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November at a glance

Through the first 25 days of November temperatures have been averaging well above normal.  It is likely that this month will conclude in a manner that will rank it among the top three warmest Novembers in Minnesota history, likely falling short of the warmest ever which occurred in 2001.  Over 40 communities reported at least one day this month with an afternoon temperature of 70°F or higher.  In all 33 new daily maximum temperature records were set within the National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Network in Minnesota, and 145 daily warm minimum temperature records were set, a remarkably large number.  No low temperature records were set anywhere in the state this month.  The coldest measured temperature so far this month in the state is -1°F at Cotton (St Louis County) and Isabella (Lake County) on November 22nd.

With additional precipitation in the forecast for some areas on Thanksgiving and again for the end of the month, this Sunday into Monday, most climate observers in the state will report well above normal total precipitation for the month.  Statewide it is likely this November will rank among the ten wettest in Minnesota history, with the majority of the precipitation coming as rain.  In fact 96 new daily rainfall records were reported this month from the National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Network in Minnesota, including 2.61 inches at Winnebago and 2.45 inches at Faribault on November 12th which were all-time daily record amounts at those stations for the month of November.  Windom (Cottonwood County) has recorded its wettest November in history (4.34"), while Grand Portage (Cook County) reports its 3rd wettest November (4.67"), and Rosemount (Dakota County) reports its 5th wettest November (4.23"). 

Snowfall for the month has been less than normal in most places, with a few exceptions.  With over 4 inches of new snow reported on the 13th of November new daily records were set at Tower, Brimson, and Gunflint Lake.  With 13.5 inches of snowfall so far this month Isabella (Lake County) is close to their November average of 14 inches and they will probably add to their total before the end of the month.

New Study of Twin Cities Heat Island:

The University of Minnesota Discover web site recently featured a study of the urban heat island associated with the Twin Cities Metro Area.  Results from this study were recently published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology (authors B. Smoliak, P. Snyder, T. Twine, P. Mykleby, and W. Hertel).  Some of the results show that the urban heat island of the Twin Cities is stronger at night than during the day in the summer months, while in the winter it is stronger during the day.  The urban heat island also produced temperatures at times that were 9°F warmer than surrounding areas during July of 2012.  The entire article is available at the American Meteorological Society.

Third Annual Climate Adaptation Conference, January 28, 2016:

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. 

For the second year, Climate Adaptation Awards will be presented to recognize achievements in leadership, education, research, policies, or practices that improve resilience and advance climate adaptation in Minnesota. We strongly encourage you to submit a nomination to recognize exemplary work by an individual, organization, institution, or the private sector. The submission process requires only a letter of nomination and two supporting letters. Nominations are due November 25, 2015, to Barbara Liukkonen,  This conference promises to be an outstanding venue for disseminating results of your work, learning from others, and celebrating the accomplishments of Minnesota's climate adaptation leaders. Please consider nominating a deserving colleague or organization for an award.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

A research paper published by faculty at the University of Bristol, UK shows that there has been no global warming "pause" or "hiatus" over the past several years, and therefore the use of those terms is inaccurate.  This is the second paper published this year to document that independently derived temperature data sets show little or no disruption in the upward trend in global temperatures.

At the NOAA Climate.Gov web site this week there is a discussion about the geographical and seasonal disparities in global temperature changes.  The authors produce some nice maps and graphics which you may find useful.  Generally Arctic regions are warming at twice the pace of most other areas, and an explanation is offered.

Hurricane Sandra in the Eastern Pacific Ocean was growing in strength this week, becoming the strongest hurricane for so late in the year.  Wind speeds were expected to increase to over 110 mph and wave heights to over 30 feet before it makes landfall this weekend over Baja California and the northwest coast of Mexico.  Hurricane Sandra is the 18th named storm of the Eastern Pacific Ocean this year, a more active than normal year from the standpoint of tropical storms.

