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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 reading for that date. Also on October 22nd Theilman (Wabasha County) tied their record low with a reading of 20 degrees F.  The cold temperatures also produced some reports of snowfall across the state. Most observers reported a trace, and several reported over 1 inch. International Falls reported at least a trace of snowfall everyday since October 18th (7 consecutive days), while other observers reported over 1 inch of accumulation. Ottertail reported a new daily record snowfall amount of 2.5 inches on October 20th and a total of 4 inches for the week. Isabella, along the north shore of Lake Superior reported 5 inches this week, as did Askov in Pine County.

New climate data service

The Midwest Climate Center in Illinois recently introduced a new data service called cli-MATE. It allows access to most of Minnesota's climate data, along with growing season tools (frost date and growing degree days), maps, and graphics. Most importantly it is all free of charge. If interested you can set up a new user account there. Give it a try!

Halloween weather

Halloween weather is usually pleasant in Minnesota with temperatures commonly in the 40s and 50s F. Precipitation occurs slightly less than a third of the time. For the Twin Cities and further south snow is unlikely for Halloween, occurring only about one year in ten. Of course many remember the famous Halloween Blizzard of 1991, when 3 to 10 inches of snowfall was measured across eastern parts of the state, and then the bulk of the snowfall occurred over November 1-2, leaving many observers with over 2 feet (28.4" in the Twin Cities and 36.9" in Duluth). The all-time temperature records for Halloween include a reading of 86 degrees F at Worthington in 1950, and a reading of -4 degrees F at Hallock in 1913. For this year's Halloween (next Thursday) it looks like temperatures may be cooler than normal and there will be a chance for mixed precipitation (rain or snow), but too early to tell how much.

Weekly Weather potpourri

Comments from Brad Rippey of the USDA on the weekly drought assessment across the USA: "In recent weeks, abundant precipitation has fallen in nearly all of the nation’s drought-affected areas. As a result, only 35.00% of the contiguous U.S. remained in drought on October 22, down from 45.46% just three weeks ago..... Thirty-five percent represents the smallest U.S. drought area since May 15, 2012. For the three-week period ending October 22, all crops and commodities in drought were down sharply. Only 38% of the U.S. corn production area was in drought on October 22, down from 54% on October 1 and a late-summer peak of 55%. Similarly, 29% of the soybean production area was in drought, down from 43% three weeks ago and a late-summer high of 45%. With the return of dry weather in recent days, harvest of U.S. summer crops has accelerated. The corn harvest was 39% complete by October 20, while the soybean harvest was 63% complete.

Tropical Storm Francisco was spinning in the Western Pacific Ocean southeast of Japan. It was producing winds of 50-65 mph with sea waves of 15-25 feet this week, but was not expected to be a weather threat to Japan. It is expected to dissipate over the weekend. Yet further southeast of Japan was Typhoon Lekima, producing winds of 135 mph and sea waves of 40-50 feet. It too was expected to remain out to sea and dissipate by early next week. In the eastern Pacific Ocean Tropical Storm Raymond was moving out to sea further away from the coast of Mexico. It was expected to strengthen (to perhaps hurricane status) but not be a threat to make landfall.  The United Kingdom Meteorological Office announced this week that Oxford University has joined in with University of Reading, University of Exeter, and University of Leeds in forming the Met Office Partnership (MOAP) to accelerate the study of extreme weather and changing climate. Researchers from these institutions will be joining together to enhance knowledge and understanding of the Earth's climate system, its extreme weather, and modeling the future climate of the planet as well.

MPR listener question

We live on the Mesabi Range near Chisholm and had snow this week, not especially unusual for late October. But we were wondering what is the snowiest October in history?

Answer: The snowiest October in Minnesota history occurred in 1951 when the observer at Hibbing reported 18.9 inches of snowfall. This total came from three separate snow storms on the 22nd, the 28th, and the 30th. With the abundant snow fall in October, Virginia reported a seasonal total over 65 inches by the spring of 1952. Interestingly enough, October of that year started with temperatures in the 70s and 80s F.

Twin Cities Almanac for October 25th

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 55 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 37 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 25th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 82 degrees F in 1989; lowest daily maximum temperature of 30 degrees F in 1887; lowest daily minimum temperature is 12 degrees F in 1887; highest daily minimum temperature of 62 F in 2000; and record precipitation of 0.67 inches in 2010; and a record 0.2 inches of snow fell on this date in 1942.
Average dew point for October 25th is 35 degrees F, with a maximum of 63 degrees F in 2000 and a minimum of 8 degrees F in 1962.

All-time state records for October 25th

The state record high temperature for this date is 87 degrees F at New Ulm (Brown County) in 1927. The state record low temperature for this date is -10 degrees F at St Vincent (Kittson County) in 1887. State record precipitation for this date is 3.22 inches at Lake City (Wabasha County) in 1963; and state record snowfall for this date is 15.0 inches at Sandy Lake Dam (Aitkin County) in 1942.

Past Weather Features:

By far the coldest October 25th in state history occurred in 1887. Following a widespread snow storm on October 23rd and passage of a cold front, a cold polar air mass invaded the state pushing the thermometer to a state record low of -10 degrees F at St Vincent, -8 degrees F at Argyle, and -6 degrees F at Albert Lea. Many other observers reported lows in the single digits with daytime highs only in the 20s to low 30s F. October 1887 was one of the coldest in state history.  October 23-27, 1927 brought the warmest spell of late October weather to southern Minnesota. Skies were sunny and the wind was strong from the south. Over 25 communities reported daytime highs in the 80s F, while Chatfield on the border of Olmsted and Fillmore Counties reached a state record 93 degrees F on October 23rd. October 24-25, 1942 brought heavy snowfall to some areas of the state. Observers in northern Minnesota reported 5-11 inches, and Sandy Lake Dam in Aitkin County reported a state record 15.0 inches.  October 24-25, 1963 brought thunderstorms to southeastern Minnesota. Many observers reported between 1 and 2 inches of rainfall, while Lake City reported over 3 inches, flooding portions of Highway 61.


For the weekend partly cloudy skies with a chance for rain or snow in the north and temperatures slightly warmer, but still below normal for this time of year. Pretty breezy on Saturday. Continued cooler than normal temperature readings through the middle of next week with a chance for widespread precipitation on Tuesday and then again Thursday (rain or snow).
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