.1°C) on October 6th, the warmest temperature measured in the U.S. during the month. The coldest temperature was 2°F (-16.7°C) at Daniel Fish Hatchery, Wyoming on October 29th. Barrow, Alaska experienced above normal temperatures (+4.1°F/2.3°C) during October, the 13th consecutive October with above normal temperatures. This long stretch of warmer than normal Octobers is a result of reduced sea ice in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas over the past decade or so. Despite the overall warmth of the month, Chicago and Rockford (in Illinois) reported some light snow on October 4th, the earliest such on record for Rockford and 3rd earliest for Chicago (earliest was a trace of snow on September 25, 1928 and 1942).

Precipitation was close to average on a nation-wide basis although Kentucky experienced its 4th wettest October on record and Utah and Nevada their 5th driest. West Palm Beach, Florida saw a torrential rainfall of 9.13” (232 mm) in just a six-hour span on October 21st resulting in street flooding. The drought in California remained persistent despite some welcome rainfall on October 25th when a powerful extra-tropical cyclone struck the Northwest Pacific Coast.

State-by-state temperature (top map) and precipitation (bottom map) rankings for the contiguous U.S. during October. Maps from NCDC.

Hurricane Gonzalo reached CAT 4 strength in the Atlantic Ocean on October 15th packing sustained winds of up to 145 mph prior to making a direct hit on the island of Bermuda on October 17th as a CAT 2 storm. Wind gusts up to 144 mph were reported near the airport and the island experienced widespread damage but few casualties thanks to forecasts and early preparations. It was the strongest hurricane to strike Bermuda since Hurricane Fabian in 2003.

The coldest temperature observed in the northern hemisphere during October was -52.6°C (-62.7°F) at GEO Summit, Greenland on October 21st.


Flooding in Honduras and Nicaragua following torrential rains on October 12th resulted in the deaths of at least 24. At Rivas, Nicaragua 378 mm (14.89”) of rain fell in 24 hours

Remarkable heat affected Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru during the month. An all-time record high temperature (for any month) was recorded in Sao Paulo, Brazil on October 17th when the temperature reached 37.8°C (100.0°F). Villamontes, Bolivia hit 46.2°C (115.2°F) on October 15th, just shy of the Bolivian national record of 46.7°C (116.1°F) also set at Villamontes on four previous occasions. This was also the hottest temperature anywhere measured in the world during the month. In Argentina, the temperature peaked at 45.6°C (114.1°F) on October 16th at Las Lomitas and in Paraguay it reached 44.6°C (112.3°F) at Mariscal Estigarribia, also on October 16th.


It was an exceptionally warm October for most of Western Europe. Denmark had its 2nd warmest such on record (since 1874), Germany its 3rd warmest (since 1881), Switzerland its 4th warmest (since 1864), France its 4th warmest (since 1900), Austria its 7th warmest (since 1767), and the U.K. its 10th warmest (since 1910). In northern Norway the temperature reached 21.1°C (70.0°F) at Reipa, Meloy Island on October 6th, the warmest ever measured in northern Norway during October. The end of the month saw phenomenal warmth with temperatures peaking at 36.8°C (98.2°F) at Sumacarcer, Spain on October 21st, one of the hottest temperatures ever observed in Europe for so late in the year. In England a 23.7°C (74.7°F) reading was measured at Gravesend, Kent on October 31st, not only was this the warmest temperature observed in the U.K. for the month but it also was the warmest ever measured in the country so late in the year. The coldest U.K. temperature during October was -3.7°C (25.3°F) at Altnaharra, Sutherland on October 13th and the greatest 24-hour rainfall was 96.1 mm (3.78”) at Drumburgh, Cumbria on October 3-4.

The torrential rainfalls that occurred in southern France during September continued into October. A site near Montpelier recorded 269.9 mm (10.63”) in just three hours during the night of October 6-7 causing significant flooding. The Liguria region around Genoa in Italy also saw amazing rainfall and flooding on several occasions (October 9-10 and again on October 15th). Three deaths in Italy have been attributed to the floods.

Flash flooding upended automobiles in Grabels, France during the deluge on October 6-7 which dropped over 10” of rain in just three hours. Photo by Sylvain Thomas.


