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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Snow Accumulates As We Near Month's End

With holiday programming scheduled for this Friday, there will not be a WeatherTalk segment on Minnesota Public Radio's "Morning Edition" news program.  So I am sending along an abbreviated version of Minnesota WeatherTalk early this week.......MS

Snow Accumulates:

This past week both Monday and Wednesday brought snow to parts of the state.  A rapidly moving Alberta Clipper deposited 1-3 inches of snowfall in many places on Monday, and then a more moisture-laden system dropped snow across southern Minnesota and northern Iowa on Wednesday, with some amounts over 4 inches.  This made travel on Wednesday difficult for many going away for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Some observers reported record-setting snowfall amounts on November 26th.  Among these were: 6 inches at St Peter and Amboy, 7 inches at Mapleton, 8 inches at Winnebago, 8.5 inches at Fairmont, and 11 inches at Faribault.  As the month of November comes to an end this weekend, a number of observers have received over 15 inches of snowfall for the month and most of the state's landscape rests under a blanket of snow.  With all of the snow, temperatures have averaged colder than normal for the month, ranging from 6 to 9 degrees below average.  November will be the 6th month of 2014 to record significantly colder than normal temperatures.

Thanksgiving Day, Fasting Day, and Climatology:

Historically, Christian people have held Thanksgivings to celebrate and recognize the gifts and mercies of God.  This has often taken the form of a harvest festival or a banquet in the fall.  Conversely, Fasting Days were often scheduled as a recognition of God's harsh judgements, a way for reconciliation or atonement. These quite often occurred in the spring. But long ago neither of these events were typically observed on
fixed calendar dates.  Some would say that they were more related to climate.

When harvests were made bountiful by a blessed rain or abundant sunshine or when fish and game were caught in great numbers by hunters and fishermen, a community might declare a Thanksgiving Day to celebrate these gifts.  Alternatively, if the winter was harsh, game was scarce, there was spring flooding, or drought related forest fires, then a community might declare a Fasting Day in an attempt to reconcile with God.  Often times this was coincident with the depletion of winter stored food anyway, so there was little to eat. Thus many of these occasions were at least partially dictated by climate and weather variations as they affected agriculture, fish and game, or the hospitality of the local environment.

In early American history, Thanksgiving could be declared independently by a local community, church or colonial government.  These were often celebrated on a weekday that was called "Lecture Day", typically a Wednesday or Thursday when a topical sermon was given each week.  An annual autumn Thanksgiving was pretty well established in many American colonies by the middle of the 17th century and a feast or banquet built around harvested crops and game became customary.  The Continental Congress and early Presidents like Washington and John Adams declared periodic Thanksgivings, often in the month of December.  In 1815, President James Madison declared two national Thanksgivings.   In 1863, President Lincoln declared a Thanksgiving for the last Thursday of November which became a national holiday of sorts until President Franklin Roosevelt signed a bill in 1941 official making Thanksgiving Day the fourth Thursday of each November.  This date which varies from November 22nd to November 28th adheres to the tradition of following the agricultural harvest and hunting seasons, however it also coincides with a highly volatile
climate transition from fall to winter.  Thus this holiday in particular is perhaps loaded with more weather-related memories than any other American holiday.

I certainly hope that your Thanksgiving in 2014 is a safe and enjoyable one.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 26th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 34 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 20 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 26th:
MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 62 degrees F in 1914; lowest daily maximum temperature of 10 degrees F in 1898; lowest daily minimum temperature of -16 degrees F in 1977; highest daily minimum temperature of 39 degrees F in 1909; record rainfall of 1.76 inches in 1896; and record snowfall of 5.9 inches in 2001. The greatest snow depth on this date was 9 inches in 1983 and 1996. Worst wind chill conditions occurred in 1930 with a value of -30 F.

Average dew point for November 26th is 20 degrees F, with a maximum of 52 degrees F in 1909 and a minimum of -22 degrees F in 1977.

All-time state records for November 26th:

Scanning the state climatic data base: the all-time high for this date is 68 degrees F at Fairmont (Martin County) in 1914; the all-time low is -37 degrees F at Pokegama Dam (Itasca County) in 1903. The greatest amount of precipitation on this date is 4.80 inches at Worthington (Nobles County) in 1896; and the heaviest snowfall statewide on this date is 19.5 inches at Granite Falls (Yellow Medicine County) in 2001.

