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Extension > Mark Seeley's WeatherTalk > October 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Climate Summary for October

Preliminary climate summary for October 2014:

October saw a cooler than normal start to the month, a generally warmer than normal middle of the month, and a cooler than normal finish to the month.  In the end most observers reported mean monthly temperature values that were near normal.  Extreme temperatures for the month ranged from 81 degrees F at Madison (Lac qui Parle County) on the 24th to just 11 degrees F at Crookston on the 31st.  Much of the middle part of the month was dominated by bright, sunny days.

Most observers reported a drier than normal October, some with less than half of the average precipitation historically.  Western areas of the state were the driest with many reports of total precipitation less than one inch, while southeastern counties were the wettest.  Many southeastern Minnesota cities reported over 2 inches of precipitation and Caledonia (Houston County) reported 4.69 inches.  Several observers reported traces of snowfall, but measurable amounts only occurred in north-central and northeastern counties on the last two days of the month, topped by 2 inches at Isabella.

October brought enough good field working days that most Minnesota farmers were able to harvest corn and soybean crops.  Yields were highly variable this year due to a late planting season, highly variable rainfall, and some early frosts.  But October generally favored good field drying conditions, saving farmers on drying costs prior to storing the crop.

Asthma and Allergy Foundation Rankings:

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) ranks the Top 50 Cities for each allergy season (spring and fall) based on measured pollen levels, allergy medications administered per capita, and number of allergists per capita for each major city.  They use a weighted scoring system of 1 to 100, with a mean city score of 62.5.  The top three allergy cities in America this autumn season are Louisville, KY (score 100), Wichita, KS (score 95.76), and Oklahoma City, OK (score 92.00).  Minneapolis ranks 35th this autumn with a score of just 66.96.  Last year Minneapolis ranked 37th highest.  Among upper Midwestern cities this autumn, both Des Moines, IA and Madison, WI have higher scores than Minneapolis.  So I guess we should feel good about that.

November 6th Climate Adaptation Conference:

The Second Annual Conference on Climate Adaptation, "Building Minnesota's Capacity for Climate Adaptation" will be held November 6, 2014 at the Hyatt in Minneapolis.  Keynote speakers include Dr. Harold Brooks from the NOAA Severe Storms Laboratory in Oklahoma and Steve Adams from the Institute for Sustainable Communities.  In addition there will be many fine speakers at the break-out sessions on watershed management, ecosystems, agriculture, public health, community planning, recreation, and tourism. To register you can call 612-624-7452 or use the embedded link to the conference.

Weekly Weather potpourri::



Georgetown University Climate Center released an update this week on statewide climate adaptation plans and activities among the 50 states. So far 15 states have filed a state-led climate change adaptation strategy plan which addresses changes needed in state infrastructure.


The United Kingdom Meteorological Office announced this week plans to unveil a new supercomputer that will be 13 times more powerful than their present computer.  The new system will produce weather and climate forecasts faster and with high spatial resolution than before. BTW the United Kingdom reported its warmest Halloween in history with temperatures ranging from 65-70 degrees F as far north as York and Carlisle.  Light costumes, and even shorts were being worn by trick-or-treaters.

The government in Sri Lanka reported widespread flooding and some deaths associated with mudslides this week following a week of monsoon rains that delivered several inches of moisture to what had previously been a dry landscape.  Thousands of people were displaced by the floods.

Remnants of Tropical Cyclone Nilofar were bringing high seas, moderate rains, and brisk winds to coastal regions between Karachi, Pakistan and Jamnagar, India this week.  It is expected to dissipate rapidly.  Elsewhere Tropical Storm Nuri was expected to strengthen northeast of the Philippines in the Western Pacific Ocean producing winds over 100 mph by Sunday, but largely remaining out to sea.  Tropical Storm Vance in the Eastern Pacific Ocean was expected to gain strength and bring heavy rains to coastal regions around Mazatlan, Mexico early next week.

Highlights from the weekly briefing on drought by Brad Rippey of the USDA include:
-During the four-week period ending on October 28, 2014, contiguous U.S. drought coverage decreased to 29.61% -- a 0.96 percentage point drop. 
-Drought still covers a substantial portion of the southern Plains and the western U.S.  On October 28, the highest level of droughtD4, or exceptional drought was noted in portions of California (58%), Nevada (12%), Oklahoma (7%), and Texas (4%). 
-At the end of 2014 growing season, the Midwest remains nearly drought-free.  By October 26, nearly three-quarters of the U.S. corn (74%) was rated in good to excellent condition the highest end-of-season rating since 2004. 

