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Warm, Wet November

Warm November in Historical Context:

So far this month temperatures around the state are ranging from 9 to 12°F warmer than normal, on track to break the record for the warmest November in state history, which occurred in 2001.  The three warmest Novembers in state history have all occurred in the last 16 years (2001, 2009, and 1999).  From a trend standpoint 12 of the most recent 16 Novembers have been warmer than normal in Minnesota, so this year is certainly following the trend.

In the Twin Cities climate records 2001, 2009, and 1999 were the three warmest Novembers in history with 94 percent of all days in those months recorded as above normal temperatures.  So far this month through the first 12 days, all daily mean temperatures have been well above normal in the Twin Cities with six days reaching a temperature of 60°F or greater, the most since 2001 (13).  In 2001 after prolonged warmer than normal conditions (13 days with daytime temperatures of 60°F or higher) the weather turned wet with heavy precipitation, much like what happened around Minnesota this week.

Outlook models continue to favor above normal temperatures across Minnesota for the balance of November and into early December, so it is likely this month will end up among the top 3 warmest Novembers in history, perhaps the warmest ever.

Heavy rains this week:

A large and strong storm system brought lightning, thunder, and heavy rains to many parts of the state on November 11th and 12th.  Dew points climbed into the mid 40s F just ahead of the showers and heavy rain.  Many observers reported over 1 inch of rains, some reported over 2 inches, and a handful received 3 to 4 inches.

The heavy rain is somewhat unusual for mid-November and was record-setting for a number of climate stations including:
1.59 inches at Lakefield
2.10 inches at Windom
2.08 inches at Blue Earth
2.45 inches at Faribault
1.76 inches at New Ulm
2.30 inches at Waseca
2.61 inches at Winnebago
1.95 inches at Hastings
2.05 inches at Red Wing
2.04 inches at Zumbrota

For the communities of Waseca, Winnebago, and Faribault those numbers represent the largest single day rains in climate history for the month of November.

The heavy rains flooded some intersections, but much of the rainfall was absorbed by the soil.  Many observers will now report above normal rainfall for the month of November even if it remains dry the rest of the month.

The 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:

NOAA-NCEI this week highlighted the release of a report titled "Explaining Extreme Events of 2014 from a Climate Perspective."  It is an interesting report that relates some of the extreme weather and climate events of last year to climate change drivers.

The NOAA-National Hurricane Center reported that Hurricane Kate which formed earlier in the week is the latest on record to form in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean.  Hurricanes are rare for the month of November and Kate is the 11th named storm for the Atlantic Basin this year.  Kate was a post-tropical storm in the North Atlantic by Friday and may bring storminess to parts of Ireland and the UK by early next week.

Following its new storm naming convention the United Kingdom Met Office was issuing warnings on Storm Abigail this week.  It was bring heavy rains, high seas, and strong winds to parts of Scotland and many storm warnings had been issued.  Wind gusts to 84mph were noted by the BBC.

A new study by scientists at the University of California-Riverside reveals that continued climate change will provoke an increase in aerosol species in the atmosphere resulting in more hazy days. Some of this is based on the reduction in the amount of aerosols scrubbed out of the atmosphere by rainfall events, which will become less frequent in many areas due to climate change.

MPR Listener Question:

I have heard a great deal about the Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940 recently because of news coverage associated with the 75th Anniversary.  I know little about this storm.  In your opinion how does it rank among Minnesota's worst winter storms?


This is a difficult question because there are so many different storm attributes to compare: atmospheric pressure falls, temperature drops, total precipitation, wind speeds, visibility, geographic extent of the storm, and consequences associated with the storm impacts.  Certainly the Armistice Day Blizzard ranks among the ten worst winter storms to ever hit the state of Minnesota.  Some of the characteristics of this storm included: 12 to 24 inches of snowfall with snow drifts up to 20 feet high; winds from 40-65 mph; wind chill values of -25 to -35°F; zero visibility in many areas of the state; atmospheric pressure drop of 20mb, or 0.60 inches to just 28.66 inches at Duluth, 49 deaths attributed to the storm with prolonged school and road closures, and of course this storm was not in the forecast made by the Weather Service that day.  Other historical storms that rank among the ten worst in history include: January 7, 1873 "violent blizzard" according to the New Ulm Observer, 70 deaths reported; The "Children's Blizzard" of January 12-13, 1888 (documented in David Laskin's Book, over 200 deaths); November 27-28, 1905 blizzard sank the Mataafa just outside Duluth Harbor (documented in Curt Brown's Book "So Terrible a Storm"); November 9-11, 1913 "Great Lakes Hurricane" and blizzard sank three ships on Lake Superior (documented in Michael Schumacher's book); February 21, 1922 "paralyzing blizzard and ice storm" with power lost for many days in southern counties; March 15-16, 1941 "Ides of March Blizzard" not in the forecast of the Weather Service that day, stranded people on a Saturday night, left 32 dead; March 26-27, 1950 one of the worst blizzards and ice storms in northern Minnesota closed schools for days; January 10-12, 1975 "Storm of the Century" blizzard brought hurricane force winds and over 20 inches of snow to many  areas, along with 35 deaths; Halloween Blizzard (Oct 31-Nov 3) 1991 brought record-setting snowfall, wind damage, and closed roads for days; April 9-10, 2013 blizzard and ice storm  across Minnesota with extensive damage in SW counties where power outages lasted for days.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 13th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 43 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 28 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 13th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 71 degrees F in 1999; lowest daily maximum temperature of 15 degrees F in 1940: lowest daily minimum temperature is 0 degrees F in 1986; highest daily minimum temperature of 50 F in 1944 and 2001; record precipitation of 1.04 inches 1951; and record snowfall of 7.7 inches in 2010.

Average dew point for November 13th is 26 degrees F, with a maximum of 55 degrees F in 2001 and a minimum of -7 degrees F in 1986.

All-Time State Records for November 13th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 79 degrees F at Fairmont (Martin County) in 1999.  The state record low temperature for this date is -24 degrees F at Tower (St Louis County) in 1995.  State record precipitation for this date is 3.80 inches at Sawbill Camp (Cook County) in 1937; and record snowfall is 15.0 inches at Taylors Falls (Chisago County) in 1940.

Past Weather Features:

November 12-16, 1909 brought a major winter storm to Minnesota.  It started out with rain and thunder, then later turned to sleet and snow.  Total snowfall ranged mostly from 6 to 10 inches, but Fosston and Fairmont reported over 20 inches.  Fairmont ended up reporting over 30 inches of snow that month.

The first Arctic air mass of the season had a grip on Minnesota over November 12-14, 1919.  Several inches of snow had already fallen earlier in the month. Under clear skies and calm conditions temperatures plummeted to below 0°F values all around the state, ranging from -22°F at Angus (Polk County) to -2°F at Rochester.

Over November 10-13, 1986 another Arctic air mass invaded Minnesota bringing record-setting low temperatures to many areas.  Sub-zero temperatures were reported from all regions of the state while even daytime highs had difficulty reaching the teens and twenties F.  Hawley in Clay County never saw the thermometer rise higher than 10°F over the four days.

November 13, 1999 was the warmest in state history by far. Sunny skies and strong south winds pushed temperatures into the 60s F in most parts of the state.  Over 30 climate observers reported record-setting daytime temperatures in the 70s F.


Sunny and warmer over the weekend with temperatures rising significantly above normal values.  Increasing cloudiness later on Monday and a chance for showers.  Continued mild much of next week with a chance for showers on Tuesday and Wednesday as well.  Drier and cooler toward the end of next week.
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