Words of the week: Snawwreath and Snawbroo:

These are terms Scottish meteorologists use in the winter season. Naw is Scottish for snow.  A snawwreath is the term for snowdrift, a feature we have begun to see around the Minnesota landscape this month.  Broo is a Scottish term used to refer to water for cooking.  Thus, snawbroo is melting snow, sometimes harvested in the old days for cooking, especially when the pump handle was frozen.


Chance of mixed precipitation on Friday, then warmer on Saturday with temperatures somewhat above normal.  Cooler Sunday through Tuesday, then a moderation in temperature next week.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Coldest November since 1996

Coldest November since 1996:

Following the winter storm of November 10th, cold air has dominated the state.  Through November 20th average monthly temperatures are running from 6 to 9 degrees F colder than normal, marking the coldest November since 1996.  A streak of 12 consecutive days with no temperature reading of 32 degrees F or higher at MSP is the 2nd longest for the month of November, topped only by 15 consecutive days back in 1880.  Pete Boulay of the Minnesota State Climatology Office has a nice feature on this.

In addition a number of observers have reported new daily record cold maximum daytime temperatures this week.  In fact at least 120 climate stations set such records this week, including the following:
On November 14th: 18 degrees F at Browns Valley and Ottertail; 19 degrees F at Melrose; and 21 degrees F at Owatonna
On November 15th: 19 degrees F at Austin; 17 degrees F at Litchfield; 16 degrees F at Madison; and 21 degrees F at St Cloud
On November 16th: 21 degrees F at Grand Meadow; 16 degrees F at Moose Lake and Thorhult; 12 degrees F at Pokegama Dam; and 24 degrees F at Preston
On November 17th: 12 degrees F at Mora; 15 degrees F at Albert Lea; 13 degrees F at Waseca; 16 degrees F at Windom; and 14 degrees F at Zumbrota
On November 18th: 12 degrees F at Caledonia, Albert Lea, and Winnebago; 16 degrees F at Milaca; 11 degrees F at Pipestone and Windom; and 14 degrees F at Duluth and Wheaton
On November 19th: 9 degrees F at Cotton: 18 degrees F at Grand Marais; 17 degrees F at Brainerd; and 20 degrees F at Rosemount
On November 20th: 24 degrees F at Winona Dam (tied record; 22 degrees F at La Crescent; 18 degrees F at Redwood Falls; and 11 degrees F at Brimson

In addition over 60 new daily minimum temperature records were set this week, including the autumn season's first sub-zero F readings.  Here is a sampling of new record low temperatures set or tied:
On November 14th: -5 degrees F at Benson and Browns Valley; -4 degrees F at Lake Wilson; and 0 degrees F at Georgetown
On November 15th: -8 degrees F at Browns Valley and Hibbing; -7 degrees F at Madison and Benson; -5 degrees F at Montevideo; and -3 degrees F at Aitkin
On November 16th: -6 degrees F at Lamberton; -10 degrees F at Windom; -8 degrees F at Pipestone; and -5 degrees F at Worthington
On November 17th: -2 degrees F at Melrose; -1 degrees F at Lake Wilson, and 0 degrees F at St James
On November 18th:  4 degrees F at Madison; and 0 degrees F at Ottertail
On November 19th:  2 degrees F at Forest Lake; and 7 degrees F at Lakefield
On November 20th:  0 degrees F at Rochester; 1 degrees F at Wells; -1 degrees F at Lakefield; and -8 degrees F at Moose Lake and Brimson
On November 21st: -7 degrees F at Grand Meadow and St Cloud; -11 degrees F at Wright; -7 degrees F at Willmar; -18 degrees F at Embarrass; and -20 degrees F at Cotton

Fosston (Polk County) reported the coldest temperature in the nation on November 20 with a reading of -11 degrees F, and Cotton reported the nation's coldest temperature on the 21st with a reading of -20 degrees F.  On five dates so far this month Minnesota has reported the coldest temperature in the nation.

