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Extension > Mark Seeley's WeatherTalk > 2016

Friday, December 30, 2016

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 greater) to the state: one in east-central counties over July 11-12; and one in west-central counties August 10-11. Widespread flash flooding resulted.
-Latest ever autumn killing frost in the Twin Cities on November 18th
-Tied for warmest ever autumn season (September-November) on a statewide basis with 1963.
-Overall on a statewide basis 2016 delivered the 3rd warmest year in history to Minnesota (only 1987 and 2012 were warmer) and the 2nd wettest year (only 1977 was wetter).

Some Details of Climate Behavior in 2016:

Within the Minnesota Cooperative Observer Climate Network (currently includes about 200 observers with historical climate measurements) the following table shows the number of times daily record values were tied or broken during each month of 2016:
January: Highest Maximum Daily Temp: 9 Lowest Maximum Daily Temp: 15 Highest Minimum Daily Temp: 48 Lowest Minimum Daily Temp: 1 Highest Daily Precip: 31
February: Highest Maximum Daily Temp: 70 Lowest Maximum Daily Temp: 14 Highest Minimum Daily Temp: 71 Lowest Minimum Daily Temp: 3 Highest Daily Precip: 46
March: Highest Maximum Daily Temp: 149 Lowest Maximum Daily Temp: 1 Highest Minimum Daily Temp: 187 Lowest Minimum Daily Temp: 0 Highest Daily Precip: 66
April: Highest Maximum Daily Temp: 21 Lowest Maximum Daily Temp: 20 Highest Minimum Daily Temp: 38 Lowest Minimum Daily Temp: 27 Highest Daily Precip: 31
May: Highest Maximum Daily Temp: 70 Lowest Maximum Daily Temp: 27 Highest Minimum Daily Temp: 13 Lowest Minimum Daily Temp: 37 Highest Daily Precip: 25
June: Highest Maximum Daily Temp: 26 Lowest Maximum Daily Temp: 7 Highest Minimum Daily Temp: 26 Lowest Minimum Daily Temp: 4 Highest Daily Precip: 38
July: Highest Maximum Daily Temp: 13 Lowest Maximum Daily Temp: 14 Highest Minimum Daily Temp: 50 Lowest Minimum Daily Temp: 12 Highest Daily Precip: 93
August: Highest Maximum Daily Temp: 4 Lowest Maximum Daily Temp: 4 Highest Minimum Daily Temp: 18 Lowest Minimum Daily Temp: 2 Highest Daily Precip: 108
September: Highest Maximum Daily Temp: 5 Lowest Maximum Daily Temp: 0 Highest Minimum Daily Temp: 60 Lowest Minimum Daily Temp: 0 Highest Daily Precip: 96
October: Highest Maximum Daily Temp: 19 Lowest Maximum Daily Temp: 0 Highest Minimum Daily Temp: 27 Lowest Minimum Daily Temp: 0 Highest Daily Precip: 59
November: Highest Maximum Daily Temp: 182 Lowest Maximum Daily Temp: 0 Highest Minimum Daily Temp: 106 Lowest Minimum Daily Temp: 0 Highest Daily Precip: 53
December: Highest Maximum Daily Temp: 8 Lowest Maximum Daily Temp: 14 Highest Minimum Daily Temp: 15 Lowest Minimum Daily Temp: 34 Highest Daily Precip: 79

Total daily record climate values tied or set within the observer network in Minnesota during 2016:
Highest Maximum Daily Temp: 576 Lowest Maximum Daily Temp: 116 Highest Minimum Daily Temp: 639 Lowest Daily Minimum Temp: 120 Highest Daily Precip: 725.

For combination of warmth and wetness, 2016 was unrivaled in the Minnesota climate records. Several climate stations reported their warmest year in history including:
Ada (Norman County), Argyle (Marshall County), Detroit Lakes (Becker County), Itasca State Park (Clearwater County), Red Lake Falls (Red Lake County), Baudette (Lake of the Woods County), Brimson (St Louis County), Browns Valley (Traverse County), Rothsay (Wilkin County), Cloquet (Carlton County), Milaca (Mille Lacs County), St James (Watonwan County), St Peter (Nicollet County), Theilman (Wabasha County), and Zumbrota (Goodhue County). Among larger cities it ranked as a warm year as well: 3rd warmest at Rochester, International Falls, and the Twin Cities; 4th warmest at St Cloud; and 5th warmest at Duluth.

Several climate stations also reported their wettest year of record in 2016, including: Hawley (Clay County) with 32.92", Eveleth (St Louis County) with 36.56", Wolf Ridge (Lake County) with 39.47", Aitkin (Aitkin County) with 40.21", Brainerd (Crow Wind County) with 39.77", MSP with 40.32", University of Minnesota St Paul Campus (Ramsey County) with 41.67", Redwood Falls (Redwood Falls) with 44.12", Amboy (Blue Earth County) with 46.86", Faribault (Rice County) with 46.39", Owatonna (Steele County) with 48.40", St James (Watonwan County) with 52.55", Waseca (Waseca County) with 56.24" (a new state record), Austin (Mower County) with 48.35", Harmony (Fillmore County) with 49.36", and Theilman (Wabasha County) with 48.33".

More details about the major weather events during the year 2016 can be found at the DNR-State Climatology Office web site.

Retirement Salutations in 2016:

For myself and all of those involved in Minnesota weather and climate matters we saw two very important colleagues walk into retirement during 2016. Greg Spoden, DNR State Climatologist was a trusted and professional colleague in the DNR for well over 30 years. He contributed many of the display and analysis tools that we still use today. Jean Spohr of the University of Minnesota West-Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris kept us informed of the daily weather data there for well over 30 years. She was always helpful and meticulous looking after one of the oldest continuous climate records in Minnesota (dating back to 1885. We will miss them both and wish them well.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:




NOAA's Tom Di Liberto features a nice article about lake effect snowfall at the climate.gov web site this week. There have been a number of lake effect snowfalls this month around the Great Lakes Region, dropping from 2 to 3 feet of snow in many places. Most of the Great Lakes Region has little or no ice cover yet this season.

The AGU published an interesting article this week about using 40-years of Landsat images to examine changes in the Greenland ice sheet. Much of the analysis shows accelerated loss due to increasing temperatures.

The UK Met Office projects that 2017 will be another warmer than normal year globally, but not record-setting like 2015 and 2016 were. On balance 2017 is expected to follow trend line projections of warmth in the Earth climate system.

University of California-San Diego scientists have developed new controls for instrumented balloons that can fly in Hurricanes and survive long enough to transmit their data back so that meteorologists can use the in situ measurements to update their forecasts. This special technology may be most cost-effectively applied during the next hurricane season.

MPR listener question:

The thunder and rain on Christmas Day this year was highly unusual. How many locations in Minnesota reported record rainfall or precipitation for the date?

Answer:

According to NOAA-National Weather Service reports 10 communities received record-setting rainfall on Christmas Day. They were: Glenwood (0.40"), Milan (0.50"), Redwood Falls (0.50"), Hibbing (0.52"), Alexandria (0.62"), Artichoke Lake (0.65"), St Cloud (0.74"), Grand Rapids (0.77"), and Moose Lake (0.92"). The Twin Cities (MSP Airport) reported 0.97 inches, the 2nd highest amount ever received on Christmas Day behind 1.35 inches in 1982.

