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    October 2011: A Month of Extreme Weather

    November 1, 2011; 5:35 AM ET
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    From massive dust storms in Texas to a major snowstorm in Denver and a historic, destructive snow in the Northeast, October 2011 has been extreme as far as weather goes across the United States.

    Many people have already been questioning whether all this crazy weather means an even crazier winter.

    Let's first take a look back at some of the major weather events of October 2011.

    Dust Storms Stir Up Memories of the Dust Bowl in Texas

    A massive dust storm, called a haboob, blasted Lubbock, Texas, late on Oct. 17, 2011, making many people think of the Dust Bowl. The sky turned red as the cloud of dust pushed through the city.

    "Have to shower after being outside in this tornado of dust! #sandyteeth," dust storm witness Tracey Clem tweeted.

    The haboob was stirred as a potent cold front pushed through western Texas, bringing whipping winds. Wind gusts over 60 mph sent the dust swirling through the air.

    The winds were strong enough to result in some localized damage as well such as toppling over power lines and trees.

    "The Dust Bowl Era was a series of drought years spanning the early and middle 1930s, which was made worse by wind storms that blew away a large amount of topsoil on the Great Plains," according to Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

    "According to AccuWeather.com Forensics, in Lubbock, every year from 1950 through 1955 brought below-normal rainfall and had a cumulative effect."

    "The current drought and warmth have so far lasted just a little over a year," added Sosnowski. "However, it has been much more intense than during much of the 1950s era with well-below-average rainfall and well-above-average warmth."

    Denver Gets Walloping of Snow

    A "tree-snapping, travel-disrupting" snowstorm pounded Denver and the I-25 corridor Oct. 25-26, 2011.

    Denver got 8.5 inches from the early season snowstorm, while the Colorado Rockies were blanketed by more than a foot.

    Photo from the Denver snowstorm by AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Heather Buchman

    While the storm caused travel delays and damage, the snow was not that rare for the region.

    "Denver typically has two peaks of snow each year. One in the fall and the other late in the winter or early in the spring," said AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews.

    "The highest normal monthly snowfalls occur in November and March," added Andrews.

    The weight of snow proved too much for trees, and the result was more than 100,000 residents in the dark in the Denver area alone.

    Historic October Snow Struck Northeast Before Halloween

    A historic storm hammered the Northeast with record snow on the last weekend in October, knocking out power to more than 3 million people and damaging thousands of trees. Topping the snow totals list were amounts of more than 2 feet of snow that piled up over some of the higher elevations of western Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.

    "This was the most snow over the most widespread area that I have ever seen in the Northeast in October," according to AccuWeather.com Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

    Photo of severe tree damage in Holyoke, Mass., after the weekend snowstorm, submitted by AccuWeather.com Facebook Fan Yesenia J.

    New York City received an unprecedented snowfall for October when 2.9 inches fell on Saturday. The snow caused flight delays of more than five hours at JFK International Airport. Hartford, Conn., Worcester, Mass., and Newark, N.J., were all hammered by the most snow ever received on an October day from this storm.

    Daily snowfall records were shattered in many other cities and towns across the Northeast, some were the old records dating all the way back to 1925 and 1903. Philadelphia and Boston are included in cities that set new daily record snowfalls from this storm.

    With this snowstorm's destruction, it will not soon be forgotten by Northeasterners. In Connecticut, more people lost power from this snowstorm than from Hurricane Irene. However, this was not the first occurrence of snow in the Northeast this season.

    Enough snow fell the first two days in October for skiing to begin at Snowshoe Mountain, W.Va. Snow even made a rare appearance at the AccuWeather.com Headquarters in State College, Pa., on Oct. 2, 2011.

    Glowing Waves and the Northern Lights to Boot

    Besides a storm early in October that dumped heavy snow over the Sierra of California, the West Coast was spared the crazy weather for the most part. However, the month started with a rare phenomenon in Southern California.

    The waves glowed blue at San Diego beaches early in October from an algae bloom called red tide.

    This photo of the Northern Lights was captured in Beavercreek, Ohio, which is located east of Dayton, at 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 24, 2011. It was submitted by AccuWeather.com Facebook Fan Joseph L.

    It was not just the ocean that glowed during October, the Northern Lights also lit up the sky across parts of the U.S., as a solar storm occurred on Oct. 24, 2011. In this rare and magnificent display, residents of the U.S., as far south as Georgia, saw the Northern Lights!

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