Extreme Temperature Diary- Wednesday November 8th, 2023/Main Topic: U.S. October Record Scoreboard and Climatological Review

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials). 😉

Main Topic: U.S. October Record Scoreboard and Climatological Review

Dear Diary. It’s time once again for our monthly climatological review. Here on this site, we usually present monthly summaries near the 8th of each month, and each is available by clicking the link below:


I’m repeating this mantra every month:

October 2023 using 1901-2000 mean data got ranked by the National Center for Environmental Information for the lower 48 states as 18th warmest, or 112th coolest since records began being kept in 1895.


Overall, during October we saw above average to near record warmth develop across all of the lower 48 states during the first three and a half weeks of the month. A cold snap at the end of the month that produced hundreds of record low temperature reports prevented October 2023 from being a top ten warmest October. No one state saw below average temperatures. Statistically as a whole, the U.S. had a well above average month:

Here are my two U.S. Daily Record Scoreboards updated through 11/05/2023 (data compiled from the following NCEI site):


I’m also keeping tabs on record report totals to verify a scientific study I helped to complete in the decade of the 2000s. We’ll eventually see how skewed ratios of record warm to cold reports get by the year 2100, which the study mentions as 50-1 for DHMX vs. DLMN:

Relative increase of record high maximum temperatures compared to record low minimum temperatures in the U.S. – Meehl – 2009 – Geophysical Research Letters – Wiley Online Library

DHMX= Daily High Max Reports. DLMN= Daily Low Min Reports. DHMN= Daily High Min Reports. DLMX=Daily Low Max Reports.

Totals are record reports for the entire United States including all territories minus those from Alaska. I’ve subtracted those from Alaska to get a better representation of what has occurred across the lower 48 states in association with lower 48 state rankings.

Bold red, blue, or purple colored months, such as January 2020 and June 2021, that have ratios of >10 to 1 daily warm low records or <1 to 10 daily warm to low records are either historically hot or cold, most of which have made news. NCEI rankings are for the lower 48 states with the warmest ranking since 1895 of average temperatures being 128 (for ties) or 129 and 1 being the coldest as of 2023. Blue colors represent cold months and red warm. Those months and years with counts close to a 1 to 1 ratio of highs to lows are colored black. All-time record hottest or coldest months and years are boldly colored in purple. NCDC rankings have been color coded (under tabs in each file) such that values of 54 to 74 are black representing neutral months or years (+ or – 10 from the average ranking of 64).

Record numbers statistically matched up well during October of 2023 with that month being the 12th warmest September on record, which was well above average.

October 2023 had approximately a 35 to 8 ratio of record DHMX to DLMN individual record counts, so the color I used for this month was red on the top chart.

October 2023 had approximately a 41 to 12 ratio of record DHMN to DLMX individual record counts, so the color I used for this month was red on the bottom chart.

Due to climate change, we are seeing fewer blue colors on these Record Scoreboards with time.

As stated, the average temperature lower 48 state ranking for October 2023 was 112, which was colored red since it was above average.

I color rankings of +10 to -10 from the average ranking for the lower 48 states of 64.5 black, indicating that these are near average temperature wise. The top warmest ranking for 2023 would be 129 since rankings began in 1895.

We are seeing that November 2023 has gotten off to a chilly start, but anomalous heat has once again commenced across the country this second week of November. Meteorological models forecast above average temperatures going well into November, so I expect that we will see another high ranked month for 2023.

After a relatively cool start to the year, 2023 is now has record ratios near those of the first three years of this decade:

Here is much more detailed climatology for October 2023 as complied by NOAA:

Assessing the U.S. Climate in October 2023 | News | National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) (noaa.gov)

Assessing the U.S. Climate in October 2023

The Mississippi River dropped to record lows this October

Key Points:

  • For the second year in a row, the Mississippi River dropped to record lows, causing barges and ships to run aground during one of the busiest times of the year to ship grain. 
  • The first major cold snap of the season occurred on October 31 and into early November. Temperatures dropped 20–30°F below average across much of the U.S., resulting in record-low temperatures and snowfall from the Northwest to the Southeast. 
  • Year-to-date temperatures across the eastern U.S. have been warmer than average in 2023 with 30 states experiencing a top-10 warmest January–October.
  • A total of 25 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters have been confirmed this year—the most events on record during a calendar year.
  • October 2023 was the 18th-warmest October on record for the nation, and precipitation ranked in the middle third of the historical record for the month.