Twin Cities Almanac for December 30th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 24 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 9 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for December 30th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 51 degrees F in 2004; lowest daily maximum temperature of -6 degrees F in 1976; lowest daily minimum temperature is -20 degrees F in 1973; highest daily minimum temperature of 34 degrees F in 2006; record precipitation of 0.39 inches in 1884; and a record snowfall of 4.0 inches in 1906.

Average dew point for December 30th is 10 degrees F, with a maximum of 46 degrees F in 2004 and a minimum of -32 degrees F in 1976.

All-time state records for December 30th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 59 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1999. The state record low temperature for this date is -47 degrees F at Warroad (Roseau County) in 1910. State record precipitation for this date is 2.00 inches at Pigeon River (Cook County) in 1936; and record snowfall is 14.2 inches at Mankato (Blue Earth County) in 1887.

Past Weather Features:

A winter storm dominated the New Years in 1887. It started on December 30th and went through January 1, 1888 bringing several inches of snow to southern Minnesota. Some observers reported over a foot, with temperatures that plummeted to subzero readings afterward.

An Arctic air mass settled over northern Minnesota on December 30, 1910. Many northern communities saw temperatures fall into the minus 30s F. It was colder than -40°F at Warroad, Roseau, and Little Fork.

A series of winter storms brought a mixture of precipitation over 8 consecutive days to end the year 1936. Over the December 24-31 period many climate observers reported from 6 to 17 inches of snowfall and winds caused 4-5 foot drifts.

Another slow moving winter storm brought a very wet ending to the year 1972. Over December 29-31 many climate observers reported from 8 to 20 inches of snowfall, and some New Years events were cancelled because travel was so difficult across northern Minnesota.

Arctic air again dominated Minnesota on December 30, 1990 with subzero readings all over the state. In the north it was as cold as -40°F (at Fosston, Cass Lake, and Thorhult), while in the south it was as cold as -22°F at Lake Wilson (Murray County).

By far the warmest December 30th in state history occurred in 1999. Many communities saw record-setting afternoon temperatures in the 50s F.

Outlook:

Warmer than normal temperatures over the weekend under partly cloudy skies. Some snow flurries in northern counties Saturday. Increasing cloudiness with a chance of snow on Monday, especially in southern counties. Continued chance for snow Tuesday, then cooler than normal temperatures for the balance of next week, but generally dry weather.

Friday, December 16, 2016

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 climate stations fell to -20°F or colder this week, including Georgetown (Clay County), Orr (St Louis County), and Camp Norris (Lake of the Woods County).

Snow cover around the state ranges from as little as 2 inches to over 12 inches in many northern counties. Despite the snow cover, frost depths in the soil have progressed over the past week and now range from 6 to 12 inches in most areas. Ice cover on area lakes is increasing as well with reports ranging mostly from 2 to 4 inches, but caution is still advised not to venture out on the ice yet.

Still, another significant snowfall is expected this weekend, this time with dangerous wind chill conditions and the coldest temperatures of the season. At least the outlook favors moderating temperatures for Christmas week and then the rest of the month.

New Seasonal Climate Outlooks:

The NOAA-Climate Prediction Center released new seasonal climate outlooks on Thursday (Dec 15) of this week. The outlooks favor cooler than normal temperatures for most of Minnesota over the January through March period. The outlooks also favor wetter than normal as well, although primarily in the northern portions of the state, where a snowier winter looks probable.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

At the AGU Annual Meeting in San Francisco this week NOAA scientists presented a climate report card for trends in the Arctic Region. The report states that the Arctic region is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet. Spring snow cover is diminished and rapid melting of the Greenland ice sheet continues.

NOAA's Climate.Gov web site features an interesting article this week on studies of extreme weather event attribution and whether or not there are links to climate change. The article by Rebecca Lindsey dissects the process that scientists use to study the causes of weather and climate extremes. The article addresses some important questions for city managers and local units of government to consider.

David Schmidt from the University of Minnesota Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering pointed out two new information resources that may be useful to those working in agriculture and natural resource management. The first is a publication by the USDA entitled "Adaptation Resources for Agriculture", a 72 page document that covers climate adaptation in both cropping systems and animal agriculture systems. The second publication is also from the USDA and is titled "Adapting to a Changing Climate: A Planning Guide" and it is tailored to specific strategies in adapting animal systems to the changing climate. This guide is 44 pages long.

Another article this week from Nexus Media presents the case for using historical data and past responses to weather and climate extremes as a context for convincing conservative on climate that consideration of adaptation and mitigation strategies relative to climate change is time well spent. This article is written by Marlene Cimons.

An interesting study on satellite detection of soil moisture conditions was presented at the AGU (American Geophysical Union) Annual Meeting in San Francisco this week. Apparently satellite detection of soil moisture extremes (areas of drought and areas of super saturation) provides a good indicator of where power outages are likely to occur following severe storms. According to one of the authors, Steven Quiring of Ohio State University, the reasoning goes like this...."We see increased numbers of outages at both ends of the spectrum -- wherever soils are too wet or too dry,"......Drought makes tree branches more likely to snap off, and over-saturation makes trees more likely to be uprooted." Thus, satellite assessment of soil moisture may be routinely used in anticipating the location potential of power outages when storms occur. You can read at the Science Daily web site.

MPR listener question:

I wait for the school bus in the morning with my son who is in 4th grade. He is complaining about the sub-zero temperatures in the morning and I told him that in my day we had to wait for the bus in many more sub-zero mornings than he has to put up with today. At least that is my perception. Am I correct?

Answer:

So far we have recorded 4 subzero F morning readings this month in the Twin Cities Metro area. Given the forecast, we will have at least two more by early next week, for a total of six. Historically we have had Decembers that deliver up to 19 subzero F minimum temperatures (1876 and 1886), and conversely 14 Decembers, mostly recently last year have brought no subzero temperature readings in the month of December (recall last December was the warmest in state history).

Overall the number of subzero F temperature readings in the Twin Cities over the heating season (Nov-Mar) has ranged from 50 in 2013-2014 to just 2 in 2001-2002. The 145-year average is 28 days, but the trend is downward. The average for the decades of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s was 31 days, and the average since 1991 was only been 20 days. So you are correct to tell your son that you put up with more of them.

Twin Cities Almanac for December 16th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 27 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 12 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for December 16th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 58 degrees F in 1939; lowest daily maximum temperature of -5 degrees F in 1876; lowest daily minimum temperature is -22 degrees F in 1876; highest daily minimum temperature of 35 degrees F in 1889; record precipitation of 0.93 inches in 1894; and a record snowfall of 7.0 inches in 2000.

Average dew point for December 16th is 9 degrees F, with a maximum of 43 degrees F in 2001 and a minimum of -25 degrees F in 1963.

All-time state records for December 16th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 65 degrees F at St Peter (Nicollet County) in 1939. The state record low temperature for this date is -39 degrees F at Pokegama Dam (Itasca County) in 1903. State record precipitation for this date is 2.57 inches at Gunflint Lake (Cook County) in 1984; and record snowfall is 14.0 inches at Farmington (Dakota County) in 1940.

Past Weather Features:

By far the warmest December 16th in state history occurred in 1939. In the absence of snow and with bright sunshine and a southerly wind daytime temperatures soared into the 50s F across most of the state. It was 55°F at Moorhead and 51°F at Grand Rapids. Further south 18 climate stations reported a high temperature in the 60s F. December of 1939 was the warmest in state history until last year, which set a new record.

A major winter storm dropped 4 to 14 inches of snowfall across the southern two-thirds of Minnesota over December 15-16, 1940. Schools were closed on Monday, the 16th in many southern Minnesota communities where snow drifted up to 4-5 feet.