MPR listener question:

What kind of weather do you see for Election Day next Tuesday?

Answer:

Not much impact from the weather for next Tuesday's Election.  Skies should be partly to mostly sunny with daytime highs from the mid 40s F in the north to mid 50s F in the south.  It looks like a dry day as well across most of the state.  Perhaps we'll lead the nation again in voter turnout.

Twin Cities Almanac for October 31st:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 53 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 35 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 31st:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 83 degrees F in 1950; lowest daily maximum temperature of 26 degrees F in 1873; lowest daily minimum temperature is 15 degrees F in 1878; highest daily minimum temperature of 57 F in 1933; record precipitation of 0.85 inches in 1991; and record snowfall is 8.2 inches in 1991.

Average dew point for October 31st is 34 degrees F, with a maximum of 60 degrees F in 1974 and a minimum of 4 degrees F in 1996.

All-time state records for October 31st:

The state record high temperature for this date is 86 degrees F at Worthington (Nobles County) in 1950. The state record low temperature for this date is -4 degrees F at Hallock (Kittson County) in 1913. State record precipitation for this date is 4.12 inches at Luverne (Rock County) in 1979; and the state record snowfall for this date is 8.5 inches at New Hope (Hennepin County) in 1991.

Past Weather Features:

October 30 to November 1, 1950 brought a spell of summer-like weather to Minnesota with daytime highs in the 70s and 80s F and nighttime lows in the 50s F, marking the warmest Halloween in state history.  Over 30 cities in the state reported daytime highs in the 80s F.  A cold front dropped temperatures by 30-35 degrees F on November 2nd.

October 30 to November 3, 1951 brought a winter storm and Cold Wave to Minnesota.  The precipitation included a mixture of rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow, all of which brought a halt to the harvest season.  Record-setting snowfall amounts were reported from many central and northern locations including over 10 inches at Itasca State Park, Walker, Pokegama Dam, Virginia, Hinckley, Cloquet, Aitkin, Wadena, and Mora.  Both Leech Lake and Pine River received over 14 inches.  Temperatures behind the storm front plummeted to below zero F readings in many communities. Many roads and highways were closed, as were many schools.  Up until the 1991 Halloween Blizzard this was the worst winter storm to strike the state over October 31st.

An early winter storm brought a mixture of precipitation to the state over October 30 to November 1 of 1979.  The Red River Valley saw 3 to 6 inches of snowfall, mixed with rain and sleet, while southwestern counties received mostly heavy rains which brought an end to the late harvest season.  Alexandria, Luverne, Marshall, Tracy, and Tyler observers
reported over 4 inches of rainfall, while Lake Wilson reported nearly 6 inches.

The most memorable event in Minnesota history for this time of year is the famous Halloween Blizzard of 1991. This storm affected mostly the eastern portions of the state with record-setting snowfall over October 31 to November 3.  Over 30 communities reported 20 or more inches of snowfall, with 28.4 inches in the Twin Cities.  Elsewhere Brimson, Bruno, Duluth, Eveleth, Two Harbors, and Gunflint Lake reported over 30 inches of snow.  Winds up to 60 mph produced huge drifts and a 180 mile-long stretch of I90 was closed for a time.

Outlook:

Cooler than normal to start out the weekend, then warming to near normal temperatures (40s and 50s F) for Sunday.  Continued near normal temperatures and perhaps a few days warmer than normal next week with little chance for precipitation.
 




 



 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Warm and Dry Pattern Prevails

Warm October 23-24:

 Temperatures soared into the 70s F in more than 20 Minnesota communities on Thursday and Friday this week (Oct 23-24), the highest temperatures on these dates since 1998 for many.    The highest values occurred in western communities.  Moorhead reached 72 degrees F which was just one degree shy of the all-time record for October 23rd.  Browns Valley and Milan reached 74 degrees F, with afternoon humidity values only ranging from 20 to 30 percent, indicating very dry air.  The recent run of warm weather, especially in western counties has offset the colder than normal start to the month so that average October temperature values now are running 1 to 2 degrees F warmer than normal.

