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Preliminary November climate summary

Preliminary November climate summary

Most observers reported average monthly temperatures for November that ranged from 2 to 4 degrees F warmer than normal, with the larger positive departures in temperatures coming in southern counties. Extremes for the month ranged from -11 degrees F at Fosston (Polk County) on the 26th to 75 degrees F on the 10th at Rochester, Amboy, and Winnebago. The warm day on the 10th also brought extremely rare November tornadoes to the state. These storms were reported from Burnsville, Eagan, Mendota Heights and Mahtomedi, and were the 2nd latest autumn tornadoes in Minnesota history (there was a tornado near Maple Plain back on November 16, 1931).

Nearly all observers reported below normal precipitation for the month of November, except for a few spots in northeastern Minnesota where reports of 1.50 to 2.50 inches occurred. Grand Marais topped the list with 2.76 inches. Northern Minnesota observers also measured snowfall this month. Some receiving significant amounts included International Falls with 8.6", Duluth with 10.1", Red Lake Falls with 14.0", and Isabella with 17.0"

Ice began to form on many areas lakes during the second half of the month and many soils froze down to a depth of 4 inches. There was relatively more sun in the second half of the month than the first, and there were two very windy days on the 10th and 22nd when many places saw gusts over 40 mph.

The extent of drought worsened during November and many stream flow volumes were very low. Over 83 percent of the state's landscape is in severe to extreme drought as we end November. There will likely be little change in drought status during the winter months. You can read the latest drought update on our web site.

A snow lover's forecast

The National Weather Service in Medford, OR issued the following forecast for Mount Shasta in California this weekend. For snow lovers it must have brought all smiles, but look at the wind speeds!

-Friday Snow showers. The snow could be heavy at times. Temperature falling to around 15 by 4pm. Wind chill values as low as -13. Windy, with a south southwest wind 80 to 85 mph decreasing to 70 to 75 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 115 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 23 to 29 inches possible.
-Friday Night Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 14. Wind chill values as low as -13. Windy, with a south southwest wind 70 to 80 mph, with gusts as high as 115 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 21 to 27 inches possible.
-Saturday Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. High near 19. Windy, with a southwest wind 75 to 80 mph, with gusts as high as 115 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 22 to 28 inches possible.
-Saturday Night Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 17. Windy. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 29 to 35 inches possible.
-Sunday Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. High near 18. Windy. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 11 to 17 inches possible.
-Sunday Night Snow showers likely. Cloudy, with a low around 9. Windy.

Weekly Weather potpourri

A paper published in Science this week by Andrew Shepherd et al documents the accelerated loss in ice mass from Greenland and Antarctica over the period from 1992 to 2011. The study is based on an ensemble of data from satellite observations over the period and is the most comprehensive in recent years. Approximately 20 percent of the sea level rise observed over this period has been the result of this ice melt. You can read more about this paper here.

Typhoon Bopha was spinning this week in the western Pacific Ocean southeast of the Philippines. Winds on Friday ranged from 75-90 mph creating sea waves of 25-30 feet. Bopha is expected to intensify and bring strong winds, storm surge, and heavy rain to the Philippines by the middle of next week.

A huge tornado struck the city of Taranto, Italy on Wednesday (Nov 28) this week. It caused at least 20 injuries and damaged or destroyed several buildings and structures, including one of Europe's largest steel mills. Tornadoes, and especially in November, are relatively rare in Italy.

The United Kingdom Meteorological Office this week released an analysis of three global temperature data sets all showing the likelihood of 2012 ending up somewhere between the 4th and 14th warmest year since 1850. The analysis includes data up through October and is shown in degrees C.

A weekly summary from Brad Rippey of the USDA-World Agricultural Outlook Board summarizes the extent and impact of drought in the USA. Some of the highlights include:

-The portion of the contiguous U.S. in drought rose for the second consecutive week and currently stands at 62.65%. This represents the largest portion of the U.S. in drought since October 9.
-The portion of the contiguous U.S. in the worst category – D4, or exceptional drought – remained virtually unchanged at 6% (rounded) for the sixteenth consecutive week (August 14 – November 27).
-Hay in drought increased to 65%, up three percentage points from a week ago and up five points from November 13.
-Cattle in drought rose to 73%, up two points for the second consecutive week.
-Winter wheat in drought climbed a point to 65%, the second one-point increase in a row. The crop continues to struggle mightily in some of the hardest-hit drought areas. In South Dakota, for example, only 60% of the winter wheat had emerged by November 25, versus the five-year average of 100%.
-On the strength of wheat’s struggles in most of the Hard Red Winter Wheat Belt, from South Dakota to Texas, U.S. winter wheat conditions are the worst at this time of year since records of this type were initiated in the mid-1980s. More than one-quarter (26 percent) of the U.S. winter wheat was rated in very poor to poor condition on November 25.