Hurricane Sandra

An update on the record warm year of 2015 was provided this week by the United Kingdom Met Office.  They provide the data sources and analysis relative to a historical context back to the mid 19th Century.

Early summer heat and drought have contributed to widespread wildfires in South Australia this month.  Many bushfires have been noted and a number have burned out of control for several days.  A number of homes and other buildings have been destroyed by these fires.

MPR Listener Question:

I heard you mention last week the lack of snowfall so far this month in the Twin Cities and that the normal was 9.3 inches.  Which climate station in Minnesota has the highest value for normal November snowfall?


The three highest values in the state for normal November snowfall are Duluth and International Falls with 13.7 inches and Isabella with 14.3 inches.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 25th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 36 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 21 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation). 

MSP Local Records for November 25th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 62 degrees F in 1914; lowest daily maximum temperature of 6 degrees F in 1977; lowest daily minimum temperature is -18 degrees F in 1880; highest daily minimum temperature of 44 F in 1913 and 2011; record precipitation of 0.97 inches 1896; and record snowfall of 5.3 inches in 1952.

Average dew point for November 25th is 21 degrees F, with a maximum of 43 degrees F in 1933 and a minimum of -19 degrees F in 1977.

All-Time State Records for November 25th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 76 degrees F at Faribault (Rice County) in 1933.  The state record low temperature for this date is -36 degrees F at Pokegama Dam (Itasca County) in 1903.  State record precipitation for this date is 3.00 inches at Le Sueur (Le Sueur County) in 1896; and record snowfall is 16.7 inches also at Island Lake (St Louis County) in 1983.

Past Weather Features:

A significant blizzard was occurring on this date back in 1820 in what is now the Twin Cities area.  The Ft Snelling observer was recording 9 inches of snow with strong winds and diminished visibility.

One of the stormiest Thanksgiving holidays in Minnesota history occurred over November 25-27, 1896.  A slow moving storm system brought rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow to many parts of the state, along with high winds, and even thunder and lightning. Precipitation totals ranged from 2-3 inches in many places, and significant snowfall accumulated in many northern counties.  Moorhead reported 17.8 inches of snow.

An Arctic Cold Wave gripped the state over November 24-26, 1903.  Many northern communities reported low temperatures of -20°F or colder.  Sub-zero temperatures were reported as far south as Grand Meadow and Zumbrota and the temperature never rose above 0°F at Tower on the 25th.

November 25, 1960 brought unusually warm weather to Minnesota with many observers reporting record-setting high temperatures.  Northern areas of the state reached into the 50s F, with Warroad reporting a high of 52°F.  Western and southern communities reached the 60s F and even 70°F in a few places.  Temperatures crashed back into the teens and 20s F by the end of the month.

Another Arctic Cold Wave gripped the state over November 25-28, 1977.  The entire state was blanketed by record setting cold temperatures with -20°F reported at Rochester and -25°F at Austin.  In western Minnesota at Rothsay (Wilkin County) the temperature rose no higher than -4°F on the 25th.  Wind Chill values dropped into the -25°F to -35°F range.

The last week of November in 1983 was one of the snowiest ever for many Minnesota communities.  Many observers reported 15-20 inches of snowfall during the week, and some northern communities reported over 30 inches, closing many roads and schools.  It was one of several major doses of snow during the winter of 1983-1984. 

A major winter storm crossed the state over November 24-27, 1993 bringing high winds and heavy snow for the Thanksgiving weekend.  Many places received over a foot snow, and some roads were closed for a time in western Minnesota, where Fergus Falls reported 20 inches.


Mostly a dry, but cool Thanksgiving Day in the north, but a wintry mix of precipitation in the central and southern counties, especially the southeast.  Mostly sunny and drier Friday into Sunday, with slightly cooler than normal temperatures.  Increasing cloudiness later on Sunday with a chance for snow and moderating temperatures into Monday and Tuesday.  Warmer and drier for the rest of next week.
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