The warmest temperature observed in the northern hemisphere during October was 44.2°C (111.6°F) at Akjoujt, Mauritania on October 5th (a similar figure was also attained at Chhor, Pakistan on October 12th).


A very unusual snowfall was reported in the Lebanese mountains above 2700 m (10,600’) on October 2nd. This was said to be the earliest such in memory by local residents.

A rare powerful tropical storm (named Nilofar) formed in the Arabian Sea south of Oman in late October. It reached CAT 4 status on October 28th with 130 mph sustained winds. Fortunately, the cyclone never made landfall and dissipated at sea.

Tropical Cyclone Hudhud struck the Indian coast near Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh on October 12th with 135 mph winds. Extreme damage (US$11 billion worth) was caused and 68 deaths reported, a thankfully low number given the power of the storm.

Cyclone Hudud swept over the Indian city of Visakhapatnam with 135 mph winds on October 12th. It was the costliest weather event of the month world-wide.

The remnants of the cyclone tracked north over central Nepal and caused an unseasonal blizzard in the popular trekking region around Annapurna. The snowstorm resulted in at least 43 fatalities including many trekkers from Europe and other foreign countries. It was the deadliest Himalayan snowstorm on record.

Heavy rains in Sri Lanka caused a mudslide near Koslanda village on October 29th. It remains unclear just how many perished but most sources out the death toll at around 200 (16 confirmed deaths and 192 missing).

Super Typhoon Vongfong strengthened to 900 mb with 180 mph sustained winds while over the open Pacific Ocean on October 7th. The storm struck Okinawa Island as a CAT 4 storm with 135 mph winds on October 10th causing little damage. At its peak strength, the storm became the most powerful to form on Earth this year.

Infrared VIIRS image of Super Typhoon Vongfong when at its peak strength at 17 UTC on October 7th. The storm’s winds were estimated to be sustained at 180 mph at this time. Image courtesy of Dan Lindsey, NOAA/NASA and RAMMB/CIRA.

Typhoon Phanfone struck Japan on October 5th as a CAT 1 storm with 80 mph winds. Torrential rainfall of up to 48 cm (19”) caused flooding and landslides in Shizuoka Prefecture resulting in the deaths of seven.

Typhoon Phanfone batters the port of Kihou town, Mie Prefecture with huge waves as the storm came ashore in Japan on October 6th. Photo Getty Images.

In Sumatra, Indonesia the temperature at Lampung reached 39.2°C (102.6°F) on October 11th. This was the warmest temperature ever measured on the island and close to Indonesia’s national heat record of 39.5°C (103.1°F) set at Jatiwangi, Java on November 19, 2006.


October was a dry and very warm month for Australia. In fact, it was the 2nd warmest such on record and warmest so far as average maximum temperatures were concerned.

Temperature rankings by state for Australia during October. Overall, it was the nation’s 2nd warmest October on record. Table courtesy of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

It was also a dry month, the 7th driest October on record and the driest such for South Australia.

Precipitation rankings by state for Australia during October. Overall, it was the nation’s 2nd warmest October on record. Table courtesy of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

The hottest temperature measured during the month was 45.2°C (113.4°F) at Biyadanga, Western Australia on October 9th. This was the earliest 45°C (113°F) reading ever observed in Australia during its spring. The coldest temperature measured was -5.9°C (21.4°F) at Thredbo, New South Wales on October 1st and the highest calendar day rainfall 146.8 mm (5.78”) at Ulladulla, Victoria on October 15th.


October a relatively normal month weather-wise in New Zealand. The highest temperature observed was 27.5°C (81.5°F) at Christchurch, South Island on October 17th and the coldest -4.9°C (23.2°F) at Middlemarch, South Island on October 25th. The greatest calendar day rainfall was 204 mm (8.03”) at Milford Sound, South Island on October 5th. An extreme wind gust of 196 km/hr was measured at Cape Turnagain, North Island on October 6th.


The coldest temperature in the southern hemisphere and the world during October was –74.4°C (-101.2°F) recorded at Dome A on October 8th.

KUDOS Thanks to Maximiliano Herrera for global temperature extremes data and Jeremy Budd and NIWA for New Zealand data.

Christopher C. Burt
Weather Historian

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About The Author
Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.

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