September finishes warm, but no 90s FWith a flourish of warm days at the end of the month, September finished warmer than normal on a statewide basis, about 1 to 1.5 degrees F warmer than average for most observers in the state. Though some observers saw daytime highs reach the upper 80s F there were no reports of 90 degrees F or greater during the month of September. Of further note the 2014 growing season, designated May through September, brought no 90 degrees F temperatures to many locations in the state that customarily see a number of 90 F days during the period. For example, Rochester recorded the first year without a 90 F temperature since 2008, and Albert Lea reported the first year without a 90 F temperature since 1993. In western Minnesota which normally sees a warmer growing season, Pipestone and Morris reported the first year without a 90 degrees F temperature since 1915!
Wet start to OctoberThe month of October started out wet for most areas of the state, except for northwestern counties. East-central and southeastern areas of the state reported measurable rainfall on each of the first three days of the month, with close to 1 inch a common total. Faribault reported 1.16 inches while Lakeville received 1.30 inches. Winona reported 1.36 inches and Caledonia 1.81 inches, while in the Twin Cities Metro Area MSP airport reported 1.47 inches and the University of Minnesota St Paul Campus 1.20 inches. Well over half of the state's corn crop has reached physiological maturity now and a majority of the soybeans have dropped their leaves. As the corn and soybean harvesting season gets underway in earnest this month Minnesota farmers will be hoping for a series of dry days to get some harvesting done. It appears that patience will be required waiting for a warm and dry interval of weather.
22nd Annual Kuehnast Lecture on October 7thThe Annual Kuehnast Lecture in Atmospheric and Climate Science is scheduled for October 7th, 3 p.m. at the St. Paul Campus Student Center theater. The 22nd Annual Kuehnast Lecture will feature author, musician, and award-winning journalist Andrew Revkin of The New York Times and Pace University. Revkin is known widely as the founder of the Dot Earth blog. His lecture, "The New Communication Climate," will explore issues and opportunities arising as both the environment and the news media experience an era of unprecedented and unpredictable change. Revkin will conclude the program with some music compositions of his own, accompanied by John Munson (MPR's "Wits" program) and friends. Refreshments will follow the program.
Old Wisdom".....climate change..for the first time in history....is being both qualitatively and quantitatively measured......[with] the great amount of evidence gathered the reality of this change can no longer be denied........the recent warming of the climate has so far been most noticeable in the more northerly latitudes of the northern hemisphere....." These are the words of Dr. Donald Baker, climatologist and founder of the Land and Atmospheric Science Program at the University of Minnesota, also the man who hired me back in the 1970s. When did Dr. Baker write this? These words appear in a publication he wrote for the Minnesota Farm Bureau back in April of 1960! Thanks to DNR climatologists Pete Boulay and Greg Spoden who brought this to my attention. Dr. Baker was a beloved faculty member, a great mentor to me and a dear friend.
Weekly Weather potpourri:Dr. Stephen Schneider, climatologist and founder of the journal Climate Change was inducted into the California Hall of Fame this week. Among few scientists to be so recognized, Dr. Schneider won numerous science awards and served as a climate advisor to every U.S. President since Nixon. During his professional career he worked at both NCAR and Stanford University. He passed away in 2010.
A report issued this week in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society is titled "Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 from a Climate Perspective." This is an interesting read because it is basically a fingerprinting study to see how many of the 2013 extreme weather and climate events were tied to global climate change. Certainly not all of the events were attributable to climate change and the authors take great pains to explain why.
In the western Pacific Ocean, Typhoon Phanfone was growing in strength this week, packing winds of 130 mph and creating sea waves of 40-45 feet. It was expected to bring high seas, strong winds, and heavy rains to parts of Japan by the weekend.
The United Kingdom Meteorological Office reported this week that Northern Ireland recorded its driest September in history last month. In addition England, Wales, and Scotland recorded their 2nd driest September of all time. Monthly precipitation amounts typically ranged from only 0.30 inches to 0.90 inches across these countries.
MPR listener question:I recently moved to St Cloud, MN from Columbia SC, so I am still getting used to the wildly fluctuating weather here. Now I hear that there is a chance for snow on Saturday, October 4th! Yikes! How often does it snow in the first half of October here?
Answer:Well, let's start with the month of October. For the St Cloud area two-thirds of all Octobers (back to 1893) bring snowfall. So that's pretty common if you ask me. Now what about the first half (15 days) of the month? Approximately 20 percent of the time snowfall is reported from St Cloud during the first 15 days of the month, however the vast majority (64 percent) of those years the snow is only a trace amount. The largest single day quantity of snowfall measured at St Cloud during the first half of October was 3.6 inches on October 12, 1969. In all cases of early October snowfalls, the snow was short-lived as it warmed up and melted very readily. So don't panic. BTW, further north it has snowed as much as 19 inches at Virginia (St Louis County), MN during the month of October (1951).
Twin Cities Almanac for October 3rd:The average MSP high temperature for this date is 66 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 46 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).
MSP Local Records for October 3rd:
MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 90 degrees F in 1997; lowest daily maximum temperature of 41 degrees F in 1935; lowest daily minimum temperature is 26 degrees F in 1996; highest daily minimum temperature of 72 F in 2005; record precipitation of 2.62 inches in 1903; and record snowfall is a trace in 1935.
Average dew point for October 3rd is 42 degrees F, with a maximum of 64 degrees F in 1926 and a minimum of 18 degrees F in 1989.
All-time state records for October 3rd:The state record high temperature for this date is 95 degrees F at Ada (Norman County) in 1922, and at Milan (Chippewa County) in 1938. The state record low temperature for this date is 9 degrees F at Embarrass (St Louis County) in 1999. State record precipitation for this date is 4.50 inches at Pine River (Crow Wing County) in 1903; and the state record snowfall for this date is 0.3 inches at Virginia (St Louis County) in 1935.
Earth's oldest voicesThis isn't really a meteorological expression, but perhaps it is arguably a climate expression, though derived from Native American culture and others. What are the oldest sounds on Earth? They are the sounds of wind, waves, and running water....all elements of the Earth's climate. Before any life forms existed, millions of years ago, there was the voice of the Earth's atmosphere, wind generated by air pressure gradients (high and low pressure cells) and the differential heating of land and water surfaces. There was also the voice of the Earth's water, waves generated by wind and tidal forces, and running water responding to the forces of gravity. Pretty basic stuff here, but obviously, these are the oldest sounds on our planet. These are the types of sounds that many of us find comforting and peaceful. In fact some doctors prescribe these sounds to relax patients or help them sleep better at night.
Past Weather Features:
Strong thunderstorms crossed the state over October 2-3, 1903, bringing a complete halt to the harvest season. Many observers reported 2-3 inches of rainfall, with hail and winds to 40 mph. Western Minnesota counties were especially hard hit and harvest was delayed for over one week.
October 3, 1922 was the warmest in state history as 16 communities reported a high temperature of 90 degrees F or greater. It was a short-live spell of autumn warmth as a cold front drop temperatures by 30 to 40 degrees F on the 5th of the month.
October 3, 1935 brought snow to many parts of the state. Measurable snowfalls, generally less than one inch, occurred at Orr, Tower, and Virginia, while there were widespread reports of trace amounts even as far south as Spring Grove (Houston County).
October 3-4, 1989 brought a hard freeze to just about every county in the state. Overnight temperatures fell into the teens and twenties F, with lows as cold as 15 degrees F at Theilman and Milan.