October was relatively cold, dry; droughts continue

While October continued a long-term dry trend in Prescott, it bucked the long-term warming trend.

Like most of northern Arizona, October was relatively cool and dry in Prescott compared to the long-term average.

Prescott recorded only 0.36 inches of precipitation last month, or exactly one-third of the 105-year average. Other Yavapai County rain-

fall amounts reported in a National Weather Service summary included 0.35 inches in Bagdad, 0.09 inches near Camp Verde, a trace in Castle Hot Springs, 0.12 inches in Chino Valley, 0.25 inches in Jerome, 0.77 inches at Oak Creek, 0.23 inches at the Prescott airport and 0.22 inches at Seligman.

The Weather Service office in Flagstaff listed precipitation at a dozen sites across northern Arizona and all received 55 percent or less of their 30-year average precipitation amounts.

Moderate to severe drought continues throughout most of Yavapai County except the eastern third.

The average high of 69.9 degrees in Prescott last month was 2.2 degrees lower than the long-term average, while the average low of 34.5 degrees was 2.8 degrees lower than the long-term average.

It was the ninth coldest October on record for the Prescott airport, the Weather Service reported. Airport records date to 1948.

Cottonwood set a new record low of 39 degrees on Oct. 6, breaking the previous record of 40 set in 1998. Bagdad set a record low of 38 degrees on Oct. 15, which tied a 1948 record.

A fairly persistent pattern of low pressure systems was responsible for the cooler temperatures throughout northern Arizona, the Weather Service said.

Oct. 10 brought the first measurable snowfall of the season to the high country, although Prescott got rain instead. That system produced the only precipitation of the month here. Williams measured 4.5 inches of snow.

That same strong cold front produced 40 mph winds in Prescott. Another cold low pressure system on Oct. 28-29 brought winds reaching 45 mph here.

Government agencies are forecasting above-average temperatures throughout the Southwest for November through January, with below-average precipitation for New Mexico and southeastern Arizona.

The rest of Arizona has equal chances for above-average and below-average precipitation.

Follow Joanna Dodder on Twitter @joannadodder.