October 2012 Global Weather Extremes Summary

By: Christopher C. Burt , 7:44 PM GMT on November 07, 2012

October 2012 Global Weather Extremes Summary

The biggest weather story for October was the amazing hybrid storm Sandy, which devastated the U.S. Mid-Atlantic States resulting in the deaths of at least 119. A further 67 lives was lost to the storm in Cuba and Haiti, which were also dealt devastating blows. An unprecedented heat wave afflicted Brazil and Bolivia. Cyclone Nilam struck southern India triggering deadly floods. A rare heavy snowfall occurred in the mountains of Australia west of Sydney.

Below are some of the month’s highlights.


The most powerful storm ever to strike the New Jersey coast, Hurricane Sandy, resulted in the loss of life of at least 110 people from Maryland to New Hampshire, the 2nd deadliest tropical storm to affect the U.S. in 40 years. Since the storm has been well covered already on Weather Underground by Jeff Masters, Angela Fritz, and myself in earlier blogs I will not rehash that information in this blog.

At one point the Euro model predicted Sandy to reach a minimum pressure of 934 mb while off the mid-Atlantic coast. In fact, the pressure fell as low as 940 mb while approaching the coast of southern New Jersey on October 29th.

Sandy’s circulation after moving inland over Pennsylvania on October 30th set up an unusual temperature pattern with warm air flowing into northern New England and Quebec while cold air and snow occured hundreds of miles to the south. A record daily high of 70° (21°C) was recorded in Burlington, Vermont while it was 27° (-2.5°C) and snowing in Hot Springs, Virginia. Map from UCAR.

A powerful anti-cyclone swept out of Canada and deep into the southern plains the first and second weeks of October. The temperature fell from 80°F (26.7°C) at Livingston, Montana on October 2nd to freezing with 2.4” of snow the following day. Denver saw 86° (30°C) on October 3rd and snow on October 5th. High winds gusting to 75 mph and sustained at over 50 mph from North Dakota to Oklahoma caused dust storms in western Kansas and Oklahoma briefly causing the interstate highways in the region to close following numerous traffic accidents.

Lihue, Hawaii (on the island of Kaua’i) tied its all-time maximum temperature record with a 91°F (32.8°C) reading on October 9th. This temperature has been measured on five other occasions in the past, most recently on September 4, 1936.

The lowest temperature measured in the northern hemisphere during October was -50.3°C (-58.5°F) at Neem, Greenland on October 31st.


A prolonged and unprecedented heat wave that began in September continued to affect Brazil and Bolivia during October. Although historically October often sees record high temperatures occur this past month was exceptional. Hundreds of all-time maximum temperatures were recorded across Brazil including that for the nation’s largest city Sao Paulo with a 35.9°C (96.6°F) reading in its Central Park Observatory. The warmest reading in the country was 43.0°C (109.4°F) at Corumba on October 30th. This was the 3rd highest temperature ever reliably measured in the country (all-time record being 44.6°C (112.3°F) at Orleans on January 6, 1963. In Bolivia, at Puerto Suarez the temperature reached 43.3°F (109.9°F) smashing its old record of 41.0°C (105.8°F) by an amazing 4°F! San Matias (Bolivia) endured 12 days of temperatures that surpassed its former all-time maximum temperature (the peak being a reading of 42.3°C (108.1°F).

A mudslide in the jungles of northeastern Peru killed at least 11 on October 17th following torrential rains in the region.


It was a relatively quiet month for much of Europe. The U.K. was a bit cooler than normal (with some snow in the northern highlands toward the end of the month: 12 cm/5” measured at Copley, Durham on the 27th) but overall precipitation was close to normal. The highest temperature measured in the Kingdom was 18.8°C (65.8°F) at Holbeach, Lincolnshire on October 1st and the coldest -7.8° (18.0°F) at Braemer, Aberdeenshire on the 17th. The heaviest 2-hour rainfall was 70.4mm (2.77”) at Crombie County Park, Angus on October 12-13.