December 16, 1963 was the coldest in state history with subzero temperature readings blanketing the entire landscape. Over 70 climate stations reported morning lows of -20°F or colder, and 20 stations reported -30°F or colder. The high temperature never rose above -10°F at Campbell (Wilkin County).

A large, slow moving winter storm brought heavy mixed precipitation to the state over December 14-16, 1984. Many communities reported 1-2 inches of precipitation in the form of rain, sleet, and snow. Isle right near Lake Mille Lacs reported 3.39 inches, a huge amount for December.

Outlook:

Windy and cold over the weekend with blowing snow and dangerous wind chill values. Heaviest snow will be in southern parts of the state and could approach 10 or more inches. Very cold on Sunday, with temperatures remaining subzero all day in many areas. Moderation in temperatures will start on Monday with slight changes for snow. Temperatures will climb to normal levels or slightly above next week, ending the prolonged Cold Wave.

Friday, December 9, 2016

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 a span of about 18 hours. Similarly, earlier in the week Marshall (Lyon County) in southwestern Minnesota reported 43°F, about 16°F above normal, then by Friday morning the low was -1°F, about 10°F cooler than normal. These low temperatures have accelerated soil freezing, and lake ice formation.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

NOAA offered an article this week to describe the attributes, images, and measurements that will be important enhancements with the recent launch of the GOES-R satellite to monitor the Western Hemisphere. More comprehensive lightning detection and a higher frequency of imager turn-around times will be very helpful.

University of Alaska-Fairbanks operates a coastal ice observatory at Barrow, Alaska. From their web site you can monitor ice conditions, examine radar data, look at local forecast data, and observe changes in sea level elevation.

A recent paper from scientists at the Hadley Center in the United Kingdom shows that regional precipitation changes associated with 1-2°C warming of the planet would be distinctly different than those associated with a 2-4°F warming. This suggests that direction and amplitude of precipitation change on a regional basis cannot simply be extrapolated from increasing global temperature values. You can read more in Nature Communications.

Recent research from the University of Texas shows that incorporating the snow data derived from NASA satellites into the seasonal climate outlook models enhances the accuracy of the model temperature outlooks by 5 to 25 percent. This couple of data sources may lead to improvements in the NOAA seasonal outlook models.

MPR listener question:

I heard you mention that Waseca has reported the wettest year in state history in 2016 with over 54 inches already. But the year has been wet for nearly all of the state too. What other climate stations are reporting their wettest year?

Answer:

Good question. Even with the month of December incomplete, the following stations have reported their wettest year in history (through Dec 8th):
Hawley (Clay County) 32.29"
Eveleth (St Louis County) 35.94"
Bird Island (Renville County) 39.96"
Aitkin (Aitkin County) 40.21"
Brainerd (Crow Wing County) 38.44"
Univ of Minnesota St Paul Campus (Ramsey County) 39.87"
Redwood Falls (Redwood County) 42.88"
Amboy (Blue Earth County) 45.42"
Faribault (Rice County) 45.43"
Owatonna (Steele County) 48.10"
St James (Watonwan County) 51.18"
Waseca (Waseca County) 54.42" (new state record)
Austin (Mower County) 46.87"
Harmony (Fillmore County) 49.36"

Several other climate stations are very near to setting a record for wettest year as well and may achieve this before the end of December.

Twin Cities Almanac for December 9th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 29 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 14 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for December 9th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 58 degrees F in 1939; lowest daily maximum temperature of -5 degrees F in 1977; lowest daily minimum temperature is -27 degrees F in 1876; highest daily minimum temperature of 40 degrees F in 1899; record precipitation of 1.19 inches in 1899; and a record snowfall of 10.5 inches in 2012.

Average dew point for December 9th is 11 degrees F, with a maximum of 36 degrees F in 2004 and a minimum of -25 degrees F in 1977

All-time state records for December 9th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 74 degrees F at Wheaton (Traverse County) in 1939. The state record low temperature for this date is -39 degrees F at Warroad (Roseau County) in 1909. State record precipitation for this date is 1.31 inches in downtown Minneapolis in 1899; and record snowfall is 17.0 inches at St Francis (Anoka County) in 2012.

Past Weather Features:

A winter storm brought fresh snow and very cold temperatures to the state in 1876. With a fresh cover of snow the temperature fell to -30°F at Duluth and -27°F in the Twin Cities on December 9th. Temperatures warmed into the upper 30s F by the 11th.

Another significant storm brought lots of snow and cold the first week of December in 1909. This produced the coldest December 9th in state history as subzero temperatures were reported statewide. In the north several climate stations reported -30°F or colder, while in southern Minnesota Winnebago never saw the temperature rise above -7°F during the day, and at Hallock in the north the daytime high only reached -15°F/

A strong warm front brought a rare heavy December rainfall to the state over December 9-10, 1899. Many climate observers reported over an inch of rain, and some even reported hearing claps of thunder. Rainfall was reported as far north as Tower.

High pressure and plenty of sunshine dominated the first ten days of December 1939. This produced the warmest December 9th in history, as with absence of any snow cover temperatures soared into the 60s F at 25 Minnesota climate stations. Even in the northernmost areas of the state temperatures climbed into the 50s F.

A large winter storm blanketed the state with heavy snow over December 9-1, 1961. Most observers reported 4-10 inches, but in central Minnesota counties over a foot of snow fell and some roads were closed for a time.

Another major winter storm brought heavy snow and even blizzard conditions to the state over December 8-9, 2012. Portions of central Minnesota reported 15-17 inches of snow. The Twin Cities reported 10.5 inches of snow. Because of the high water content of the snow and alternating freezing and thawing cycles secondary roads developed washboard ice conditions which made driving very bumpy.

Outlook:

Cold and snowy weekend coming up, especially for central and southern counties, where snow accumulations could be several inches over late Saturday and early Sunday. A chance for more snow on Monday night. Temperatures will remain colder than normal next week with even some subzero readings probable in southern Minnesota counties.










Friday, December 2, 2016

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 the warmest in state history dating back to 1895. On a statewide basis the mean temperature for the 3-month period was about 6 degrees F above normal. For the first 11 months of 2016, it has been the 2nd warmest in state history, surpassed only by 2012.

Most observers reported above normal precipitation for the month, with the vast majority coming in storms during the second half. Only a scattering of climate stations in northwestern and southeastern counties reported below normal precipitation. A few places were very wet, including 4.76" at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center (Lake County) which was their 4th wettest November in history; 4.20" at Grand Marais (Cook County) their 3rd wettest November in history; and 3.79" at Grand Rapids (Itasca County) their 3rd wettest November in history. Across the observer network in Minnesota 37 daily precipitation records were set or tied. Overall on a statewide basis November precipitation ranked as 29th wettest, but for the autumn season (September-November) precipitation ranked as the 16th wettest autumn, and for the year to date (first 11 months) it is the 3rd wettest in history.

Waseca now reports 54.13 inches of precipitation for 2016 and this is a new statewide annual precipitation record, surpassing the old one of 53.52" at St Francis (Anoka County) in 1991.

November snowfall all came during the second half of the month and ranged from 1 to 4 inches across southern counties. In the far north it was much more. Grand Rapids, Cook, Orr, and Tower all reported over 20 inches. Across the observer network in Minnesota 30 daily snowfall records were set or tied during the month, including a new statewide snowfall record for November 18th of 17 inches at Grand Rapids (breaking the old record of 15 inches at Crookston in 1998).

