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November Climate Summary

November Climate Summary:

Following a year-long trend in Minnesota November brought warmer than normal temperatures. Mean monthly values ranged from 10-12 degrees F above normal most places. Extremes for the month were 78°F at Mora (Kanabec County) on the 5th (which tied the state record high for the date set back in 1975 at Madison), to as cold as -1°F at Seagull Lake (Cook County) on the 21st. For many climate stations 27 of the 30 days of the month were warmer than normal. International Falls, Park Rapids, Gunflint Lake, Tower, Ada, Cloquet, Redwood Falls, and La Crescent were among the stations reporting the warmest November in their climate history. On a statewide basis it was the 2nd warmest November in history, only surpassed by that of 2001. Across the observation network in Minnesota 156 daily high maximum temperature records were set or tied, while 58 record warm minimum temperature records were set or tied. For the autumn season (September through November) it was the warmest in state history dating back to 1895. On a statewide basis the mean temperature for the 3-month period was about 6 degrees F above normal. For the first 11 months of 2016, it has been the 2nd warmest in state history, surpassed only by 2012.

Most observers reported above normal precipitation for the month, with the vast majority coming in storms during the second half. Only a scattering of climate stations in northwestern and southeastern counties reported below normal precipitation. A few places were very wet, including 4.76" at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center (Lake County) which was their 4th wettest November in history; 4.20" at Grand Marais (Cook County) their 3rd wettest November in history; and 3.79" at Grand Rapids (Itasca County) their 3rd wettest November in history. Across the observer network in Minnesota 37 daily precipitation records were set or tied. Overall on a statewide basis November precipitation ranked as 29th wettest, but for the autumn season (September-November) precipitation ranked as the 16th wettest autumn, and for the year to date (first 11 months) it is the 3rd wettest in history.

Waseca now reports 54.13 inches of precipitation for 2016 and this is a new statewide annual precipitation record, surpassing the old one of 53.52" at St Francis (Anoka County) in 1991.

November snowfall all came during the second half of the month and ranged from 1 to 4 inches across southern counties. In the far north it was much more. Grand Rapids, Cook, Orr, and Tower all reported over 20 inches. Across the observer network in Minnesota 30 daily snowfall records were set or tied during the month, including a new statewide snowfall record for November 18th of 17 inches at Grand Rapids (breaking the old record of 15 inches at Crookston in 1998).

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The Smithsonian published an interesting and engaging cartoon version of a climate change graphic which everyone should take a look at. It illustrates well the temporal context for past climate change versus the human-induced accelerated pace of change in recent decades.

An interesting article appeared in the NY Times this week about "Thunderstorm Asthma" in Australia. Apparently perennial ryegrass seeds were swept up by converging thunderstorm winds, broken up into fine pieces and then scattered across the Australia landscape. These fine particles when inhaled can produce serious respiratory problems for some people. Many citizens were sent to the hospital with breathing problems from these storms.

There is an interesting article by NOAA's Tom DiLiberto this week about Hurricane Otto hitting Nicaragua and Costa Rica last month. There were many unique attributes to this deadly hurricane, one of the latest recorded for the Atlantic basin.

NOAA also announced a webinar coming up next week (Dec 5) which will describe the impacts of climate change on our food system. Specifically this presentation will deal with "a review of how seasonal effects, temperature effects, and extreme weather due to a changing climate impact multiple factors in food production and safety including the growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of commodities for human consumption.

A new article from Umea University in Sweden documents a shrinkage in the snow cover season of up to two months. This has happened with consistency over the past 30 years and produced some effects in the herding patterns of reindeer. In addition the author notes that there has been a rise in the cases of rabbit fever among the human population

Commentary on Winter TIME:

No question will be answered this week, but I want to take TIME to make a comment about Winter TIME. Managing the TIME in the Winter Season in Minnesota is a different ball game than other seasons of the year, because everything takes longer. No question winter will be felt more frequently soon in the daily weather, and snowfalls will become more frequent this month. The rash of bicycle, pedestrian, and vehicular accidents reported during the snow storms towards the end of November reminded me about adjusting for Winter TIME. Our concept of time needs to be adjusted. Lengthen the time intervals that you have intuitively built-into your everyday habits and tasks. It takes longer to walk places, longer to drive places, longer to dress and undress, longer to warm up the car, longer to degomble (shed snow) when you come into the house. You need to make time to shovel snow, scrape the windshield, clean the furnace filters, When you walk take shorter steps and not too fast...put the boots, gloves and hat on when you go outside....check on the neighbor if their place hasn't been shoveled...everything should slow down..except for the long Minnesota goodbye..that is better shortened...just say goodbye, open the door, leave and close the door behind need to stand in an open doorway for minutes conversing about last minute stuff. Winter TIME is an adjustment that may save you anxiety, regret, or even injury.

Twin Cities Almanac for December 2nd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 32 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 17 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for December 2nd:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 63 degrees F in 1982; lowest daily maximum temperature of -3 degrees F in 1886; lowest daily minimum temperature is -17 degrees F in 1886; highest daily minimum temperature of 49 degrees F in 1962; record precipitation of 0.30 inches in 1933; and a record snowfall of 2.7 inches in 1978.

Average dew point for December 2nd is 19 degrees F, with a maximum of 53 degrees F in 1982 and a minimum of -27 degrees F in 1976.

All-time state records for December 2nd:

The state record high temperature for this date is 69 degrees F at Mankato (Blue Earth County) in 1998. The state record low temperature for this date is -47 degrees F at Pokegama Dam (Itasca County) in 1896. State record precipitation for this date is 2.51 inches at Caledonia (Houston County) in 1984; and record snowfall is 14.0 inches at Elbow Lake (Grant County) in 1985.

Past Weather Features:

Following a snowy last week of November, December of 1886 started out with an Arctic air mass that kept temperatures below 0°F the first few days of the month. On December 2nd morning low temperatures ranged from -12°F to -30°F around the state. The daytime high at Moorhead never rose higher than -19°F.

Tens years later following the paralyzing Thanksgiving winter storm of 1896, the state was in the grip of another Arctic air mass which brought even more severe sub-zero temperature readings to the state. Leech Lake and Pokegama Dam reported lows of -41°F and -47°F, respectively. Over 15 climate stations reported temperatures of -20°F or colder.

A winter storm brought a mixture of rain, sleet, and snow to Minnesota over December 1-2, 1945. Some southern counties received between 1 inch and 1.5 inches of rain, while in central and northern cities heavy amounts of snow were reported, ranging from 7 to 11 inches.

The first few days of December 1976 started out cold and snowy around the state. At least 25 Minnesota communities reported morning lows of -30°F or colder on December 2nd. As far south as Zumbrota it was -15 degrees F.

A massive and slow moving winter storm buried the state in snow over November 30 to December 2, 1985. Many areas of the state received 10-20 inches of snow and in some areas snow drifts were 6 feet high. Morris, Maple Plain, and St Peter observers reported over 20 inches, while the Willmar climate station reported over 30 inches. Many roads and schools were closed on Monday, December 2nd, as snow plows worked overtime to open things up.

The warmest December 2nd in state history occurred in 1998 when nearly all areas of the state reported afternoon temperatures in the 50s F or greater. Detroit Lakes and Grand Rapids reached 53°F while across southern Minnesota over 50 climate stations reported temperatures of 60 degrees F or greater.


Near normal temperatures into the weekend with a chance for mixed precipitation on Sunday. Warmer with a chance for rain or snow on Monday and Tuesday, may be heavy in the southeastern counties. A significant decline in temperatures to below normal values for next Wednesday through Saturday.

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