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High Winds and Heavy Rains on October 21st

High Winds and Heavy Rains on October 21st:

A strong, slow-moving low-pressure system brought high winds and heavy rains to many parts of Minnesota on October 21st. Many areas of the state reported over an inch of rainfall that day, and over 20 climate stations reported more than 2 inches. In fact, many Minnesota climate stations reported new record daily precipitation amounts. Among those setting records were:

Sandstone with 2.75”
Isle with 2.41”
Mora and Cloquet with 2.26”
Leech Lake with 2.23”
Floodwood with 2.08”
Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center with 2.03”
Walker with 2.02”
Marshall 1.84”

Scores of other climate stations set records as well.

In addition to the rain, there were persistently strong winds. Many areas reported wind gusts between 40 and 60 mph, especially in northeastern Minnesota, where the high winds produced large waves on Lake Superior and a good deal of shoreline erosion. Access to Park Point in Duluth was limited to only emergency vehicles for a time on Monday. You can read more about the storm from the NOAA-National Weather Service.

Following this storm system, cool weather settled across the state bringing more frosts. Many places reported morning lows in the 20s F. In fact MSP recorded its first frost of the season on Thursday, October 23th with a reading of 32°F, followed by a reading of 28°F on the 25th.

Record-setting pace for a wet year continues:

With the rains of this week, the statewide average precipitation for this October is now very near 4.40 inches, ranking as the 6th wettest month of October in Minnesota history (and with six more days to go). Over 25 climate stations have reported over 6 inches of precipitation for the month, with parts of Pine, Mower, and Lake Counties reporting over 7 inches, over 3 times normal. As for year-to-date precipitation in 2019 many areas of the state are still on a record setting pace, with a large fraction of the Minnesota landscape already recording over 40 inches for the year. Climate stations reported 12-20 inches of above normal precipitation in 2019 are not uncommon. Rochester stands at 51.08 inches to-date, the wettest ever previous year was 43.94 inches in 1990.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

I had the privilege of attending the lecture “Cloud Spotting for Beginners” at the Science Museum of Minnesota on Tuesday night this week (Oct 22nd). The presentation was by Gavin Pretor-Pinney , the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society. It was a wonderful lecture about the history behind cloud classification, clouds in art work, and clouds as indicators of the state of the atmosphere. The Manifesto of the Cloud Appreciation Society is well worth repeating:

WE BELIEVE that clouds are unjustly maligned and that life would be immeasurably poorer without them.

We think that they are Nature’s poetry, and the most egalitarian of her displays, since everyone can have a fantastic view of them.

We pledge to fight ‘blue-sky thinking’ wherever we find it. Life would be dull if we had to look up at cloudless monotony day after day.

We seek to remind people that clouds are expressions of the atmosphere’s moods, and can be read like those of a person’s countenance.

We believe that clouds are for dreamers and their contemplation benefits the soul. Indeed, all who consider the shapes they see in them will save money on psychoanalysis bills.

And so we say to all who’ll listen:

Look up, marvel at the ephemeral beauty, and always remember to live life with your head in the clouds!

Dry conditions and strong winds were contributing to an outbreak of dangerous wildfires in California this week. There were multiple evacuations, and SFO airport was expected to be closed at times due to heavy smoke. Strong winds, over 30 mph, were expected to persist across much of northern California throughout the weekend. The NY Times reports.

Nolan Doesken, former Colorado State Climatologist gave the 27th Annual Kuehnast Lecture at the University of Minnesota-St Paul Campus this week. A very interesting story about the birth and evolution of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network (CoCoRaHS). You can find out more and see the lecture at the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate web site.

MPR listener question:

Now that the snow season has begun can you answer a question for us at the Kieran’s Irish Pub in Minneapolis? Which snow seasons in the Twin Cities have produced the most and the least days of snowfall?


We have Twin Cities daily snow records back to 1884-1885. It looks like the snow season of 1950-1951 brought 117 days with snowfall, while that of 1910-1911 only brought 53 days. So those are the extremes. Looks like last snow season, 2018-2019 brought 82 days with snow.

Twin Cities Almanac for October 25th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 54 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 37 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 25th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 82 degrees F in 1989: lowest daily maximum temperature of 30 degrees F in 1887; lowest daily minimum temperature is 12 degrees F in 1887; highest daily minimum temperature of 62 degrees F in 2000; record precipitation of 0.75 inches in 2012; and record snowfall of 0.2 inches in 1942.

Average dew point for October 25th 35 degrees F, with a maximum of 63 degrees F in 2000 and a minimum of 8 degrees F in 1962.

All-time state records for October 25th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 87 degrees F at New Ulm (Brown County) in 1927. The state record low temperature for this date is -10 degrees F at St Vincent (Kittson County) in 1887. State record precipitation for this date is 3.22 inches at Lake City (Wabasha County) in 1963; and record snowfall of 15.0 inches at Sandy Lake (Aitkin County) in 1942.

Past Weather Features:

Mid-winter cold prevailed across the state on October 25, 1887. Morning lows were mostly in single digits above or below zero, and much of the state landscape had snow on the ground. The afternoon high temperature only climbed to 21 degrees F at Rochester.

October 25, 1927 was the warmest in state history as most Minnesota communities saw afternoon temperatures climb into the 70s and 80s F. New Ulm started out with a morning low of 42 degrees F, but saw the temperature climb all the way to 87°F.

An early winter storm brought heavy snowfall to many parts of central and northern Minnesota over October 24-26, 1942. Broad areas of the state received between 5 and 10 inches, while some north-central and northeastern communities reported 11-15 inches of snow.


Sunny with near normal temperatures to start the weekend. Then falling temperatures later on Sunday. Much cooler than normal next week with repeated frosts most nights. Chance for showers (rain or snow) by Wednesday and Thursday.

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tsm said…
as you said the Signal Corps began recording snowfall records in 1884.but we do have such records from St Paul, 1859-1874 and Mpls, 1864-1900. there are even some intermittent snowfall amounts recorded at the Fort from 1820-1857.