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The Smithsonian published an interesting and engaging cartoon version of a climate change graphic which everyone should take a look at. It illustrates well the temporal context for past climate change versus the human-induced accelerated pace of change in recent decades.

An interesting article appeared in the NY Times this week about "Thunderstorm Asthma" in Australia. Apparently perennial ryegrass seeds were swept up by converging thunderstorm winds, broken up into fine pieces and then scattered across the Australia landscape. These fine particles when inhaled can produce serious respiratory problems for some people. Many citizens were sent to the hospital with breathing problems from these storms.

There is an interesting article by NOAA's Tom DiLiberto this week about Hurricane Otto hitting Nicaragua and Costa Rica last month. There were many unique attributes to this deadly hurricane, one of the latest recorded for the Atlantic basin.

NOAA also announced a webinar coming up next week (Dec 5) which will describe the impacts of climate change on our food system. Specifically this presentation will deal with "a review of how seasonal effects, temperature effects, and extreme weather due to a changing climate impact multiple factors in food production and safety including the growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of commodities for human consumption.

A new article from Umea University in Sweden documents a shrinkage in the snow cover season of up to two months. This has happened with consistency over the past 30 years and produced some effects in the herding patterns of reindeer. In addition the author notes that there has been a rise in the cases of rabbit fever among the human population

Commentary on Winter TIME:

No question will be answered this week, but I want to take TIME to make a comment about Winter TIME. Managing the TIME in the Winter Season in Minnesota is a different ball game than other seasons of the year, because everything takes longer. No question winter will be felt more frequently soon in the daily weather, and snowfalls will become more frequent this month. The rash of bicycle, pedestrian, and vehicular accidents reported during the snow storms towards the end of November reminded me about adjusting for Winter TIME. Our concept of time needs to be adjusted. Lengthen the time intervals that you have intuitively built-into your everyday habits and tasks. It takes longer to walk places, longer to drive places, longer to dress and undress, longer to warm up the car, longer to degomble (shed snow) when you come into the house. You need to make time to shovel snow, scrape the windshield, clean the furnace filters, When you walk take shorter steps and not too fast...put the boots, gloves and hat on when you go outside....check on the neighbor if their place hasn't been shoveled...everything should slow down..except for the long Minnesota goodbye..that is better shortened...just say goodbye, open the door, leave and close the door behind you....no need to stand in an open doorway for minutes conversing about last minute stuff. Winter TIME is an adjustment that may save you anxiety, regret, or even injury.

Twin Cities Almanac for December 2nd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 32 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 17 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for December 2nd:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 63 degrees F in 1982; lowest daily maximum temperature of -3 degrees F in 1886; lowest daily minimum temperature is -17 degrees F in 1886; highest daily minimum temperature of 49 degrees F in 1962; record precipitation of 0.30 inches in 1933; and a record snowfall of 2.7 inches in 1978.

Average dew point for December 2nd is 19 degrees F, with a maximum of 53 degrees F in 1982 and a minimum of -27 degrees F in 1976.

All-time state records for December 2nd:

The state record high temperature for this date is 69 degrees F at Mankato (Blue Earth County) in 1998. The state record low temperature for this date is -47 degrees F at Pokegama Dam (Itasca County) in 1896. State record precipitation for this date is 2.51 inches at Caledonia (Houston County) in 1984; and record snowfall is 14.0 inches at Elbow Lake (Grant County) in 1985.

Past Weather Features:

Following a snowy last week of November, December of 1886 started out with an Arctic air mass that kept temperatures below 0°F the first few days of the month. On December 2nd morning low temperatures ranged from -12°F to -30°F around the state. The daytime high at Moorhead never rose higher than -19°F.

Tens years later following the paralyzing Thanksgiving winter storm of 1896, the state was in the grip of another Arctic air mass which brought even more severe sub-zero temperature readings to the state. Leech Lake and Pokegama Dam reported lows of -41°F and -47°F, respectively. Over 15 climate stations reported temperatures of -20°F or colder.

A winter storm brought a mixture of rain, sleet, and snow to Minnesota over December 1-2, 1945. Some southern counties received between 1 inch and 1.5 inches of rain, while in central and northern cities heavy amounts of snow were reported, ranging from 7 to 11 inches.

The first few days of December 1976 started out cold and snowy around the state. At least 25 Minnesota communities reported morning lows of -30°F or colder on December 2nd. As far south as Zumbrota it was -15 degrees F.

A massive and slow moving winter storm buried the state in snow over November 30 to December 2, 1985. Many areas of the state received 10-20 inches of snow and in some areas snow drifts were 6 feet high. Morris, Maple Plain, and St Peter observers reported over 20 inches, while the Willmar climate station reported over 30 inches. Many roads and schools were closed on Monday, December 2nd, as snow plows worked overtime to open things up.

The warmest December 2nd in state history occurred in 1998 when nearly all areas of the state reported afternoon temperatures in the 50s F or greater. Detroit Lakes and Grand Rapids reached 53°F while across southern Minnesota over 50 climate stations reported temperatures of 60 degrees F or greater.

Outlook:

Near normal temperatures into the weekend with a chance for mixed precipitation on Sunday. Warmer with a chance for rain or snow on Monday and Tuesday, may be heavy in the southeastern counties. A significant decline in temperatures to below normal values for next Wednesday through Saturday.




Friday, November 18, 2016

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 Campus Climate Observatory. He recently noted that the first two weeks of November brought near record solar radiation. With absence of cloud cover solar radiation measured in the Twin Cities area during the first half of November was over 40 percent above average and very near the record sunniest of November 1981. Solar energy measurements at the St Paul Climate Observatory date back to 1963. This climate feature certainly affected the warm statewide pattern and helped keep soil temperatures around the state well above normal.

Winter storm brings first significant precipitation of the month:

A winter storm (Thursday through early Saturday) this week brought the first significant precipitation of the month for many climate stations in the state, and for some the first significant amount since October 29th. Precipitation fell in the form of rain, sleet, and snow. Observers reported liquid amounts ranging from a quarter of an inch to three-quarters. With unfrozen soil conditions, much of the precipitation will infiltrate the soil and be stored there for the winter. In addition soil temperatures will begin to decline in earnest following the winter storm, so those who have been waiting to apply mulch to the garden may want to do so next week. Stored soil moisture is abundant and quite adequate over most parts of the state. This moisture will still be there come next spring when the agricultural and gardening season begins.

This winter storm delivered significant precipitation to the state, and it appears that another storm may deliver more precipitation next Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

New seasonal climate outlook:

The NOAA Climate Prediction Center released a new set of seasonal climate outlooks this week. Although the first ten days of December are expected to be warmer than normal, the temperature outlook for December through February leans toward cooler than normal temperatures across the state. In fact cooler than normal temperatures are expected across the region through April of 2017. I remain skeptical about this outlook and have little confidence in it.

For the period from December through April the outlook for precipitation favors above normal values across the Great Lakes Region, including Minnesota. Given the recent historical trend for wetter than normal conditions, this outlook is compatible with the evidence in Minnesota.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Timely this week with the onset of snow cover over the Minnesota landscape, NOAA featured a review of its monitoring program for snow and ice cover maps of the USA. These are updated daily and might be useful for the winter season in planning travel and outdoor recreational activities.

EOS this week featured an interesting article about how climate and humans have responded to past significant volcanic eruptions. It is an interesting read is still relevant to climate behavior today.

The NOAA Climate Resilience Toolkit this week features an article about using historical rainfall analysis to properly size culvert design for roads and trails. The climate data to use for such purposes is now more available than ever.