New Seasonal Climate Outlook:

The NOAA Climate Prediction Center released a new seasonal climate outlook on Thursday of this week (Nov 20).  For the Western Great Lakes Region they see equal chances for above or below normal temperatures  and above or below normal precipitation during the December through February period.  The western states are expected to see above normal temperatures prevail and the southern states below normal temperatures.  Less than normal precipitation is forecast for the states east of Minnesota, including Wisconsin and Michigan.

A good discussion of the new seasonal outlook is presented by NOAA Meteorologist Mike Halpert.

In addition drought persistence is forecasted for the far western counties of Minnesota, notably portions of Wilkin and Traverse Counties.  Currently much of the state landscape is under a 2 to 4 inch snow cover (a result of the winter storm over November 10-11), and soils and lakes are beginning to freeze up for the winter.  Currently frost depths in the soil range from 2 to 6 inches depending on snow cover.

Minnesota Temperature Changes:

The NOAA-National Climate Data Center climate at a glance feature shows the details of Minnesota state temperature trends and how very much they are weighted to increasing minimum temperatures rather increasing maximum temperatures. The pace of increase in minimum temperatures since 1895 is roughly twice that of maximum temperatures on an annual basis. This is real data and should not be dismissed.

Weekly Weather potpourri:

Speaking of cold, NOAA has recently analyzed when the coldest day of the year occurs across the USA.  Naturally there is a great deal of variation.  Across Minnesota it is typically during the 3rd or 4th week of January, but in the mountainous western states it is often in December.  You can find the NOAA report, along with a map on line.
A NOAA Climate Resilience Tool Kit is now available on line to examine ways to evaluate risk from weather and climate extremes, and then to assess the options to take action to mitigate these risks.

Earlier this week on Tuesday, November 18th NOAA described a rare event, freezing temperatures were being reported in all 50 states.  Nationwide it was the coldest November morning since 1976, with temperatures in the 20s F reported from the Florida panhandle.  In addition NOAA reported a national snow cover of 50.4 percent over the USA landscape.  This is the largest mid-November percentage snow cover reported in the USA in several decades.

The St Paul District of the Army Corps of Engineers locked the last tow of the season for the St Paul, MN area on Thursday (November 20) this week as the ice conditions on the Mississippi River are getting difficult for vessels to navigate.  Thus ends the navigation season of 2014 on the upper reaches of the Mississippi River, a season that opened last April 16th, a later than normal date because of prolonged ice thickness on Lake Pepin last spring.  The official Army Corps press release describes more detail.

The American Geophysical Union offered a news release this week based on a recent study headed up by Dr. David Ridley of MIT which shows that a series of recent volcanic eruptions may have played a role in slowing done the pace of warming detected in the global temperature record.  This study will appear later in the Geophysical Research Letters.

MPR listener question:

Do you think we'll have snow for Thanksgiving this year?


Analysis from Pete Boulay of the State Climatology Office shows that for the Twin Cities snow falls on Thanksgiving day about one year out of five.  The way the forecast models are trending for next week, it does appear there will be a chance for snow Wednesday night and into Thanksgiving morning.  Temperatures are expected to be cooler than normal as well.  In addition I would add that for the Thanksgiving 4-day weekend snowfall occurs about 60 percent of the time in the Twin Cities area and close to 75 percent of the time in northern Minnesota communities.   The MN SCO data for Thanksgiving Day may be of interest to you.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 21st:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 37 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 24 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 21st:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 67 degrees F in 1990; lowest daily maximum temperature of 5 degrees F in 1880; lowest daily minimum temperature is -11 degrees F in 1880; highest daily minimum temperature of 42 F in 1963; record precipitation of 0.54 inches in 1994; and record snowfall is 4.8 inches in 1989.

Average dew point for November 21st is 20 degrees F, with a maximum of 58 degrees F in 2001 and a minimum of -2 degrees F in 1959.

All-time state records for November 21st:

The state record high temperature for this date is 72 degrees F at Tracy (Lyon County) in 1962. The state record low temperature for this date is -25 degrees F at Tower (St Louis County) in 1978. State record precipitation for this date is 3.04 inches at Lake City (Wabasha County) in 1996; and the state record snowfall for this date is 16.0 inches at Montevideo (Chippewa County) in 1975.

