Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Local Weather Watcher: October summary and more discussion about whether North Lawrence storm was a microburst

November 12, 2017

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Lawrence resident Daniel Klinger is a former meteorological technician with the National Weather Service who now gathers local weather data as a hobby. Look for monthly reports from Daniel, or anytime after the Lawrence area has experienced a major weather event. You can also check out his blog at lawrenceksweather.com

Summary: October is usually good for watching the leaves turn. This year it provided plenty for weather watchers too: A really cold Halloween, quite a bit of rain, and a wind storm that indeed may have been a microburst.

Local Weather Watcher Daniel Klinger

Local Weather Watcher Daniel Klinger

Temperature: The average high temperature was near 70 degrees and the average low was about 45 degrees. Overall, this was 1.3 degrees above normal.

Coldest day: Trick-or-treaters had a weather trick pulled on them this year. Oct. 31 reached a high of only 38 degrees under cloudy skies, following an overnight low of 21 degrees. That was the coldest reading of the month. Halloween ended up being 21 degrees below normal. A few snowflakes even fell around town in the afternoon. Some areas in the region such as Topeka, received a few tenths of an inch of snow on the leaves and grass.

Warmest day: Take your pick between Oct. 2 or Oct. 3. The month topped out at 86 degrees on Oct. 2. But the warmest day overall — averaging the high and the low temperature — was Oct. 3, with a high of 85 and low of 66. That was 15 degrees above normal.

Rainfall: The average rainfall totals from our seven volunteer weather observers across the city was 5 inches. That is 2.88 inches above normal for October.

Wettest day: From late Oct. 21 to early Oct. 22, a vigorous storm front dropped 2.41 inches of rain on Lawrence, according to the average reading of our seven rain gauges. The airport, where the National Weather Service has its gauges, received 2.30 inches. Oct. 14 also had a storm that produced 1.13 inches of rain.

Year-to-date: Lawrence already has received 44.06 inches of rain through October. That is about 10 inches above the normal amount, which is 34.9 inches.

Strongest winds: Oct. 14 probably was the day that produced the most memorable weather. A gust of 72 miles per hour was recorded at the Lawrence Municipal Airport. (Originally we were told the National Weather Service gauges were down, it turns out some data was recorded through a back-up battery system.) The data indicates a 72 mile per hour gust out of the south at 4:27 p.m.. The strong winds started with a first peak gust of 37 miles per hour four minutes earlier. It appears the airport caught the north portion of a “wet microburst” that focused its power primarily across the northeast quarter of the city, particularly North Lawrence.

Looking ahead: November brings a 14-degree drop in average temperature — the greatest of the three calendar months of autumn. However, November usually sees some mild and pleasant days, as well. So, enjoy the rest of the last calendar month of autumn — leaves and all.

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