A recent paper published in the International Journal of Climatology documents changes in monsoon rainfalls in India. The records show that heavy rainfalls during the monsoon season are becoming greater in intensity (amounts) as well covering a larger geographic area of central India. The frequency, areal coverage, and intensity of hot days during the monsoon season also show increases.

BBC Weather Centre reported this week on rare November tornadoes which brought damage to parts of Wales and the English Midlands. Relatively small in scale and short-live these storms knocked down trees and caused some structural damage to buildings.

MPR listener question:

Is it unusual for the first major snowfall of the season to come as a blizzard to many parts of the state. Don't we usually start winter a little more gradually?

Answer:

Yes, more often than not winter settles in first with a few small doses of snowfall spread out over several weeks. But an abrupt start with an early season blizzard has occurred a number of times in our history. Some examples in our history include:
October 16-18, 1880 paralyzing blizzard in SW Minnesota
October 19, 1916 blizzard delivered 7-12 inches with 5 ft drifts in northwestern and north-central MN
November 11, 1940 Armistice Day Blizzard, first snow of the season for most of the state
October 31-November 2, 1991 Halloween Blizzard was first snowfall of the season for eastern MN
November 15-17, 1996 blizzard delivered first snow of the season to west-central MN
November 11, 1998 blizzard delivered over a foot of first snow cover to Yellow Medicine County, MN
October 24-25, 2001 a blizzard delivered over a foot of first snow cover to many areas of the Red River Valley, MN

Twin Cities Almanac for November 18th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 40 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 25 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 18th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 68 degrees F in 1904 and 1941; lowest daily maximum temperature of 13 degrees F in 1874; lowest daily minimum temperature is -4 degrees F in 1891; highest daily minimum temperature of 53 degrees F in 1953; record precipitation of 0.82 inches in 1981; and a record snowfall of 7.6 inches in 1957.

Average dew point for November 18th is 26 degrees F, with a maximum of 56 degrees F in 1941 and a minimum of -2 degrees F in 1989.

All-time records for November 18th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 75 degrees F at Faribault (Rice County) in 1923. The state record low temperature for this date is -19 degrees F at Duluth (St Louis County) in 1940. State record precipitation for this date is 3.10 inches at Hinckley (Pine County) in 1996; and record snowfall is 15.0 inches at Crookston (Polk County) in 1998.

Past Weather Features:

November 18, 1874 was clear and cold. The few climate stations in the state at that time reported morning lows near zero degrees F and afternoon highs only in the teens.

The coldest statewide November 18 occurred in 1914 following a winter storm which dumped several inches of snow across many parts of the state. Many climate stations in central and northern Minnesota reported subzero low temperatures, and single digit temperatures were common in southern counties. The daytime temperature never rose above 11°F at Fergus Falls.

All-time warmest November 18th in history was in 1953 when most climate stations reported daytime highs in the 60s F. Ten communities saw the mercury climb into the 70s F including Detroit Lakes (Becker County). No sign of winter was yet in the air.

November 16-18, 1958 brought a major winter storm to the state. A mixture of rain, sleet, snow, and ice fell across the state making travel very difficult. Some communities in southern Minnesota reported over 2 inches of rain, while in the far north over 10 inches of snow was reported.

Heavy snow fell across the northern counties of Minnesota over November 16-19, 1998. Many areas reported over 10 inches and a number of roads and highways were closed for periods of time. High winds blew snow into large drifts as well.

Outlook:

A cold and dry weekend following the winter storm. Temperatures will be several degrees cooler than normal for the first time in weeks. Moderation in temperature will begin on Monday pulling temperatures back to near normal values, then a chance for precipitation again Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. Daytime temperatures in the 30s and 40s F for Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 11, 2016

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 records have been set this month, including a low of 48F at Winona on the 2nd.

Kenny Blumenfeld of the State Climatology Office also notes that most observers around the state have reported record-setting warm minimum temperatures for the autumn season so far, even though nearly all have reported frosts as well. For the Twin Cities "...36F on the 9th is the warmest fall-to-date (Sep 1 Nov 9) minimum temperature ever recorded in the Twin Cities......the next warmest is 31F." Furthermore he notes "...This record is quite stable geographically. Milan and Waseca both broke their warmest fall-to-date minimum records this year, at 27F and 28F, respectively. Rochester, St. Cloud, Pipestone, Duluth, Morris, and Grand Rapids did it too. In other words, the coldest nights of fall have never been this warm...."

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Earlier this week NOAA scientists offered a "Briefing on La Nina Conditions" in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. A La Nina episode is officially underway and expected to persist through the Northern Hemisphere winter. One anomaly in play this year is a very warm Eastern Pacific Ocean which may modify the expected impacts of a La Nina episode during a North America winter.

There is an interesting article this week about the Smithsonian Institution's exhibit "What Does It Mean to Be Human." Rick Potts, Director of the Human Origins Program shares his thoughts about how climate variability governed human adaptation and evolution.

Earlier this week the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) published a detailed analysis of global climate over the period 2011-2015. This is the warmest five year period ever measured globally, and associated with a measured rise in sea level and a sharp decline in Arctic Sea Ice. It was also a period of many extreme climate events and episodes.

A recent article from Brown University explores some of the financial options being considered to to help pay for losses and damages that are expected to be inflicted by climate change. Two types of debt securities are discussed: climate-themed bonds and catastrophe bonds.

MPR listener question:

We love winter and just recently retired to the Brainerd Lakes area in central Minnesota where we hope to have more snow each winter. But so far this month no snow in the area. How often does November not produce any snowfall here?

Answer:

The Brainerd climate data show that since 1948 there have only been 7 years when November brought no snowfall to the Brainerd Lakes area. So that is close to a 1 in 10 year frequency. The good news is that once snow occurs in the Brainerd Lakes Area it tends to persist longer on the landscape than in does in the Twin Cities Metro Area.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 11th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 44 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 29 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 11th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 64 degrees F in 2005; lowest daily maximum temperature of 18 degrees F in 1986; lowest daily minimum temperature is -1 degrees F in 1986; highest daily minimum temperature of 46 degrees F in 1930; record precipitation of 2.52 inches in 1940; and a record snowfall of 8.2 inches in 1940.

Average dew point for November 11th is 27 degrees F, with a maximum of 54 degrees F in 1964 and a minimum of -6 degrees F in 1986.

All-time state records for November 11th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 75 degrees F at Winnebago (Faribault County) in 2012. The state record low temperature for this date is -22 degrees F at Itasca State Park (Clearwater County) in 1919. State record precipitation for this date is 2.52 inches in the Twin Cities in 1940; and record snowfall is 14.0 inches at Orr (St Louis County) in 1940.

Past Weather Features:

November 11, 1940 brought the famous Armistice Day Blizzard to Minnesota. Weather conditions deteriorated from a mild autumn pattern to blinding snow and dangerous windchill conditions in a matter of hours. Poorly forecasted this storm dumped from 16 to 24 inches of snow across many portions of Minnesota and paralyzed the state. At one point snow was falling at a rate of 3 inches per hour. At least 49 citizens lost their lives in the storm.

A warm front brought some September-like temperatures to many portions of southern Minnesota on November 11, 1949. at Austin, Grand Meadow, Winnebago, Worthington and Pipestone afternoon temperatures rose into the 70s F.

Winter-like conditions prevailed on November 11, 1986. Following a snowfall over the 8th and 9th temperatures plummeted to subzero readings nearly everywhere in the state. It was -6F at Rochester and -7F at Albert Lea, while the daytime high temperature never rose above 4F at Warroad.