Other Highlights:


The average temperature of the contiguous U.S. in October was 56.1°F, 2.0°F above average, ranking 18th warmest in the 129-year record. Generally, October temperatures were above average across much of the contiguous U.S., with below-normal temperatures in parts of the central and northern Plains. Maine ranked second warmest on record for October while Vermont and New Hampshire each ranked third warmest on record. An additional six states ranked in their top-10 warmest October on record.

The Alaska statewide October temperature was 27.8°F, 2.3°F above the long-term average, ranking in the middle third of the 99-year period of record for the state. Near-normal temperatures were observed across much of the state with above-normal temperatures observed in parts of the Northwest, Southwest, the Aleutians and the Panhandle.

For January–October, the average contiguous U.S. temperature was 56.9°F, 1.9°F above average, ranking 11th warmest on record for this period. Temperatures were above average from parts of the Southwest to the East Coast and along much of the Northern Tier, with near- to below-average temperatures in parts of the northern Plains to the West Coast. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida each ranked warmest on record while Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland each ranked second warmest for the January–October period. An additional 18 states had a top-10 warmest year-to-date period. No state experienced a top-10 coldest January–October.

The Alaska January–October temperature was 31.5°F, 1.9°F above the long-term average, ranking in the warmest third of the historical record for the state. Much of the state was above normal for the 10-month period while temperatures were near average across the western, south-central and interior parts of the state.


October precipitation for the contiguous U.S. was 2.14 inches, 0.05 inch below average, ranking in the middle third of the historical record. Precipitation was below average from the Lower Mississippi Valley to parts of the Mid-Atlantic and in parts of the Northwest, Southwest, central Plains and Southeast. Precipitation was above average from the northern Rockies to the Great Lakes and in parts of the southern Plains, Southeast and Northeast. No state ranked in their top-10 wettest October on record for this period. On the dry side, North Carolina ranked 10th driest on record for the month.

Across the state of Alaska, the average monthly precipitation was 4.06 inches, ranking in the middle third of the historical record. Precipitation was above average in parts of the North Slope, West Coast, eastern Interior and a small part of the northern Panhandle. Below-normal precipitation was observed in the Southwest, including the Aleutians, south-central Alaska and in southern parts of the Panhandle during the month.

The January–October precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 25.50 inches, 0.14 inch above average, ranking in the middle third of the 129-year record. Precipitation was near to above average across much of the Northeast, from California to the western Plains, as well as in parts of the southern Plains, Great Lakes and Southeast. Wyoming and Massachusetts each ranked fourth wettest while Nevada, Maine and Connecticut each ranked fifth wettest on record for this year-to-date period. Two additional states ranked among their top-10 wettest for this period. Conversely, precipitation was below average along parts of the Northwest, Southwest, upper and central Mississippi Valley, Mid-Atlantic and along the Gulf of Mexico during the January–October period. Maryland ranked seventh driest, while Washington ranked 10th driest for this 10-month period.

The January–October precipitation ranked 15th wettest in the 99-year record for Alaska, with above-average precipitation observed across much of the state. Near-normal precipitation was observed along parts of the Gulf of Alaska, while parts of the Aleutians experienced below-average precipitation during this period.

Billion-Dollar Disasters

One new billion-dollar weather and climate disaster was confirmed this month after Southern hail storms brought severe weather to parts of the southern Plains on September 23–24.

There have been 25 confirmed weather and climate disaster events this year, each with losses exceeding $1 billion. These disasters consisted of 19 severe storm events, two flooding events, one tropical cyclone, one winter storm, one wildfire and one drought and heatwave event. For this year-to-date period, the first 10 months of 2023 rank highest for disaster count, ahead of those of 2020 which saw 19 disasters. The total cost of the 2023 events exceeds $73.8 billion, and they have resulted in 464 direct and indirect fatalities. 