A drought in Zimbabwe combined with abnormally warm temperatures led contributed to the death of 19 elephants in the country’s Hwange National Park.

Flooding in central Nigeria October 8-11 displaced 10,000 people and washed crocodiles and even hippos into some homes.


There were several powerful typhoons that affected East Asia during the month. The deadliest was Typhoon Son-Tinh that lashed the Philippines, Vietnam, and southern China October 25-31 with winds as high as 133 kl/h (83 mph) killing at least 30 people, mostly in the Philippines. Typhoon Praipiroon brushed southeastern Japan on October 18th causing little damage. Heavy rains in Yunnan Province, China caused a landslide that killed 18 on October 4th.

Typhoon Son-Tinh swept ashore in northern Vietnam causing considerable damage in Nam Dinh (pictured above). Five lives were lost in Vietnam and 27 in the Philippines. Photo from AFP.

Cyclone Nilam struck the coast of the southeastern Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh on October 30-31 leaving a trail of destruction and killing at least 28, destroying 1200 homes, and displacing 150,000 residents of the region.

An all-time record high temperature of 38.8°C (101.8°F) was recorded at Makassar, Sulawesi in Indonesia. Temperatures above 38°C (100°F) are extremely rare in this sprawling archipelago that straddles the equator. The warmest temperature reliably measured in the country is just 39.5°C (103.1°F) at Jatiwangi, Java on November 19, 2006.

The hottest temperature in the northern hemisphere and the world this past October was a reading of 45.6°C (114.1°F) at Sulaibya, Kuwait on October 12th.


Overall, temperatures were above average and precipitation slightly below average across Australia during October. A rare snowfall of around 1-2” blanketed the town of Hallet (elevation 2000’) northeast of Adelaide on October 11-12. It was the first October snowfall in 100 years for this normally temperate location. In the Blue Mountains west of Sydney up to 30cm (12”) was reported and 460 homes lost power at one point during the storm.

The first measurable snowfall in at least 100 years was recorded in Hallett, Australia north of Adelaide on October 12th. Photo by Trisha Flak.

The hottest temperature in Australia and the southern hemisphere during the month was 45.2°C (113.4°F) at Roebourne, Western Australia on October 21st and coldest reading was -7.2°C (19.0°F) at Perisher Valley, New South Wales on October 23rd. The greatest calendar day rainfall was 233mm (9.17”) at Ulladulia, New South Wales on October 12th.

Precipitation was below average across the southern half of Australia and wetter than normal in northern Western Australia during October (top map). Portions of Queensland experienced their lowest average minimum temperatures for October on record (bottom map). Maps courtesy of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.


The warmest temperature measured in New Zealand during October was 26.8°C (80.2°F) at Gisborne, North Island on October 27th and the coldest -8.3°C (17.1°F) at Lake Tekapo, South Island on October 14th. This was also the lowest October temperature ever measured at Lake Tekapo since records began there in 1925. The greatest calendar day rainfall was 150mm (5.91”) at North Egmont, North Island on October 13th. Hokitika, South Island recorded its wettest October on record (although the POR only goes back to 1963) with a 507mm (19.96”) total (184% of average).


The coldest temperature in the southern hemisphere and the world during October was -70.9°C (-95.6°F) recorded at Dome A on October 13th.

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

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 5 - 1

Page: 1 — Blog Index

3. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
9:07 PM GMT on November 16, 2012
weatherhistorian has created a new entry.
2. Christopher C. Burt , Weather Historian
4:48 AM GMT on November 15, 2012
Quoting catman306:
Do you keep statistics for nor'easters on the number and severity, year by year?

Afraid not. But that WOULD make for an interesting database.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1. catman306
11:47 PM GMT on November 14, 2012
Do you keep statistics for nor'easters on the number and severity, year by year?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 5 - 1

Page: 1 — Blog Index

Top of Page

Weather Extremes

About weatherhistorian

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