Dryness expands:

The Minnesota State Climatology Office reported this week that the absence of precipitation this month has caused a wider area of the state to be designated as "abnormally dry" by the US Drought Monitor. Most of the expansion of dryness has occurred in northwestern and north-central counties, and now over 17 percent of the state landscape is designated as abnormally dry.  September was drier than normal in many areas of the state, and since October 4th little precipitation has occurred as well.  This has been great for leaf-peeping, and for farmers harvesting their crops, but many of the state's soils are in need of moisture recharge before freezing up for the winter.


Last day for early registration fees to the November 6th Climate Adaptation Conference:

Early registration rates (just $95/person and $65/student) end on Friday (October 24th) for the Second Annual Conference on Climate Adaptation, "Building Minnesota's Capacity for Climate Adaptation" to be held November 6, 2014 at the Hyatt in Minneapolis.  After October 24th registration rates will go up by $25.  Keynote speakers include Dr. Harold Brooks from the NOAA Severe Storms Laboratory in Oklahoma and Steve Adams from the Institute for Sustainable Communities.  In addition there will be many fine speakers at the break-out sessions on watershed management, ecosystems, agriculture, public health, community planning, recreation, and tourism. To register call 612-624-7452 or go hypertext link underlined above


Statewide Daily Climate Records Set in 2014 (so far):

In general this year across Minnesota has been cooler than normal, with mixed precipitation (most areas above normal, but with some drier than normal spots).  For a statewide look, temperature-wise five months have been abnormally cool and four months near normal.  Moisture-wise three months have been drier than normal, three months near normal, and three months above normal, with a record-setting wettest June in history. In June over 30 climate stations set new monthly rainfall records, with several reports over 12 inches.

Amidst the data for 2014 so far, there are nine statewide daily climate records which have been set:

All-time precipitation records:
1.40 inches at Thorhult (Beltrami County) on January 26, 2014
2.02 inches at Two Harbors (Lake County) on February 21, 2014
4.85 inches at Santiago (Sherburne County) on May 8, 2014
All-time snowfall records:
15.0 inches at Wild River State Park (Chisago County) on April 17, 2014
All-time minimum temperature records:
-44 degrees F at Embarrass (St Louis County) on March 3, 2014
All-time coldest maximum temperature records:
-14 degrees F at Warroad (Roseau County) on March 2, 2014
-12 degrees F at Embarrass (St Louis County) on March 3, 2014
47 degrees F at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center (Lake County) on June 15, 2014
41 degrees F at Isabella (Lake County) on September 11, 2014

Approaching the Dark Days or SAD days:

As the shorter days become more evident (we are losing over 20 minutes per week in day length now), some people begin to suffer from the deprivation of light, a malady called seasonal affected disorder (SAD).  This can be both physical and mental, and in some cases lead to severe depression. The somewhat rapid loss in day length which occurs this time of  year is magnified by two other factors, a lowering sun angle (declination) and increased cloudiness.  The lowered sun angle creates very long and long lasting shadows, especially
on northerly slopes, such that some parts of the landscape are in shade for much of the day.  In addition, the degree of cloudiness begins to increase, peaking during the month of November in Minnesota when two thirds of the days are mostly cloudy (8/10 sky cover or greater) and most of the remaining days are partly cloudy (4/10 to 7/10 sky cover). This produces a condition of highly diffuse light rather than direct sunlight. The average percent possible sunshine is less than 40 percent during November and perfectly clear days are almost unheard of.  In this regard then, we not only lose day length (or quantity of light), but we also lose out on direct sunlight (or the quality of light).



Weather potpourri:

Andy Revkin wrote this week about a new play in New York City called "Extreme Whether" which explores the theme of climate change as a source of strife within a family.  It is written by playwright Karen Malpede.  I don't know how long it will be playing, but you can read more about it at the underlined link. 

Remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo slammed into western European countries this week.  It brought strong winds, high seas, and heavy rains to parts of Germany and Belgium where flooding and downed power lines and trees were reported.  It was expected to bring disturbed weather to central Europe early in the weekend.

NOAA Climate.gov newsletter reported this week on a study by Richard Allan of the University of Reading which documents that El Nino, or rather the absence of El Nino has contributed to a recent slowing down in the global surface temperature increase.

ObservedChangesInGlobalTemp
Observed changes in global annual average surface temperature relative to 1961-1990 from the HadCRUTv4 dataset which is updated to account for gaps in data coverage (version 2.0 Long Reconstruction). The temperature difference is compared with 1961-1990 average using data from Cowtan & Way (2014). The rate of warming from 1970-2013 (red trend line) is larger than the rate of warming between 1998-2013 (orange line).

