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Plenty of rain and abrupt change in temperature

Big Transition Week Weatherwise:

Thursday, November 19 brought the first cooler than normal temperatures to many parts of Minnesota in 20 days, as daily temperatures fell into the 20s and 30s F with windchill values dropping into the single digits and teens. During the prolonged warm finish to October and first 18 days of November many climate observers reported record warm daily maximum temperatures, 24 in total.  Among the more recent daily  maximum temperature records set just this week were: 60°F at Thief River Falls (Pennington County) on November 15th; 61°F at Ottertail (Otter Tail County) on November 16th; 64°F at Ada (Norman County) on November 16th; and 54°F at International Falls on the 18th (tied record from 2012).

Not surprising with extensive and persistent cloud cover, southerly winds, and high dew points many climate stations set new record warm daily minimum temperature records, 108 records tied or broken in the first 17 days of November.  Among the record warm daily minimum temperatures set as recently as this week were: 47°F at St Cloud, 29°F at Caledonia, and 50°F at Redwood Falls on the 16th; 47°F at International Falls, 49°F at MSP (tied record), 48°F at St Cloud, and 48°F at Pipestone and Winnebago on the 17th. 

Overall November of 2015 has been the warmest since 2001 and will likely end up among the warmest in Minnesota history regardless of the temperature conditions for the balance of the month, including the colder than normal days expected to prevail through the coming weekend.

The persistent cloud cover this week has brought plenty of rainfall as well, including record-setting values at some climate stations.  Many observers have reported over 1 inch of total rainfall over November 16-18.  Some areas have reported over 2 inches including Grand Rapids, Duluth, Grand Portage, Two Harbors, Milan, Kimball, St Cloud, Milaca, Mora, Lakefield, and Windom.  Brainerd Airport has reported 3.45 inches this week, a remarkable total for the month of November.  Many new record values of daily precipitation were reported from climate stations this week.  Among these were:

For November 17th: 1.07" at Rosemount, 1.00" at Vesta, 1.21" at MSP Airport, 0.79" at Ely, 0.60" at Pipestone, 0.67" at Minnesota, 1.02" at Brainerd, and 0.87" at Bricelyn
For November 18th: 0.98" at St Cloud, 1.03" at Hawley, 1.18" at Worthington, 1.06" at Windom, 1.20" at Montevideo, 1.10" at Dawson1.26" at Milan, 1.45" at Collegeville, 1.69" at Milaca, 1.57" at Mora, 1.33" at Isle, 1.38" at Brainerd, 1.80" at Pine River Dam, 1.48" at Grand Portage, and 1.10" at Hastings.

Already November of 2015 ranks among the wettest 20 historically on a statewide basis, and for some individual communities it ranks even higher.  Some examples include:
3.04" so far at International Falls (4th all-time)
4.02" so far at Owatonna (3rd all-time)
4.23" so far at Rosemount (5th all-time)
4.34" so far at Windom (1st all-time)
4.41" so far at Grand Portage (4th all-time)
3.99" so far at MSP (7th all-time)

It is likely that significantly more precipitation will add to these totals before the end of the month.  With cooler temperatures this precipitation will come in the form of snow and rain.

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:

The dramatic change in air mass brought by a frontal passage across Minnesota over November 18-19 produced the strongest winds of the month.  Many climate stations reported wind gusts well over 40 mph, including Fairmont with 48 mph, Worthington 51 mph, Pipestone and Hutchinson 47 mph, Marshall 54 mph, Morris 56 mph, Fergus Falls 55 mph, Crookston and Moorhead 53 mph, Hallock 52 mph, Detroit Lakes 49 mph, and Alexandria 51 mph.  Following this strong cold frontal passage temperatures dropped to as low as 9°F at Thief River Falls and just 7°F at Fosston.  The Friday, November 20 low temperature at MSP of 25°F represents the first temperature reading in the 20s F for the Twin Cities this autumn.  This is the latest in the season that the temperature has dipped in the 20's for the Twin Cities Metro Area.  Looking back at the records that begin in 1873, the previous record for a minimum in the 20's was November 19, 1922.  More can be found at the Minnesota State Climatology Office.

There’s good news and bad news about hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the gases that replaced the ozone-depleting substances that were used in refrigerators and air conditioners....the good news: HFCs are indeed much less damaging to Earth’s protective ozone layer. The bad news is that many HFCs currently in use are strong greenhouse gases, and they have been increasing rapidly in the atmosphere.  You can read more details about this in a study highlighted by NOAA

Typhoon In-Fa in the Western Pacific Ocean, southeast of Guam, was gaining strength this week, although it presented no threat to land. It was expected to reach wind speeds over 130 mph this weekend and produce wave heights over 30 feet.  

Winter Storm Barney unleashed strong winds and heavy rains across parts of the United Kingdom this week. An unusual part of the forecast included a statement of warning from the Environment Agency in the UK for people not to attempt to take selfies in the storm, an act which apparently has gained in popularity in recent times.

MPR Listener Question:

Without snow so far in the Twin Cities this month, my wife and I were wondering when was the last time no measurable snowfall occurred in November and how often does this happen?


The last November in the Twin Cities without measurable snowfall was in 2009 when just a trace was observed.  Only three other years fall into this category, 1928, 1939, and 1963.  The current November normal snowfall (1981-2010) for the Twin Cities is 9.3 inches, which we marginally exceeded last year when 9.4 inches fell. 

Twin Cities Almanac for November 20th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 38 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 24 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 20th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 63 degrees F in 1925; lowest daily maximum temperature of 17 degrees F in 1872, 1937, and 1978; lowest daily minimum temperature is -3 degrees F in 1921; highest daily minimum temperature of 43 F in 1930 and 1990; record precipitation of 2.01 inches 1975; and record snowfall of 8.0 inches in 1975.

Average dew point for November 20th is 24 degrees F, with a maximum of 54 degrees F in 1934 and a minimum of -1 degrees F in 1950.

All-Time State Records for November 20th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 74 degrees F at Faribault (Rice County) in 1897.  The state record low temperature for this date is -31 degrees F at Roseau (Roseau County) in 1896.  State record precipitation for this date is 3.23 inches at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1975; and record snowfall is 16.0 inches also at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1975.

Past Weather Features:

November 20, 1896 was likely the coldest in history statewide as 40 Minnesota communities reported morning low temperatures that were below 0°F.  In northern Minnesota at both Crookston and Roseau the temperature never rose above 0°F for the entire day.  Much of northern Minnesota was blanketed with snow cover for most of the month and that November was the coldest in state history.

November 20, 1897 was likely the warmest in history statewide as 27 Minnesota communities saw afternoon highs climb into the 60s F.  Across southern Minnesota several observers reported high temperatures in the 70s F.  At Montevideo the temperature climbed from a low of 24°F to an afternoon high of 74°F, a rise of 50 degrees F.

A strong low pressure system brought heavy rainfall to the state over November 20-21, 1930.  Many areas received over 1 inch, while a few climate stations reported over 2 inches.  At Pigeon River in northeastern Minnesota the river rose rapidly as over 3 inches of rain fell there.

One of the worst winter snow storms for this time of year occurred over November 19-20, 1975.  Strong winds and heavy snow plagued much of the central and northern portions of the state.  Many communities reported over 10 inches of snow, and drifts closed roads in many areas.


Cooler than normal temperatures over the weekend, then warming up to a few degrees above normal for Monday through Wednesday of next week.  Chance for rain and snow by late Wednesday and Thursday (Thanksgiving Day).

NOAA-CPC look at early December favors warmer and drier than normal......see below.
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