A paper published this week by Dr. Ben Santer (Lawrence-Livermore National Lab) and colleagues in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that recent tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling within the Earth's atmosphere is related to human activity. The measurements and models show a higher rate of warmer over the Arctic and a muted warming or even cooling over Antarctica. You can read more about this paper here.

Skywarn Recognition Day is Saturday, December 1st. The National Weather Service and American Radio Relay League will celebrate and salute the many Skywarn volunteer radio operators who assist with Severe Weather Operations and communications when these storms threaten the public.

MPR listener question

With the relative absence of snow around the Twin Cities Metro area so far this autumn I am worried about having enough snow to cross country ski this winter. What can you tell me about prospects for snow next month in December?

Answer: The long-term average December snowfall (125 years) in the Twin Cities area is 8.9 inches. In six of the last ten years we have exceeded that, including the record amount of 33.6 inches in 2010. In addition the mid-range climate models are suggesting that we will see above normal precipitation across the state during the first two weeks of December. So I would tend to be optimistic that we'll see some better conditions for skiing materialize next month. Record amounts of 40 or more inches during December have been observed in some northern locations over the years as well, including Duluth, Two Harbors, and Virginia.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 30th

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 33 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 17 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 30th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 62 degrees F in 1922; lowest daily maximum temperature of 2 degrees F in 1896; lowest daily minimum temperature of -17 F in 1964; highest daily minimum temperature of 42 F in 1962; and record precipitation of 0.84 inches in 1934; Record snowfall is 8.0 inches in 1934.

Average dew point for November 30th is 17 degrees F, with a maximum of 48 degrees F in 1922 and a minimum of -21 degrees F in 1964.

All-time state records for November 30th

The state record high temperature for this date is 68 degrees F at Montevideo (Chippewa County) in 1922. The state record low temperature for this date is -45 degrees F at Pokegama Dam (Itasca County) in 1896. State record precipitation for this date is 2.64 inches at Waseca (Waseca County) in 1991; and the state record snowfall for this date is 18.0 inches at Willmar (Kandiyohi County) in 1985.

Past Weather Features:

Far and away the coldest November 30 in Minnesota history occurred in 1896. The month had brought abundant snowfall, 15 to 30 inches for many observers. An Arctic high pressure system crossed the state over November 29 to December 2nd, causing temperatures to plummet and setting all-time record cold for the month of November. On November 30th seven communities reported temperatures of -30 degrees F or colder, with Pokegama Dam recording -45 degrees F. Even daytime temperatures were extraordinary, as Roseau reported a high of only -19 degrees F that day.

November of 1922 was dominated by warm temperatures, cloudy skies, and abundant rainfall (not snowfall). On November 30th over a dozen Minnesota communities reported daytime highs in the 60s F, setting records for the date.

November 29-30, 1985 brought a winter storm to Minnesota with considerable snowfall in some areas. Duluth reported nearly a foot, while Willmar received over 18 inches. To end the month the observer at Tower, MN reported a snow depth of 49 inches, requiring snowshoes to walk outside.

Another snowy November was 1991 when the observer at Bruno (Pine County) reported a monthly total of 58.6 inches of snowfall. Duluth and Two Harbors also saw totals of over 50 inches. One of the bigger winter storms that month struck on the 30th bringing 10 to 16 inches of new snow to many communities.

Words of the Week: Earmuffs

Sometimes called "earlaps", earmuffs were invented by a young Chester Greenwood (15 years old) of Farmington, Maine in 1873. He grew tired of having cold ears when he was ice skating on frozen ponds in the winter, so he made small ear-shaped wire loops which he asked his grandmother to cover with pieces of fur. He soon refined this model for earmuffs and patented them in 1877. Demand was greater than expected, so he built a factory in Farmington, Maine. This and other inventions later in life made him a rich man. He died in 1937, but as a lasting tribute, the first day of winter (solstice) in Maine is referred to as "Chester Greenwood Day." So think about Chester Greenwood, the young inventor of 139 years ago, when you are putting on your next pair of stylish earmuffs.   


Fog in areas early Saturday with chance for rain, and possibly light snow in the northeast by Saturday night. Dry on Sunday as temperatures will continue to be warmer than normal through the weekend. On Monday temperatures may even approach record high levels, then cool for the middle of next week. Increasing chances for precipitation on Monday, with rain in the south and snow in the north. Then warming again toward the end of next week with chances for snow on Thursday and Friday.
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