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Extension > Mark Seeley's WeatherTalk > December 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.




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