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Cold Conclusion to December

Cold Conclusion to December:
Cold weather dominated Minnesota and much of the nation for the last week of December. Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the nation on 7 days during the month of December (so far). For the Twin Cities the week between Christmas Day and New Years Eve will be one of the coldest since 1886. On Christmas Day Wind Chill values at places like Orr, International Falls, and Warroad ranged from -40 to -45 degrees F. Both Kabetogama and Cotton set new record lows on December 28th with readings of -40°F and -42°F, respectively. International Falls reported a new record cold maximum temperature for December 26th with a reading of -12°F, while Embarrass and Pokegama Dam only "warmed up" to -18°F that day setting records for cold maximum temperatures. At International Falls a new record cold minimum for December 27th was set with a reading of -37°F. Even more cold temperature records may be reported over December 30-31 this weekend. Thankfu…

Oscillating December Temperatures and 2017 Climate Review

Oscillating December Temperatures and 2017 Climate Review:
Through the first three weeks of this month most climate observers have reported average December temperatures that range from 3 to 7 degrees warmer than normal. With the projected colder than normal weather dominating the Christmas to New Year’s Day time period, it appears that by the end of the month most climate stations will find that December mean temperatures have balanced out close to normal. Minnesota has reported the coldest temperature in the nation only twice so far this month, but is likely to see this frequency increase over the last ten days of the month. This oscillating temperature pattern is what balanced out the month of November as well, expect the first half of the month was exceptionally cold and the second half of the month exceptionally warm.

January may continue this oscillating pattern as it starts out colder than normal, then moderates mid-month and may even warm to above normal during the second h…

Mixed climate patterns in December

Mixed climate patterns in December:
After an extraordinary warm start, with scores of record high temperature values set on the 4th of the month, December has been tracking with alternating periods of below and above normal temperatures. Overall through the first half of the month most climate stations are showing average temperature values that range from 4 to 8 degrees F warmer than normal, a trend that is likely to make December the 10th month of 2017 with above normal temperatures. Over 60 climate stations so far have reported subzero low temperatures on at least one day this month, with a minimum of -19°F near Ely earlier this week on the 12th. Embarrass was -15°F on that date as well. Eveleth reported -9°F on December 8th, the coldest in the nation.

Most observers have so far reported anywhere from 5 to 7 days with measurable snowfalls, mostly light in amounts from a dusting up to 1 inch. Though most climate observers have reported a total of just 1 to 4 inches so far this…

Winter Returns

Winter Returns:
This week the Minnesota State Climatology Office posted the headline "Winter Returns" referring to the snow and cold front that dominated the state over December 4-5.

Prior to the passage of the cold front during the afternoon and evening of Monday, December 4th many climate stations reported new record high temperatures for the date, including: Rochester and Austin with 64°F; Albert Lea and Theilman with 63°F; Grand Meadow with 62°F; Minnesota City, Fairmont, Hastings, Caledonia, Winnebago, Waseca and Winona with 61°F, Amboy, Red Wing, and Preston with 60°F; Rosemount with 59°F; La Crescent with 58°F, MSP with 57°F, and a number of other places as well. In addition MSP reported a new record high dew point on December 4th of 55°F, and the 2nd highest dew point ever reported in the month of December (only a dew point of 57°F on December 5, 2001 was higher). With the high temperatures and high dew points during the afternoon a few thunderstorms developed acr…

November climate summary

November climate summary:
Precipitation was generally below normal across Minnesota during the month of November, while the temperature pattern was mixed with average monthly temperatures that were cooler than normal in the north and slightly warmer than normal in much of the south. The other contrast was in cloudiness, which was dominant the first half of the month, then there were many long spells of sunshine during the second half of the month.

The first two weeks of the month were the coldest since November of 1995, but then temperatures moderated the rest of the month, with several days bringing daytime highs in the 50s and 60s F. The last week of the month was about 12°F warmer than average in most Minnesota communities. Extreme temperature values for the month were 65 degrees F at Marshall (Lyon County) on the 27th, and -17 degrees F at Camp Norris (Lake of the Woods county) on the 24th. Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the nation four times during the month.

W…

Lack of sunshine in November

Lack of sunshine in November:
Many citizens around the state have remarked about the lack of sunshine so far this month. Indeed the data show emphatically the absence of sun has been quite pronounced. Mean cloudiness for the first half of the month ranges from 7 tenths to 8 tenths of the sky across most of the state and some climate stations have reported 9 days of complete cloud cover, while others have reported 8 days with fog.

