Fall Festival at Hillcrest Baptist Church

Leo Avila, 3, keeps his Thor costume dry under an umbrella as his family arrives at Hillcrest Baptist Church's Fall Festival on Wednesday night. Families packed inside the church, which offered games, bounce houses, face painting, food, candy and more. The threat of rain forced several Halloween events to be canceled or held indoors.

This year's Halloween marked the fourth wettest Oct. 31 in recorded College Station history.

The Halloween front also brought with it more seasonal temperatures in time for the start of November, and forecasts show temperatures remaining in that more typical range of highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s into next week.

By 2:35 a.m. Thursday, Easterwood Airport -- the official recording station for the National Weather Service -- reported 1.61 inches of rain as a cold front moved through the state during the late afternoon and evening hours of Halloween.

The top-five record rainfall beats the 1.55 inches and 1.50 inches recorded in 1974 and 2013, respectively. It falls behind 1981's 2.51 inches, 1941's 2.1 inches and the 1.64 inches in 1959. Records go back to 1902.

The storm produced tornadoes near Houston and prompted a tornado watch throughout the Brazos Valley. Easterwood experienced wind gusts of 34 mph.

With the additional 1.61 inches, October 2018 was the area's fifth wettest with 11.73 inches during the month's 31 days. Since Sept. 1, College Station has received 19.97 inches of rain, and 36.43 inches since the start of 2018.

As November kicks off, the rainfall totals are 2.71 inches above normal, NWS records show. Last year, though, the area's year-to-date recorded rainfall was 48.08 inches.

Historically, September and October make up the second seasonal peak in rainfall after spring, state climatologist and Texas A&M professor John Nielsen-Gammon said.

Though there is still a month left in the Pacific and Atlantic hurricane seasons, Nielsen-Gammon said, he does not expect to see much development unless it is some kind of hybrid storm or a Pacific storm that is steered toward Texas on the jet stream.

With a developing El Niño pattern, he said, people should expect an outlook of above-normal rainfall through winter and the early part of spring. Rather than a 50 percent chance of a wet winter and early spring, it is now closer to a 60 percent or 65 percent chance.

The rain and cloud cover could lower temperatures, Nielsen-Gammon said, and El Niño typically means cooler weather. However, the long-term temperatures increase in Texas over the past two decades essentially cancels out the potential effect of El Niño, so the area will have an equal chance of above- and below-normal temperatures this winter.

As the temperatures cool, evaporation slows down as well, so saturated grounds could stay soggy for longer. This will not extend the growing season of people's yards, though, he noted.

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