MPR listener question:

 We recently moved to the Twin Cities from Vermont and we thoroughly enjoy cross country skiing.  I am told by our new neighbors that occasionally November delivers a good amount of snow and the skiing season can begin before Thanksgiving.  How often does this occur and what are the snowfall amounts we might expect.

Answer:

 Locally here in the Twin Cities area normal November snowfall amounts range from 8-10 inches.  There have been years when the Twin Cities have recorded 20 or more inches of snowfall in November, and the record is 46.9 inches back in 1991.  For cross country skiing many residents go to northern Minnesota locations where November snowfalls are greater and longer lasting.  Up north places like Two Harbors, Duluth, Pigeon River Sandy Lake, and Bruno have had over 50 inches of snowfall in November.

Twin Cities Almanac for October 24th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 55 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 36 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 24th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 80 degrees F in 1989; lowest daily maximum temperature of 33 degrees F in 1887; lowest daily minimum temperature is 15 degrees F in 1887; highest daily minimum temperature of 59 F in 2000; record precipitation of 1.00 inches in 1899; and record snowfall is 1.0 inches in 2001.

Average dew point for October 24th is 35 degrees F, with a maximum of 62 degrees F in 2000 and a minimum of 11 degrees F in 1960.

All-time state records for October 24th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 88 degrees F at Fairmont (Martin County) in 1891. The state record low temperature for this date is -5 degrees F at Isabella (Lake County) in 1976. State record precipitation for this date is 2.65 inches at Faribault (Rice County) in 1899; and the state record snowfall for this date is 12.0 inches at Itasca State Park (Clearwater County) in 1919.

Past Weather Features:

An early winter storm brought 6 to 12 inches of snowfall to portions of northern Minnesota over October 24-25, 1919.  Following the snowfall temperatures fell below zero F in over 20 northern communities, setting record low values in many cases, including -14 F at Angus and Itasca State Park.

October 24, 1927 brought a record-setting warm day to many western and southern Minnesota counties.  Temperatures soared into the 70s and 80s F in 27 different counties.  It was 72 degrees F as far north as Park Rapids and 85 degrees F at Chatfield. 

October 24, 1976 was the coldest of the modern era.  Many observers reported morning lows in the single digits F.  In the northeast it was 0 degrees F at Tower and -5 degrees F at Isabella.  The daytime temperature rose no higher than 29 degrees F at Baudette and Gunflint Lake.

October 24-25, 2001 brought widespread snow to many parts of the state, especially northern communities.  Many observers reported over 6 inches from this early winter type storm, while Thief River Falls measured 11 inches and Argyle measured 14 inches.  The snow brought a halt to harvest and field work.

Outlook:

Mostly warm and pleasant over the weekend, with increasing clouds on Sunday night and a chance for showers.  Continued chance for showers on Monday, then much cooler on Tuesday.  A bit warmer towards Halloween and next weekend.

Friday, October 17, 2014

New Seasonal Climate Outlook

New Seasonal Climate Outlook:

The NOAA Climate Prediction Center released new seasonal climate outlooks on Thursday (Oct 16) of this week.  The outlooks for November through January and for December through February favor warmer than normal temperature conditions for the western states, the northern plains states, northern Great Lakes (including most of Minnesota), and northeastern states.  This outlook is in direct conflict with what the Farmer's Almanac issued earlier the autumn, which called for another long, frigid, and snowy winter for Minnesota.  Detailed in the narrative of the new seasonal outlook is the notion that the first half of winter has a higher probability for warmth than the second half of winter in our area.  This is partially exemplified in the outlook for the month of November alone, which shows a stronger signature for being warmer than normal. 



The outlook for precipitation from November through February across the Great Lakes generally favors drier than normal, except for large portions of Minnesota which are designated to have equal chances for wetter or drier than normal conditions to prevail. 

As a footnote the medium range models certainly depict that the rest of October will be warmer than normal and drier than normal over most of the state.  This week brought warmth and very dry air as well with afternoon relative humidity readings on Wednesday (Oct 15) of just 32 percent at MSP, 24 percent at Pipestone, 22 percent at Fergus Falls, and 21 percent at Fairmont.

