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Extension > Minnesota WeatherTalk > October 2017

Friday, October 27, 2017

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 to 46 mph and winds gusting to over 40 mph over several hours.
Cloquet and Duluth reported winds to 47 mph.

Further, Thursday night and Friday morning (Oct 27) brought another strong low pressure system across Minnesota and Wisconsin that produced very strong winds. Wave heights on Lake Superior ranged from 12 to 17 feet on Friday morning. Some of the strongest wind gusts included:

43 mph at Pipestone, Canby and Alexandria.

44 mph at Ortonville, Slayton, Redwood Falls, and Moorhead.

46 mph at Madison.

48 mph at Marshall. 58 mph at the Duluth Harbor.

I am reminded that the coming month of November is generally one of the two most windy months of the year climatologically (the other being April). So, these wind speeds may be even more frequent around the state in the coming month.

Lake Superior Storm Festival:


For those who like to make a trip to the north shore of Lake Superior during the autumn season, you might want to consider the weekend of November 10-12 in order to attend the 5th Annual Lake Superior Storm Festival. A variety of events will take place at Lutsen Resort and in Grand Marais. Among many other activities, I will be speaking at Lutsen Resort on Saturday, November 11th at 3pm with a program titled "A History of Great November Storms on Lake Superior."

Weekly Weather Potpourri:


In the Western Pacific Ocean Tropical Storm Saola is being monitored by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. It is expected to strengthen this weekend and move towards southern Japan, perhaps bringing strong winds, high seas, and heavy rains to Kyoto by Sunday and Monday. You can follow this storm at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center website.


This week NOAA provides an analysis of Hurricane Ophelia which earlier this month sustained itself over unusually warm North Atlantic waters and brought heavy rains and high winds to portions of Ireland. Over 300,000 residents of Ireland lost power, and winds up to 78 mph were measured at Cork. To read further analysis of this unusual storm and see satellite imagery you can find it at the NOAA Climate.gov web site.


In a paper published recently in Scientific Reports, Utah State University scientists show evidence that the recent pattern of drought in Europe, reduced drought frequency in the north and increased drought frequency in the south, matches up well with the projections of climate change models. These drought trends have been observed across European nations since 1980.


There is an interesting article in this week’s Earth and Space Science News which describes how regional climate and weather is interconnected across space and time. The author discusses some of the “climate teleconnections” in the tropics and how they affect mid-latitude weather patterns.

MPR listener question:

How often do we get measurable snowfall during the month of October in the Twin Cities area?

Answer:

Historically, back to 1877 the data show measurable October snowfalls in the Twin Cities about 29 percent of all years, the most recent of which was 2009 (on October 10 and 12 of that year). The most snowfall in October was in 1991, on Halloween when it snowed 8.2 inches, while October of 1925 brought the most days with measurable snowfall, a total of 6 days (that was also the coldest October in Twin Cities climate history with a mean temperature over 10 degrees F cooler than normal). For today's date (Oct 27) in the Twin Cities measurable snowfall has been recorded in the following years: 1910, 1919 (record daily amount of 2.6 inches), 1925, 1959, and 1967. So today's snowfall marks only the 6th measurable amount historically on this date.

For relative comparison, at Duluth the climate record shows measurable snowfalls have occurred in 62 percent of all Octobers, while at International Falls they have occurred in 68 percent of all years. The all-time state snowfall record for the month of October is 19.4 inches at Mizpah (Koochiching County) in 1932. Baudette (Lake of the Woods County) also had 19 inches of October snowfall in 1916, while Farmington (Dakota County) had 19 inches in 1926.

Twin Cities Almanac for October 27th:


The average MSP high temperature for this date is 53 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 36 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 27th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 74 degrees F in 1922 and 1948; lowest daily maximum temperature of 29 degrees F in 1925; lowest daily minimum temperature of 13 degrees F in 1997; highest daily minimum temperature of 50 degrees F in 1964; record precipitation of 2.22 inches in 1971. Record snowfall on this date is 2.6 inches in 1919.

