October 2011 Opened with Major Hurricane Ophelia passing to our near east bringing gusty northerly winds and a few showers, but there were no significant impacts. However, it left behind a weakness in the Bermuda-Azores high. This trough of low pressure produced heavy rains on the third and fourth of the month totalling over 2 inches of rain and breaking the short term drought conditions.
For the next week, high pressure dominated bringing cooler but drier weather as the first blast of cool air of the season came in. This pleasant weather was followed by about 5 days of unsettled weather as a slow moving system brought more heavy rains; this time totalling just over 1.25 inches. This bought of inclement weather was accompanied by a warm up and higher dewpoints.
A transient ridge of high pressure built in and was quickly knocked back by the first true winter-type storm of the season. It was accompanied by little precipitation, but the shift in wind along the front was notable and winds gusted over 30mph as a result of the pressure gradient behind the front. Also, dewpoints and then temperatures fell significantly behind the front.
October 2011 ended with more rain in association with the trailing cold front from the record breaking nor’easter in New England where feet of snow fell on trees still in leaf. Winds once again picked up behind the front and there was a slight atmospheric change, but that didn’t last long as an extratropical storm quickly developed along the tail end of the front to bring it back northwards as a warm front in the next few days and ushered in November 2011 with some warmer weather.
By the end of October 2011, the drought, at least in the short term, was just about over. But we still need about 14″ of rain to get to normal for the year, and we are dangerously close to the record driest year on record. Officially, we have about 35″ of rain while the record lowest is 37″. At this point it is unlikely that we break this record as the next two months must be about 6″ below average to do so, with both November and December having around 4″ on average.