November 11, 2012 provided a sharp contrast in weather across the state. South-central and southeastern Minnesota cities were enjoying afternoon temperatures in the 70s F while in the Red River Valley the daytime temperatures remained in the 20s F and low 30s F all day, with windchill conditions in the single digits.

Outlook:

Continuing to be sunny and mild over the weekend with daytime high temperatures well above average, though Saturday morning may start with a frost in many areas. Somewhat cooler on Monday and Tuesday, but still warmer than normal. Generally a dry period through next week.









Friday, November 4, 2016

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 is a listing of the number of record-setting high daily maximum temperature, warm daily minimum temperature, and total daily precipitation measurements that have been reported so far this year:

Month        Daily Max Temp    Daily Highest Min Temp    Daily Total Precip
                         Records                        Records                          Records
January                   9                                  48                                   31
February               70                                  71                                   46
March                 149                                187                                   66
April                     21                                  38                                   31
May                      70                                  13                                   25
June                      26                                  26                                   38
July                       13                                  50                                   93
August                    4                                  18                                 108
September              5                                  55                                   95
October                 12                                 22                                   53
Total                    379                               528                                 586

These numbers are well above average for number of new record daily climate values set each year. Overall, March was probably the most unusual month of the year, ranking as the 6th warmest in state history and the 11th wettest.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

A recent research study presented in the International Journal of Climatology documents changes in soil temperature, soil moisture, and precipitation patterns in eastern Siberia and the overall effects on the climate there. Certainly the loss of permafrost, as well as an increase in the heat and moisture transfer within the soil have been observed there. These climate changes are significant and will likely have long term consequences.

NOAA's weekly update features an interesting article this week about how the changing climate of the dry mountainous areas of South America is causing more rapid deterioration of mummies there. The higher humidity is boosting the growth and metabolism of bacteria which live on the mummies skin. This climate change is of concern to anthropologists who continue to study these ancient cultural relics which are up to 7000 years old.

Tropical Storm Meari in the Western Pacific Ocean was expected to intensify and become a typhoon on Friday this week, producing wind speeds over 95 mph and sea wave heights over 25 feet. It was expected to remain mostly over the open ocean and not a threat to any major islands.

With the continued loss of Arctic Sea Ice, the Northwest Passage through Arctic Canada is becoming more navigable for commercial shipping. A German-Canadian research team has undertaking the task of mapping the best routes through this passage linking the North Pacific Ocean to the North Atlantic Ocean. It is estimated that it may take up to 10 years to develop and deploy all the technology to insure safe navigation for shipping but there is widespread interest in doing so.

MPR listener question:

I have been waiting to apply fall nitrogen to my fields this fall as a result of the warm temperatures we have been having. Most crop advisors are telling me to wait for the soil to cool off more. When do you think it will drop below 50°F and stay there? BTW I am from Martin County near Fairmont.

Answer:

The declining day length and sun angle this month will help in this regard. Because even though the air temperature may warm to 50 or 60 degrees F during the afternoon it won't effectively warm the soil that much. After the warm spell ends the middle of next week, I think we will see a more permanent decline in daily soil temperatures, which will moderate much more in the 40s F. So if you want to get done before Thanksgiving I would encourage you to begin your work by November 10th or so. If you want more current information or data updates please use the Extension Crop News and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture updates.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 4th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 74 degrees F in 1975; lowest daily maximum temperature of 17 degrees F in 1991; lowest daily minimum temperature is -3 degrees F in 1991; highest daily minimum temperature of 52 degrees F in 2015; record precipitation of 0.61 inches in 1988; and a record snowfall of 1.0 inches in 1910.

Average dew point for November 4th is 29 degrees F, with a maximum of 55 degrees F in 1956 and a minimum of -5 degrees F in 1991.

All-time state records for November 4th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 79 degrees F at Redwood Falls (Redwood County) in 1975. The state record low temperature for this date is -13 degrees F at Warren (Marshall County) in 1919. State record precipitation for this date is 1.84 inches at Fairmont (Martin County) in 1922; and record snowfall is 15.8 inches at Isabella (Lake County) in 1982.

Past Weather Features:

Very cold first week of November in 1853 at Fort Snelling. Morning temperature readings were in the single digits on three days, and only one date (the 1st) did the daytime temperature rise above freezing. First snowfall came on November 4th.

November 4, 1919 brought frigid temperatures to the state. Many northern observers reported morning temperatures that were subzero, including -12°F at Angus (Polk County). Afternoon high temperatures remained below the freezing mark as far south as Albert Lea and Grand Meadow.

November 4, 1975 was the warmest in state history as early all areas saw afternoon temperatures climb into the 70s F. Over 80 climate stations reported a new record high temperature for the date, and many reported lows that only dropped into the 40s F.

A deep low pressure system brought heavy snow to northern Minnesota on November 3-4, 1982. Many observers reported 3 to 7 inches, and in northeastern Minnesota cities 10 to 20 inches of snow was reported, with difficult driving conditions, especially along the north shore of Lake Superior.

With abundant snow on the ground as a result of the Halloween Blizzard, 1991 brought the coldest November 4th of all time. Many observers reported morning low temperatures that were below zero, while afternoon highs remained in the teens and twenties. The temperature never rose higher than 14 degrees F at Zumbrota and only made 17 degrees F in the Twin Cities.

Outlook:

Very warm with near record high temperatures on Saturday, followed by increasing cloudiness and a bit cooler temperatures on Sunday. Slight chance of showers later on Sunday and into Monday, but temperatures will remain warmer than normal for this time of year. Generally dry and warmer than normal for the remainder of next week.

Friday, October 28, 2016

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 above normal in the south. Overall on a statewide basis it will be a slightly wetter than normal month. By far the largest amounts of precipitation fell in southern counties where many communities reported 3 to 4 inches. Wells and Winnebago, both in Faribault County reported over 5 inches of precipitation. Madison (1.98"), Minneota (1.97"), Winnebago (1.42"), and Worthington (1.60") all reported new record daily precipitation amounts on October 5th. In northern St Louis County, Orr, Embarrass, Cook, and Chisholm all reported measurable snowfall, from 0.1 to 1.0" on October 7th. For the first ten months of 2016 statewide average precipitation has been over 30 inches, ranking as the 3rd wettest historically. In south-central counties the first ten months of 2016 have been the wettest in history, surpassing 1993.

Topic: 25th Anniversary of the Halloween Blizzard:

For many Minnesota citizens the Halloween Blizzard of 1991 (Oct 31 to Nov 3) remains one of the most dramatic weather events of their lifetime. One of the largest, most intense, and longest lasting blizzards to ever hit the state, this storm paralyzed many sections of eastern Minnesota where roads and highways were closed, and also left over 100,000 customers without power due to power lines brought down by ice, which was up to 2 inches thick in some parts of southeastern Minnesota.
-Over 200 new daily snowfall records were set across the state during this storm, including four communities that reported over 20 inches in a 24-hr period.
-The 4-day blizzard left many areas of the state with record levels of snow depth for November, ranging from 25 to 35 inches.
-At the height of the blizzard snow accumulation was occurring at the rate of 3 inches/hour, with maximum wind gusts to 50 mph.
-At least 16 communities reported a storm total snowfall of 25 inches or greater, topped by 36.9 inches at Duluth.
-In the aftermath of the storm over 100 communities reported sub zero F low temperatures over the first few days of November.
-With such a snowy start to November, many places reported record snowfall for the month, including 46.9" at MSP, 50.1" at Duluth, 51.5" at Two Harbors, and 58.6" at Bruno

More information can be found at the State Climatology Office web site.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

In a recent study NOAA researchers have found a link between warmer than normal water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and larger tornado numbers in the central USA. They argue that monitoring water temperatures in the Gulf will give forecasters better guidance to anticipate tornado outbreaks in the Southern Plains and Midwest.

