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Near historical cold during the first two weeks of November

Near historic cold during the first two weeks of November:

The first two weeks of November have been near historically cold levels for many states in the Midwest, as well as the eastern half of the country. Thousands of climate stations have reported setting new record cold maximum and minimum daily temperatures. In the Minnesota climate network approximately 150 daily cold maximum temperature records have been tied or broken, while 135 cold daily minimum temperature records have been tied or broken, most of these since the 7th of November.

As many as 84 Minnesota climate stations have reported subzero temperature readings this week, with -21°F at Isabella (Lake County) on the 12th. Even southern Minnesota communities have seen the thermometer drop below zero with -1°F reported from Waseca and Grand Meadow, and -2°F reported from Caledonia (Houston County). The maximum temperature of 9°F at Hibbing on the 11th set a record cold high temperature value for the date.

On a statewide basis the average temperature for November over the first two weeks was 22°F, ranking as the 2nd coldest first half of the month. Here is a list of the statewide coldest first two weeks of November (since 1895), showing the top five:

1991 20.2°F
2019 22.0°F
1995 22.8°F
1966 23.5°F
1911 23.8°F

BTW last November (2018) ranked as the 7th coldest first two weeks coming in with a statewide average of 25.8°F. So, we have had two years in a row with cold starts to November.

For the Twin Cities and its strong urban heat island it has been a cold first two weeks of the month as well, tying the record cold high temperature for the 11th with a reading of just 18°F. Here is a list of the coldest first two weeks of November in the Twin Cities climate record (coldest five):

1991 22.3°F
2019 26.9°F
1966 27.1°F
1873 27.2°F
1911 27.3°F

As a result of the unusual cold, agricultural soils are beginning to freeze up for the winter season with frost depths in some areas already down to 6-12 inches. Lake ice cover has begun to form as well. But is still quite unsafe for human traffic. You can keep track of lake ice-in dates at the DNR Climate Office web site.

One further note: the compilation of seven colder than normal months across Minnesota during 2019 (Jan-May, as well as Oct, Nov) has produced a mean statewide temperature for the year that ranks among the 15 coldest in history, a real aberration in the context of our multi-decade long warming trend in the state.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Heavy, wet snow disrupted travel across mid and southern Wales this week. Flooding also occurred in some areas and a few trains between Gloucester and Cardiff were delayed or cancelled. More from the BBC.

The Weather Underground reported this week on the climate odds for having a White Thanksgiving across the nation. The best odds of a white Thanksgiving in the Lower 48 states are 60 to 80% in far northern New England, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, far northwestern Wisconsin, northern Minnesota and northeastern North Dakota.

Widespread, harmful algal blooms are becoming more common in freshwater bodies around the globe. This comes from a study published in the journal Nature using remote sensing techniques for detection of the algae. One of the conclusions: “Summertime algal blooms are indeed worsening in large freshwater lakes around the world—and climate change may be undercutting efforts to combat the problem.” You can read more from the AGU-EOS this week.

MPR listener question:

I am writing to you from Canby, MN (Yellow Medicine County). Earlier this month I put up a shed next to my barn, but I have not been able to put a coat of paint on it. I need 50 degrees F for that to happen. Do you think we will say a day with the temperature that high yet this month?


I would not be optimistic about that if I were you. If you do come close to 50°F it may be this Saturday (November 16) between noon and 3pm, so you might be ready with your paint brush then. This Saturday certainly looks like the best day to wrap up outdoor chores.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 15th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 41 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 27 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 15th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 69 degrees F in 1953: lowest daily maximum temperature of 13 degrees F in 1932; lowest daily minimum temperature is 1 degrees F in 1940; highest daily minimum temperature of 55 degrees F in 1930; record precipitation of 1.58 inches in 1996; and record snowfall of 5.1 inches in 1956.

Average dew point for November 15th is 29 degrees F, with a maximum of 54 degrees F in 2001 and a minimum of 0 degrees F in 1940.

All-time state records for November 15th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 76 degrees F at Madison (Lac Qui Parle County) in 1953. The state record low temperature for this date is -36 degrees F at Angus (Polk County) in 1911. State record precipitation for this date is 2.68 inches at Stillwater (Washington County) in 1944; and record snowfall is 11.1 inches at Duluth (St Louis County) in 1956.

Past Weather Features:

By far the coldest November 15 in state history came in 1911. Subzero low temperatures prevailed across central and northern counties, while southern Minnesota saw temperatures in the single digits. Portions of Clearwater, Kittson and Polk Counties reported lows of -30°F or colder, with the daytime high at Hallock only reaching -2°F.

The warmest November 15th was in 1953 when afternoon highs reached the 60s F across most parts of the state. Portions of 12 southern and western counties saw afternoon temperatures in the 70s F.

Over November 15-16, 1956 an early season winter storm brought heavy snows to many parts of the state. Many areas reported 4-8 inches of snow and portions of Stearns, St Louis, and Carlton Counties reported over 10 inches with some road closures.


Near normal temperatures over the weekend with a chance for light rain or snow later Saturday and into Sunday. Continued chance for rain or snow on Monday with moderating temperatures during next week a degree or two either side of normal. Another chance for precipitation by late Wednesday, again with moderating temperatures.

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