Record Highs & Lows: The Home Runs of Weather Reporting
Weather Extremes That Occurred Before Global Warming Became a Concern

October's First Autumn Chill




I don't know about you, but I find adjusting to the season's first chilly temperatures in the fall a more challenging than adjusting to warm weather in the springtime.  In the fall of 2015 the temperature fell to 35° on the morning of Oct. 19, which was the earliest it was this chilly since 1976, when the low on the same date was 34°.  Mornings in the 30s in October occur infrequently in New York City, with a typical October seeing just two such days.  The average date for the first low in the 30s is Oct. 23.  It's happened as early as Sept. 30 (in 1912) and as late as Nov. 15 (1938).  On average, October's coldest reading is 38°, with the coldest being 28° in 1936.  The mildest chilly reading, 45°, occurred in 1971 and 1946 (more recently, October 2004's chilliest reading was 44°). 


The greatest number of lows in the 30s has been nine, in 1925.  One in eight Octobers have had lows of 32° or colder; however, the last time it happened was in 1988 (the coldest temperature in recent years was 33° in 2011).  At the other end of the temperature spectrum, one in four Octobers have had no readings in the 30s (most recently in 2017, 2014 and 2013).  Here are some other observations:


  • Two periods have had considerably more 30-degree days than other years.  The years between 1922-1940 averaged 3.9 30-degree days in October.  This followed the years 1910-1921, which averaged only 1.4 such days.  Then there were the years between 1964-1988, which averaged 3.2 chilly lows; since then the average has been half that, 1.6.
  • October 1974 and 1925 were noteworthy for having three days in a row with lows of 32°  or colder.  And October 1940 and 2011 distinguished themselves by having five days in a row with lows in the 30s. 
  • The most consecutive years with Octobers that had no readings below 40° is three: 1994-1995-1996.




  • The second latest date for the first reading in the 30s, Nov. 13, 1946, was sandwiched between two years with the earliest dates for this occurrence - Oct. 1, 1947 and Oct. 4, 1945.
  • After having the earliest temperature in the 30s on record, Sept. 30 in 1912, October had none.
  • Finally, there have been two high temperatures in the 30s in October: on Oct. 26, 1962 (39°) and on Oct. 30, 1925 (38°).











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