Word of the Week:  ZEUS

ZEUS is a new airborne measurement system developed by the United Kingdom Meteorological Office and the Natural Environmental Research Council to assess the presence of volcanic ash in the upper atmosphere, more specifically across long distance air traffic routes.  It is a device capable of detecting amounts of volcanic ash in the air by measuring small changes in electrostatic charge.  A British Airways 747 has been fitted with the ZEUS device and made a successful measurement run between London and Johannesburg, South Africa.  Hopefully such measurements will assist forecasters in making better route forecasts for the airlines industry. 

Past Weather Features:

Two of the coldest November 21st days occurred in the 19th Century.  In 1880 Arctic air resided over the state producing morning lows of -13 degrees F at Duluth and -11 degrees F at St Paul.  The daytime high temperature reached only 2 degrees F at Duluth, while St Paul only made it to 5 degrees F.  November 21, 1896 also brought Arctic cold to the state with morning low temperatures of -14 degrees F at Milan, -16 degrees F at New London, and -21 degrees F at Detroit Lakes.  The daytime high only reached -2 degrees F at Crookston that day.

November 20-21, 1973 brought a major winter storm to Minnesota, but instead of snow it developed enormous amounts of rainfall as air temperatures remained in the 40s and 50s F. At least 30 Minnesota communities reported over 2 inches of rainfall, while St James reported a record 3.03 inches.

A major winter snow storm disrupted traffic and caused school closings over November 19-21, 1975.  The heaviest snow fell across central portions of the state.  Reports included 24 inches at Canby, 17 inches at Willmar, 16 inches at Montevideo, Tracy, and Minnesota, and 15 inches at Marshall.

November 20-21, 1990 was a true Indian Summer period with very mild temperatures and sunny skies dominating the state.  Most northern observers reported daytime highs in the 50s, while over 80 communities across central and southern Minnesota saw the thermometer reach or surpass 60 degrees F.  Stillwater, Winona, and Austin reached the 70 F mark, setting new records there.


Milder over the weekend with some thawing temperatures, perhaps even low to mid-40s F in places.  Increasing cloudiness on Sunday with a chance for light rain, turning to snow by evening.  Chance for occasional snow and patchy blowing snow on Monday into Tuesday, then cooler temperatures for Tuesday through the end of next week.  Chance for snow again on Wednesday night and later into Thanksgiving weekend.


Friday, November 14, 2014

First Significant Winter Storm and First Sub-Zero Temperatures

First Winter Storm:

The first significant winter storm of the autumn season crossed the state over Monday and Tuesday (November 10-11) this week depositing several inches of snowfall in many places.  The heaviest band of snow ran through Madison, Willmar, St Cloud, and Mora, over to Rice Lake, Wisconsin with most observers reporting 10 to 14 inches over the two days.  The largest total snowfall reported from the storm was 16.5 inches at St Augusta (Stearns County) and Cambridge (Isanti County).  The storm made both commuting and longer distance travel difficult across central Minnesota counties, and was the cause of many traffic accidents.  A synopsis of this storm is provided by the State Climatology Office.

Some observers reported new daily record snowfall amounts for November 10th, including Benson (6.7"), Moose Lake (8.0"), Dawson (10.0"), Princeton (11.0"), Collegeville (12.0"), Milan (13.0"), St Cloud (13.2"), and Isanti (14.0").  Additional observers reported new record daily amounts of snowfall for November 11th, including Browns Valley (4.3"), Floodwood and Ortonville (5.0"), Montevideo (8.0"), Long Prairie (8.7"), Milaca and Forest Lake (9.0"), Mora (10.0"), and Kimball (11.8").

Much of the snow was expected to linger on the landscape as temperatures are forecast to remain below freezing for a number of days and deep into next week.  In the end the streak of below freezing temperatures (less than 32 F) may linger for 11 or more days.

