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October was wettest on record in USA

By Doyle Rice, USA TODAY

The USA just slogged through its wettest October on record, the federal government's National Climatic Data Center announced Tuesday.

The nationwide precipitation of 4.15 inches was nearly double the long-term average of 2.11 inches, the center noted in an online report. Precipitation was most extreme in the central USA, where three states — Iowa, Arkansas, and Louisiana — saw their wettest October ever.

Only three out of the 50 U.S. states had below-average amounts of rain and snow: Florida, Utah, and Arizona.

In addition to the damp, October was also extremely cool, measuring the third-coldest since records began in 1895. The average national temperature of 50.8 degrees was 4 degrees below average. Only the Octobers of 1976 and 1925 were cooler.

Oklahoma shivered through its coldest October on record, while Nebraska and Kansas were the second-chilliest ever.

In the report, the center noted that the the month was marked by an active weather pattern, which reinforced unseasonably cold air behind a series of cold fronts. Temperatures were below normal in eight of the nation's nine climate regions, and of the nine, five were much below normal. Only the Southeast climate region had near normal temperatures for October.

The soggy October helped ease drought conditions across the USA. The National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Neb., reported last week that the nation is in its best shape of the decade, in regards to drought.

"This is the least amount of the country that's been in drought in the past 10 years," according to Brian Fuchs, a climatologist with the center.

For the year-do-date, many states along the mid- and Lower Mississippi Valley are having their wettest years on record, according to the climate data center.

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