Skip to main content

Preliminary Climate Summary for October 2016

Preliminary Climate Summary for October 2016:

Continuing the year-long trend October was warmer than normal, with approximately two-thirds of all the days recording warmer than average temperatures. Most observers reported mean monthly temperatures that were 2-4°F above normal. On a statewide basis this October will be among the warmest 20 in history. Extremes for the month ranged from 80°F at Milan (Chippewa County) and Marshall (Lyon County) on the 2nd to just 18°F at Embarrass (St Louis County) on the 25th. For the first 10 months of 2016 the statewide temperature ranks as the 4th warmest in history. Most areas of the state reported at least one frost during October. Just a few areas escaped frost during the month. Some of those included the Twin Cities Metro Core, and some communities along the Mississippi River bluff country in southeastern counties (Winona, La Crescent, Minnesota City).

October precipitation looks to be less than normal in the northern counties and much above normal in the south. Overall on a statewide basis it will be a slightly wetter than normal month. By far the largest amounts of precipitation fell in southern counties where many communities reported 3 to 4 inches. Wells and Winnebago, both in Faribault County reported over 5 inches of precipitation. Madison (1.98"), Minneota (1.97"), Winnebago (1.42"), and Worthington (1.60") all reported new record daily precipitation amounts on October 5th. In northern St Louis County, Orr, Embarrass, Cook, and Chisholm all reported measurable snowfall, from 0.1 to 1.0" on October 7th. For the first ten months of 2016 statewide average precipitation has been over 30 inches, ranking as the 3rd wettest historically. In south-central counties the first ten months of 2016 have been the wettest in history, surpassing 1993.

Topic: 25th Anniversary of the Halloween Blizzard:

For many Minnesota citizens the Halloween Blizzard of 1991 (Oct 31 to Nov 3) remains one of the most dramatic weather events of their lifetime. One of the largest, most intense, and longest lasting blizzards to ever hit the state, this storm paralyzed many sections of eastern Minnesota where roads and highways were closed, and also left over 100,000 customers without power due to power lines brought down by ice, which was up to 2 inches thick in some parts of southeastern Minnesota.
-Over 200 new daily snowfall records were set across the state during this storm, including four communities that reported over 20 inches in a 24-hr period.
-The 4-day blizzard left many areas of the state with record levels of snow depth for November, ranging from 25 to 35 inches.
-At the height of the blizzard snow accumulation was occurring at the rate of 3 inches/hour, with maximum wind gusts to 50 mph.
-At least 16 communities reported a storm total snowfall of 25 inches or greater, topped by 36.9 inches at Duluth.
-In the aftermath of the storm over 100 communities reported sub zero F low temperatures over the first few days of November.
-With such a snowy start to November, many places reported record snowfall for the month, including 46.9" at MSP, 50.1" at Duluth, 51.5" at Two Harbors, and 58.6" at Bruno

More information can be found at the State Climatology Office web site.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

In a recent study NOAA researchers have found a link between warmer than normal water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and larger tornado numbers in the central USA. They argue that monitoring water temperatures in the Gulf will give forecasters better guidance to anticipate tornado outbreaks in the Southern Plains and Midwest.

You will find an interesting paper published this week in Geology which highlights the ocean role in moderating the 100,000 year ice age cycles. Ice cover, ocean circulation, and ocean temperatures all play a role in this, moderating the flux of carbon dioxide in the oceans and the atmosphere.

To commemorate the 100th Anniversary of doing weather forecasts for the military the United Kingdom Met Office this week released a brief report about significant military campaigns that were assisted by meteorological guidance, starting with WWI. Today, Mobile Meteorological Units are deployed to provide weather forecasts for the military on the spot where they are conducting field operations.

The Bureau of Meteorology in Australia released a report this week that links the higher frequency of extreme maximum temperatures as well as more frequent incidents of wild fires to climate change. Their State of the Climate 2016 report can be found online.

MPR listener question:

Our family is remembering the Halloween Blizzard of 25 years ago, when we were snowed in for 3 days after getting over two feet of snow with drifts over 6 feet high here in Forest Lake. Have there ever been other storms equivalent to that one in this area?


Based on storm intensity, duration, and amount of snowfall, there are only two historical analogies for the Twin Cities area. January 12-16, 1887 a slow moving low pressure system brought 5 consecutive days of snow, totaling over 19 inches to the Twin Cities area, closing businesses in both St Paul and Minneapolis, as well as making sledding difficult to get around the streets. The other episode was over January 20-25, 1982 when dual low pressure systems brought snowfall over 6 consecutive days totaling over 20 inches in many parts of the Twin Cities Metro Area (39.7 inches at MSP Airport). This caused road closures and collapsed roofs in many areas.

Twin Cities Almanac for October 28th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 52 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 35 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 28th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 75 degrees F in 1948; lowest daily maximum temperature of 24 degrees F in 1925; lowest daily minimum temperature is 17 degrees F in 1905 and 1925; highest daily minimum temperature of 56 degrees F in 1974; record precipitation of 1.97 inches in 1874; and a record snowfall of 0.4 inches in 1895.

Average dew point for October 28th is 34 degrees F, with a maximum of 59 degrees F in 1946 and a minimum of 9 degrees F in 2008.

All-time state records for October 28th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 83 degrees F at Browns Valley (Traverse County) in 1983. The state record low temperature for this date is -9 degrees F at Angus (Polk County) in 1919. State record precipitation for this date is 3.10 inches at Caledonia (Houston County) in 1900; and record snowfall is 9.5 inches at Big Falls (Koochiching County) in 1932.

Past Weather Features:

Thunderstorms brought heavy rains to parts of the state over October 27-28, 1900. Many areas received 1-2 inches and in southeastern counties some observers reported over 3 inches of rain.

The coldest October 28th in state history occurred in 1919 when most parts of the state saw morning low temperatures dip into the single digits or teens. Some climate stations in northern and western counties reported subzero low temperatures and it fell to just 6 degrees F at Redwood Falls.

A slow moving low pressure system brought a major winter storm to the state over October 28-30, 1932. Many communities reported 3-6 inches of snowfall, and 10-14 inches of snowfall was reported in far northern Minnesota.

The warmest October 28th in state history came in 1983 when nearly all areas saw afternoon temperatures climb into the 70s F. Twelve climate stations reported a high temperature of 80 degrees F or greater, including a reading of 80°F at Brainerd.

Word of the Week: Ceraunograph

This instrument (pronounced sir-rono-graph) is devised to measure or count lightning strikes. It was first used by Rev. F.L. Odenbach of St Ignatius College in Cleveland, OH during the early 20th Century. The electro-magnetic waves emitted from a lightning strike are received by a copper coil and translated to a paper chart. Now there are even portable lightning detection meters that can be used on backpacking or hiking trips. (Note thanks to Lucas Graunke of the MN State Climatology Office for finding the articles about this old instrument).


Cloudy with a chance for rain on Saturday, while temperatures remain slightly warmer than normal. Drier on Sunday. Warmer on Monday with a chance for showers later in the day. Then mostly quiet weather wise for next week with daytime highs a few degrees warmer than normal.

Print Friendly and PDF