Average dew point for October 27th is 35°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 60°F in 1971; and the minimum dew point on this date is 11°F in 1925.

All-time state records for October 27th:


The all-time state high temperature for today's date is 90 degrees F at Chatfield (Fillmore County) in 1927; the all-time state low for today's date is -10 degrees F at Itasca State Park (Clearwater County) in 1919. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 4.25 inches at St Charles (Winona County) in 1900. Record snowfall is 7.7 inches at Two Harbors (Lake County) in 2010.

Past Weather Features:


An early winter storm over October 26-27 brought a mixture of rain, sleet, and snow to the state. Many parts of central and northern Minnesota reported 3-6 inches of snowfall. Following the storm, temperatures fell into the single digits.

Almost summer-like weather visited the state on October 27, 1955. Over 60 communities saw the thermometer top the 70 degrees F mark, while seven others reported afternoon highs in the 80s F. It was sunny, breezy and pleasant statewide, even 70 degrees F across portions of the Iron Range.

A strong low pressure system brought heavy rains, high winds, and thunderstorms to the state on October 27, 1971. Winds over 70 mph blew down a broadcast tower in Willmar, and damaged a drive-in movie screen in Duluth. Thunderstorms brought rains of 2 inches to 3.5 inches to parts of northern Minnesota.

Probably the coldest October 27th on a statewide basis was in 1976. Over 60 climate stations reported morning low temperatures in the single digits, while 7 northern Minnesota communities reported sub-zero temperature readings. This cold air invasion followed a winter storm that delivered 3-6 inches of snow across many parts of the state over October 24-26.

The deepest low pressure system to ever cross the state occurred with the winter storm of October 26-27, 2010. The barometric pressure fell to 28.21 inches at Bigfork (Itasca County) setting a new state record for lowest barometric pressure. This deep low brought widespread winds of 60-70 mph across the state and produced waves on Lake Superior as high as 27 feet. Many areas of northern Minnesota received 3-7 inches of snow, and heavy rain fell across most of the rest of the state.

Outlook:


Sunny, but much cooler than normal on Saturday with highs mostly in the 30s F. Warming up a bit on Sunday, with cloudier skies and a chance for rain/snow mix. Continued chance for widely scattered showers on Monday, drier on Tuesday. Another chance for showers later on Wednesday, with moderating temperatures, though remaining cooler than normal much of the week.

Friday, October 20, 2017

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 temperatures, bright sun, strong winds (20-30 mph), and low dew points and humidity provoked the National Weather Service to issue some Red Flag Warnings (ideal conditions for wildfires to break out) for many parts of the state this week. Some of the dew point and relative humidity readings were close to record low values at many locations, including:

On the afternoon of October 18th Roseau had a dew point of 3°F and RH of 10%; Fosston had a dew point of 9°F and RH of 15%; Baudette had a dew point of 9°F and RH of 14%; International Falls had a dew point of 12°F and RH of 16%; Moorhead had a dew point of 13°F and RH of 14%; and Appleton had a dew point of 17F and RH of 16%. For comparison on the same afternoon Phoenix, AZ reported a dew point of 30°F with an RH of 15%.

Although these conditions provoke a higher risk for wildfires, there are also favorable for field corn kernel moisture to dry down by 1 to 2 percent per day, saving farmers on drying costs before storage.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:


NOAA scientists released new season outlooks this week. The outlooks favor a somewhat wetter than normal winter (Dec-Feb) over much of Minnesota and perhaps a cooler than normal winter over northern portions of the state. The Winter Outlook is conditioned on the formation of a short-lived La Nina episode (cooler than normal temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean). I might add that Minnesota has recorded only two cooler than normal winters in the last 8 years, the most recent being 2013-1014. Further over the last 20 years only 5 years have brought cooler than normal winters. The NOAA Climate Prediction Center produced a video to explain the Winter Outlook.


