Trick or Treat: Halloween Weather around the Nation

Here in upstate New York it is a blustery fall day. The peak foliage and sunny days we have been enjoying came to an abrupt end yesterday as heavy rainfall and strong winds resulted in many trees dropping their leaves (time to do some raking!!). Suddenly it feels like mid- to late-fall, and many children are busy thinking about what they will be for Halloween. We thought it might be fun to take a look around the country to see what the trick-or-treaters can sometimes face in their quest for candy around the neighborhoods.

Peebles Island State Park, October 14, 2019.

Indianapolis, Indiana

Records in Indianapolis date back to 1871. Typical high temperatures on Halloween are 60 degrees, although the highs have been as warm as 82 (1950) and as cold as 35 (1873 and 1878). Most often, highs are in the 50s or 60s. Snow isn’t likely in Indianapolis, although rain is possible. The most snow that has fallen on Halloween is 0.1 inches back in 1890, and again in 2014.

Courtesy: NWS Indianapolis.

Caribou, Maine

In Caribou, Halloween tends to be MUCH colder than in the Midwest! High temperatures average about 45 degrees, although it has been as warm as 69 degrees (1989). In 1956, there was 7.6 inches of snow on October 31!

Courtesy: NWS Caribou.

Alamosa, Colorado

Average high temperatures in Alamosa, located in south central Colorado, on Halloween are similar to Indianapolis, at 55 degrees. However, snow is a more distinct possibility. For the period of record dating back to 1932, there were 12 years when it snowed at least a Trace on Halloween, and 11 years where measurable snow depth was present on the ground (meaning it may have snowed before Halloween!). There is a 14% chance of snowfall occurring on any given Halloween in Pueblo, and the record snowfall on that date is 10.9 inches (1972)! 1991 was an exceptional year, both in terms of cold temperatures and snow depth. On that Halloween, there was 12 inches of snow depth present on the ground and the daily HIGH temperature was only 23 degrees! Many kids were probably looking for hot chocolate instead of candy!!!

Courtesy: NWS Pueblo, CO.

Minnesota and the Blizzard of 1991

Speaking of 1991, it was also an exceptional Halloween in northern Minnesota. This blizzard occurred at the same time as the more well-known ‘Perfect Storm’ off the eastern Seaboard, about which a book and a movie were produced. Precipitation began as rain during the afternoon on Halloween, but quickly changed to freezing rain and then snow as cold air filtered in. Snow continued for another TWO DAYS, resulting in a total accumulation of 36.5 inches at the Duluth Airport, and 45 inches in Superior!!! Widespread totals of one to two feet of snow were reported.

Courtesy: NWS Duluth.

Albany, New York

Here in Albany, Halloween can range from being very warm (as high as 76 degrees back in 1946) to very cold (18 degrees in 1988). Our average first snowfall of the season isn’t until November, however, there have been some years when measurable snowfall has occurred in October. Back in 2011 (not so long ago!), the first measurable snowfall at the Albany Airport was on October 27 ( a daily record of 1.6 inches), which was then followed by another record snowfall of 3.8 inches on October 29. In western New England, higher snowfall totals (over 18 inches in the higher terrain of the Catskills and Berkshires) and leaves on the trees created widespread damage and power outages. Trick-or-treaters still had to contend with cold weather and snow on the ground on Halloween that year; I have distinct memories of my young son, dressed as Thomas the Train, begging to go back home because it was so cold and his feet were wet!

What will Halloween be like this year around the country? Stay tuned, and be sure to follow us on Facebook as it gets closer to find out!

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