You will find an interesting paper published this week in Geology which highlights the ocean role in moderating the 100,000 year ice age cycles. Ice cover, ocean circulation, and ocean temperatures all play a role in this, moderating the flux of carbon dioxide in the oceans and the atmosphere.

To commemorate the 100th Anniversary of doing weather forecasts for the military the United Kingdom Met Office this week released a brief report about significant military campaigns that were assisted by meteorological guidance, starting with WWI. Today, Mobile Meteorological Units are deployed to provide weather forecasts for the military on the spot where they are conducting field operations.

The Bureau of Meteorology in Australia released a report this week that links the higher frequency of extreme maximum temperatures as well as more frequent incidents of wild fires to climate change. Their State of the Climate 2016 report can be found online.

MPR listener question:

Our family is remembering the Halloween Blizzard of 25 years ago, when we were snowed in for 3 days after getting over two feet of snow with drifts over 6 feet high here in Forest Lake. Have there ever been other storms equivalent to that one in this area?

Answer:

Based on storm intensity, duration, and amount of snowfall, there are only two historical analogies for the Twin Cities area. January 12-16, 1887 a slow moving low pressure system brought 5 consecutive days of snow, totaling over 19 inches to the Twin Cities area, closing businesses in both St Paul and Minneapolis, as well as making sledding difficult to get around the streets. The other episode was over January 20-25, 1982 when dual low pressure systems brought snowfall over 6 consecutive days totaling over 20 inches in many parts of the Twin Cities Metro Area (39.7 inches at MSP Airport). This caused road closures and collapsed roofs in many areas.

Twin Cities Almanac for October 28th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 52 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 35 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 28th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 75 degrees F in 1948; lowest daily maximum temperature of 24 degrees F in 1925; lowest daily minimum temperature is 17 degrees F in 1905 and 1925; highest daily minimum temperature of 56 degrees F in 1974; record precipitation of 1.97 inches in 1874; and a record snowfall of 0.4 inches in 1895.

Average dew point for October 28th is 34 degrees F, with a maximum of 59 degrees F in 1946 and a minimum of 9 degrees F in 2008.

All-time state records for October 28th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 83 degrees F at Browns Valley (Traverse County) in 1983. The state record low temperature for this date is -9 degrees F at Angus (Polk County) in 1919. State record precipitation for this date is 3.10 inches at Caledonia (Houston County) in 1900; and record snowfall is 9.5 inches at Big Falls (Koochiching County) in 1932.

Past Weather Features:

Thunderstorms brought heavy rains to parts of the state over October 27-28, 1900. Many areas received 1-2 inches and in southeastern counties some observers reported over 3 inches of rain.

The coldest October 28th in state history occurred in 1919 when most parts of the state saw morning low temperatures dip into the single digits or teens. Some climate stations in northern and western counties reported subzero low temperatures and it fell to just 6 degrees F at Redwood Falls.

A slow moving low pressure system brought a major winter storm to the state over October 28-30, 1932. Many communities reported 3-6 inches of snowfall, and 10-14 inches of snowfall was reported in far northern Minnesota.

The warmest October 28th in state history came in 1983 when nearly all areas saw afternoon temperatures climb into the 70s F. Twelve climate stations reported a high temperature of 80 degrees F or greater, including a reading of 80°F at Brainerd.

Word of the Week: Ceraunograph

This instrument (pronounced sir-rono-graph) is devised to measure or count lightning strikes. It was first used by Rev. F.L. Odenbach of St Ignatius College in Cleveland, OH during the early 20th Century. The electro-magnetic waves emitted from a lightning strike are received by a copper coil and translated to a paper chart. Now there are even portable lightning detection meters that can be used on backpacking or hiking trips. (Note thanks to Lucas Graunke of the MN State Climatology Office for finding the articles about this old instrument).

Outlook:

Cloudy with a chance for rain on Saturday, while temperatures remain slightly warmer than normal. Drier on Sunday. Warmer on Monday with a chance for showers later in the day. Then mostly quiet weather wise for next week with daytime highs a few degrees warmer than normal.




 
 








 

Friday, October 21, 2016

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 time of year. The high afternoon temperatures reached into the 70s F across southern Minnesota on both days, with a high of 77°F at La Crescent on Monday setting a new high temperature record for the date. The Twin Cities saw a dew point of 64°F on Monday, just two degrees shy of the record highest for the date. Rochester reported a new record high dew point of 68°F on Monday, while the dew point at La Crosse, WI rose to 70°F on Monday which tied the all-time highest ever measured during the month of October. Two days later dew points dropped into the upper 20s to low 30s F.

Composting leaves and yard waste:

Are you already raking and bagging leaves this autumn? Seems like in many areas yards are starting to fill with them. Many homeowners around the state compost leaves in the fall. My University Department of Soil, Water, and Climate has developed recommendations for composting and mulching of organic yard wastes, including leaves (by authors Halbach and Rosen). In fact there is an online guide to composting and mulching which is available from the University of Minnesota Extension. I encourage you to take a look at it.

24th Annual Kuehnast Lecture Video Online:

The recent Kuehnast Endowment Lecture Program related to climate change, energy, and the free enterprise system presented by Paul Douglas (President of Aeris Weather) and former SC Congressman Bob Inglis (founder of RepublicEN) is now available for viewing. You can watch it on the Youtube site.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

This week NOAA scientist Deke Arndt features an interesting article on the wettest and driest places in the USA based on long term climate stations. It is interesting to see the extremes in precipitation coming from a wide range of geography. For example, did you know that it rains less than 18 days per year at Yuma, Arizona, but over 272 days per year at Hilo, Hawaii?

Typhoon Haima brought heavy rains, strong winds and high seas to northern parts of the Philippines this week. It was estimated that 60,000 people in the Philippines were displaced by the rain and winds. The storm is then headed towards Hong Kong and SE China on Friday, and caused a cancellation of nearly 700 flights at the Hong Kong Airport, as well as a early closure of the business district. Heavy rains were expected over SE China into the weekend.

Earlier this month the NY Times featured an article about the critical need for the National Weather Service to upgrade their forecast models. In recent years it appears that other weather services (notably in the United Kingdom) have made progress in deploying next generation computer technology to upgrade their forecast models, and which now do a more accurate job of forecasting weather elements both spatially and temporally. Hopefully the NOAA National Weather Service will be able to follow suit in coming years. (Thanks to former MPR colleague Bob Potter for mentioning this article)

Scientists at North Carolina State University have found that measurements of wind patterns in the lowest 500 meter layer of the atmosphere around supercell thunderstorms can provide clues to whether or not a tornado will develop. This information provides the potential for meteorologists to improve their forecasting of tornadoes. You can read more about this at the Science Daily web site.

MPR listener question:

A low temperature of 36°F this week, but still no sign of frost this fall at my house in Richfield, not far from the MSP Airport. How often has the first autumn frost in the Twin Cities not arrived until November?