NOAA scientists are teaming up with leaders from the construction trades to see if some of the seasonal outlook models can provide useful tools for the timing and deployment of people and equipment doing large-scale construction projects, especially those undertaken in the winter season. One goal is to see whether or not the risk of a damaging rain, win, or Heat Wave can be priced and factored into the time-table for construction contracts in a better way. A more detailed description of this effort can be found on the NOAA Climate.Gov web site.


In the Western Pacific Ocean this week Typhoon Lan was spinning and growing in strength south of Japan. It was producing winds over 115 mph and sea wave heights of 35-40 feet. It may affect southern Japan over the weekend with high winds and heavy rains. More information can be found at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center web site.

http://www.usno.navy.mil/NOOC/nmfc-ph/RSS/jtwc/satshots/25W_201200sair.jpg

A recent study from Canada published in Environment International shows the risk of heart failure increases in the elderly during cold weather. The study showed that a significant drop in temperature over a 3-7 day period can raise the risk of heart failure among the elderly. This study was based on over 100,000 elderly people studied over the period from 2001-2011.

MPR listener question:


I see many parts of the state are forecast to reach 80 degrees F on Friday (Oct 20). How often does the daytime temperature get that high in October?

Answer:


In the Twin Cities climate record (back to 1872) a reading of at least 80 degrees F or greater has occurred with a frequency of about every two years, not all that uncommon. The last such reading in the Twin Cities record was October 11, 2015 when 85 degrees F was recorded. Readings of 85°F or higher during October are far less common in the Twin Cities climate record, occurring about once every 5 years. At Grand Rapids, MN an 80°F temperature reading in October occurs about once every three years, while at International Falls this happens about once every six years.

Twin Cities Almanac for October 20th:


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 20th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 83 degrees F in 1953; lowest daily maximum temperature of 32 degrees F in 1930; lowest daily minimum temperature of 18 degrees F in 1960; highest daily minimum temperature of 61 degrees F in 1920; record precipitation of 2.64 inches in 1934. Record snowfall on this date is 3.0 inches in 1916.

Average dew point for October 20th is 37°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 66°F in 1920; and the minimum dew point on this date is 8°F in 1952.

All-time state records for October 20th:


The all-time state high temperature for today's date is 91 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1947; the all-time state low for today's date is -1 degrees F at Argyle (Marshall County) in 1916. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 3.95 inches at Chaska (Carver County) in 1934. Record snowfall is 10.0 inches at Detroit Lakes (Becker County) in 1906.

Past Weather Features:


October 19-21, 1906 brought a winter storm to northern Minnesota where 4 to 10 inches of snow fell. This was one of the earliest heavy snows in state history.

A strong winter storm brought snow to most parts of the state over October 18-19, 1916. Following the storm the coldest temperatures ever reported in the state on October 20th and the earliest seasonal reading of subzero occurred. Argyle (Marshall County) reported a low of -1°F, while Angus (Polk County) and Roseau reported a reading of zero degrees F. Several other locations reported lows in the single digits. It was the start of a long, cold, and snowy season.

October 20-21 brought heavy rain to portions of Minnesota. Many climate stations reported 2 to 4 inches of rain which brought an abrupt halt to farmers field work. The rain was one of the heaviest of the Dust Bowl decade.

By far the warmest October 20th in state history was in 1947 when over 30 communities reported an afternoon high temperature of 80 degrees F or greater. Five climate stations reached the 90°F mark. In the Twin Cities even the overnight low temperature never fell below 55 degrees F that day.

October 20-21, 2002 brought some heavy snows to many parts of the state. Many observers reported 4 to 8 inches of heavy wet snow.

Outlook:


Moderating temperatures over the weekend, still above normal but not as warm as earlier in the week. There will be a chance for showers and thunderstorms Saturday, then drier, cooler, and sunnier on Sunday with some strong winds. Temperatures will continue a little above normal next week with the occasional chance for showers.