First sub-zero F temperatures of autumn:

Friday morning, November 14th brought the first sub-zero F temperature readings of the autumn season to many parts of the state, notably western and northern counties.  No record low temperatures were reported, but many observers reported their coldest readings since last March.  Some low temperature values included: -10 degrees F at Brimson; -8 degrees F at Fosston, Benson, and Rice; -6 degrees F at Embarrass and Cotton; -5 degrees F at Bemidji and Browns Valley; -4 degrees F at Hallock and Park Rapids; -3 degrees F at Kabetogama, Long Prairie, and Morris;  -2 degrees F at Fergus Falls, Orr, Silver Bay, and Crane Lake; and -1 degree F at International Falls, Ely, and Lakefield.  Yet more sub-zero F overnight low temperatures are forecast for many areas of Minnesota over the weekend and early next week before temperatures begin to moderate.  Thus soils and lakes will begin to freeze-up over the coming days.

Weekly Weather potpourri:

There is a nice article this week by Dr. Robert Henson in the NCAR/UCAR news about what causes cold temperatures to prevail in North America as they did last winter. He breaks down the trends and the large scale weather features of the Northern Hemisphere which are related to dominant cold temperatures.  Part of the explanation stems from a study by Dr. Axel Timmermann of the University of Hawaii who found that the northern Pacific Ocean has warmed significantly this year, beyond any year in the measurement record.  This has helped to create a persistent ridge in the atmosphere over western states which has allowed polar air to flow south from Canada into the central and eastern USA. You can read some of the narratives from these scientists by clicking on their names.

A new lake-level viewer is available at the NOAA Office of Coastal Management web site.  You can view the current lake level of any of the Great Lakes in the context of its historical variation. 

Also, this week's NOAA.Gov newsletter features an article about expected precipitation changes across the USA.  It not only highlights regional differences but it also explains changes in seasonality.  The western Great Lakes region is expected to get wetter. 

A paper in the current issue of Science documents that continued climate change will lead to much more lightning strikes compared to what is common today.  This will be caused by an increased in atmospheric water vapor and deeper convection.  Researchers from UC-Berkeley used 11 different climate models to test this hypothesis and came up with this conclusion.

The NOAA-Storm Prediction Center has no reports of tornadoes so far this month (November 1-14), marking the fewest reports since last January.  Severe convective weather systems have given way to winter storm systems this month.

MPR listener question:

My wife and I have lived in the Twin Cities since 1999 and we are shocked that the temperature has remained below 32 degrees F since Monday (November) and is expected to stay that way throughout most of next week.  When was the last time we recorded such a long period below freezing during the month of November?


Indeed the forecast calls for below freezing temperatures through at least next Thursday (Nov 20) a period of 11 days.  Such a streak was last observed in the Twin Cities in 1996, and also happened in 1985 and 1911.  The longest ever streak of days below freezing during November in the Twin Cities was 15 days in 1880.  I might also mention that Novembers with streaks of cold temperatures below freezing were precursors to colder than normal Decembers as well.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 14th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 41 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 26 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 14th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 71 degrees F in 1990; lowest daily maximum temperature of 12 degrees F in 1940; lowest daily minimum temperature is 0 degrees F in 1919; highest daily minimum temperature of 52 F in 2001; record precipitation of 0.80 inches in 1926; and record snowfall is 2.5 inches in 1951.

Average dew point for November 14th is 26 degrees F, with a maximum of 58 degrees F in 2001 and a minimum of -2 degrees F in 1959.

All-time state records for November 14th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 81 degrees F at St James (Watonwan County) in 1999. The state record low temperature for this date is -23 degrees F at Warroad (Roseau County) in 1911. State record precipitation for this date is 2.05 inches at Mankato (Blue Earth County) in 1951; and the state record snowfall for this date is 14.0 inches at Moorhead (Clay County) in 1909.

Past Weather Features:

November 14, 1940 was arguably the coldest in state history.  An Arctic air mass just three days after the famous Armistice Day Blizzard, brought extreme cold to Minnesota.  Nearly all areas of the state saw temperatures fall to sub-zero F readings.  In the north, Itasca State Park fell to -20 degrees F, while in the south Windom and Albert Lea fell to lows of -3 degrees F.

Over November 14-16, 1951 a winter storm delivered a great deal of snow to many parts of the state.  Clearwater and Hubbard Counties reported the most snowfall, ranging from 10 to 26 inches.  In the south Le Center received 14 inches, but many other communities measured 3-6 inches.

