October 2017 will go down as the second warmest on record in Rhode Island.
And Rhode Island wasn’t alone. Most of southern New England had a top 1- or 2 warmest October on record.
To go into more detail:
- Average High temperature: 71. #2 warmest on record
- Low temperature: #1 warmest on record
- Average mean: #2 warmest on record
- Precipitation: 5.44″ of rain: #15 wettest on record.
What’s incredible about the precipitation rank is that we had an abnormally dry October up until the final week of the month, when we picked up 4.84″ of rain from October 24 through October 30. That’s nearly 90% of the month’s rain in one week.
HOW THIS IMPACTED THE AMOUNT OF WIND DAMAGE FROM SUNDAY NIGHT’S STORM
The warm temperatures meant a very late foliage season. That, combined with back-to-back heavy rain events, likely lead to the vast amount of damage caused by Sunday night’s storm. Why? 1) The trees in southern New England still had most of their leaves. Leaves on trees increase the surface area the wind encounters. The leaves become mini-sails, capturing the wind, and can mean more wind damage than would be caused with similar wind speeds when trees are bare . 2) The soil was quite damp from the nearly 5″ of rain in one week. Add in wind gusts in excess of 60mph, and we saw not only snapped limbs and branches, but entire trees uprooted.