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Weather and Climate Memories of 2016

Weather and Climate Memories of 2016: A Synopsis and Some Headlines: -Another warm winter prevailed early in the year, with a somewhat rare climate feature of having February as the snowiest month.
-Warmth brought loss of soil frost the second week of March, along with early ice-out dates to area lakes. Swan Lake (Nicolett County) on March 13th, Starr Lake (Meeker County) on March 14th, and Lake Minnewaska (Pope County) on March 21st were among the ones reporting earliest ever loss of ice.
-Minnesota reported 37 tornadoes in 2016, the first on May 25th in Pope County, and the last on September 9th in Beltrami County. The majority were short-lived and EF-0 rated ( winds 65-85 mph), and there were four storms rated EF-2 (winds 111-135 mph).
-Early planting for Minnesota farmers, followed by a generally favorable growing season with mostly excellent crop yields around the state.
-2016 was the first year ever to bring two mega-rain events (1000 square miles covered by 6 inches or greate…

More Significant December Snowfalls

More Significant December Snowfalls: A slow moving low pressure system brought another significant snowfall to the state this week over December 10-12. Many climate observers reported a storm total of 5 to 12 inches, and some daily snowfall records were set within the statewide observation network.

Some daily snowfall records reported for December 10, 2016

Amboy 2.5”
Milan 1.5”
MSP 2.0”

Some daily snowfall records reported for December 11, 2016:

Bricelyn 5.5”
Austin 6.6”
Pipestone 4.5”
Albert Lea 6.0”
Hokah 6.0”
Theilman 6.7”
Red Wing 6.2”
Canby 10.0”
Dawson 9.0”
Montevideo 8.0”
Madison 7.4”
Owatonna 7.0”
Preston 5.3”
Duluth 8.2”

Some daily snowfall records reported for December 12, 2016:

New Hope 6.2”
Litchfield 5.3”

In addition to the added snow cover, the trend for below normal temperatures has continued this week, now 9 consecutive days across most of the state. This is the longest spell of cooler than normal temperatures since mid-February of 2015. Some northern Minnesota cli…

Blizzard in Northwestern Minnesota

Blizzard in Northwestern Minnesota: December 6-7 brought heavy snow, serious wind chills, and blizzard conditions to portions of northwestern Minnesota. Wind chills plummeted into the -20 to -30 degrees F range, and visibilities were less than 1/4 miles in places. Climate observers across northern Minnesota reported from 6 to 13 inches of new snow in total. On a daily basis some climate observers reported new daily record snowfalls as well, including:

For December 6th:
Argyle (Marshall County) 9.1"
Red Lake Falls (Red Lake County) 4.5"

For December 7th:
International Falls (Koochiching County) 4.8"
Argyle (Marshall County) 3.3"
Isabella (Lake County) 4.0"
Ada (Norman County) 8.5"

Following the storm, a polar air mass spread across the state bringing drier air and causing overnight low temperatures to plummet into the teens and even single digits F. Worthington (Nobles County) in southwestern Minnesota saw the temperature fall from 43°F to just 7°F in …

November Climate Summary

November Climate Summary: Following a year-long trend in Minnesota November brought warmer than normal temperatures. Mean monthly values ranged from 10-12 degrees F above normal most places. Extremes for the month were 78°F at Mora (Kanabec County) on the 5th (which tied the state record high for the date set back in 1975 at Madison), to as cold as -1°F at Seagull Lake (Cook County) on the 21st. For many climate stations 27 of the 30 days of the month were warmer than normal. International Falls, Park Rapids, Gunflint Lake, Tower, Ada, Cloquet, Redwood Falls, and La Crescent were among the stations reporting the warmest November in their climate history. On a statewide basis it was the 2nd warmest November in history, only surpassed by that of 2001. Across the observation network in Minnesota 156 daily high maximum temperature records were set or tied, while 58 record warm minimum temperature records were set or tied. For the autumn season (September through November) it was th…

Record warmth abruptly ends

Record warmth abruptly ends: The record-setting warmth of the first 17 days of November (temperatures 13-15°F above normal) abruptly ended this week with a strong winter storm which ushered in widespread precipitation, some heavy snow, very strong winds, and cold air. For the first time since mid-October many communities will see their first below normal temperatures over this coming weekend, and central and northern Minnesota will receive the first significant snowfall, with many western counties under a blizzard warning. Although this weather event will bring an end to the historically warm pattern it is likely that with moderating temperatures for the balance of November, we will end up with one of the warmest Novembers in state history. In addition much of the model guidance suggests that the first ten days of December will be warmer than normal as well.

