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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 southeastern counties slow moving thunderstorms Friday night and into Saturday (Oct 4-5) brought more record-setting daily rainfall amounts including 2.00 inches at Austin, 3.80 inches at Caledonia, 4.15 inches at Chatfield, 5.30 inches at Grand Meadow, 2.31 inches at Houston, 3.35 inches at La Crescent, 4.34 inches at Lanesboro, 4.35 inches at Rushford, 5.85 inches at Preston, and 4.10 inches at Spring Valley. The consequences of these heavy rains last weekend in SE Minnesota included flooded basements, road washouts and closures, stranded vehicles, and even mudslides. The 5.85 inches of rainfall reported at Preston (Fillmore County) establishes a new statewide record amount for October 5th, beating the old record of 4.95 inches at St Francis in 2002. It was also the 2nd highest daily amount of rainfall ever measured at Preston, trailing only 7.30 inches on July 11, 1981, and represents about a once in 30 year occurrence according to NOAA Atlas 14. More detailed descriptions of the storm over October 4-5 can be found here.

Kuehnast Lecture, October 17th

The 21st Annual Kuehnast Endowment Lecture will take place at 2:00 pm in the North Star Ballroom of the University of Minnesota St Paul Campus Student Center next Thursday, October 17th. Our speaker this year is Dr. Piers Sellers, Deputy Director of the NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, and former Space Shuttle astronaut. Dr. Sellers participated in three Space Shuttle missions and did numerous space walks. He is a biometeorologist by training and will present a lecture titled "The Race to Understand a Changing Planet." The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served afterwards.

Climate Change Adaptation Conference at the Science Museum on November 7, 2013

Several organizations are partnering to host the first statewide conference on Climate Change Adaptation, Planning and Practice. It will take place at the Science Museum of Minnesota in downtown St Paul on November 7, 2013. Registration for the all day program is only $60. Sessions will be devoted to city planning, agriculture, transportation, natural resources (including watershed management), and public health.

Weekly Weather potpourri

The Los Angeles Times newspaper editorial policy prohibits publication of of op-ed letters that deny climate change. This may be a first among major newspapers. A quote from Paul Thornton, the Times letters editor appeared in the Huffington Post this week as, "simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published," he explained. "Saying 'there's no sign humans have caused climate change' is not stating an opinion, it's asserting a factual inaccuracy."

In the Western Pacific Ocean, Typhoon Nari is expected to bring heavy rain, high seas, and strong winds to the Philippines this weekend. Maximum wind gusts were ranging up to 125 mph causing 30-40 foot sea waves. It is a dangerous and powerful storm. Typhoon Nari is expected to cross the Philippines north of Manila and then proceed towards Southeast Asia early next week. In the northern Indian Ocean even more powerful Cyclone Phailin was churning in the Bay of Bengal and gaining strength. Winds were expected to peak near 160-170 mph, producing seas of 50-60 feet before it makes landfall in India later in the weekend. It is expected to be a very dangerous storm with high winds, storm surge, and heavy rains that will likely displace many people from their homes.

A recent study from the University of Hawaii and published this week in the journal Nature suggests that climate change will be so pronounced by 2047 that even "the lowest monthly dips in temperatures will be hotter than we've experience in the past 150 years....." The researchers used climate model output from 39 Earth System Models and examined the projected temperature distributions of the future. They further noted that the temperature changes will emerge with more dramatic departures from the historical records in the tropics than in other latitudes. You can read more about this paper at here.

Estimates on the consequences of last week's blizzard and heavy snowfall in WY and western SD suggest that upward of 70,000 cattle may have perished in the storm. Many areas received over 20 inches of snow, and several reported 30 or more inches. Records for the most snowfall so early in the month of October were shattered in both WY and SD. More information on that storm can be found at the Rapid City National Weather Service web site.

MPR listener question

Most of southern Minnesota has yet to experience a season ending frost this fall. We have certainly been enjoying late season vegetables from our garden in Waseca. When do you think the first frost will arrive?

Answer: We have certainly had a prolonged and warm fall season so far. Forecast models suggest that you may get a frost in the Waseca area next Wednesday or Thursday, October 16-17. So that may be the end of your growing season. Those dates are about 16 days later than normal as your median autumn frost date at Waseca is October 1st. This kind of makes up for the late spring frost you had at Waseca on May 12 this year which was about 13 days later than your median last date for frost in the spring.

Twin Cities Almanac for October 11th

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 61 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 42 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 11th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 84 degrees F in 1930; lowest daily maximum temperature of 39 degrees F in 1875 and 1959; lowest daily minimum temperature is 22 degrees F in 1876; highest daily minimum temperature of 63 F in 1997; and record precipitation of 1.36 inches in 1881; and a record 0.5 inches of snow fell on this date in 1977.

Average dew point for October 11th is 41 degrees F, with a maximum of 67 degrees F in 1962 and a minimum of 15 degrees F in 2009.

All-time state records for October 11th

The state record high temperature for this date is 92 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1928. The state record low temperature for this date is 10 degrees F at Ada (Marshall County) in 1935. State record precipitation for this date is 3.28 inches at Litchfield (Meeker County) in 1983; and state record snowfall for this date is 10.0 inches at Mt Iron (St Louis County) in 1909.

Past Weather Features:

October 11-15, 1909 brought an early snowfall to many Minnesota communities. Mt Iron (St Louis County) reported a foot of snow, while Kelliher recorded nearly six inches and International Falls reported 4 inches. As far south as Winona they received nearly 2.5 inches. The snow was short-lived as temperatures warmed into the 40s and 50s F the next few days.

On a statewide basis one of the warmest October 10s occurred in 1910. Scores of communities reported sunny skies, south winds, and afternoon high temperatures in the 80s F. It was 82 degrees F as far north as Detroit Lakes. Temperature of 90 degrees F or higher occurred at Pipestone, Albert Lea, Windom, and St Peter. The first two weeks of October 1910 were dominated by days with temperatures in the 70s and 80s F, before temperatures fell to below normal levels for the second half of the month.

October 10-11, 1928 brought a brief two day period of summer heat to many western and southern Minnesota communities. Canby, Beardsley, Willmar, Redwood Falls, Tracy, Worthington, Fairmont, Winnebago, and Bird Island all hit 90 degrees F or higher. It was the last 90 F reading of the year. Heavy rains and cool temperatures dominated the next week.

October 11, 1935 was one of the coldest in history for many Minnesota communities. The morning low was just 10 degrees F at Ada, while Roseau, Warroad, Big Falls, Beardsley, and Campbell reported lows in the teens F. As far south as Marshall the morning temperature was just 20 degrees F. The afternoon high temperature struggled to reach 38 degrees at Brainerd. Daytime temperatures rebounded into the 70s F two days later.

Late season thunderstorms brought heavy rains to parts of the state on October 11, 1961, with many areas reporting well over 1 inch. Halsted and Red Lake Falls received over 2 inches. It was the last of the thunderstorm rainfalls for that year.


Cooler with near normal temperatures over the weekend, and some chance for widely scattered showers on Saturday. Then more sun on Sunday. Increasing cloudiness on Sunday night with a chance for showers on Monday. Showers continuing into Tuesday with cooler than normal temperatures. Drier and cooler on Wednesday and Thursday next week, then wetter towards the weekend.
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