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Record-Setting Warmth on October 11th

Strong south winds, bright sunshine, and a relatively dry landscape helped produce widespread record-setting warm temperatures on Sunday, October 11th.  On a statewide basis it was the warmest October 11th in Minnesota history with a new statewide record of 97°F reported from climate stations at Sabin (Clay County) and Wheaton (Traverse County), breaking the old record of 92°F at Canby on October 11, 1928.  It was also 97°F at Fargo, ND.  Many observers also reported the highest temperature ever measured so late in the autumn season.

The atmosphere was so dry that afternoon relative humidity readings plummeted to record low values including just 11% at Moorhead, 13% at Appleton, 15% at Orr, and 17% at Ortonville and Park Rapids.

Among those climate stations setting new daily high temperature records for October 11th:
96°F at Browns Valley and Breckenridge
95°F at Moorhead and Appleton
94°F at Milan
93°F at Madison, Morris, Montevideo, and Ada
92°F at Thorhult
91°F at Cass Lake and Canby
90°F at Leech Lake, Park Rapids, Marshall, Artichoke Lake, St James, and Redwood Falls
88°F at International Falls, Kabetogama, Alexandria, Itasca State Park, Waseca, Winnebago, and Pokegama Dam
87°F at Hibbing, Floodwood, and Red Wing
86°F at Rosemount and Brainerd
85°F at MSP and Winona (tied record)
84°F at Duluth and Rochester

A more complete assessment of the temperatures associated with this exceptional warmth can be found at the Minnesota State Climatology Office web site.

Following the record warmth on Sunday, a cold front brought strong winds (40-60 mph gusts)that ushered in cold air from the north producing low temperatures around the state in the 20s and 30s F by Tuesday, and then even more widespread frost by Friday morning, October 16th when Fosston reported a morning low of just 19°F.

Maps from the DNR-State Climatology Office

New Seasonal Climate Outlooks:

The NOAA Climate Prediction Center released new seasonal climate outlooks this week, mostly heavily weighted to the strong El Nino episode currently underway in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.  The temperature outlook for November through January favors warmer than normal conditions across the western states and all the way across the continent in the northern states as well, including Minnesota.  This pattern is also expected to prevail through next May.

The expected precipitation pattern over the November through January period shows equal chances of above or below normal conditions, then later in the winter season the outlooks tend to favor drier than normal conditions for much of Minnesota.  The CPC's Mike Halpert is featured in video of the Winter Season Outlook with more details.

At Faith United Methodist Church in Waseca, October 20th:

I will be talking about weather history and climate trends at Faith United Methodist Church in Waseca (801 4th Avenue NE, Waseca, MN) at 7pm on Tuesday night, October 20th.  If you are interested in those topics pleased stop by.  The program is open to the public and free.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

A recent study by the United Kingdom Meteorological Office found that weather impacts on the retail industry in the UK are very significant.  The report found that "almost half of UK retailers and suppliers (47 %) rank the weather as one of the top three external factors driving consumer demand....... However, a third (32 %) do not use any weather data within their supply chain and 17 % rely on free weather data services."

Typhoon Koppu was headed for the Philippines this week.  It was expected to strengthen  and produce winds over 120 mph by the weekend.  This will result in sea wave heights of 30 feet or more.  The broad shield of clouds will likely bring a great deal of rain to Luzon this weekend.   Elsewhere in the Western Pacific Ocean, Typhoon Champi was gaining strength well south of Japan, producing wind speeds over 90 mph and wave heights of 25-30 feet.  It was expected to remain out to sea well into next week.

The National Science Foundation has teamed with the Weather Channel and NBC to produce a 10-part video series about the Science of Natural Disasters.  This series is intended for Earth Science teachers to use in the classroom.

NOAA's Climate.Gov newsletter this week provides a nice overview of severe weather climatology across the USA.  The analysis shows that severe convective weather is about twice as likely in southern MN counties as it is in the northern most counties.

MPR Listener Question:

I am an avid listener to "Morning Edition” on MPR and a life-long resident of Moorhead, MN.  On Sunday (Oct 11) our afternoon high temperature reached 95°F, the highest reading of the entire year.  I cannot recall another year in my life when the highest temperature of the year occurred in October.  Has this ever happened before?


Examining the Moorhead, MN climate record back to 1881 I cannot find another year when the highest daily temperature occurred in the month of October.  So you might say that this year is a "singularity" in this regard.  In fact it happened to be the case for a few other climate stations in Minnesota as well, including Thorhult (Beltrami County) with 92°F on October 11th, Breckenridge with 96°F, Wheaton with 97°F, and even across the border at Fargo, ND with 97°F.

Twin  Cities Almanac for October 16th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 58°F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 40° F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 16th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 86 degrees F in 1938; lowest daily maximum temperature of 32 degrees F in 1952: lowest daily minimum temperature is 23 degrees F in 1952; highest daily minimum temperature of 63 degrees F in 1879; record precipitation of 2.10 inches 1984; and record snowfall of 0.5 inches in 1992.

Average dew point for October 16th is 38 degrees F, with a maximum of 63 degrees F in 1968 and a minimum of 9 degrees F in 1972.

All-Time State Records for October 16th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 91°F at Montevideo (Chippewa County) in 1958. The state record low temperature for this date is 4°F at Bemidji (Beltrami County) in 1952.  State record precipitation for this date is 3.55 inches at Wadena (Wadena County) in 1998; and record snowfall is 10.0 inches at Bird Island (Renville County) in 1937.

Past Weather Features:

A mid-month Heat Wave in 1910 produced the warmest October 16th on a statewide basis.  Observers in all parts of the state reported daytime temperatures in the 80s F.  As far north as Bagley (Clearwater County) the temperature reached 84°F and at least 6 communities reached the 90°F mark in the afternoon.

An early winter storm enveloped the state over October 16-17, 1937 bringing significant snowfall to many areas of the state.  Several southern and central Minnesota observers reported from 1 to 3 inches of snow.  Pipestone reported 6 inches and Bird Island a record-setting 10 inches.  The snow was short-lived as temperatures rose into the 50s F on the 18th of October.

October 16, 1952 was the coldest in state history.  Most observers reported morning low temperatures in the teens and twenties F, and some northern locations fell into the single digits, including just 4°F at Bemidji, and 5дF at Angus. The daytime temperature rose no higher than 26°F at Babbitt where there was an inch of snow on the ground.

A large slow moving storm system brought record-setting rainfalls to many parts of the state over October 16-17, 1968.  In addition there was widespread hail damage to many soybean fields in the southern part of the state where they had not been harvested. Some of the record-setting rainfalls included over 4 inches at Bird Island, Willmar, Cambridge, Marshall, Redwood Falls, Tracy, Windom, New Ulm, and Springfield.  Lamberton and Vesta reported nearly 5 inches.  There was widespread flooding with very high flows on the Cottonwood, Rum, and St Croix Rivers.


Mostly sunny and cooler than normal temperatures to start the weekend, with widespread frosts on Saturday morning.  Warming on Sunday back to near normal temperatures.  Even warmer on Monday through Wednesday, with a chance for showers on Tuesday.
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