The U.S. has sustained 373 separate weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2023). The total cost of these 373 events exceeds $2.645 trillion.

Other Notable Events

  • Persistent heat brought record-breaking temperatures to portions of the U.S. during October:
    A total of 317 counties had their warmest January–October on record while an additional 1498 counties ranked in the top-10 warmest for the year-to-date period. There are 3,143 counties in the U.S.
  • During early October, record warmth impacted parts of the Northeast. On October 4, the Burlington Airport in Vermont reached 86°F and set a new all-time October record high temperature—breaking a long-standing record high temperature of 82 set back in 1891.
  • Above-normal temperatures persisted across much of Puerto Rico during the month of October. San Juan International Airport reported a monthly average temperature of 85.4°F, making it the hottest October on record and the fifth-warmest month on record.
  • Warm temperatures and lack of rainfall during 2023 resulted in expansion of drought coverage and intensity across parts of the Mississippi Valley, leading to record low water levels along parts of the Mississippi River that caused barges to run aground and created saltwater intrusion concerns in southern Louisiana.

Heavy precipitation and snow brought one of the wettest water years—October to September—on record for the state of California, causing the state’s reservoirs to rise to 128% of their historical average.

Drought expanded in coverage and intensity across the islands of Hawaii during October. On October 24, drought covered 94.8% of the state—the greatest extent of drought in the 2000-2023 period of record for the U.S. Drought Monitor.


According to the October 31 U.S. Drought Monitor report, about 36.5% of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, down about 3.6% from the beginning of October. Moderate to exceptional drought was widespread across much of the central to southern Great Plains, Lower Mississippi Valley and Southwest, with moderate to extreme drought across the Northwest, Tennessee Valley, Hawaii and in parts of the Florida Peninsula. Moderate to severe drought was present in parts of the Mid-Atlantic and New York, as well as moderate drought in parts of the Great Lakes and Puerto Rico.

Drought conditions expanded or intensified across much of the Southeast and Tennessee Valley as well as in parts of the Southwest, Mid-Atlantic and Hawaii this month. Drought contracted or was reduced in intensity across much of the Plains and Great Lakes and in portions of the Northern Tier and Puerto Rico.

Monthly Outlook

According to the October 31 One-Month Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center, above-normal monthly average temperatures are favored for much of the western U.S., along the Gulf Coast states and much of Alaska in November, with the greatest odds for parts of the southwestern U.S. and northern Alaska. Below-normal temperatures are forecast for parts of the Northeast this month. Portions of the Northwest, Southeast and northern Alaska are favored to see above-normal monthly total precipitation while below-normal precipitation is most likely to occur from the Lower Mississippi Valley to the Great Lakes and in parts of Southwest Alaska. Drought improvement or removal is forecast along parts of the Pacific Northwest coast and in parts of the Midwest, southern Plains and Puerto Rico, while persistence is more likely across the Northern Tier, Southwest, Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic and Hawaii. Drought development is likely in parts of the Southeast.

According to the One-Month Outlook issued on December 1 from the National Interagency Fire Center, Hawaii and parts of the Lower Mississippi Valley have above-normal significant wildland fire potential during November, while parts of eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas are expected to have below-normal potential for the month.

This monthly summary from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, business, academia and the public to support informed decision-making. For more detailed climate information, check out our comprehensive October 2023 U.S. Climate Report scheduled for release on November 14, 2023. For additional information on the statistics provided here, visit the Climate at a Glance and National Maps webpages.

Here are more “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks, as well as any extreme precipitation reports:

Here is some more new October 2023 climatology:

Here is More Climate and Weather News from Wednesday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

Today’s News on Sustainable, Traditional Polluting Energy from Fossil Fuel, and the Green Revolution:

More from the Weather Department:

More on the Environment and Nature:

More on Other Science and the Beauty of Earth and this Universe:

If you like these posts and my work on record temperature ratios, please contribute via my PayPal widget on this site. Thanks in advance for any support. 

Guy Walton… “The Climate Guy”

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