By John Simpson

Hot and dry summed up October, just like much of the year. No big surprise, right? The Tucson airport recorded its 5th hottest October since the 1880s, and with only a trace of rain recorded. The airport’s 30-year average October rainfall is 0.89.” I recorded a mere 0.09” of rain for October, and my 10-year average is 0.64.” A dry October at my place in Del Lago has not been uncommon these past 10 years. In fact, 5 of the past 10 Octobers have yielded no rain at all. For the Vail and entire Tucson area, only 0 to 0.10” of rain generally fell during October 2020.

There were several other interesting facts about this past October. The 1st and 2nd had highs of 103 degrees at the airport, which were not only record highs for those dates but the warmest days any October has ever seen since records have been taken. The airport recorded a high of 101 degrees on the 16th, which tied the latest 100 plus degree day for a year in Tucson. The previous last 100 plus degree day occurred on October 16, 1991. Tucson had 108 triple digit days in 2020 which set a record, shattering the previous record of 99 days set back in 1994. Remember, 1994 was a similar hot and dry year (see my previous two Vail Voice articles).

A weather pattern change occurred at the end of the month which greatly swung temperatures to the cold side. On the 27th, the airport had a record low of 32 degrees, which was the 4th earliest seasonal freeze ever recorded at the airport. The time span from the last triple digit high on the 16th to the first freeze date of the season on the 27th was a mere 11 days, which shattered any previous record. So far for this year, I have only recorded 4.40” of rain through October and the airport has only recorded 3.77” which is well below average. For next month, I will discuss November and the Winter Outlook.

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