Although it started out wet, October turned out to be third driest on record on West Palm Beach and the 23rd driest in Fort Lauderdale, the National Weather Service said.
“After a wet summer season across most of South Florida, the dry season arrived in full force,” meteorologist Robert Molleda said.
Last month also was hotter than normal, with West Palm Beach recording its 15th warmest October on record.
The outlook calls for the first two weeks of November to be warmer and wetter than normal. Then temperatures are predicted to be about normal and rainfall slightly below normal through January, he said.
In early October, up to 10 inches of rain fell in southwest Miami-Dade County and up to 8 inches in eastern Broward County. Then two weak cold fronts shut off the faucet. The dry season officially arrived on Oct. 11, a week earlier than normal.
“It appeared as if October was going to be just another in a long string of wet months,” Molleda said, but added, “Virtually all of South Florida ended up with below normal rainfall for the month.”
Miami International was a relative oasis, recording 6.86 inches of rain, .53 more than normal.
The South Florida Water Management District said the southern third of the state was considerably drier than normal, as an average of 1.39 inches of rain fell between Orlando and the Keys, or 37 percent of normal.
District-wide, that made it the fifth driest October since 1983. However, water supplies remain healthy, said Susan Sylvester, chief of the district's Water Control Operations Bureau.
“We are still benefiting from the increased water levels following an above-average wet season,” she said. “But water managers remain cautious because this is the time of year when water levels can fall rapidly from prolonged below-average rainfall.”
Temperature-wise, most of South Florida was about 1 degree warmer than normal in October, except for West Palm Beach, which was almost 2 degrees warmer.
The average high temperature in West Palm Beach was 87 degrees and the average low 73 degrees; in Fort Lauderdale the average high was 86 and the average low 74; and in Miami the average high was 87 and the average low 74.
Molleda said the warm conditions were the result of a “lack of strong cold fronts moving through the region and the lack of associated precipitation.”