Heavy snow opens the month of DecemberMost of the state reported measurable snowfall during the first week of December. Monday through Wednesday of this week (Dec 2-4) brought almost continuous snow to many areas of northeastern Minnesota, especially the north shore along Lake Superior. The greatest amount of snowfall reported by a National Weather Service observer came from 7 miles north of Two Harbors where 35.3 inches was recorded. The Duluth Weather Service Office reported a storm total of 23.3 inches, and Duluth public schools were cancelled two consecutive days over the 3rd and 4th. Tofte reported 25 inches and Wolf Ridge reported 20.7 inches for the week. Many other areas of the state accumulated 5 to 10 inches of snowfall this week, while areas of southeastern Minnesota received mostly rain and drizzle.
Several observers reported some new daily snowfall records for dates this week: On December 2nd, Grand Rapids reported a new daily snowfall record of 9.5 inches (and new daily precipitation record of 0.59 inches); on December 3rd new daily snowfall records were reported from Wadena (9.0"), Sandy Lake Dam (7.5"), and Brainerd (5.5", plus record precipitation of 0.60"); on December 4th new daily record snowfall amounts were reported from International Falls (8.5") and St Cloud (5.0" tied 1926); and on December 5th new daily record snowfall amounts were reported from Itasca State Park (5.0") and Grand Portage (8.2").
Following the snowfall an Arctic air mass spilled into the state from the north causing overnight lows to drop below 0 degrees F in many places. Of further note, the National Weather Service forecast models suggest that cold and snowy weather will dominate the state throughout the first three weeks of December. Some of the coldest December temperatures since 2008 are expected around southern portions of the state.
You can read more about the week's snowfall at the State Climatology Office and NWS-Duluth web sites.
Follow-up on Source Magazine ArticleMany WeatherTalk Newsletter readers and others have been asking to read the article about climate change in Minnesota which was published this fall in Source Magazine produced by the University of Minnesota Extension. Indeed climate change is real in our state, and already having measurable consequences. You can read the entire article on-line here.
Weekly Weather potpourri
A significant tropical cyclone was forming in the Bay of Bengal off the southeast coast of India this week. It was expected to bring high winds and heavy rains to portions of the east India coastline.
Highlights from the weekly drought assessment by Brad Rippey at the USDA World Agricultural Outlook Board:
-There was negligible change in U.S. drought coverage during the seven-day drought-monitoring period, as tranquil weather prevailed in the wake of a pre-Thanksgiving storm across the South and East.
-Parts of the six-state Southeast region experienced a beneficial boost in soil moisture from the pre-Thanksgiving storm. As a result, Southeastern coverage of abnormal dryness (D0) dipped to 42.99% on December 3, down from 56.87% two weeks ago.
- Since the current drought-monitoring period ended (7 a.m. EST on December 3), a new winter storm has begun to unfold across the U.S. Improvements related to this storm will be reflected in next week’s U.S. Drought Monitor, to be released on December 12.
The NOAA web site offers a brush-up on winter weather advisories, watches, and warnings, including criteria used for such information and some winter driving tips. Given our recent change over to winter it might be worth reviewing for yourself here.
MPR listener questionWith an Arctic air mass expected to visit us, our family was wondering what is the coldest ever December temperature in Minnesota? An what about the coldest windchill conditions in December?
Answer: The coldest temperature measured in December is -57 degrees on New Years Eve at Pokegama Dam in 1898. Incidentally the high warmed all the way up to -10 degrees F that day. The worst December windchill conditions were on December 23, 1983 when windchill values in the northern Red River Valley ranged from -55 to -60 degrees F.
Twin Cities Almanac for December 6thThe average MSP high temperature for this date is 29 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 14 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation).
MSP Local Records for December 6thMSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 63 degrees F in 1939; lowest daily maximum temperature of -2 degrees F in 1972; lowest daily minimum temperature is -19 degrees F in 1972; highest daily minimum temperature of 37 F in 1951; record precipitation of 0.53 inches in 1935; and a record 4.1 inches of snow fell on this date in 1969.
Average dew point for December 6th is 13 degrees F, with a maximum of 42 degrees F in 1951 and a minimum of -28 degrees F in 1972.