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Sunday Night Soaker

Sunday Night Soaker:

Following a mostly drier than normal September, most places in Minnesota needed a good rainfall, not only for native vegetation, but to reduce fire risk in some area. That rainfall came Sunday night over October 11-12. Over a hundred of the state’s climate stations reported a rainfall between 1-2 inches, mostly coming at night. Portions of Washington, Dakota, Rice, Nicollet, Blue Earth, Pine, and Kandiyohi Counties received over 2 inches. For many long term climate stations new record daily rainfall amounts were reported, including:
Hastings 1.90”
Cloquet 1.88”
Milaca 1.80”
Lakefield 1.45”
Floodwood 1.44”
Windom 1.12”
Winnebago and Jordan 1.43”
Long Prair[e 1.29”

Portions of western Minnesota were left out of this beneficial rainfall and only reported less than a tenth of an inch.

Winter Season Outlooks:

I would describe the recent NOAA Climate Prediction Center winter season outlooks for the state as somewhat timid. For most of the November though March period the outlooks favor cooler than normal and wetter than normal for major portions of Minnesota. This is primarily based on the forming La Nina (cooler than normal seas surface temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean) Episode. Strong climatic trends have been in evidence for warmer conditions to prevail, but any early season major snowfall could greatly modify a persistence of cooler than normal temperatures. Suffice to say that there is not yet a strong confidence in the Winter Season Outlooks for our state at the present time.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Many Minnesota communities saw snow for the first time this autumn season on Thursday and Friday this week. Portions of Itasca, Beltrami, and St Louis Counties reported snow flurries on Thursday, while many other areas of the state reported snow showers on Friday morning, including the Twin Cities. The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory applied to Saturday morning for portions of northern Minnesota, where 1-4 inches of accumulating snow is possible.

According to the BBC Weather Center “Copernicus, the EU's climate change service, have said global temperatures for September 2020 were higher than in any previous September on record. They have also confirmed the average Arctic sea ice extent for September was the second lowest on record.”

Recent research shows that the Atlantic Ocean is warming as well. Sediments from a lake in the Canadian High Arctic allow climate scientists to extend the record of Atlantic sea-surface temperature from about 100 to 2,900 years. It shows that the warmest interval over this period has been the past 10 years. Science Daily reports in more detail on this.

MPR listener question:

We live in Roseville, MN and cross-country ski each winter, sometimes traveling far distances to do so. But we always take advantage locally in the Twin Cities when the snow depth reaches 4 inches or greater. Can you tell us how many times this has happened in October, and how often it happens in November?


Wow, I had not thought of cross-country skiing in the Twin Cities during October! There was year when it would have been possible, 1905. There was abundant snow the last few days of October that year and it persisted to the end of the month to a depth of about 5-6 inches.

It is more usual to find the conditions that you are looking for in the month of November. Over the most recent 30 year period, November has brought a 4 inch snow depth to the Twin Cities by the last week of them of the month in 13 years, so about 43 percent of the time you get suitable conditions for your cross-country skiing endeavors.

Twin Cities Almanac for October 16th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 58 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 40 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 16th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 86 degrees F in 1938; lowest daily maximum temperature of 32 degrees F in 1952; lowest daily minimum temperature of 23 degrees F in 1952; highest daily minimum temperature of 63 degrees F in 1879; record precipitation of 2.10 inches in 1984. Record snowfall is 0.2 inches in 1992.

Average dew point for October 16th is 38°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 63°F in 1998; and the minimum dew point on this date is 9 degrees F in 1972.

All-time state records for October 16th:
The state record high temperature for this date is 91 degrees F at Montevideo (Chippewa County) in 1958. The state record low temperature for this date is 4 degrees F at Bemidji (Beltrami County) in 1952. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.55 inches at Wadena (Wadena County) in 1998. Record snowfall is 10.0 inches at Bird Island (Renville County) in 1937.

Past Weather Features:

Minnesota farmers were wrapping up fall field work in very mild conditions back in 1910. On October 16 most areas saw afternoon highs in the 70s and 80s F under bright sunny skies, with very low humidity prevalent.

October 16-17, 1937 brought a very early winter storm to Minnesota that produced rain, sleet, and snow. Many areas of the state reported over an inch of precipitation, and several areas got 3 to 6 inches of snowfall. Bird Island reported 10 inches at state record for the date.

A strong Cold Wave gripped the state on October 16, 1952. Most communities in the state reported morning low temperatures in the teens and twenties, but several climate stations up north reported single digit temperatures. Daytime high temperatures remained in the 30s F, while Babbitt saw a high of only 26F.


Continued cooler than normal temperatures over the weekend (though Saturday will be warmer than Sunday) with widespread frosts and freezes, even a chance for mix precipitation including snow showers very early on Saturday. Mostly sunny on Sunday, but cool. Continuing cooler than normal much of next week with chances for rain and snow mixed in widely spaced areas. Best chances for precipitation will be on Tuesday and Thursday.
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