November 13-14, 1999 brought true Indian Summer conditions to many parts of the state.  Over 60 Minnesota communities reported a daytime high temperature of 70 degrees F or higher.    In southern counties Amboy, Mankato, Windom, Lakefield, St James, and Winnebago all reached 80 degrees F under bright, cloudless skies.  That November was the 3rd warmest in state history.

November 13-14, 2010 brought a winter storm to Minnesota with a mixture of freezing rain and snow.  Across central Minnesota counties many observers reported 6 to 10 inches of snow, while in the south some freezing rain was reported.


Remaining colder than normal with a chance of snow on Saturday, especially in the southern half of the state. In fact Saturday will be a true test for Gopher and Buckeye fans at the football game with occasional snow and windchill values in the teens F.  Some snow flurries continue on Sunday, especially north.  Cold and dry for most of next week, with some temperature moderation towards next weekend.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Second Annual Climate Adaptation Conference

Some snow this week:

Some snowfall accumulated across central portions of the state on Thursday, November 6th, the first widespread accumulation of the season so far. Many areas of Crow Wing, Cass, Aitkin, and Pine Counties reported 1 to 2 inches of snow. The largest reported amount was near Malmo in Aitkin County where 2.4 inches of snow fell. This snowfall is a precursor to another more significant snowfall that is expected statewide over this coming Sunday through Tuesday.

Report on Second Annual Climate Adaptation Conference:

Highlights include:
-Climate trends are clearly showing greater variability in some severe weather elements, including heavier rains, cluster outbreaks of tornadoes, more large hail, and seasonal changes in peak risk periods for hail, strong winds, and tornadoes. Peak season for heavy rainfall has shifted to August in our region.
-More research with reanalysis of upper air data and high resolution climate model outputs will be useful in further delineating the future risk of specific severe weather elements over finer scale geography.
-Climate trends are effecting recreation and tourism in terms of number of visitors and seasonal use and activity, e.g. northern MN more stable environment for winter recreation (skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing); Mississippi River accessibility for educational programs has recently been restricted due to many high flow periods.
-The American Society of Adaptation Professional (ASAP) is an organization designed to foster a community of climate change adaptation practitioners.
-Through this organization and others it is evident that community organizations and local units of government will lead us into the future with successful examples of climate adaptation strategies that may be more effective than legislated federal incentives…at least in the short term, though nearly all units of our federal government have been instructed to develop climate adaptation plans at the highest level.
-The Climate Adaptation Partnership gave the first-ever awards for outstanding leadership in Minnesota climate adaptation education and practice to the following:
Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light which has mobilized the faith community on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoted practical methods to improve environmental stewardship.
Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science which helped landowners adapt better practices to cope with a changing climate, especially MN forested landscapes.
Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District which has promoted climate adaptation practices related to tillage, cover crops, and soil health, helping to mitigate erosion and nutrient runoff episodes.
Paul Douglas, founder of Media Logic Group who has done outstanding work with all media to promote climate change awareness and approaches to adaptation, better stewardship, and mitigation.

Weekly Weather potpourri:

NOAA- National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) now offers an online tool to examine the geographic distribution of major snow storms.  This can be done to look at the entire country or specific regions, and you can zoom in or zoom out for specific locations. 

NOAA released a report on Antarctica sea ice this week utilizing not only the modern era satellite measurement records but also going all the way back to the Nimbus satellite imagery of the mid 1960s. The report shows the waxing and waning of the sea ice extent and that 2014 only just surpassed the level of sea ice detected there back in 1964.

A Community on Ecosystems Services (ACES) will host a conference titled "Linking Science, Practice, and Decision Making" in Washington, D.C. over December 8-11, 2014.  Many speakers will address topics related to valuing and integrating ecosystem services into public and private policy decisions.

The Meteo France reported this week that heavy rains have caused flooding across parts of France and devastated many vineyards in southern parts of the country. In some areas the grape harvest will be reduced by 20 to 30 percent. Nice, France reported rain on November 4th of over 6 inches, their 2nd highest daily amount in history. Many rivers overflowed, some landslides reported, and up to 10,000 residents were left without electricity.

