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Showing posts from 2013

Preliminary climate summary for December 2013

Preliminary climate summary for December 2013
Clearly the coldest month of December statewide since 2000, this month brought average temperatures across the state that were 7 to 13 degrees F colder than normal, with many nights well below 0 degrees F. Some communities will report average monthly temperatures for December that fall within the coldest ten historically. Some of these locations include:

International Falls 3rd coldest
Mankato 4th coldest
Grand Rapids 5th coldest
St Cloud 6th coldest
Duluth 8th coldest
For the Twin Cities, an area greatly affected by the urban heat island, December of 2013 will rank 17th coldest (back to 1871), and for Rochester it will rank 14th coldest. On a statewide basis it appears that December 2013 will be ranked as the 7th coldest in history (back to 1895). Extreme values for the month ranged from 48 degrees F at Pipestone on the 3rd to -35 degrees F at Embarrass and Babbitt on the 24th and at Hibbing on the 8th.

December was also a we…

Happy winter solstice!

HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE! The winter solstice will occur Saturday morning (Dec 21), officially, at 11:11 am CST. At that time, the earth's spin axis will be oriented so that the sun appears to be the farthest south in the local sky (midday over the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere). While most of us consider this event to be the start of astronomical winter, the British call this day the "Midwinter Day", as the apparent sun will begin its northward climb again, back toward the equator. For essentially all locations in the Northern Hemisphere, Saturday night will be the longest of the year. On a brighter note, starting Monday the length of darkness will begin to shrink as we head toward the summer solstice on 21 June 2014.

Some reports of heavy snow this month Snowfall has been both frequent and heavy for many observers in Minnesota this month. Both International Falls and Duluth report snowfall on 12 of the first 20 days. Many northern observers …

Heavy snow opens the month of December

Heavy snow opens the month of December Most of the state reported measurable snowfall during the first week of December. Monday through Wednesday of this week (Dec 2-4) brought almost continuous snow to many areas of northeastern Minnesota, especially the north shore along Lake Superior. The greatest amount of snowfall reported by a National Weather Service observer came from 7 miles north of Two Harbors where 35.3 inches was recorded. The Duluth Weather Service Office reported a storm total of 23.3 inches, and Duluth public schools were cancelled two consecutive days over the 3rd and 4th. Tofte reported 25 inches and Wolf Ridge reported 20.7 inches for the week. Many other areas of the state accumulated 5 to 10 inches of snowfall this week, while areas of southeastern Minnesota received mostly rain and drizzle.

Several observers reported some new daily snowfall records for dates this week: On December 2nd, Grand Rapids reported a new daily snowfall record of 9.5 inches (…

Preliminary November climate summary

Preliminary November climate summary Cold and dry describe the climate for November this year. Most observers report average monthly temperatures that range from 1 to 3 degrees F colder than normal. Extreme temperatures for the month ranged from 66 degrees F at Wheaton on the 14th to -11 degrees F at Roseau, Thief River Falls, and Orr on the 24th. General absence of full, sunny days, abundant cloud cover, and a high frequency of fog prevented daytime maximum temperatures from getting very high.

Most observers reported a drier than normal month as well, with less than a half inch being a common amount. In the western part of the state places like Milan and Madison reported less than a tenth of an inch. Northeastern and southeastern counties reported some above normal monthly precipitation with amounts ranging from 1 to 2 inches. Some wet spots in the state included Caledonia with 2.19 inches, Cannon Falls with 2.65 inches, La Crescent with 2.09 inches, and Preston with 1.90…

New Seasonal Climate Outlook

New Seasonal Climate Outlook On Thursday, November 21, the NOAA-Climate Prediction Center released new seasonal outlooks covering meteorological winter, from December through February. The new outlooks favor below normal temperature conditions Dec-Feb for North Dakota, Northern portions of South Dakota, and many parts of western and northern Minnesota. Outlooks do not distinctly favor above or below normal precipitation for Minnesota during the winter season.

Tornadoes in the central USA on November 17, 2013 Last Sunday, November 17 was a dramatic and traumatic day weatherwise for citizens in IL, IN, KY, TN, MI, and OH. Between 11:00 am and 6:00 pm over 110 tornado reports were filed with the NOAA-Storm Prediction Center, as were over 500 strong wind reports and over 30 large hail reports. Two EF-4 tornadoes (winds 166-200 mph) and at least one EF-3 (winds 136-165 mph) tornado struck in Illinois killing six people, injuring scores of people, and damaging or destroying hun…

Coldest temperature of the autumn season

Coldest temperature of the autumn season Monday and Tuesday, November 11-12, this week brought the coldest temperatures of the autumn season so far. Thief River Falls reported a low of just 0 degrees F on the 11th, while Fosston (Polk County), Lakefield, and Pipestone reported their first readings of 0 degrees F on the morning of the 12th (Tue). Windom reported the state low on Tuesday the 12th with -1 degrees F. Many other observers reported lows in the single digits F. On Monday, November 11th Fosston reported a daily maximum temperature of just 16 degrees F, while Bemidji reported a new cold maximum temperature record of just 14 degrees F. Fortunately, the arctic cold was short-lived and temperatures warmed by 35-40 degrees F by Wednesday (Nov 13), then moderated the rest of the week.

