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Warm October with Widespread Frosts

Warm October with Widespread Frosts:

October is tracking to be warmer than normal, but not near record-setting as September was.  Nevertheless approximately 99 percent of the state weather observers have reported frost this month, and over 75 percent have reported a hard freeze with temperatures dropping into the 20s F and even the teens.  The state low so far this month has been 12F at Isabella (Lake County) on October 17th. It has been as cold as 20F as far south as Preston (Fillmore County).

Precipitation Needed:

Precipitation has generally been below normal so far this month, especially in western and southern counties, where many observers have reported less than a quarter of an inch of rain. This pattern has provided ample field working days for farmer who have harvested most of the state soybean crop and over two-thirds of the corn crop.  Crop yields are very high and record-setting in many areas.  Moderate drought is showing up in portions of northwestern Minnesota (Polk County over to Beltrami County), and extreme southeastern Minnesota (Houston County). 

Thankfully widespread rainfall was occurring across the state on Friday, October 23rd and was expected to bring a half inch to one inch amounts to many parts of the state by Saturday morning.  

Record-Setting Hurricane Patricia:

Hurricane Patricia in the Eastern Pacific Ocean rapidly intensified into a Category 5 storm over Thursday and Friday this week.  It had sustained winds of 200 mph with gusts up to 240 mph and central pressure of under 26 inches on the barometer.  Estimated wave heights exceed 50 feet.  It was acknowledged as the strongest hurricane to ever develop in  the Western Hemisphere.  More importantly it is not expected to weaken before making landfall near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  Coastal storm surge, high winds, and heavy rainfalls (8-12 inches in many places) are expected to cause "catastrophic" damage to coastal areas.  Hurricane Patricia will rapidly weaken over the weekend, but it could feed a moisture plume into Texas early next week that will lead to heavy rains there.

 23rd Annual Kuehnast Lecture:

The 23rd Annual Kuehnast Endowment Lecture will take place at 3pm on November 12, 2015 in Rm S335 Borlaug Hall on the University of Minnesota St Paul Campus.  This is a no-cost public lecture dedicated to atmospheric and climate sciences.  Our event this year will feature a presentation by Dr. Thomas Peterson, recently retired from the NOAAs National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI) and Center for Weather and Climate (CWC), Asheville, NC.  Dr. Peterson is also current President of the World Meteorological Organizations Commission for Climatology and he was a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report.  

Announcement: Registration is open for the 3rd Annual Climate Adaptation Conference

Registration is now open for the 3rd Annual Minnesota Climate Adaptation Conference on January 28, 2016 at the Hilton DoubleTree in north Minneapolis.  This conference is designed for local officials, planners, engineers, natural resource practitioners and others who want to learn more about adaptation strategies that have worked or are being tested in various sectors, tribal communities, energy, local foods, emergency management, communication and water resources.  At the conference we will also hear from several major corporations about how they are addressing climate adaptation and listen to a mayor’s panel at lunch where they will discuss city approaches to climate adaptation.  New this year is a tools cafe, where you can learn about various tools that are available to communities, and there will also be a poster session.  

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Typhoon Champi remained at sea in the Western Pacific Ocean this week well away from Japan.  It was producing wind speeds well over 90 mph and sea wave heights of 25-30 feet.  It is expected to weaken and dissipate by early next week.  In the Eastern Pacific Ocean Hurricane Olaf was gaining strength this week producing winds up to 115 mph and sea wave heights of 40 feet.  It was expected to remain well out to sea east of the Hawaiian Islands. 

After bottoming out at -74F last week, researchers at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station were looking forward to a dramatic warm up to -24F this weekend!  

NOAA Climate Stewards Education Program announced another web-based seminar in their series.  This one will be on the topic of "Communicating Climate Uncertainty: Helping Students Become Smart Information Consumers."  It will take place on November 3, 2015 at 7:30pm.  The speaker will be Tarlie Townsend from the University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy.

The United Kingdom Met Office will be naming severe wind storms this coming winter season using a convention similar to that used by the USA National Hurricane Center.  This will apply to all storms which are forecast to be strong enough to bring potential damage to the UK and Ireland.  Earlier this week they announced list of names that will be used for coming 2015-2016 winter season. This list includes the names Imogen, Wendy, Barney, and Desmond).

MPR Listener Question:

I am a Master Gardener in Wright County and I am wondering if this growing season was one of the longest in Minnesota history (from last spring frost to first autumn frost)? It seems very long to me.


The median growing season length in Wright County is about 152 days, and this year the growing season was 177 days, 25 days longer, ranking among the 5 longest growing seasons in the last 25 years.  The record longest growing season for Wright County is 188 days back in 1977.  The longest three growing seasons for some other locations in Minnesota with climate records of 100 years or more include:

Twin Cities (median growing season 166 days):  209 days in 1894 and 1900
                                                198 days in 1955 and 2007
                                                196 days in 1878
St Cloud (median growing season 142 days): 176 days in 1899
                                           170 days in 1922, 1937, and 1964
                                           167 days in 1927
Rochester (median growing season 148 days): 186 days in 2006
                                            177 days in 2015
                                            176 days in 1985
Waseca (median growing season 150 days):  181 days in 1948
                                          180 days in 1998
                                          179 days in 1977
Morris (median growing season 144 days):  181 days in 1948 and 1987
                                          174 days in 1994
                                          172 days in 1952   

Twin Cities Almanac for October 23rd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 55 degrees F (plus or minus 11 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 23rd:

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°F in 1879; record precipitation of 2.10 inches 1984; and record snowfall of 0.5 inches in 1992.

Average dew point for October 23rd is 36 degrees F, with a maximum of 65 degrees F in 1973 and a minimum of 9 degrees F in 1981.

All-Time State Records for October 23rd:

The state record high temperature for this date is 91 degrees F at Chatfield (Fillmore County) in 1927. The state record low temperature for this date is -10 degrees F at Grand Rapids (Itasca County) in 1917.  State record precipitation for this date is 3.00 inches at Garrison (Crow Wing County) in 1995; and record snowfall is 10.0 inches at Duluth in 1933 and at Caribou (Kittson County) in 2001. 

Past Weather Features:

The coldest October 23rd in state history was in 1917.  Following a mid-October snow storm that blanketed the state, cold Arctic air brought record-setting low temperatures to most communities across the state.  Many observers reported lows in the single digits and teens, while at least 8 communities in northern counties saw the thermometer fall to sub-zero F readings, including -10°F at Grand Rapids.

One of the warmest October 23rds in state history was recorded in 1927.  Strong southerly winds and bright sunshine brought afternoon temperatures that reached the 80s F across much of the state, topping out at 91°F at Chatfield.  Even in the north, at Itasca State Park they warmed up to a record-setting 73°F. 

An early winter storm brought 5 to 10 inches of snow to many northern Minnesota communities on October 23, 1933.  Blowing and drifting snow brought some school closings in northern Minnesota communities, some of the earliest recorded in Minnesota history.

A slow moving storm brought abundant mixed precipitation to portions of southern Minnesota over October 21-23, 1979.  Many observers reported a mixture of rain, sleet, and snow.  Several communities received 2 or more inches of rain, while portions of Wabasha, Winona, and Olmsted Counties reported 3 to 4 inches.  All of the moisture brought an abrupt halt to farm field work.


Sunny and breezy on Saturday with near normal temperatures, then warming up on Sunday.  Increasing cloudiness late Tuesday with a chance for showers by Wednesday and Thursday and cooler temperatures.
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