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.