October is often a month that starts warm but end with our first frosts. We are certainly starting out warm this year with a streak with highs in the eighties beginning today. The average high and low downtown on the first is seventy five and fifty six. By the end of the month the averages drop to sixty four and forty five. October averages a bit over three inches of rain.
Guess what ? The Nation's Capital averages a trace of snow in October while Dulles can see a tenth of an inch. Our earliest measurable snowfall is the tenth back in 1979 when three tenths of an inch fell at National Airport. Not that it meant much, but that winter ended up with an above average seasonal snowfall total.
Our earliest thirty two degree reading downtown is the tenth way back in 1895. Our latest ninety degree day is eleventh back in 1919. In 2005, Washingtonians experienced the wettest October on record when 9.41 inches of rain fell. That followed the driest September on record at National Airport; Washington, D.C.'s official weather reporting station. October can also see tropical rainfall from the remnants of former tropical systems. Such was the case with the remnants of Hurricane Opal in 1995 that brought three weak tornadoes to Maryland during the first week of the month.
October is a great month for leaf peeping in our area. The foliage average peak color in the Shenandoah Valley is between the sixteenth and the twentieth. Peak in our northern and western suburbs is the last week in October. (Average peak in town is the first week of November.)
The new moon is on the fourth while the full moon will be on the eighteenth. On the sixth you can see the crescent moon between Mercury and Saturn. The moon will appear to the right of Venus on the seventh and to the right of Jupiter on the twenty fourth. Jupiter will rise around 11 PM from the twenty fourth on and will be visible to the naked eye after midnight.