Lake ice forming, then thawing With the colder than normal temperatures dominating from November 5-12 some observers were reporting surface ice on ponds and shallow lakes. Even the shallow…

Highlights of MN Climate Adaptation Conference

Highlights of MN Climate Adaptation Conference, November 7th, Science Museum of Minnesota -Over 250 people attended, representing state agencies, local units of government, NGOs, academic institutions, industries, and others
-Participants discussed climate impacts on transportation, agriculture, public health, energy use, urban planning, watershed management, forestry, and the insurance industry
-Climate change is already having an impact on insurance, Minnesota was the only Midwestern state among the top 3 states with the highest insured catastrophic losses in both 2007 and 2008. Homeowners claims related to severe weather like hail and wind damage are up, as are average homeowner insurance premiums. Minnesota ranks 14th highest among states in homeowners insurance premiums and has seen a rise of over 267 percent in these costs since 1997. Not all of this is related directly to climate change, but some features of severe weather threats are changing and have at least par…

October climate summary

October climate summary A very warm first half of October gave way to a cooler than normal second half of the month. The second half brought multiple season ending frosts to virtually all areas of the state. Mean temperatures for the month ranged from plus or minus 1 degrees of normal among most observers. Extreme temperatures for the month ranged from 8 degrees F at Camp Norris in Lake of the Woods County (Oct 29) to 86 degrees F at Madison in Lac Qui Parle County (Oct 1).  Precipitation for the month was near normal to above normal at most places. Many observers reported measurable precipitation on 15 or more days. There were some drier than normal spots in the north, and a few in the west. Several observers reported over 5 inches for the month including Browns Valley, Wheaton, Ottertail, Melrose, Cloquet, Isle, Lanseboro, La Crescent, and Spring Valley. Mora reported its 5th wettest October with 6.04 inches, while Grand Meadow reported its 4th wettest October in history…

Cold week

Cold week Since last Sunday (Oct 20) temperatures around the state have been averaging from 8 to 12 degrees F cooler than normal, with many daytime high temperatures remaining in the 30s F. Brainerd tied a record cold maximum temperature value on the 21st with a reading of just 35 degrees F, while Grand Rapids tied their record cold maximum temperature value for that date with a reading of just 33 degrees F. In fact over the 22nd and 23rd some observers reported high temperatures that remained below freezing including 31 degrees F at Isabella, Bemidji, and Embarrass, and just a 30 degrees F high at Grand Marais Airport. Embarrass reported back to back lows of just 20 degrees F on the 21st and 22nd, and then just 19 degrees F on the 25th. Surprisingly, the state's lowest temperatures this week came from southeastern Minnesota where Zumbrota and Preston reported just 19 degrees F on the 22nd, while Byron reported 18 degrees F on the 23rd, setting a new record low readin…

New Seasonal Outlook from NOAA-Climate Prediction Center

New Seasonal Outlook from NOAA-Climate Prediction Center The NOAA-CPC released new seasonal climate outlooks on Thursday this week, covering the period from November through January. Their forecast tools are still giving no strong evidence for above or below normal categories of temperature or precipitation to dominate in Minnesota. Some of their models favor an above normal temperature pattern in parts of southern Minnesota over the calendar period, but not elsewhere in the state. Thus it appears that the models are very uncertain on what type of winter weather pattern we may have. They also released a drought outlook for the period through January 31st and although their models see continued alleviation of drought due to above normal precipitation in October, they also favor persistence of drought in some areas of Minnesota through January.

A missed forecast Last Friday I spoke on Morning Edition with Cathy Wurzer about the prospect for widespread frost that would end th…

Warm and wet start to October

Warm and wet start to October Most observers are reporting a warm, wet start to October. Average temperature for the first ten days of the month is ranging from 3 to 6 degrees F warmer than normal in most places. In fact 9 of the first 10 days of the month have recorded above normal daily temperatures with many afternoon highs in the 70s F. Most agricultural counties in Minnesota have yet to report an autumn killing frost, extending the growing season. The warm temperatures have also helped reduce the harvest moisture of crops, lessening farmer drying costs prior to storage.

Many Minnesota climate observers are already reporting above normal rainfall for the month of October, some as a result of record-setting daily amounts on October 3rd (reported in last week's WeatherTalk newsletter). Several communities have reported 2 or more inches this month including Browns Valley, Brainerd, Mora, Worthington, Albert Lea, Mankato, New Ulm, Waseca, and Rochester. In sout…