A Few Notes on Lake Superior's Climate:

We have spoken a number of times about the effects that Lake Superior has on the north shore climate of Minnesota. It clearly affects the temperature, wind, precipitation (rain and snow), and cloudiness of north shore communities like Two Harbors, Grand Marais, Grand Portage, Knife River, and Beaver Bay.  But how about the climate over the lake itself?  Thanks to the NOAA National Data Buoy Center (the deployment of instrumented buoys on Lake Superior has occurred during our lifetime), and the work of the University of Minnesota Large Lakes Observatory (notably Dr. Jay Austin and colleagues), we are learning more about the climate patterns over the lake itself.

Some examples.....Because water absorbs and surrenders heat energy quite slowly compared to land, the range and variation in monthly temperatures is quite out of phase with the land-based climate stations along the north shore. Average water temperatures in October are warmer than those of June as a result of the time lag effect of summer warming. Maximum water temperatures, ranging from 55 to 65 F typically occur in August, sometimes even early September. The land stations show maximum air temperature values in July.  The coldest air temperatures on land occur in January and are often well below zero F, while the coldest the lake ever gets is about 332-34 degrees F, a temperature it may hold steady for most of the late winter and even into the month of May.

The windiest month on the lake is November (remember the gales of November) with winds of 20 mph or more common in that month, and gusts well over 40 mph.  Expectedly, the maximum wave heights also occur in November, with occasional extreme values over 15 ft. 

The maximum difference between air temperature and water temperature occurs in the months of November and December, when the air temperature may be as much as 20-25 degrees F colder than the water, and in June when the air temperature may be as much as 15 to 20 degrees F warmer.

Paper on Tornadoes in Science this week:

Dr. Harold Brooks and colleagues from the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory in Oklahoma published a paper this week in Science which documents increased variability in the number of annual tornadoes in the USA, along with increased variability in the start date of the tornado season.  Overall, there has been a decrease in the number of tornado days, but total number of tornadoes has changed little.

Dr. Brooks will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming Second Conference on Climate Adaptation ("Building Minnesota's Capacity for Climate Adaptation") to be held on November 6, 2014 at the Hyatt in downtown Minneapolis.  There is a great lineup of other speakers for this conference.  Topics will include natural resources, agriculture, urban planning, public health, recreation and tourism, and many other areas impacted by climate change.


New Climate Tool from U2U:

The regional climate project known as Useful to Usable (U2U) has developed a visualization tool to examine the geographic distributions of monthly climatic patterns associated with El Nino, La Nina, and Arctic Oscillation features of the climate.  It is handy to examine which months are most affected by these climate features and how the patterns are distributed geographically. I encourage you to give it a try.

Weekly Weather potpourri:

Resilient Chicago, Climate Planning for the Future was a statewide meeting held in Chicago earlier this autumn to hear about climate trends and climate adaptation practices.  Many other states and cities are hosting such meetings. 

Record warmth in northern Alaska was reported for the month of September and for much of the 2014 summer in a report released by NOAA this week. 

George Mason University will host an international conference next week on Weather and Climate Extremes, Food Security and Biodiversity.  The conference will take place in Washington, D.C. over October 20-24.

Hurricane Gonzalo was gaining strength in the North Atlantic Ocean this week and heading towards Bermuda.  Sustained winds over 145 mph and a very wide band of showers and thunderstorms were associated with this storm on Thursday (Oct 16) as it moved north in the Atlantic.  Though weakened it will still be a powerful hurricane when it moves toward Bermuda Friday night.



The weather in the Pacific Ocean was relatively quiet except for Tropical Storm Ana which was moving towards Hawaii.  This storm is likely to bring some rain and high surf to the islands over the coming weekend. 


MPR listener question:

I have only lived in Minnesota a few years, but my neighbor tells me that the thunderstorm season all but ends in November.  In Arkansas we would still get some heavy duty thunderstorms in November bringing 3 to 4 inch rains.  Have you ever had such storms here in November?

Answer:

By far the greatest November thunderstorm in Minnesota history occurred over Thanksgiving (Nov 26) in 1896.  This storm brought high winds, hail, and heavy rainfall to many areas.  Worthington received almost 5 inches of rain while several other locations reported 3 to 4 inches, including Farmington, Le Sueur, New Ulm, Shakopee, and St Paul.  The storms were followed by cool weather, with snow.

