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Weather Talk: It's been cold and damp, but not unusually so

The recent spell of cold and wet weather has generated a lot of talk about how unusual this weather has been.

True, temperatures have been consistently colder than average since it was 94 degrees on Sept. 16. And this same period has been wet with more than 2 inches of rain falling on eight of the past 17 days. However, this is not going to even approach records for the mid-September through mid-October period.

The coldest for this period was in 1985 when the average daily mean temperature was about 5 degrees cooler than this year — the equivalent of each day being 5 degrees colder than 2018.

The rainiest mid-September through mid-October period was in 1982 when 7.58 inches of rain fell. The 16-day period from Sept. 27 through Oct. 12 was exceptionally wet with 7.17 inches of rain falling on 12 of those 16 days.

It should be noted that there is no statistical correlation between a cool fall or a wet fall and the following winter season.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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