Hundreds of locations from the Mississippi River to the East Coast simmered in midsummer-like conditions during the first few days of October.
While the focus of the record-breaking heat was on the East Coast, stations from along the Continental Divide to the Atlantic were included among those that broke all-time October heat records.
At long-period stations, or those with at least 40 years of data, all-time October temperature records were set in at least 30 states. Half a dozen of those states saw temperatures surpass 100 degrees. Some spots saw their hottest temperature of the year, in October!
Of the long-period stations analyzed, more than 120 official weather stations (known as WBAN, or Weather-Bureau-Army-Navy, stations) reached their highest October temperature on record; a few did so on multiple days. Those included Atlanta; Asheville, N.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Nashville; New Orleans; and Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Almost 300 more cooperative stations, run by private entities but quality-controlled by and partnered with the National Weather Service, joined the list. Even a few spots in Canada saw record-breaking values.
Even more impressive, well over 100 of these records came from stations that have been in existence for a century or more.
Just looking at the main (WBAN) stations, the top values are truly mind-boggling for October.
- Birmingham, Ala.: 103 degrees (potentially disputed)
- Meridian, Miss.: 102 degrees (former record 97 degrees, Oct. 5, 1954)
- Montgomery, Ala.: 102 degrees (former record 100 degrees, Oct. 5, 1954)
- Macon, Ga.: 102 degrees (former record 100 degrees, Oct. 5, 1954)
- Tuscaloosa, Ala.: 101 degrees (former record 98 degrees, Oct. 4, 1954)
- Crestview, Fla: 101 degrees (former record 94 degrees, Oct. 6, 1951)
- Rome, Ga.: 101 degrees (former record 96 degrees, Oct. 5, 1954)
Other locations that reached 100 degrees include Anniston, Huntsville, Muscle Shoals and Dothan in Alabama; Augusta, Athens and Columbus in Georgia; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Greenwood, Miss. Farther north, even Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland hit 100 degrees.
Of course, it wasn’t just the South setting October heat records. The main corridor extended up into the Ohio Valley, the Mid-Atlantic and parts of the Northeast.
A selected list of locations that set all-time records for October in these areas includes:
- Washington: 98 degrees (former record 96 degrees, Oct. 5, 1941)
- Baltimore: 98 degrees (former record 94 degrees, Oct. 9, 2007)
- Lexington, Ky.: 97 degrees (former record 93 degrees, Oct. 6, 1941)
- Logan, W.Va.: 97 degrees (former record 96 degrees, Oct. 1, 1953)
- Newark: 96 degrees (former record 93 degrees, Oct. 5, 1941)
- Harrisburg, Pa.: 93 degrees (former record 91 degrees, Oct. 6, 1941)
- Akron, Ohio: 92 degrees (former record 89 degrees, Oct. 1, 1927)
- Islip, N.Y.: 89 degrees (former record 88 degrees, Oct. 8, 2007)
In a number of spots, such as Raleigh, N.C., the temperatures in recent days were the hottest recorded in all of 2019. A highly unusual occurrence, any way you slice it.
While significant heat continues today in the Deep South, much of the East has seen a cold front sweep through over the past day or so.
With cooler conditions taking over and the calendar drifting deeper into fall, there will no doubt be sighs of relief across the East through the weekend.
Note: The data generated for this analysis is only pulled from the most recent observing location and does not incorporate prior locations. So in this case, a few spots may be listed as all-time records for October when a prior location for the same city had a higher temperature. But the records designated in this analysis are the highest at the current observation location, and all have been active for 40 or more years.