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Year To Date Precipitation

Year To Date Precipitation:

Last year (2019) was the wettest year in history for Minnesota with a statewide average precipitation of 35.66 inches, about 28 percent higher than the long-term annual mean for the state of 27.92 inches.

I thought for perspective we could look at statistics for the first nine months (Jan-Sep) of 2020 and examine the values of precipitation. On a statewide basis the first 9 months of 2020 delivered an average of 21.21 inches, down from the first 9-months of last year which was 28.45 inches. For the year so far most climate stations in the state are reporting less than average precipitation, and some places are exceptionally dry. These include:
Duluth with 15.04 inches for Jan-Sep, the 3rd driest all-time (trailing 1918 and 1934)
Windom (Cottonwood County) with 17.55 inches for Jan-Sep, 13th driest in history
Pipestone with 17.14 inches for Jan-Sep, 13th driest in history
Canby (Yellow Medicine County) with 15.16 inches for Jan-Sep, 7th driest in history
Browns Valley (Traverse County) with 13.45 inches for Jan-Sep, 3rd driest in history
Montevideo (Lac Qui Parle County) with 12.54 inches for Jan-Sep, driest in history

In contrast, the northwest corner of the state has had a very wet year in 2020. Here are the numbers for the first 9-months:
Karlstad (Kittson County) with 28.81 inches for Jan-Sep, wettest in history
Lake Bronson (Kittson County) with 26.98 inches for Jan-Sep, 2nd wettest in history

BTW for Twin Cities residents MSP is reporting 25.38 inches for January-September, which is only slightly above normal (30-year average precipitation for Jan-Sep is 25.25 inches).

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

NOAA scientists have commented that most outlook models favor a drier than normal October for the midsection of the country, including Minnesota. In this context the already drier than normal areas of the state may move into a drought category by the end of the month. Most likely geographic areas of the state to experience this are west-central counties and extreme northern counties.

There is an interesting article by the Weather Underground this week about the record temperatures set across the USA this year. Warm maximum temperature records and warm minimum temperature records have outpaced cold ones by a ratio of 2 to1. States that have seen an unusual number of record warm maximum and minimum temperatures this year include TX, NM, AZ, and UT.

Speaking of record temperatures, the University of Wisconsin-Madison announced this week that nearly 30 years after recording a temperature of minus 93.2 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 69.6 Celsius) in Greenland, the measurement has been verified by the World Meteorological Organization as the coldest recorded temperature in the Northern Hemisphere. The measurement was first recorded by a University of Wisconsin-Madison Antarctic Meteorological Research Center Automatic Weather Station in December 1991. But extreme measurements like that undergo a rigorous review process to make sure they are accurate and there is agreement with other meteorological data and weather forecast models. Due to the quality and preservation of the AWS station data provided by the Antarctic Meteorological Research Center, the WMO was able to verify the 1991 temperature and log it as part of the official record. Science Daily reports on this in more detail.

MPR listener question:

My 4th grader just set up a snow stake in the backyard to measure snow depth this winter. At least someone is excited for winter to happen. What percent of the time does October bring measurable snowfall to the Twin Cities?


Based on 135 years of measured snowfall, the Twin Cities reports a measurable amount in October about one third of the time (one year in three)

Twin Cities Almanac for October 2nd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 65 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 45 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 2nd:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 89 degrees F in 1953; lowest daily maximum temperature of 44 degrees F in 1944; lowest daily minimum temperature of 22 degrees F in 1974; highest daily minimum temperature of 65 degrees F in 2005; record precipitation of 0.90 inches in 2013. No snowfall has been reported on this date.

Average dew point for October 2nd is 42°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 68°F in 1951; and the minimum dew point on this date is 18°F in 2003.

All-time state records for October 2nd:

The state record high temperature for this date is 95 degrees F at Wheaton (Traverse County) in 1953. The state record low temperature for this date is 9 degrees F at Karlstad (Kittson County) in 1974. The state record precipitation for this date is 4.33 inches at Sandy Lake (Aitkin County) in 1995. Record snowfall for this date is 5.4 inches at Lakefield (Jackson County) in 1999.

Past Weather Features:

The warmest October 2nd in state history was in 1953 when over 30 climate stations reported afternoon highs in the 90s F. The cold spot in the state was Grand Marais with a reading of 66°F.

October 2, 1974 brought a hard freeze to just about every corner of the state. Morning low temperatures ranged from the teens into the 20s F. The afternoon high temperature at Tower only reached 37°F.

October 1-2, 1999 brought an early season snowfall to Minnesota, especially the southwestern counties where 2-5 inches of snow was common. At least it proved to be the only snowfall of that month.


A cooler than normal weekend coming up, with areas of frost, and perhaps even an isolated snow shower in places early on Saturday morning. A warming trend begins on Monday and should last most of next week, with only slight chances for a shower. It is certainly possible that some places will seen temperatures in the 70s F next week.

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