Twin Cities Almanac for October 17th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 60 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 41 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 17th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 84 degrees F in 1910; lowest daily maximum temperature of 33 degrees F in 1880 and 1930; lowest daily minimum temperature is 22 degrees F in 1948 and 1952; highest daily minimum temperature of 62 F in 1910 and 1953; record precipitation of 1.24 inches in 1879; and record snowfall is a trace in 1925 and 1990.

Average dew point for October 17th is 38 degrees F, with a maximum of 66 degrees F in 1994 and a minimum of 8 degrees F in 1948.


All-time state records for October 17th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 90 degrees F at Moorhead (Clay County), Long Prairie (Todd County), Campbell (Wilkin County), and Beardsley (Big Stone County) in 1910. The state record low temperature for this date is 2 degrees F at Bemidji (Beltrami County) and Cass Lake (Cass County) in 1952. State record precipitation for this date is 4.02 inches at Georgetown (Clay County) in 1971; and the state record snowfall for this date is 7.0 inches at Cook (St Louis County) and Gunflint Lake (Cook County) in 1990.

Past Weather Features:

October 16-18, 1880 brought one of the heaviest early season snowfalls in Minnesota history to southwestern counties.  The observer in Canby reported snow drifts up to 20 feet high, while the New Ulm observer measured 15 inches of snowfall.  At Breckenridge the snow reduced visibility to near zero for a time.  The snow storm shut down the railroads in southwestern counties for a period of days and was later documented in Laura Ingalls Wilder's story of The Long Winter.

Warmest October 17th in state history occurred in 1910.  Many locations reached a daytime high of 90 degrees F, while even the Iron Range communities like Virginia made it into the 80s F under bright sunny skies.  A sharp cold front two days later dropped temperatures by 40 to 50 degrees F.

1952 brought the coldest October 17th in state history with morning lows in the single digits up north and just teens in the south.  It was only 12 degrees F at Rosemount and 13 degrees F at Austin.  Many observers also reported daytime highs no greater than 39 degrees F.  The prolonged mid-month cold spell was alleviated on the 23rd when temperatures climbed into the 60s and 70s F.

Strong thunderstorms brought heavy rains to the western and northern portions of the state over October 16-17, 1971.  The heavy rains brought a halt to the fall harvest season, as many observers reported over 2 inches.  Ada, Fosston, Benson, and Georgetown reported over 3 inches of rain and resumption of harvest activity was delayed over a week.

A storm brought a mixture of rain, freezing rain, and snow to Minnesota on October 17, 1990.  Some areas received significant snowfalls including 4" at Ada, 3.6" as Hibbing, 3.5" at Big Falls, and 3.0" at Cotton.  Gunflint Lake and Cook reported a record 7 inches.

Outlook:

Cooler than normal temperatures to start the weekend, then warming up on Sunday to near normal temperatures.  Small chance of showers in the north over the weekend, but dry elsewhere.  Continued near normal to warmer than normal temperatures with dry weather through much of next week.

 


 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Roller coaster climate pattern this month

Roller Coaster Climate Pattern

The climate patterns this month have been classic for Minnesota....that is to say highly variable.  We started on the 1st with many reports of daytime temperatures in the 70s F.  In fact over 20 western Minnesota communities reported daytime highs of 70 F or above.  Then on the 4th of the month 35 Minnesota communities reported record-setting cold daytime maximum temperatures with their thermometers remaining in the 30s and 40s F all day.  Windom only rose to 43 degrees F, while Cass Lake barely reached 38 degrees F for a daytime high.  The next morning (October 5th) Zumbrota (Goodhue County) reported a record-tying minimum temperature of just 23 degrees F (tied 1952). The remainder of the week was cold with frequent frosty mornings.  By October 9th about two-thirds of the state's weather observers have reported at least one frost this autumn.

Also over October 4-5 over 30 communities reported a trace of snowfall, while the Brainerd area reported 0.6 inches, one of the earliest measurable snowfalls observed there. More recently this week temperatures have moderated and will rise to near seasonally normal levels by early next week.  Further temperatures are supposed to be warmer than normal for much of the mid-month period.  It is possible many areas of the state will see 70 degrees F again with an extended Indian Summer.

Changing day length effects on temperature

As we continue to lose daylight hours this month, you may notice an increase in the daily temperature range.  Though the sun will heat the dry landscape substantially during the day (as we have seen this week), the longer nights allow for more cooling to occur, dropping the overnight lows to a greater degree than just a month ago.  This produces a larger daily temperature range in the absence of significant cloud cover (note many observers reported a 30-35 degrees F temperature rise on Monday, October 6th).

