October 2019: Third snowiest and sixteenth coldest in Columbia despite record warmth early on

2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago Monday, November 04 2019 Nov 4, 2019 Monday, November 04, 2019 8:59:00 PM CST November 04, 2019 in Climate
By: Kenton Gewecke, KOMU 8 Chief Meteorologist
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COLUMBIA - Do you remember September 2019? It was the hottest month mid-Missouri has recorded in the past 130 years. That warmth held over into October for a few days. October 1 and 2 both recorded record warmth at night, with the warmest low temperatures on set for both of those dates. The warm stretch wouldn't last long after that, however.

Summer quite literally continued through September into October. Most folks were ready for Fall conditions, tree leaves to change, sweater and jacket weather. Well, all of those things came, but it wasn't quite as many had hoped. It got cold. Fast. We were just telling folks to break out the fall jackets and then had to say, scratch that, dig up the winter coats!

Columbia has just as many seasonally average days in October as it did below average days, thirteen each. While the first frost came on the 11th and 12th of the month, a deep freeze didn't arrive until the last two days of the month when temps dropped into the 20s.

Halloween broke records all on its own. The high temperature only reached 39º, tying 1993 and 1951 as the coldest high temperature on record for that date. Morning snowfall also totaled 0.4", breaking the previous 0.3" daily record from 1912. This would also be the only snowfall of the month.

Thanks to the Halloween morning snowfall, October 2019 is now in the record books as the third snowiest in 130 years, tied with 1954. Only 1925 (0.8") and 1913 (2.9") has had more snowfall on Halloween in Columbia, MO since 1889.

Rainfall was a-plenty, too. In fact, it was the 14th wettest October on record. A total of 5.60" fell, besting the 3.31" average by 2.3". The "wet season" we've been in for over a year now is still going strong. 

Another note on October temperatures, because while 2019 was the 16th coldest, it had more to do with cold high temperatures than low temperatures. The monthly average high temperature was 63.3º, which was 3.8º below the 67.1º monthly climatological average high temperature. The low temps averaged to 43.8º for October 2019, only 1.2º below the 45º monthly climatological average. Therefore, putting it all together, the month as a whole was 2.4º below average.

A NOTE ON EXTREME WEATHER

I find it important to note that our climate isn't only changing in the warm months. In fact, it is almost more important and more evident in the colder months. So, the fact that we just had the 16th coldest October in 130 years of records doesn't disprove climate change nor global warming (which are not the same thing).

Look instead at the fact that we went from the 1st hottest September to the 16th coldest October. We flipped from a summer September to a winter October. We skipped autumn conditions for the most part. It is this type of extreme weather pattern that is becoming more frequent due to climate change. 

Moreover, just last year in 2018 we went from the 1st coldest April on record for the state of Missouri to the 1st hottest May. We went from a winter April to a summer May. We skipped spring completely and in a very extreme way, something the Missouri State Climatologist agrees with undoubtedly

If people try to tell you that just because it is cold, or there is snow on the ground, that "global warming was supposed to mean we wouldn't see this anymore, so it's fake"...do not pay any attention. Those are lies from deniers who refuse to see the truth of our changing climate. Also note that I haven't talked at all in this article about it being human-caused climate change. Because honestly, even for those who think it is natural for our climate to be changing faster than ever before in human history, when it comes down to it, regardless of where blame is placed, the climate IS changing. We need to start understanding better what is changing, how rapidly, what those effects are and what they will be. The climate is changing rapidly whether you believe it is human-caused or not. That is an undeniable fact. Let's talk about those changes. 

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This story is part of SHOW ME CLIMATE, an ongoing KOMU 8 series devoted to ethically explaining climate change without politics using fact-based data to deliver important information about our world and the Show-Me State.

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