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Turns out the presidential candidates aren’t the only ones dealing with an October surprise. Much of the U.S. is in for one, too.
Warm weather has swept across much of the country to end the month and shows no signs of abating through Election Day next Tuesday. High pressure will keep the heat locked in across the country.
Almost all of the Lower 48 will see increased odds of above normal temperatures for the next 6-10 days with the exception of the New England states and Florida. That includes a large area of what could be record-setting warmth at times over the next week for the Upper Midwest, Rockies and Southern Plains.
Parts of the Mountain West and Southeast could see record warmth on Halloween
You might want to go with a beach-themed creepy clown costume or lose the Ken Bone sweater if you live anywhere from Arizona to Arkansas. Temperatures will be up to 20°F above normal for this time of year, turning back the clock from late October to late August.
That means temperatures could reach the mid-80s for much of the region and could even crack 90°F in certain spots from the Texas Panhandle to Alabama. After the sun goes down, temperatures will dip back to the 70s. That’s not candy-melting weather, but it’s still spooky warm for this time of year.
The mild weather will continue for many areas until Election Day
While it remains to see exactly how the electoral college map will play out, it’s looks like weather maps on Election Day will see a whole lot of red from the Midwest to the Southeast with some hints of blue on the coasts.
The most abnormally warm spot will be the Midwest where temperatures could be up to 20°F above normal. On the flip side, temperatures could be more seasonal in the Northeast as the heat this week breaks down by the weekend and cool air pours into the region from Canada.
According to a poll conducted in battleground states by the Weather Channel ahead of the 2012 election, about a quarter of respondents said bad weather would influence their decision to go to the polls or not. Precipitation is a big part of the bad weather equation, though, and it’s a bit early for a forecast about what voters can expect on Election Day.
This is just the latest high note in a string of abnormal warmth for the U.S. and the globe
Though the official numbers won’t be crunched for a few weeks, early signs point to significant October warmth for much of the country. The Pacific Northwest and Northern California are the only places that were on the cool side. Estimates indicate they were about 7°F below normal.
In comparison, much of the rest of the country was warmer than average and in some places, significantly warmer than average. The Southern Plains and Midwest had large areas where temperatures were up to 14°F above normal, according to preliminary estimates.
A number of cities also set records. Phoenix had its latest 100°F day of the year on record on Oct. 27, four days later than the previous record, which was set in 2003. On the other end of the country, the mercury has failed to dip below 36°F in Minneapolis in October. It’s unlikely to happen by Nov. 1 either, which would break a longstanding record for the latest sub-35°F set in 1931.
It isn’t even October that’s been weirdly warm. The entire year has been a hot one for the U.S. and the world as a whole.
As of September, 2016 was on track to be the second warmest year on record trailing only 2012. Much of that is due to the fact that low temperatures have been extremely, well, not low.
To be sure, high temperatures have been warmer than normal for the year-to-date. But the heat has truly manifested itself when it comes to low temperatures. A number of states set records through September for their warmest low temperatures in 122 years of recordkeeping. The same can be seen on a city level looking at record high vs. record low temperatures. Bob Henson at Wunderground astutely notes that through Oct. 25, there were only 3,920 record lows set.
He writes, “(that) may sound like a lot, but it’s a phenomenally low number. Since the mid-1920s, when the bulk of U.S. weather stations had accumulated a meaningful 30-year history, the nation has notched at least 9,000 daily record lows by the end of October in every single year. This year, we’re not even halfway to that point!”
And the globe has been well on its way to having its hottest year on record driven largely by human-caused climate change. So while the October warmth may be a surprise, it’s hardly abnormal for 2016.