Publication Date October 30, 2016

Scary Warm: Welcome to the Halloween Heat Wave of 2016

United States
Projected departures from average temperature (degrees C) on Thursday evening, November 3, 2016, based on output from the 00Z Friday run of the GFS model. Image: tropicaltidbits

Phoenix saw its latest-in-any-year 100°F reading on Thursday. Over much of the central and eastern U.S., temperatures will soar to unusually warm heights as we roll through All Hallows’ Eve and into the first several days of November. Temperatures on Halloween (Monday, October 31) are projected to reach the 70s from South Dakota to West Virginia and the 80s from Kansas to the Carolinas. As a very strong Pacific jet continues to pump mild air into the nation, we could see a few all-time monthly records for November threatened later next week, especially across the U.S. South.


Even more noteworthy than the degree of warmth is the lack of widespread autumn chill. For example, Minneapolis has yet to dip below 36°F as of Friday, October 28. That doesn’t look likely to happen before at least next weekend (November 5 - 6). In records going back to 1873, the latest Minneapolis has ever gone before seeing its first 35°F of the autumn is November 1, way back in 1931. The city’s latest first freeze was on Nov. 7, 1900.


Hiding in plain sight in the 2016 data is something even more astounding. Walton’s and NCEI’s numbers through October 25 show that this year has produced 20,847 U.S. daily record highs but a mere 3920 record lows. The latter may sound like a lot, but it’s a phenomenally low number. Since the mid-1920s, when the bulk of U.S. weather stations had accumulated a meaningful 30-year history, the nation has notched at least 9000 daily record lows by the end of October in every single year. This year, we’re not even halfway to that point!