Friday, October 13, 2017

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 places the soils will be recharged with moisture for next spring's crops.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:


NOAA scientists reported recently that the month of September was generally warmer and drier than normal across the nation. It was the 14th warmest in Minnesota state history back to 1895, and it overall wetter than normal but only by about a half inch of precipitation. Across the nation the first nine months of 2017 (Jan-Sep) rank as the third warmest in history, but the wettest in history as well. Many states will likely report their wettest year in history by the time we get to the end of December. Of course September of 2017 will be remembered more vividly for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.


NOAA scientists also released a climate assessment of the environmental conditions which have produced the highly destructive California wildfires this autumn. Last winters abundant precipitation in California helped solve drought there but ushered in a very lush and productive growing season. Then the dry, hot summer brought about high risk for autumn fires.

The United Kingdom Met Office is commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Famous October 15-16, 1987 storm which brought 100 mph winds and much damage to the country. One of the worst ever storms to hit the United Kingdom, the winds and rain caused over 1 billion dollars in damage and 22 lives were lost. You can read more about this storm and the improvements made in forecasting by going to the Met Office web site.



In this week's Earth and Space Science News from the AGU there is an article about measuring the carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants in three different countries using satellite-based technologies. Though not as accurate as ground-based measurements, the satellites are useful in assessing seasonal variations and other attributes of these emissions.


MPR listener question:


What a wet month! I have never seen it so wet in October here in Fillmore County. What is the record amount of rainfall for the month of October in Minnesota?

Answer:


The all-time record rainfall for October in Minnesota is 11.25 inches at St Charles (Winona County) in October of 1900. The record amount for Fillmore County in October is 7.92 inches in October of 2013.


Twin Cities Almanac for October 13th:


The average MSP high temperature for this date is 60 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 41 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 13th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 84 degrees F in 1956; lowest daily maximum temperature of 37 degrees F in 1937; lowest daily minimum temperature of 22 degrees F in 1917; highest daily minimum temperature of 62 degrees F in 1879, 1968, and 2000; record precipitation of 1.52 inches in 1890. Record snowfall on this date is 0.4 inches in 1969.

Average dew point for October 13th is 41°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 67°F in 1962; and the minimum dew point on this date is 14°F in 1937.


All-time state records for October 13th:


The all-time state high temperature for today's date is 89 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1958 and at Luverne (Rock County) in 1975; the all-time state low for today's date is 2 degrees F at Sawbill Camp (Cook County) in 1936. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 4.71 inches at Fosston (Polk County) in 1984. Record snowfall is 7.0 inches at Warroad (Roseau County) in 2006.


Past Weather Features:


The coldest October 13th in state history occurred in 1933. Frosts occurred in all corners of the state, and the morning low temperature was record-setting, below 20 degrees F in over 30 communities around the state. Thin ice formed on ponds and shallow lakes.

An autumn season snow storm dominated the headlines in Minnesota over October 11-13, 1959. This snow temporarily halted the harvest season for many farmers and brought several inches to many parts of the state. Across southern and central areas of the state 3 to 7 inches of heavy, wet snow accumulated. Itasca State Park ended up with nearly 10 inches of snow for October of that year.

One of the warmest October 13ths in state history came in 1975 when over 20 climate stations reported a daytime high of 85 degrees F or higher. It brought a warm night too as the temperature never dropped below 60 degrees F at places like Austin and Preston.

A storm brought heavy rain, and even some snow to portions of the state over October 12-13, 1997. Many areas of southern Minnesota received 2-3 inches of rain, disrupting the harvest season and causing soil erosion on some plowed fields in southeastern counties. In the Red River Valley area 2-4 inches of snow fell.

Outlook:


Clouding up on Saturday with showers later in the day and evening, then partly cloudy with cooler than normal temperatures on Sunday. More frosts in northern counties. Drier and warmer weather for early next week with temperatures climbing to above normal values as daytime highs range from the upper 50s to upper 60s F.




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