By ARTHUR A. FRANCIS Correspondent
The Salem News
---- — This year, October temperatures were close to normal and ranged from 76 degrees on the 6th to 31 degrees on the 13th, when we had our first frost locally. After the first frost, we had a few days of Indian summer weather. There were enough pleasant days to enjoy our annual display of delightful autumn foliage that reached its peak over our North Shore region.
Our October rainfall was a little above normal. We measured 4.05 inches. Our heaviest rainfall occurred on the 28th, 29th and the 30th when nearly 2 inches was recorded during the passage of Hurricane Sandy.
Sandy was a megastorm! It was definitely one of the top devastating storms to ravage the Northeast for many years, especially when it made landfall in New Jersey. Extensive flooding inundated the coastal locales, especially New York City. Uncontrollable fires were disastrous.
The storm was tremendous in size and extended from New England to Illinois. The extent of this storm was greater than the infamous “Perfect Storm” that battered coastal locations along the North Shore in 1991. Storm surges, flooding, battering winds and extreme low-pressure readings were reminiscent of the New England Hurricane of 1938.
At landfall in New Jersey, the barometric pressure dropped to 946 millibars (27.94 inches)!
We were spared the unprecedented fury of this storm. Even so, many trees toppled to the tempest, power lines were downed, and there was local flooding, as well. For three days, we had buffeting high winds that were more prolonged and persistent than with the Perfect Storm here at Salem. The peak gust at Salem University was clocked at 62 mph from the northeast. Gusts were considerably stronger over our local harbors.
November has arrived. What’s next? We now must be prepared to expect inevitable cooler temperatures. Early in the month, our normal daytime high temperatures climb into the upper 50s, while early morning readings drop to the low 40s. However, by month’s end, the high temperatures average in the mid 40s and by dawn, the lows dip to the chilly 20s.
During the past 30 years, our highest temperature was 80 degrees in 1994, while our lowest was a chilling 12 degrees in 1993. As for precipitation, we have had as much as the 10.34 inches in 1983 and as little as 0.85 inches in 2001. Although snowfall is generally light, we have been on the receiving end of some memorable storms in the past. During our 30-year period of records, our greatest snowfall was 12.7 inches in 1987.
Salem meteorologist Arthur Francis is a faculty member in the geography department at Salem State University.
OCTOBER FACTS Temperatures: High 76, low 31, average 54.3 Prevailing wind: 62 mph on Oct. 29 Rainfall: 4.05 inches Thunderstorms: 2