The high temperatures we had up to mid-September, 80s and 90s, have dropped off measurably. As we transitioned into October we’ve had nothing above the high 70s. I think it’s fair to state we are now in autumn weather.
My home weather station recorded a high temperature of 95.9°F on Sept. 13 (all-time high was 104°F in 1938) and a low of 39.5° on the September 25 (all-time low of 30°F in 1970). Precipitation was on the light side though above the mean (0.72 inches) with 0.88 inches recorded. We did experience a wet September back in 1985 with 2.08 inches of precipitation.
As I write this column, October has proven itself as a temperature transition month. We just broke the 70° mark once; been running in the 50s and 60s regularly. The short term forecast from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is showing above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation likely for the remainder of October.
Columbus Day 1962 was a memorable day here in the Northwest. It has been referred to as the mother of all wind storms. Strongest widespread non-hurricane wind storm to strike the continental U.S. in the 20th Century. It hit from northern California to British Columbia, claimed 46 lives and blew down 15 billion board feet of timber. Total property damage was pegged at $235 million. Wind speeds recorded were: Bellingham and Vancouver gust 92 MPH. Renton gust 100 MPH and Tacoma gust 88 MPH. Troutdale gust to 106 MPH and Mt. Hebo gust to 131 MPH. I’d say those winds were a bit stiffer than some of our recent thunderstorm wind gusts.
We will have a full moon on Oct. 19. Five of our solar system’s planets will be visible in October. In the evening sky, watch for Venus, Saturn and Mercury. Viewing Venus requires an unobstructed horizon in the direction of the sunset and is best for observing the planet at dusk and early evening. Saturn after sunset is no match for Venus in brightness, but it’s still as brilliant as the brighter stars. A Northern Hemisphere observer (that’s us) with exceptionally clear skies may glimpse Mercury close to the horizon. Jupiter and Mars are the earlier morning planets. By the end of October, Jupiter is up by mid-to-late evening. Mars becomes easier to spot before sunrise in October, as it climbs higher into the predawn sky all month long.