Remnants of Super Typhoon Nuri in the Northern Pacific Ocean will merge with another low pressure system as it approaches the Bering Sea later this week and begins to affect the Gulf of Alaska area with strong winds, high seas, and intense rainfall. Who knows where this storm will go next week as it approaches North America but it may bring some significant weather, including snow and/or a polar air mass to our region.

The IPCC 5th Assessment Synthesis Report for Policymakers was released earlier this month and is available to download (40 pages).

MPR listener question:

You have often mentioned that November is the month with the most cloud cover in Minnesota. Does that also lead to a smaller difference between daytime  and nighttime temperatures?


Good question. Indeed this is the case. There are more days with cloud cover during November than any other month of the year. This condition tends to reduce heating of the air near the ground during the day and also prevents too much heat loss at night. The daily range of temperature, called diurnal fluctuation by climatologists, is from 20 to 30 F degrees much of the year in Minnesota. But in November it is typically only 14 to 16 degrees F. This is due primarily to increased cloud cover, but it is also due to the combined effects of shorter day length, declining sun angle, increased atmospheric humidity, and generally greater wind speeds (keeping the air mixed). November is the second windiest month of the year, trailing only April for most Minnesota counties.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 7th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 46 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 30 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 7th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 72 degrees F in 1874; lowest daily maximum temperature of 15 degrees F in 1991; lowest daily minimum temperature is -6 degrees F in 1991; highest daily minimum temperature of 51 F in 1874; record precipitation of 1.67 inches in 1915; and record snowfall is 4.2 inches in 1947.

Average dew point for November 7th is 30 degrees F, with a maximum of 62 degrees F in 1915 and a minimum of -10 degrees F in 1991.

All-time state records for November 7th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 78 degrees F at Montevideo (Chippewa County) in 1931. The state record low temperature for this date is -23 degrees F at Wild River State Park (Chisago County) in 1991. State record precipitation for this date is 2.30 inches at Garrison (Crow Wing County) in 1991; and the state record snowfall for this date is 14.0 inches at Marshall (Lyon County) in 1943 and at Virginia (St Louis County) in 1947.

Words of the Week: Sierra, Tango, and Zulu:

These are the code words used in AIRMETs (acronym for "AIRman's METeorological information, including statements and advisories) routinely issued by the Aviation Weather Center and the Alaska Aviation Weather Unit and Volcanic Ash Advisory Center.

Sierra refers to a message about IFR (instrument flight rules) weather or mountain obscuration. Tango refers to a message about turbulence, strong surface winds, and windshear. Zulu refers to a message about icing and freezing levels in the atmosphere. All of these messages are of critical importance to pilots and updated every six hours, or more frequently if needed.

Past Weather Features:

A short-live return to summer-like conditions over November 7-8, 1931 produced dozens of daily maximum temperature records around the state. Over 30 communities reported daytime highs of 70 degrees F or greater, under bright, sunny skies.  Temperatures fell off into the 30s and 40s F by mid-month.

A large winter storm brought mixed precipitation and a good deal of snow to the state over November 6-9, 1943. Rain, sleet, glaze, and snow were reported around the state, bringing down power lines in northern Minnesota. Many parts of central and northern Minnesota reported 10 to 25 inches of snowfall, with drifts up to 15 feet in depth blocking roads in western counties. Hundreds of autos were abandoned on roads and trains were delayed for up to 48 hours. The locomotive of a train stranded near Windom was completed encased in a snow drift. High waves on Lake Superior caused some erosion damage, but most ships were safely anchored in Duluth Harbor. Farmers reported some loss of livestock and turkeys.

Perhaps the coldest November 7th in state history occurred in 1991. Nearly every observer in the state reported a morning low temperature that was below 0 degrees F, with some ranging from -10 to -20 F. This was the week following the famous Halloween Blizzard so there was ample snow on the ground as well.

November 5-7, 2000 saw a slow moving low pressure system cross the state and bring a great deal of rainfall to many counties.  Most observers reported 1-2 inches of rain. Twenty-seven communities reported over 2 inches of rainfall, with St Francis reporting 3.37 inches a record amount for November.


Cooler than normal temperature trend will be dominant for the weekend, with a good deal of wind on Saturday.  Chance of snow late Sunday and into Monday and Tuesday, then continued cold and dry much of next week.  Some possible single digit lows in northern counties.

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