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Preliminary Climate Summary for October 2020

Preliminary Climate Summary for October 2020:

Historically this will be known as one of the coldest and snowiest Octobers in history. The average October temperature was 6 to 7 degrees F cooler than normal, with over two-thirds of the days bringing cooler than normal daytime temperatures. With the state climate station network 72 daily low minimum temperature records were set or tied, and 275 daily cold high temperature records were set or tied. Many days, especially during the second half of the month brought daytime high temperatures that remained in the 20s and 30s F. This pattern caused early ice formation in many area lakes. The extremes for the month were 90°F at Granite Falls (Chippewa County) on the 9th and just 2°F at Lamberton (Redwood County) and Brimson (St Louis County) on the 27th.

Based on average month temperature, MSP reported the 9th coldest October in history, while on a statewide basis it was the 6th coldest October in history, and the coldest since 2002.

Most climate stations in the state reported near normal precipitation totals. There were 34 daily precipitation records set or tied within the state climate network, including many places that reported over 1.5 inches on the 11th and 12th. Some counties ended up with over 3 inches of precipitation for the month. The big event of the month was the snowstorm over October 20-21. Scores of climate stations reported record setting daily snowfall amounts ranging from 4 to 10 inches. Over 40 long-term climate stations established new total monthly snowfall records for October, rivaling the impact of historically snowy Octobers in 1880, 1916, 1917, 1925, 1933, and 1951. Because of the widespread snow cover, October 2020 will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the snowiest in state history as well.

Some of the long-term climate stations setting new October monthly snowfall records included:

MSP 9.3”, St Cloud 7.2”, Waseca 7.5”, Canby 10.0”, Granite Falls 12.5”, Ottertail 15.0”, Browns Valley 13,.1”, Lamberton 7.2”, Long Prairie 16.7”, Brimson 9.2”, Tracy 9.5”, Marshall 7.0”, and Wheaton 8.1”. An observer near Pine River in Cass County reported a monthly total of 18.1 inches of snowfall, near the statewide record of 19 inches for October held by a number of other climate stations.

Despite the challenging weather of October most Minnesota farmers were able to harvest their soybean crop (nearly complete) and get most of their corn crop harvested (about 75 percent finished). Yields were generally above average too.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Hurricane Zeta made landfall late on Wednesday in Louisiana and moved across the southeast states with high winds and heavy rains. Many areas reported 4-8 inches of rainfall and power outages. Over two million were left without power. Mississippi and eastern Louisiana were reporting a good deal of damage according to AccuWeather.

In the Western Pacific Ocean Super Typhoon Goni was increasing in strength as it headed towards the Philippines. It was producing winds 160-180 mph and sea wave heights up to 65 feet on Friday. According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center Goni is not expected to reach the Philippines until late in the weekend, but is likely to bring damaging winds and very heavy rainfall.

MPR listener question:

We were finishing sewing Halloween costumes for the kids this week and wondered what have been the temperature extremes in Minnesota for this holiday? We moved here from Santa Fe, NM two years ago.


Our Halloween extremes are a bit frightening as far as tailoring costumes for the climate. On Halloween of 1950 the afternoon temperature hit 86°F at Worthington (Nobles County) in southwestern Minnesota. Perhaps a Tarzan costume would have been a good choice. Halloween in Red Lake Falls (northwestern Minnesota) in 1996 was a very cold -3°F. Perhaps an abominable snowman costume was appropriate for that one.

Twin Cities Almanac for October 30th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 51 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 35 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 30th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 83 degrees F in 1950; lowest daily maximum temperature of 29 degrees F in 1873; lowest daily minimum temperature of 10 degrees F in 1925; highest daily minimum temperature of 57 degrees F in 1933; record precipitation of 1.26 inches in 1971. Record snowfall is 0.8 inches in 1951.

Average dew point for October 30th is 35°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 63°F in 1946; and the minimum dew point on this date is 6 degrees F in 1984.

All-time state records for October 30th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 90 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1950. The state record low temperature for this date is -8 degrees F at Duluth (St Louis County) in 1925. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.15 inches at Glenwood (Pope County) in 1979. Record snowfall is 12.0 inches at Sandy Lake (Aitkin County) in 1951.

Past Weather Features:

The coldest October 30th was in 1925 when morning low temperatures were in the single digits and teens across most of Minnesota. Ten climate stations in western and northern Minnesota reported morning temperatures that were subzero, and the daytime high temperature at Waseca only reached 25°F.

The warmest October 30th was in 1950 when nearly all areas of the state reported afternoon temperatures in the 70s and 80s F. At Marshall, MN the morning low was 61° and the afternoon high 88°F, more like August than October.

An early season winter storm brought widespread snow to Minnesota on October 30, 1951. Many parts of central and northern Minnesota reported from 5 to 11 inches of snowfall. The subsequent polar air mass brought an especially frigid Halloween Day to most parts of the state.


A mostly sunny weekend with temperature starting out on Saturday closer to normal, then cooling off for Sunday. Slowly warming for Monday through Friday of next week with several days warmer than normal. It will generally be a dry week as well. Some areas will see the return of 50s F and 60s F for a few days.

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