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October Climate Summary

October Climate Summary:

Despite the snow and cold that prevailed during the last days of the month, average October temperatures around the state generally ranged from 1 to 4 degrees F above normal (average). The extremes for the month were 81 degrees F on October 20th at several locations, and just 13 degrees F at Browns Valley (Traverse County) on October 29th. October was the 8th month of the year with above normal temperatures (only May and August have been cooler than normal this year). Minnesota did not report the nation's lowest temperature even once during the month. Within the statewide climate network 20 locations reported new daily high temperature records on at least one date; while 32 locations reported new daily warm low temperature records on at least one date.

On a statewide basis October of 2017 was the 15th wettest in state history, with most observers reporting from 3 to 5 inches of precipitation. Several southern Minnesota climate stations reported their wettest October in history, including: 7.87 inches at Spring Grove (Houston County); 7.76 inches at Caledonia (Houston County); 7.37 inches at La Crescent (Winona County); 7.07 inches at Hokah (Houston County); 6.83 inches at Worthington (Nobles County); and 6.66 inches at Hutchinson (McLeod County). With the statewide climate network 70 locations reported at least one new daily precipitation record set during the month.

Many areas of the state received measurable snowfall over October 27-28. In northeastern Minnesota Isabella, Duluth, Chisholm, and Wolf Ridge reported over 10 inches of snow from that storm. In fact the Duluth Airport reported 10.6 inches of snowfall on October 27th which was a new all-time state record for the date, surpassing the 7.7 inches reported at Two Harbors on October 27, 2010.

The month was also noteworthy for windiness. Many places in the state reported wind gusts of 30 mph on 12 days or more. Very large waves were seen on parts of Lake Superior.

Soybean harvest all but wrapped up across the state during the month of October, but corn harvest remained about two weeks behind normal and over half of the acreage was left to be harvested.

Lake Superior Storm Festival:

For those who like to make a trip to the north shore of Lake Superior during the autumn season, you might want to consider the weekend of November 10-12 in order to attend the 5th Annual Lake Superior Storm Festival. A variety of events will take place at Lutsen Resort and in Grand Marais. Among many other activities, I will be speaking at Lutsen Resort on Saturday, November 11th at 3pm with a program titled "A History of Great November Storms on Lake Superior." For more information you can go to the Storm Festival web site.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

This week NOAA featured an article about the very limited ozone hole observed over Antarctica this year. The smaller size of the ozone hole (smallest in 29 years of satellite monitoring) was attributed to the instability and warmer temperatures in the stratosphere that minimized the formation of high-altitude clouds. You can read more at the NOAA News Service web site.

In other news this week NOAA announced that in collaboration with the U.S. Marine Corps they were able to install two short-range Doppler radar systems in Puerto Rico to replace those damaged by Hurricane Maria. So the forecast operations in Puerto Rico have returned to near normal conditions for the first time since September 20th.

The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (Clean) announced that they are starting a series of webinars about their work to build a community more educated on climate change and energy issues. Their first seminar will be on November 9th when they will cover educational resources available for the study of climate and energy. This may ve very useful for school science teachers.

IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee provided an interview recently to discuss strategies for curbing climate change. A brief description of this interview was provided in AGU’s Earth and Space Science News this week and makes for an interesting read.

Typhoon Damrey was moving west across the South China Sea this week towards Vietnam. It is expected to strengthen and bring heavy rain and wind to that country over the coming weekend.

MPR listener question:

I was raised in Bloomington, MN and my mother always told me that after I was born (Nov 13, 1947) it snowed everyday for the rest of the month. I always believed her, but as I have now lived nearly 70 years in the Twin Cities I have never experienced a month like that. Can you tell me if this really happened?


Indeed, it nearly did. In November of 1947 it snowed at least a trace every day from November 14 to November 30 except for the 29th. In fact it snowed on 21 days that month, something that really doesn't happen much anymore during anytime of the winter.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 3rd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 49 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 33 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 3rd:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 74 degrees F in 1978 and 2008; lowest daily maximum temperature of 18 degrees F in 1991; lowest daily minimum temperature of 8 degrees F in 1991; highest daily minimum temperature of 55 degrees F in 1956; record precipitation of 0.53 inches in 1970. Record snowfall on this date is 4.2 inches in 1951.

Average dew point for November 3rd is 30°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 60°F in 1987; and the minimum dew point on this date is 2°F in 1991.

All-time state records for November 3rd:

The all-time state high temperature for today's date is 82 degrees F at Montevideo (Chippewa County) in 1909; the all-time state low for today's date is -8 degrees F at Park Rapids (Hubbard County) in 1951. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 2.62 inches at International Falls (Koochiching County) in 1919. Record snowfall is 26.0 inches at Onamia Ranger Station (Mille Lacs County) in 1991.

Past Weather Features:

November 2-3, 1919 brought a winter storm to portions of central and northern Minnesota. Many climate stations reporte 3 to 9 inches of snowfall with high winds and large snow drifts. It was the start to a very snowy November that brought a total of over 20 inches of snow to many northern parts of the state. Red Lake Falls ended up reporting 35 inches of snow by the end of the month.

Following a snowy end to October, November of 1951 started out with mid-winter type temperatures. On November 3rd eleven climate stations reported morning lows that were subzero F, while even the southernmost portions of the state dipped into the mid-teens. The temperature at Ada and Hallock in the Red River Valley never rose above 15°F all day. A week later the temperatures rebounded into the 50s F.

November 3 in 1978 was the warmest in state history with nearly all areas of the state reporting afternoon high temperatures above 60 degrees F. Over 30 communities reported high temperatures of 75 degrees F or warmer and the nighttime temperature never fell below 50°F in St Paul.

A 3-day snow storm over November 2-4, 1982 brought 8 to 20 inches of heavy, wet snow to many parts of northern Minnesota. The first snowplows of the season were called out to work in portions of Lake, Cook, and St Louis Counties where snow drifts up to 5 feet blocked some county roads and highways.


Continued cooler than normal temperatures into the weekend with plenty of cloud cover, and a chance for rain/snow mix later on Saturday and early Sunday. Cooler yet on Monday and Tuesday with a slight chance for snow later on Monday. Then relatively dry the rest of next week with slowly warming temperatures toward next weekend.
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