Precipitation for October was well-below normal across much of west-central Texas (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Percent of Normal Precipitation for October, 2014.
The monthly precipitation was less than 50 percent for much of the area. Scattered pockets across the central and southwestern parts of west-central Texas received less than 25 percent of the monthly normal rainfall. The monthly precipitation was above normal in only a few areas, to the south and southeast of Abilene and in the southern half of Mason County.
Temperatures averaged well-above normal for the month. Abilene recorded its 6th warmest October, while San Angelo tied its 7th warmest October with two other years. In addition, San Angelo recorded 13 days during the month with high temperatures 90 degrees or above. This tied the record for the highest number of days in October with highs 90 degrees or above.
A cold front moved southeast across west-central Texas on the 2nd. Isolated showers and thunderstorms occurred along and ahead of the front. Temperatures climbed into the lower to mid 90s across central and southern sections of the area, just ahead of the front. Cooler and drier air followed passage of the front, and remained over the area on the 3rd and 4th.
At Abilene Regional Airport, the average temperature for October was 71.4 degrees. This was 5.6 degrees above the normal average temperature of 65.8 degrees. This marks the 6th warmest October on record. Total precipitation for Abilene in October was 0.78 inches. This was 2.20 inches below the normal of 2.98 inches.
At San Angelo Regional Airport, the average temperature for October was 70.9 degrees. This was 4.7 degrees above the normal average temperature of 66.2 degrees. This tied for the 7th warmest October on record. Total precipitation for San Angelo was 0.44 inches. This was 2.29 inches below the normal of 2.73 inches.
Temperatures were well-above normal on October 6-10, when an upper level high pressure system gradually shifted east across central and southern Texas. The hottest daytime temperatures occurred on the 7th, when a new record high of 98 degrees was set at San Angelo. The high of 98 degrees at Abilene was just one degree below their record high temperature for the date.
A severe weather event occurred on the evening and early nighttime hours of the 10th, with the approach of an upper level disturbance and arrival of a strong cold front into an unstable airmass. Most of the severe weather occurred across the northern Concho Valley and northern Heartland areas. A total of 21 severe weather reports were received for this event.
Showers and thunderstorms continued into the overnight hours across eastern and southern sections of west-central Texas. The higher coverage of showers and thunderstorms was generally south of Interstate 20 and north of Interstate 10.
Figure 2 (below) shows rainfall amounts for the 24-hour period ending at 7 AM on October 11th.
Figure 2. Rainfall for the 24-hour period ending at 7 AM, October 11th.
The heaviest rainfall (between 2.5 and 4 inches) occurred across parts of the northeastern Concho Valley and southern Big Country, and in central and southern parts of Mason County.
Following the cold frontal passage, temperatures were much cooler on the 11th. Considerable cloud cover held temperatures into the 60s for highs across most of west-central Texas. Moisture quickly returned to the area on the morning of the 12th, as southerly winds returned. Patchy fog occurred in southern parts of the area along the Interstate 10 corridor. A quick warmup ensued on the 12th, and south winds increased ahead of an approaching strong upper level weather system.
An upper level storm system deepened over the Southern Plains and Texas during the overnight hours of the 12th and 13th. Strong thunderstorms developed on the evening of the 12th across the Big Country area along and north of Interstate 20. A band of storms moved southeast across central and southern parts of west-central Texas during the overnight hours, ahead of a strong cold front. The cold front exited the area by mid-morning on the 13th, followed by gradually clearing skies and an invasion of cooler air. Strong, gusty northwest winds occurred on the 13th, especially across the Big Country, Concho Valley and Heartland areas, and across Crockett County. Occasional wind gusts of 40-45 mph were recorded across these areas.
A high pressure system settled southeast into west-central Texas by the 14th. With this setup, a combination of clear skies, diminished winds and dry air allowed temperatures to dip into the 30s and 40s for early morning lows on the 14th across most of west-central Texas. The coldest readings (mid to upper 30s) occurred in low-lying areas of western and southern parts of the region. Similar low temperatures were recorded on early morning of the 15th, when the high pressure system was still in close proximity to the area.
In the warmup which quickly ensued, temperatures reached the upper 80s to lower 90s for afternoon highs on the 16th. A weak and dry cold front moved slowly south across west-central Texas on the 17th.
A few showers and thunderstorms with locally heavy rain occurred across the southwestern part of west-central Texas on the 19th. This was associated with a weak upper level disturbance. With the arrival of another weak upper level disturbance, a few showers occurred across the western half of the area on the 22nd.
Daily high temperatures were well-above normal on October 25-27, when an upper level high pressure system shifted southeast across Texas. Record high temperatures were set at San Angelo (91 degrees) and tied at Abilene (90 degrees) on the 27th. A weak and dry cold frontal passage occurred on the 28th, followed by a stronger cold front on the 30th. A few showers and thunderstorms occurred in the vicinity of this cold front across eastern and southeastern parts of west-central Texas. Temperatures were considerably cooler on the 31st, when highs were in the mid 60s to mid 70s across most of the area.