Answer:

Looking back in the Twin Cities climate records to 1873, only 7 years have brought the first autumn frost in the month of November, the latest coming on November 7, 1900. So if this should happen again this year it would indeed be a rare occurrence. BTW the first autumn frost in the Twin Cities last year was on October 17th, and the earliest ever was September 3, 1974.

Twin Cities Almanac for October 21st:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 56 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 38 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 21st:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 88 degrees F in 1947; lowest daily maximum temperature of 29 degrees F in 1913; lowest daily minimum temperature is 16 degrees F in 1913; highest daily minimum temperature of 62 degrees F in 1920; record precipitation of 1.76 inches in 1894; and a record snowfall of 0.4 inches in 2002.

Average dew point for October 21st is 37 degrees F, with a maximum of 64 degrees F in 1920 and a minimum of 8 degrees F in 1952.

All-time state records for October 21st:

The state record high temperature for this date is 91 degrees F at Little Falls (Morrison County) in 1947. The state record low temperature for this date is -2 degrees F at Roseau (Roseau County) in 1913. State record precipitation for this date is 2.35 inches at Harmony (Fillmore County) in 1982; and record snowfall is 8.0 inches at Milaca (Mille Lacs County) in 2002.

Past Weather Features:

An early snow storm brought 6-10 inches of snowfall over October 20-21, 1906. Fortunately the snow was short-lived, as temperatures warmed into the 40s and 50s F over the next several days.

October 21, 1913 was the coldest in state history as morning temperatures fell into the teens F all over the state. Many observers reported morning lows in the single digits as well, with a reading of only 6 degrees F as far south as Windom (Cottonwood County).

October 21, 1947 was the warmest in state history. Nearly all communities in the state reported afternoon temperatures in the 70s and 80s F. Little Falls started the day with a morning low of 39°F, but under bright sun and with a strong southern breeze they warmed to 92°F by late afternoon.

October 19-21, 1982 brought heavy rains to many parts of the state, interrupting the corn harvest. Most observers reported from 1 to 2 inches, but Lanesboro and Preston reported over 3 inches.

October 20-21, 2002 brought an early season snowfall to the state, especially across central Minnesota counties. An area from Todd County east to Pine County reported from 3 to 9 inches of snowfall. Some snow-related accidents were reported along Highway 10 in central Minnesota.

Outlook:

Generally warmer than normal temperatures over the weekend, with a sunny Saturday, and a cloudy Sunday. Chance for rain showers in the far north. Continued warm temperatures into next week with a chance for rain showers again by Tuesday and Wednesday.




 

 









Friday, October 14, 2016

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 month. Many have already reported a monthly total that exceeds the October average (over 2 inches). Waseca has already reported 50.59 inches of precipitation in 2016, a new annual record for that location, and there are still two and a half months left in the year. St James (Watonwan County) reports a total precipitation for the year so far of 47.47 inches which is already an all-time record there as well.

Hurricane Matthew Rainfalls:

Speaking of rainfalls, Hurricane Matthew brought record rainfalls to some of the Atlantic Coastal states last weekend. Many coastal regions of South Carolina and North Carolina reported 10-15 inches of rainfall. In North Carolina 39 climate stations reported new daily record rainfalls, some of which were over 9 inches. In South Carolina 19 climate stations reported new daily rainfall records, with 12 inches at Manning on the 8th. And in Florida 11 climate stations reported new daily record rainfall amounts, including 6.38 inches at Titusville on the 7th. Most of the damage from Hurricane Matthew was in coastal erosion (tidal surge0 and flooding. The National Weather Service in Charleston, SC provided a summary of winds and rainfall from the hurricane, as did the NWS Office at Wilmington, NC.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Hurricane Nicole, a Category 3 storm brought heavy rains (up to 8 inches), strong winds (up to 115 mph), and storm surge of 6 to 8 feet to parts of Bermuda on Thursday of this week. It was expected to move off into the northeast and become extra-tropical by the weekend, lingering southeast of Newfoundland.

NOAA's latest ENSO Outlook suggests that there is a 70 percent chance that a weak La Nina episode may form late this autumn season. If it does there may be implications for the climate patterns during the winter season (Dec-Feb), but we won't see that factored into the CPC outlooks until next week.

There is an interesting assessment of the vulnerability of older building structures to climate change posted on the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit web site this week. "The increased frequency of some extreme weather events and expected changes in "everyday" climate conditions may present a challenge to older buildings and infrastructure. Bolstering outdated structures and implementing updated building codes may help reduce vulnerabilities."

A team of researchers from Virginia Tech recently published an article in the journal Climate Change where they suggest that future changes in precipitation may result in enhanced agricultural and hydrologic resources for Ethiopia, with positive implications for the economy of that country.

MPR listener question:

You and Cathy have remarked about the long string of warmer than normal months this year. When was the last time Minnesota experienced 3 consecutive colder than normal months?

Answer:

Indeed, 6 of the 9 months so far this year have been significantly warmer than normal in Minnesota, two months were slightly warmer than normal, and only April of this year was cooler than normal on a statewide basis. The last significantly cooler than normal run of temperatures in Minnesota of 3 months duration or longer was from November of 2013 to April of 2014, a run of 6 consecutive months. Since 1996 only three years in Minnesota have been cooler than normal when averaging all 12 months. Those were 2008, 2013 and 2014.

Twin Cities Almanac for October 14th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 59 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 40 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 14th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 86 degrees F in 1947; lowest daily maximum temperature of 40 degrees F in 1909 and 1943; lowest daily minimum temperature is 24 degrees F in 1937; highest daily minimum temperature of 66 degrees F in 1968; record precipitation of 1.89 inches in 1966; and a trace of snowfall was recorded in this date in 1909, 1943, and 1959.

Average dew point for October 14th is 41 degrees F, with a maximum of 70 degrees F in 1962 and a minimum of 17 degrees F in 2006.

All-time state records for October 14th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 91 degrees F at Redwood Falls (Redwood County) in 1947. The state record low temperature for this date is 8 degrees F at Beardsley (Big Stone County) in 1937. State record precipitation for this date is 4.45 inches at Mahnomen (Mahnomen County) in 1984; and record snowfall is 4.1 inches at Argyle (Marshall County) in 1992.

Past Weather Features:

The coldest October 14th in state history occurred in 1937. In western and northern counties morning low temperatures ranged from 8F to 15F, and as far south as St Peter it was just 17F. Two days later Mother Nature brought a warm rainfall to the state with temperatures that were 30-40 degrees higher.

The warmest October 14th in state history occurred in 1947. With strong sunshine and a south wind many areas of Minnesota warmed up to afternoon high temperatures that were 25-30 degrees F above normal. Over 50 communities reported highs in the 80s F, while both Redwood Falls and St Peter reached 90 degrees F or higher. 1947 brought the 2nd warmest October in state history, with several days reaching the 90s F.

A slow moving storm system brought heavy rain and even some thunderstorms to the state over October 14-16, 1984. Many observers reported from 3 to 5 inches of rain, while portions of Douglas, Clearwater, and Mahnomen Counties received over 5 inches causing some local flooding.

October 14-16, 1992 brought an early snow storm to the state. Unfortunately many crops were still unharvested and this storm further delayed those operations. Areas of western Minnesota reported 2-4 inches of snowfall, while the south received trace amounts up to 2 inches.

Outlook:

Cloudy and warm on Saturday with a chance for showers, especially in eastern sections. Brighter on Sunday and still warmer than normal, with increasing clouds by evening and a chance for showers. Chance for showers will be continuing on Monday and Tuesday. Cooler by mid-week with temperatures closer to normal. More sun on Wednesday and Thursday.
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