If we examine historical climate statistics, November is traditionally the cloudiest month of the year, averaging nearly 6 tenths cloud cover of the sky on a daily basis. This is fully 25 to 35 percent more cloud cover than any other month. In terms of actual solar radiation (both direct and diffuse) the amount reaching the Minnesota landscape during November is approximately half of what it is in the month of July, and when compared with to the month with the next least amount of solar radiation (December) it is still about 8 percent less (a result of t…

Coldest temperatures since March

Coldest temperatures since March:
At least 35 Minnesota climate stations reported subzero low temperatures this week, the first time that has happened since the second week of last March. Celina (St Louis County) reported a low temperature of -17°F on November 10th, a new all-time state record low for this date. In addition a number of northern Minnesota communities reported new record lows on November 10th as well, including -16°F at Orr (St Louis County), -15°F at Bigfork (Itasca County County), -14°F at Embarrass, and -13°F Cotton, and Brimson. So far average November temperatures around the state are running 6 to 12 degrees F colder than normal, with several new record low temperatures reported on both November 8th and November 10th. On a statewide basis the first ten days of November have been the coldest since 1995.


A distinct change in the temperature pattern for the month is coming next week, as temperatures are expected to rise to above normal values over Tuesday throu…

October Climate Summary

October Climate Summary:
Despite the snow and cold that prevailed during the last days of the month, average October temperatures around the state generally ranged from 1 to 4 degrees F above normal (average). The extremes for the month were 81 degrees F on October 20th at several locations, and just 13 degrees F at Browns Valley (Traverse County) on October 29th. October was the 8th month of the year with above normal temperatures (only May and August have been cooler than normal this year). Minnesota did not report the nation's lowest temperature even once during the month. Within the statewide climate network 20 locations reported new daily high temperature records on at least one date; while 32 locations reported new daily warm low temperature records on at least one date.

On a statewide basis October of 2017 was the 15th wettest in state history, with most observers reporting from 3 to 5 inches of precipitation. Several southern Minnesota climate stations reported their…

Strong winds over the past week

Strong winds over the past week:
Since last Friday, October 20th we have seen more days with strong winds than any other period this year. These winds have been associated with a series of strong low pressure systems passing across the region. There have been frequent days with wind gusts well over 30 mph, and some days with gusts over 40 mph. In fact October 24th was a very unusual day in Rochester because the average wind speed for the entire day was over 20 mph, something that happens only about 2 percent of all days. Also on October 24th winds over 60 mph generated wave heights on Lake Superior that exceeded 20 feet on the eastern half of the lake.

The maximum winds over the past week here in Minnesota frequently gusted to over 40 mph. Those locations measuring such winds included;

MSP Airport, Moorhead, Morris, Crookston, and Marshall all reported winds to 41 mph.
Redwood Falls and Pipestone reported winds to 43 mph.
Benson reported winds to 44 mph.
Rochester reported winds …

Weather Pattern Reversal in October

Weather Pattern Reversal in October:
After a very wet first half of October, it appears that the 2nd half will be quite dry. During the first two weeks of the month 62 daily rainfall records were set or tied within the Minnesota state climate network, and over three dozen communities reported rainfall totals ranging from 5 to 8 inches, with nearly half the days of the month bringing rain. That pattern has completely reversed itself for the second half of the month, with little precipitation in the forecast out to Halloween. Though dry, the month will continue to be warmer than normal as it was this week.

A Dry Week Helps Farmers:
After a very wet first half of October, this week's sunny, warm, and dry weather has been very helpful for farmers who have resumed harvesting corn and soybean fields. Daily temperatures have been averaging 8-12 degrees F above normal this week. Over 90 climate stations have reported daytime high temperatures in the 70s F this week. The high tempe…

Very Wet October So Far

Very Wet October So Far:
Harvesting of corn and soybeans has been slowed or delayed due to wet weather this month. So far at least 55 climate stations have reported new daily record amounts of rainfall, mostly during the first three days of the month, and over the the sixth through the 9th. In addition many places have reported consistent rain, about every two days or so. As a result a number of climate stations, especially in southern counties have reported a total of 4 to 7 inches of rainfall and we have not reached the mid-point of October yet. Across Minnesota normal October monthly rainfall ranges from two to three inches, so many locations have already received twice the average amount.

This October rainfall pattern follows the recent trend towards wetter than normal. Sixteen of the past twenty-two Octobers in Minnesota have been wetter than normal on a statewide basis, with three among the top five wettest historically. The silver lining in all this is that for most place…