Historical October Weather & Post Storm Survey

As we were sitting down at the dinner table on the evening of October 20th a bright flash of light entered the house followed by a loud thunderous boom. A thunderstorm in October? October hasn't produced a thunderstorm since 2007, also a La Nina year, when there were three in the first nineteen days. The rain from the thunderstorm and the persistent light rain throughout the day on the 20th brought our 17 day dry spell to an end. The dry spell ranks third all-time at OSNW3 with 19 and 21 being the top two (click here for graph). Looking ahead, things are forecast to be wetter with temps slightly above average.

(OSNW3 Weather Brief)
(OSNW3 October Observations)

(OSNW3 October 2010 Summary)

(click on graph for the month summary data - it will open a new tab/window)


Historical Climate Musings
Karl Bohnak's recent blog entries have stirred my curiosity. On two separate occasions this past week his insight on historical weather patterns in our region brought down the proverbial house in regards to my historical data mining. Below are both accounts in detail for Oshkosh with snippets from Karl's blog. Please visit Karl's blog by following the links below.

October 18-19, 1925: Tragedy in the Mining District
"A persistent northwesterly flow aloft brought in a succession of progressively colder high pressure systems. Ahead of the systems were a series of strong low-pressure areas that produced record October snowfall for a good share of the country."

Here in Oshkosh, October of 1925 went down as the coldest and snowiest October of all-time. Five daily record lows were broken as the temperature spiraled downward the entire month. The exact days Karl writes about in his blog entry produced only a Trace of snowfall in Oshkosh, but they did keep daily max/min temperatures in the 30's. October of 1925 recorded an unprecedented 11 days with a Trace or more of snowfall. A far cry from what October of 2010 has become.

October 20, 1989: Big Snow!

"Farther south, impressive October snows also fell as the storm lifted north. Milwaukee recorded 6.3 inches of snow on October 19th and 20th that coated power lines and trees still full of fall foliage."

The big snow mentioned by Karl proved to be less than impressive in the snowfall department in Oshkosh. Only a Trace was reported on the 20th and 21st for the 48hr period in Oshkosh. Leading up to the event though were two sub-freezing overnight lows which would have definitely put a chill to the bones. A daily record high and low was broken during the month as temperatures were on a roller coast ride. There were three separate strings of days with temperatures in the 70's in the beginning, middle and end of the month.

(Oshkosh - Snowiest Octobers 1893-2009)

(click on list for the complete dataset - it will open a new tab/window)

If anyone is reading this and would like more detailed climate information on any year, month, or day, I would be more than happy to provide what is needed. Daily records from 1893 through 2006 are online and can be found here. Data from Nov 2006 through the current day can be found here, and monthly snowfall totals dating back to 1893 can be found here.


Post Storm Survey
After finding out about this project via the NWS in Duluth, MN website I inquired about participation. Potentially having Oshkosh and the surrounding areas get involved is a good idea in my opinion. Access has been granted and I will be linking to the surveys after each winter snow storm on the blog, website, and twitter. Below are descriptions about the project and links for more information.

The objective of this Post Storm Survey (PSS) is to gain insight into decision-making related to hazardous winter weather, as well as providing a critical tool in bridging the gap between the weather community and users. This information will be vital for the weather forecasting community to improve communicating the threat of hazardous winter weather. The online survey will be available for a limited time following a winter storm in your area.

How Does it Work?

After a winter weather event occurs that requires any type of “warning” issued by the National Weather Service, a PSS team member will activate a link to the survey on the PSS homepage. Then, once a survey has been activated for 3 days following a storms end, it will be taken off the PSS homepage by a PSS team member. If there are no surveys available to take, the site will state to check back after the next storm.

PSS Home Page
PSS Survey Page


Front Of House

In about two weeks from now all the trees will be bare and the first signs of snow will be on the doorstep. I am looking forward to it.

(FOH - Oct 22, 2010)

(TAS - Oct 22, 2010)