Brrr! 2nd Coldest October on Record

As expected, October turned out to be one of the coldest on record across south central Nebraska and north central Kansas. With records dating back to the late 1800s in some cases, October 2009 will generally go down as the 2nd coldest October on record. Though there were a handful of 70 degree days during the month, October 2009 will be most remembered for starting cold and finishing cold, with a bunch of rain and snow throughout the month. Average temperatures were 7 to 8 degrees below normal.

Historically speaking, 1925 is the benchmark for cold weather in October. October 1925 was punctuated with heavy snow and several days of very cold temperatures during the final week of the month. For many cities in the area, there were 3 or 4 mornings in 1925 which the low temperature was in the single digits. This year, much colder than normal high temperatures for the month were the driver of the cold, although it was just plain chilly regardless.

What follows is a short temperature summary of October for Grand Island, Hastings and Kearney. In general, these numbers should be representative of the cold weather experienced across the entire area.


Location October 2009 Average Temperature

Departure from Normal

(1971-2000 Normals)

All-Time Rank Coldest October on Record Period of Record
Grand Island 44.6 degrees 7.4 degrees below normal 2nd coldest 40.7 degrees in 1925 1895-2009
Hastings 44.9 degrees 8.1 degrees below normal 2nd coldest

44.7 degrees in 1917

(Note: too much data from October 1925 is missing to be considered)

Kearney 44.0 degrees 7.4 degrees below normal 2nd coldest 39.7 degrees in 1925 1902-2009


As we all know, the weather can turn on a dime in this part of the country, so what happened last month, last week or even yesterday, isn't necessarily a good indicator of things to come. In fact, the first week of November will hardly resemble October, with temperatures at or above seasonal normals. Normal high temperatures through mid November are in the 50s with lows averaging in the upper 20s to middle 30s.

Probably the best news for anyone who routinely works outside is November will get off to a DRY start. The forecast through the first weekend of the month calls for little or no risk for measurable precipitation. This dry weather will be very welcome to producers of agricultural commodities in the region.



8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook

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8 to 14 Day Precipitation Outlook

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Keeping an eye on the winter as a whole, it is important to remember winter hasn't started yet. It just seemed that way in some locations. The 3-month period of December, January and February is considered "winter" for long term outlooks of temperature and precipitation. The job of predicting monthly outlooks is tasked to meteorologists at the Climate Prediction Center. The main driving feature of this year's winter outlook is the El-Nino conditions already observed in the Pacific Ocean, and model forecasts continuing the El-Nino through the winter months.  El-Nino is a slight warming of Pacific Ocean waters which, in turn, impacts global wind, precipitation and weather patterns.

The outlook for this winter remains essentially the same: Warmer than normal temperatures for December, January and February. Regarding precipitation, there are no strong trends to indicate above or below normal numbers. Basically, look for some areas to be wetter than normal, other areas to be drier than normal, and still others to be somewhere in between. Here is a look at the latest outlook for the December-January-February time frame:



Temperature Outlook (Dec-Jan-Feb)

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Precipitation Outlook (Dec-Jan-Feb)

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New long range outlooks are issued on the 3rd Thursday of each month, so look for a new winter outlook to be issued the morning of November 19th. For more long range outlook and forecast information, visit the Climate Prediction Center website.


This page was composed by the staff at the National Weather Service Office in Hastings, Nebraska.


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