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Prepared by Daniel J. Brouillette
Florida Climate Center
The Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL

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Mean temperatures in October were much above normal statewide (Table 1 and Appendix 1). October 2018 was the warmest on record at Tampa and Key West (the second consecutive at both locations), as well as other less major stations, and in the top five warmest on record at several other stations. Several high temperature records were tied or broken across the state (Appendix 2).

Table 1. October average temperatures and departures from normal (˚F) for selected cities.

Station Mean Temperature Departure from Normal
Pensacola 74.8 +5.2
Tallahassee 74.0 +4.6
Jacksonville 74.2 +3.7
Orlando 78.1 +2.6
Tampa 80.0 +3.9
Miami 81.3 +1.5
Key West 83.6 +3.3  


Rainfall totals in October were below normal except in the central and eastern panhandle (Figure 1). Rainfall was somewhat above normal in the central and eastern panhandle owing to Hurricane Michael on the 10th of the month. 24-hour precipitation records were broken for the month (Table 3).

Table 2. October precipitation totals and departures from normal (inches) for selected cities.

Station Total Rainfall Departure from Normal
Pensacola 3.75 -1.49
Tallahassee 3.90 +0.67
Jacksonville 1.30 -2.63
Orlando 2.05 -1.07
Tampa 1.42 -0.84
Miami 1.76 -4.57
Key West 3.19 -1.74 


Table 3. Select daily rainfall records (inches) broken during October. (Compiled from NOAA, NWS)

(none to report)


Figure 1. A graphical depiction of the monthly rainfall departure from normal (inches) for October is given in the figure below (courtesy of NOAA, NWS).

Figure 1.  A graphical depiction of the monthly rainfall departure from normal (inches) for October is given in the figure below (courtesy of NOAA, NWS).


ENSO-neutral conditions are present in the Pacific, with El Niño favored to develop.

Based on current data and forecast models, forecasters with the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) continue with an El Niño Watch. ENSO-neutral conditions currently are present, with sea-surface temperatures (SST) above average across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. El Niño development is favored by the end of the climatological boreal autumn (from now through the end of November), and the chance of development is 70-75% during the climatological boreal winter (December-January-February). The CPC seasonal outlook favors above-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation statewide through November 2018.


Hazardous Weather Events in October.

According the Local Storm Reports (LSRs) issued by the local National Weather Service (NWS) offices serving Florida, nnn instances of hazardous weather were reported across the state in October 2018. Of special interest was Hurricane Michael, which made landfall on the 10th as a high-end Category 4 storm near Mexico Beach and was the third-strongest storm ever to landfall on the United States in terms of minimum central pressure.


Table 4. Breakdown of storm reports submitted in Florida during the month of October. (Compiled from Iowa State University/Iowa Environmental Mesonet.)

Report Type Number of Reports
Storm Damage 1 (excluding hurricane)
High Winds 30
Dense Fog 0
Hail 0
Tornadoes/Funnel Clouds/Waterspouts 16
Heavy Rain 24
Fire 0
Flooding 0 (excluding storm surge/coastal)
Lightning 0
Heat 0
Coastal Hazards/Rip Currents 1


Drought-Related Impacts

At the end of October, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, abnormally dry conditions were present in a large area from the Space Coast, south along the coast to near Miami and southwest from there, as well as in northeast Florida in the Jacksonville area.

As of 5 November, the Lake Okeechobee water level was at 13.65 ft. above sea level, which is near average for this time of the year.


drought monitor


Agriculture-Related Impacts.

At the end of October, topsoil-moisture levels were at surplus or adequate over two-thirds of the state, with the remaining third very short or short. Citrus harvest got underway this month; the early harvest has looked good, according to reports, and groves and trees also look to be in good condition. By the end of the month, the irrigation of crop vegetables was required because of dry conditions developing. Cattle conditions remained good as of the end of the month. Hurricane Michael decimated the cotton crop, especially those plants that were already defoliated prior to the storm, with 10-90% crop loss depending on the county. Peanuts on the panhandle suffered significant losses; late-season yields were halved.

At the end of the month, two-thirds of the state had topsoil that were adequate or excess in terms of moisture, with the balance of the state short or very short.


Appendix 1
Additional September Departures from Normal Data for Florida Locations

Station Total rainfall (in.) Departure from Normal (in.) Average Temperature (˚F) Departure from Normal (˚F)
Gainesville 0.61 -2.27 74.6 +3.7
Melbourne 1.27 -3.79 80.3 +4.3
Fort Lauderdale 1.65 -4.59 81.2 +2.3
Fort Myers 0.78 -2.01 79.5 +1.6


Appendix 2
Select daily maximum and minimum temperature records (oF) tied or broken during September.
(Compiled from NOAA, NWS)

Date Station Type Value Broken/Tied Last
15 Tallahassee Max 91 Broken 90 in 1990
17 Tallahassee Max 90 Tied 90 in 1972
20 Tallahassee Max 90 Tied 90 in 2005
10 Jacksonville Min 79* Broken 76 in 1919
15 Jacksonville Max 91 Broken 90 in 1990
16 Jacksonville Max 91 Broken 92 in 2017
17 Jacksonville Max 94 Broken 91 in 1989
17 Jacksonville Min 75 Tied 75 in 1879
20 Jacksonville Max 90 Broken 89 in 2006
10 Orlando Min 77 Broken 75 in 2017
15 Orlando Min 74 Tied 74 in 2009
19 Orlando Min 73 Tied 73 in 1950
4 Tampa Max 92 Tied 92 in 2007
15 Tampa Max 92 Tied 92 in 1990
16 Tampa Max 93 Broken 92 in 1959
18 Tampa Max 92 Broken 90 in 1989
19 Tampa Max 89 Tied 89 in 2017
16 Miami Min 80 Broken 79 in 1933
21 Miami Max 91 Broken 89 in 2006
4 Key West Min 82 Tied 82 in 2013
12 Key West Min 81 Tied 81 in 1941
15 Key West Min 82 Tied 82 in 2014
17 Key West Max 89 Tied 89 in 2009
19 Key West Min 82 Broken 80 in 2004
21 Key West Max 89 Tied 89 in 2007
24 Key West Max 89 Tied 89 in 1990
25 Key West Min 80 Broken 79 in 2010
26 Key West Min 81 Broken 80 in 2015
27 Key West Min 80 Tied 80 in 2003


*This value breaks the all-time highest minimum temperature ever recorded at Jacksonville for the month of October (records back to 1871); the previous record was 78 degrees, last set on 4 October 1964.

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