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.