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Record warmth this week, then temperature crash

Record warmth this week, then temperature crash

From Saturday, November 17th to Thanksgiving (Nov 23) temperatures averaged 12 to 25 degrees F warmer than normal around the state, with frequent sunny skies, similar to last year's spell of mild weather over November 23-26, 2011. Some new record high temperatures were reported around the state over Sunday through Thursday, including:

54 degrees F at Hibbing on November 18, 2012

53 degrees F at Hibbing on November 19, 2012
54 degrees F at International Falls on November 19, 2012
55 degrees F at Pokegama Dam (tied record), and Bigfork on November 19, 2012
56 degrees F at Cass Lake and Brainerd on November 19, 2012
57 degrees F at Grand Rapids on November 19, 2012

60 degrees F at Sherburn, Chaska, and Wells on November 20, 2012
63 degrees F at Marshall on November 20, 2012
62 degrees F at Forest Lake on November 20, 2012
57 degrees F at Brainerd on November 20, 2012

Numerous high temperature records were set on November 21st, too many to list here. Some observers reported 70 degrees F or higher, including 70 degrees F at Rochester and Sherburn, and 71 degrees F at Winnebago. Others setting records on Wednesday, November 21st included 69 degrees F at Fairmont and Waseca, and 68 degrees F at Marshall and Worthington. Numerous record warm minimum temperature records were set as well.

Thanksgiving Day (Nov 22) brought a record 60 degrees F to the Twin Cities (just after midnight) and 62 degrees F at Eau Claire, as well as a record tying 52 degrees F to Duluth. But, then the other shoe dropped during late in the day as temperatures plummeted, falling into the 20s F with windchill conditions in the teens and single digits. Snow was also reported by many observers, including 1 to 4 inches in central counties and 5-10 inches in northeastern counties. Many places reported wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph.

Thanksgiving Climatology

The mild temperatures of the recent holiday were a significant anomaly. Many locations saw afternoon highs in the 50s F. For the Twin Cities it was only the 11th time in past 141 years that Thanksgiving Day has brought a temperature of 50 degrees F or greater. It is interesting to note that 5 of those years have come since 1998. For southern Minnesota communities it was another dry Thanksgiving which is typical historically, as over 70 percent of the time the holiday brings a trace or no precipitation. You can read more about Thanksgiving climatology on our web site.

Weekly Weather potpourri

Parts of the United Kingdom received heavy rains this week, especially in the southwestern sections and in the Midlands where 2-3 inches of rain brought some street flooding. There were disruptions to traffic as well as railroads. Further rains were expected going into the weekend.

A article published recently in the International Journal of Climatology provides a documented data base of 195 coastal storm surge events dating back to 1880. A total of 62 data sources were used. This data base will be of value for coastal communities in planning for potential storm surge events. You can read more about it here.

According to a recent article in Geophysical Research Letters the accelerated loss of water from the Himalayan glaciers will lead to an overall shrinkage of almost 10 percent over the next several decades. As a result the fresh water discharged from this melting combined with the rainy season may lead to more flooding. You can read more about this article here.

MPR listener question

How often do we end November in the Twin Cities area without any measurable snow cover? Seems like we might be headed for that this year.

Answer: It is more common than you think. The climatology for the Twin Cities area shows that about 50 percent of the time there is no measurable snow cover on November 30th. This is somewhat surprising to many citizens.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 23rd

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 34 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 20 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 23rd

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 55 degrees F in 1905; lowest daily maximum temperature of 7 degrees F in 1898; lowest daily minimum temperature of -6 F in 1898; highest daily minimum temperature of 46 F in 2009; and record precipitation of 0.89 inches in 1983; Record snowfall is 11.4 inches in 1983.

Average dew point for November 23rd is 19 degrees F, with a maximum of 50 degrees F in 1905 and a minimum of -18 degrees F in 1950.

All-time state records for November 23rd

The state record high temperature for this date is 65 degrees F at Marshall (Lyon County) in 1974. The state record low temperature for this date is -31 degrees F at Tower (St Louis County) in 1898. State record precipitation for this date is 1.81 inches at Beaver Bay (Lake County) in 1983; and the state record snowfall for this date is 18.0 inches at Babbitt (St Louis County) in 1983.

Past Weather Features:

Probably the coldest November 23rd in state history occurred in 1898. Following a heavy snowfall over November 21-22 (up to 13 inches at Pokegama Dam), nearly every observer in the state reported an overnight low below zero F. Northern observers reported values from -14 to -31 degrees F, while at Crookston the temperature never rose above -1 F during the day.

Another cold wave gripped the state on November 23, 1900 when two dozen communities reported morning low temperatures that were below zero F. This followed a significant snowfall over November 19-21 as Arctic air settled over the state keeping temperatures cold until the 29th.

A strong winter storm passed across the northern part of the state on November 23, 1954. Winds of 60 mph were reported, along with some damages. In Wadena at least 9 store fronts were blown in and street signs and antennas knocked down. A nearby barn was blow off its foundation.

November 23, 1974 brought a very warm day to southwestern Minnesota communities. Many set net record highs with daytime readings in the 60s F, including Lamberton, Marshall, Pipestone, Tracy, Tyler, Worthington, Windom, and Springfield. It was a brief mild spell of weather as temperatures fell off into the 20s and 30s F the next day (Nov 24th).

November 23-24, 1983 brought very heavy snowfall to eastern sections of the state. Many observers reported amounts ranging from 10 to 20 inches. Visibilities were near zero in some areas and many Thanksgiving travelers were stranded or rescued by state troopers in 4-wheel drive vehicles.

November of 1985 brought both heavy snowfall and very cold temperatures. A strong Arctic cold front caused temperatures to plummet by 40 F or more on November 23rd. At New London (Kandiyohi County) the temperature dropped from a high of 36 degrees F to a low of -18 degrees F.


 Cool weekend with chances for light snow in the northeast and southwest. Continued near normal to cooler than normal much of next week with some moderation in temperature toward the end of the week. Generally a dry week.
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