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Precipitation for 2018: Yet, another wet year for Minnesota

Precipitation for 2018: Yet, another wet year for Minnesota:

As we wrap up October we already know it has been a wetter than normal month. October is the 5th month of the year so far that has delivered above normal precipitation. For the first ten months of 2018 only the counties of northwestern Minnesota have been marginally drier than normal. The rest of the state has seen a precipitation surplus, and for some southern counties the precipitation surplus has been record setting. Many climate stations in those counties have reported total precipitation through the first ten months that is over 13 inches above normal.

A sample of precipitation for 2018 so far shows: Ada (Norman County) in the Red River Valley is just 20 inches, one of the few drier than normal spots in the state (2 inches less than average); both Caledonia (Houston County) and Harmony (Fillmore County) have reported nearly 53 inches (about 21 inches above normal), already ranking as the wettest year in their respective climate histories; Redwood Falls (Redwood County) has recorded nearly 44 inches of precipitation for the year, topping their list of wettest years, while St James (Watonwan County) has also reported 44 inches so far and that ranks as the 2nd wettest year in their climate history. So far this year over 400 new daily precipitation records have been set within the state’s climate station network. Further six of the last eight years have been wetter than normal in Minnesota based on statewide data, so 2018 is definitely following the current climate trend.

A Big Thank You:

I want to thank the faculty and students of the College of St Benedict and St John’s University for hosting me to give the Norman Ford Endowed Lecture this week. We had a lively discussion about climate change, climate justice, and the ethics of scientific communications. I was very impressed with the creative minds of the students there and their passion for science.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

This week the NOAA web site features a nice article that explains the historical correlation of mild winters with the presence of El Nino in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, a factor in play for the coming winter.

Super Typhoon Yutu in the Western Pacific was heading towards the north end of the Philippines this week. It is producing wind gusts over 160 mph and sea wave heights of 35-40 feet. It will undoubtedly bring challenging severe weather to portions of the Philippines by early next week.

Efforts to combat climate change tend to focus on supply-side changes, such as shifting to renewable or cleaner energy. In a Special Issue in the Energy Efficiency Journal that follows the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees C, researchers argue that demand-side approaches can play a crucial role given the aspirational target outlined in the Paris Agreement. You can read more at the Science Daily web site.

AGU-EOS this week features an interview with Florida Congressman Ted Deutch, an advocate for more federal action to address climate change. Depending on the outcome of the November 6th elections, he may become a more prominent leader in addressing climate change, something that is sorely needed.

MPR listener question:

We listen to Morning Edition here in International Falls (The Nation’s Icebox) and like your chats with Cathy Wurzer every Friday morning. So far this month every day has been colder than average except for 2 measly days. We were wondering over coffee the other day, has there ever been an October here that never saw a single day with above normal temperatures?


What an interesting question! I understand why because International Falls is reporting one of the coldest months of October in history there this month. In examining the climate records back to 1895 I can find only one October that never had a daily mean temperature that was above normal. That October was in 1925, which coincidentally was the coldest October in state history.

Twin Cities Almanac for October 26th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 53 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 36 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 26th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 83 degrees F in 1955; lowest daily maximum temperature of 32 degree F in 1919; lowest daily minimum temperature of 16 degrees F in 1962; highest daily minimum temperature of 59 degrees F in 1989; record precipitation of 1.54 inches in 1941. Record snowfall is 1.3 inches in 1959.

Average dew point for October 26 is 34°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 61°F in 2000; and the minimum dew point on this date is 6°F in 1936.

All-time state records for October 26th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 93 degrees F at Chatfield (Fillmore County) in 1927. The state record low temperature for this date is -16 degrees F at Roseau (Roseau County) in 1936. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.49 inches at Two Harbors (Lake County) in 2010. Record snowfall for this date is 10.5 inches at Park Rapids (Hubbard County) in 1913.

Past Weather Features:

The coldest October 26th in state history was in 1936 when 12 northern climate stations reported subzero temperature readings. Daytime highs in many communities never rose above the 20s F.

Over October 26-27, 2010 a strong winter storm crossed the state bringing heavy rains to many central and southern Minnesota areas. There were widespread rainfalls of 2-4 inches. In addition a few climate stations in northeastern counties reported snowfall ranging from 4-7 inches. The strong storm brought winds of 50 to 70 mph, producing waves on Lake Superior up to 27 feet. And a new statewide low pressure record was established at BigFork (Itasca County) with a reading of 28.21 inches on the barometer.


Mostly dry on Saturday with near normal temperatures, then cloudy with showers on Saturday night. Very breezy on Sunday with cooler than normal temperatures. Then a chance for showers again later on Monday, perhaps mixing with snow showers in the north by Tuesday. Mostly dry and cooler until Friday, when there will be another chance for mixed precipitation.

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