By the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
October’s icy finish wrapped a month with temperatures noticeably lower than usual.
According to preliminary data received by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service in Pendleton, the average temperature in Walla Walla was 48.8 degrees, 4.5 degrees below normal.
High temperatures averaged 58.8 degrees, 4.7 degrees below normal. The highest was 77 degrees Oct. 7. Low temperatures averaged 38.8 degrees, 4.3 degrees below normal. The lowest was a frigid 16 degrees, on Oct. 30.
There were seven days with the low temperature below 32 degrees, the weather service reported.
This was the second-coldest October on record. The coldest was 48.6 degrees in 1998.
Precipitation totaled 1.08 inches during October, 0.60 inches below normal. Measurable precipitation — at least .01 inch — was received on 7 days with the heaviest, 0.63 inches reported Oct. 19.
Precipitation this year has reached 13.84 inches, which is 1.67 inches below normal.
The highest wind gust was 40 mph which occurred with the Oct. 19 rainstorm.
The outlook for November from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center calls for above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.
Normal highs for Walla Walla fall from 56 degrees at the start of November to 42 degrees at the end of November. Normal lows fall from 39 degrees to 31 degrees. The 30-year normal precipitation is 2.87 inches.
Cold weather in October was a concern for eastern Washington apple growers, according to The Associated Press.
The Spokesman-Review reported that cold temperatures in the month could hurt what was projected to be the second-largest apple harvest in state history.
Jim DeVaney, president of the Washington Tree Fruit Association, said the harvest was about half complete at the time of freezing temperatures mid-October. He said the crop could withstand some loss from cold weather and still be very large, according to the AP report.
Grapes in the region were also hit by the early cold. According to Capital Press, an unusually wet September caused outbreaks of disease and rot.
A hard freeze the nights of Oct. 10 and 11, with temperatures into the low 20s, killed leaves, stopping grapes from ripening, the report detailed.