Another temperature effect of day length is change in the time of day that the maximum temperature occurs.  Again, in the absence of persistent cloud cover, or drastic change in air mass because of a strong frontal passage, the time of the maximum temperature is typically 5:00 to 6:00 pm in July, 4:00 to 5:00 pm this time of year (October), and during the very short days of December, the maximum temperature occurs between 3:00 and 4:00 pm.
 

Weekly Weather potpourri:

Super Typhoon VongFong was generating wind gusts over 150 mph this week and sea wave heights of 40-45 feet.  It was on a track to bring heavy rains, high seas, and damaging winds to parts of South Korea and Japan over the weekend.

Also, Cyclone Hudhud in the Bay of Bengal was expected to bring heavy rains and strong winds to east-central India over the weekend as well.

NOAA announced this week that it will host a press conference next Thursday, October 16th to discuss and delineate the winter season outlook for the USA.  Several scientists from the Climate Prediction Center will be present to lead the discussion and answer questions.

The NOAA Climate.Gov newsletter also announced this week a webinar on October 16th to discuss "Climate Change and National Security."  This will take place at Ohio State University and offer perspectives on how climate change may impact humanitarian relief efforts and armed conflicts.

A recent study by the University of British Columbia finds that a changing climate will have significant effects on the redistribution of fish stocks causing many species to migrate from the tropical latitudes toward the polar latitudes.  This will be detrimental to the subtropical countries and cultures that rely on certain fish stocks for their basic dietary needs.  There will be new opportunities for fisheries development in more Arctic regions of the ocean basins.

MPR listener question:

What are the all-time October temperature extremes for Minnesota and what is the last date that a 90 degrees F temperature has ever been recorded this month?

 Answer:

The all-time extremes for October in Minnesota are 98 degrees F at Beardsley (Big Stone County) on October 5, 1963 and -16 degrees F at Roseau (Roseau County) on October 26, 1936.  The latest date for a 90 degrees F reading in the Twin Cities is 90 F on October 10, 1928, while the latest date for the state is a reading of 90 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) on October 30, 1950.

Twin Cities Almanac for October 10th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 62 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 42 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 10th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 90 degrees F in 1928; lowest daily maximum temperature of 38 degrees F in 1906; lowest daily minimum temperature is 25 degrees F in 1964 and 1987; highest daily minimum temperature of 63 F in 1930; record precipitation of 1.89 inches in 1898; and record snowfall 2.5 inches of snow fell on this date in 1977.

Average dew point for October 10th is 41 degrees F, with a maximum of 67 degrees F in 1949 and a minimum of 15 degrees F in 2009.

All-time state records for October 10th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 93 degrees F at Tracy (Lyon County) in 1928. The state record low temperature for this date is 6 degrees F at Big Falls (Koochiching County) in 1932. State record precipitation for this date is 6.13 inches at Vesta (Redwood County) in 1973; and the state record snowfall for this date is 10.0 inches at Oklee (Red Lake County) in 1970.


Past Weather Features:

October 10, 1928 was the warmest in state history with over 20 communities reporting daytime highs of 90 degrees F or greater.  With winds from the east, north shore areas of Minnesota along the Lake Superior shoreline remained in the 50s F all day.

October 9-12, 1932 was cold and snowy.  Many communities reported overnight lows in the 20s and 30s F, while daytime highs did not reach higher 50 degrees F at many places.  Snowfall was widespread ranging from trace amounts in most places and from 1 to 2 inches at a number of southern locations. 

October 9-10, 1970 brought even more widespread snowfall to the state.  Many counties reported 3-5 inches, while Fosston reported 9 inches and Slayton reported 7.5 inches.  The snow was short-lived and melted over a few days.

Outlook:

 Mostly dry weekend with near normal temperatures and bright, sunny skies.  Chance for showers later on Sunday and into Monday and warming up next Tuesday through Friday with above normal temperatures and generally dry weather.

 




 



Friday, October 3, 2014

No 90 F Days for Some

September finishes warm, but no 90s F

 With 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 October

The 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 7th

The 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 voices

This 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.

 Outlook:

Cooler over the weekend with a chance for light snow and rain mix early on Saturday.  Some frosts likely Saturday night, then a chance of showers again on Monday and early Tuesday.  Warming up by the middle of next week to near normal temperatures.

 




 

 








 

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