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November climate summary

November climate summary:

Precipitation was generally below normal across Minnesota during the month of November, while the temperature pattern was mixed with average monthly temperatures that were cooler than normal in the north and slightly warmer than normal in much of the south. The other contrast was in cloudiness, which was dominant the first half of the month, then there were many long spells of sunshine during the second half of the month.

The first two weeks of the month were the coldest since November of 1995, but then temperatures moderated the rest of the month, with several days bringing daytime highs in the 50s and 60s F. The last week of the month was about 12°F warmer than average in most Minnesota communities. Extreme temperature values for the month were 65 degrees F at Marshall (Lyon County) on the 27th, and -17 degrees F at Camp Norris (Lake of the Woods county) on the 24th. Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the nation four times during the month.

Well over 95 percent of all climate stations in Minnesota reported a drier than normal month. Many climate observers reported less than half an inch of precipitation for the month and some were close to a record low amount. For example Windom (Cottonwood County) reported just 0.04 inches of precipitation for the month, Worthington (Nobles County) just 0.01 inches, and Faribault (Rice county) just 0.09 inches, all of which represent their 2nd driest November in history. Amboy (Blue Earth County) reported its driest November ever with 0.03 inches of precipitation. The overall lack of precipitation helped farmers wrap up chores like a late corn harvesting season, soil testing, applying fall nitrogen, and spreading manure. A few northeastern Minnesota climate stations reported over 1.5 inches of precipitation for the month, still a very modest total.

The most significant snowfalls for the month occurred during the first week when several northern climate stations received over 6 inches. Places like Orr, Cook, Isabella, Gunflint Lake, Ely, and Thorhult received over a foot of snow. International Falls reported measurable snowfall on 7 days, totaling 11.9 inches.

One other climate feature of November worth noting - strong winds. Most observers reported at least 10 days with wind gusts over 30 mph. Both Moorhead and Mankato reported wind gusts over 50 mph on at least one day.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

In a new study from the Minnesota Sea Grant scientists in Duluth they find that some clear and seemingly clean inland lakes are actually so loaded with agricultural nutrients that algae cannot grow in them, leaving the water looking clear, but of impaired water quality. The excessive nutrient levels in these lakes happen as a result of heavy rains, or snowmelt washing phosphorus and nitrogen from agricultural fields, feed lots, or urban centers into the drainage areas that feed some inland lakes.

NOAA scientists reported recently that the extent of autumn sea ice around Alaska is the lowest ever measured. This is part of an ongoing trend in the data since 2001, and is also suggested to be a sign of climate change in that region.

Recent research from the University of Western Ontario examined the use of high-altitude turbulence radar measurements to detect tornado signatures. They found evidence in their data that may allow forecasters to predict tornado formation up to 20 minutes earlier than with current forecasting techniques.

Tropical Cyclone Ockhi is churning in the Indian Ocean with wind gusts to 100 mph and sea waves over 20ft. It is expected to bring heavy rains to western parts of India near Mumbai by the end of the weekend and early next week.

MPR listener question:

I know that complete ice formation on Minnesota inland lakes is late this year (again). When do you think we will see a streak of weather that causes our lakes to ice-in enough for ice fishing?


As is so often the case in recent years, you will have to be patient. Please use the MN-DNR web site to periodically check for ice cover on your favorite lakes and remember the recommendation for safe ice fishing on foot is thickness of at least 4 inches. It looks like we will have a spell of good "ice-making weather" starting next Wednesday and running into the following weekend, as daytime highs will track in the 20s F and nighttime lows in the single digits.

Twin Cities Almanac for December 1st:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 32 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 18 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for December 1st:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 68 degrees F in 1998; lowest daily maximum temperature of 1 degree F in 1919; lowest daily minimum temperature of -15 degrees F in 1893; highest daily minimum temperature of 43 degrees F in 1962; record precipitation of 0.83 inches in 1985. Record snowfall on this date is 8.4 inches in 1985.

Average dew point for December 1st is 18°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 49°F in 1982; and the minimum dew point on this date is -17°F in 1930.

All-time state records for December 1st:

The all-time state high temperature for today's date is 70 degrees F at Chaska (Carver County) in 1998; the all-time state low for today's date is -51 degrees F at Pokegama Dam (Itasca County) in 1896. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 2.12 inches at Two Harbors (Lake County) in 1985. Record snowfall is 16.0 inches at Winona (Winona County) in 1985.

Past Weather Features:

Following a strong winter storm over Thanksgiving week in 1896, December of that year began under an Arctic high pressure system that brought record cold on the 1st. Ten northern climate stations began the day at -30°F or colder. The temperature never rose higher than -16°F at Crookston (Polk County) that day.

By far the warmest December 1st in state history was in 1998. Over 40 climate stations reported afternoon high temperatures of 60 degrees F or greater, topped by 70°F at Chaska. Though it was a Tuesday, a work day, many people played hooky to go golfing, as many southern Minnesota golf courses were open that day. Temperatures over the first three days of that December average over 20 degrees F above normal

A winter storm brought high winds and a mixture of precipitation to Eastern South Dakota and portions of southern Minnesota over November 30 to December 1, 1981. Many roads and highways, including portions of Interstate 90 were closed for a time. Observers across southern Minnesota reported 8 to 14 inches of snowfall. Blizzard conditions with winds as high as 50 mph were reported in many western areas.

Another major winter storm brought widespread blizzard conditions to Minnesota on December 1, 1985. Winds were consistently between 30 and 40 pm with gusts to 50 mph. Many roads and highways were closed, and several Sunday church services were cancelled that day. Many areas of the state reported 10 to 16 inches of snowfall.


Mostly sunny skies and warmer than normal temperatures into the weekend. Increasing cloudiness on Sunday, with a chance for rain and/or snow by Monday. Then, much cooler for Tuesday through Friday of next week with below normal temperatures, and generally a dry weather pattern.

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