One additional note to add on the first half of November comes from Dave Ruschy, who for many years managed the St Paul Camp…

Warmest first ten days of November

Warmest first ten days of November: The remarkable warmth so far this month is record-setting. For example in the Twin Cities, the average temperature for the first ten days of November is 53.7. This is nearly 14F above normal and surpasses the other warm first ten days of November which occurred in 1975, 2001, and 2015. This pattern is holding true at a number of locations around the state, including International Falls where the first ten days of November are average close to 46F also about 14F above normal. This too surpasses the other warmest Novembers of 1964, 1975, and 2015.

So far this month 32 daily high temperature records have been set within the Minnesota Cooperative Weather Observer Network across the state, including a remarkable reading of 78F at Mora (Kanabec County) on the 5th which tied the all-time state high temperature record for that date (set at Madison in Lac Qui Parle County back in 1975). In addition a handful of warmest overnight minimum temperature r…

Warm start to November

Warm start to November: Most climate stations in the state are reporting daily temperatures that range from 8 to 15 degrees F above normal for the first few days of November. This pattern is expected to persist well into the month, and may approach the record warmest first half of November which dates back to 2001 That year was the only time the Twin Cities saw daily temperatures average above 50°F for the whole first half of November. Everybody is asking when the other shoe will drop. Perhaps not until the 16th or 17th.

This warm pattern conforms to the year-long trend in Minnesota temperatures which is persistently warmer than normal. In fact the state has recorded the 4th warmest first ten months of the year (Jan-Oct) in 2016, and the 3rd wettest such period as well.
Summary of record-setting daily climate values for 2016: The current year has been a warm and wet one for Minnesota in no uncertain terms. Among the state's 131 Cooperative Observer Climate Stations, here i…

Preliminary Climate Summary for October 2016

Preliminary Climate Summary for October 2016: Continuing the year-long trend October was warmer than normal, with approximately two-thirds of all the days recording warmer than average temperatures. Most observers reported mean monthly temperatures that were 2-4°F above normal. On a statewide basis this October will be among the warmest 20 in history. Extremes for the month ranged from 80°F at Milan (Chippewa County) and Marshall (Lyon County) on the 2nd to just 18°F at Embarrass (St Louis County) on the 25th. For the first 10 months of 2016 the statewide temperature ranks as the 4th warmest in history. Most areas of the state reported at least one frost during October. Just a few areas escaped frost during the month. Some of those included the Twin Cities Metro Core, and some communities along the Mississippi River bluff country in southeastern counties (Winona, La Crescent, Minnesota City).

October precipitation looks to be less than normal in the northern counties and much …

New Seasonal Climate Outlook

New Seasonal Climate Outlook: The NOAA Climate Prediction Center released the winter seasonal climate outlook on Thursday of this week. NOAA scientists acknowledged that they factored in the presence of a weak La Nina (cooler than normal equatorial Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures) in the outlook. Although November is expected to start out warmer than normal the outlook for the coming November through March period mostly favors cooler than normal temperatures and above normal precipitation for Minnesota. Given the trend for such a warm year in 2016, this outlook is baffling in the context of expecting to see a reversal of this trend that persists through the winter. After all, over 72 percent of all days in the past 12 months have brought warmer than normal temperatures to Minnesota.
New record high dew points this week: Strong south winds ushered in some warm, moist air over Sunday and Monday (Oct 16-17) raising dew points across the state to near record levels for this t…

First widespread frosts of the autumn

First widespread frosts of the autumn: Since last Friday, most of the state landscape has recorded the first frost of the season. In many areas low temperatures have dropped into the 20s F, ending the gardening season. Nearly all crops reached maturity without any frost damage this year, and both corn and soybeans have been drying now nicely in the field this week. Early morning lows as cold as 28F were reported from as far south as Preston, Zumbrota, and Austin on October 13th. Up north in Clay County the Georgetown observer reported 25F on October 9th. Only a few places along the Mississippi River in southeastern Minnesota and within the core of the Twin Cities Metro Area have not yet reported a frost this month.
Wet trend continues: Following a wet first week of the month (some reported record daily rainfall on the 5th) rainfall has been less during the second week generally, but some observers reported a half inch to over an inch of rainfall over the second week of the mon…