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Widespread subzerio temperatures this week

Widespread subzero temperatures this week:

Last week on MPR's Morning Edition we talked about the widespread snow cover around the state and up until that time only about a dozen climate stations had reported a subzero minimum temperature so far this autumn. Since then we have seen severe cold weather dominate the landscape, and subzero temperatures have become far more common. In fact over November 13-14 this week over 40 climate stations reported morning low temperatures that were subzero with readings of -10°F to -15° in portions of St Louis and Lake of the Woods Counties. In fact on November 13th (Tue) many Minnesota climate stations saw the daytime high temperature remain in the teens F.

The week of November 7-13 brought temperatures that ranged from 11 to 15 degrees F colder than normal. In fact for the Twin Cities it was the coldest such week in history (1872-present). Here is a ranking of the five coldest weeks of November 7-13 for the Twin Cities climate:

2018 mean temperature 21.2°F
1896 mean temperature 22.4°F
1947 mean temperature 23.6°F
1921 mean temperature 23.9°F
1995 mean temperature 25.1°F

The week was so cold that soils began to freeze up and ice began to form on shallow lakes around the state. No wonder the sunny days with daytime highs in the 40s and 50s F (as high as 55°F at Browns Valley) over Wednesday and Thursday (Nov 14-15) felt so fantastic this week!

A Successful MCAP Conference:

The statewide Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership Conference was held on November 14th this week at the University of Minnesota St Paul Campus. The program was highly successful in showcasing a variety of climate adaptation practices that have proven successful in terms of stormwater management, energy use, fisheries and forestry management among many other topics. Over 225 people participated from all over the state.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

NOAA News features this week an interesting article by Tom Di Liberto about the climate conditions that led up to the horrible autumn wildfire season in California. Some of these conditions have ties to climate change.

The new seasonal outlook for the USA released by NOAA-Climate Prediction Center this week favors mostly a warmer and drier than normal December through February for Minnesota. You can find more information at the CPC web site.

Tropical Cyclone Gaja was bringing high seas, strong winds (70-80 mph) and heavy rains to Southern India on Thursday of this week. At least 13 deaths were already attributed to the storm. Many areas were expected to receive 6-8 inches of rain as the storm passed across that country and back out to sea over November 16th.

A new study published in GeoHealth, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, finds U.S. crime rates are linked to warmer temperatures, and this relationship follows a seasonal pattern. This research suggests crime is related to the way climate alters people’s daily activities.

MPR listener question:

Despite some snow in the Metro Area earlier this month (1-3 inches), recent temperatures have melted what little snow cover there was. I see that the MSP Airport currently reports no snow cover. How often does the month of November end without any snow cover in the Twin Cities?


For the Twin Cities historically about 40 percent of all Novembers have ended without any snow cover. It is interesting to note that only 5 of the most recent 15 Novembers have ended with snow cover.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 16th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 41 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 26 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 16th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 68 degrees F in 1953; lowest daily maximum temperature of 17 degree F in 1927; lowest daily minimum temperature of -2 degrees F in 1933; highest daily minimum temperature of 50 degrees F in 1918; record precipitation of 1.27 inches in 1996. Record snowfall for this date is 10.0 inches in 1909.

Average dew point for November 16th is 27°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 59°F in 1931; and the minimum dew point on this date is -10°F in 1959.

All-time state records for November 16th:

The all-time state high temperature for today's date is 75 degrees F at Marshall (Lyon County) in 1939; the all-time state low for today's date is -27 degrees F at Big Falls (Koochiching County) in 1933. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 4.10 inches at Two Harbors (Lake County) in 1909. Record snowfall for the date is 18.0 inches at Fairmont (Martin County) also in 1909.

Past Weather Features:

The storm of November 14-16, 1909 brought record setting snowfall amounts to many parts of Minnesota. In addition to the 18 inches of snow at Fairmont many other observers reported snowfalls of 10 to 17 inches, closing many roads. Several business operations chose to close down on Monday and Tuesday the 15th and 16th. The strong low pressure system brought winds of 40 to 50 mph and a significant drop in temperatures. Many areas had reported air temperatures in the middle to upper 50s F before the onset of the storm, only to see temperatures plummet into the teens and 20s F. A record monthly total of 30 inches of snow was recorded at Fairmont in Martin County.

An extremely rare November tornado struck Maple Plain (Hennepin County) on this date in 1931. It was on the ground for about 5 miles. This tornado struck at night, 9:35 pm, and destroyed most of the buildings on a nearby farm. It remains to this day the latest ever fall date for a tornado in Minnesota.

November 16-17, 2001 brought September-like temperatures to many parts of the state. Over 30 southern and western Minnesota communities saw afternoon temperatures climb into the 70s F. Many golf courses opened up, and workers were seen taking their lunches outside to enjoy the fresh air.


A winter weather advisory for Friday and Friday night for much of southern Minnesota, where 3-5 inches of snow may fall. Following some snowfall lingering in places on Friday night, the weekend will bring mostly sunny skies, but colder than normal temperatures with daytime highs mostly in the 20s F. A warming trend will start again on Tuesday and bring temperatures back into the 30s and 40s F for Thanksgiving next week. It will also be a mostly dry week.

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