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Very Warm Start to December

Very Warm Start to December:

Through the first ten days of the month temperatures are averaging 9-12°F warmer than normal across the state, making this the warmest December since 2015 and among the 6 warmest first ten days of the month historically back to 1895. Some daily record temperatures have been set, but day-to-day the values have consistently been warmer than normal. The 50°F reading at Browns Valley (Traverse County) on the sixth was a new record high. Then on Wednesday and Thursday more record high temperatures were reported around the state, including:
55°F at Caledonia
52°F at Rochester and Walker
50°F at Litchfield, Long Prairie, and Two Harbors
49°F t Brainerd

Several places in western Minnesota reached into the low to mid 50s F on Wednesday but fell short of setting any daily temperature records.

In the Twin Cities where climate records go back to 1872, the average temperature for the first 10 days of December is nearly 10°F above normal, ranking as the 4th warmest first ten days historically, trailing only 1939, 2015, and 1913,

Except for the northeastern most three counties (St Louis, Lake, and Cook) the Minnesota landscape is snow-free. As such it warms up more abruptly when the sun shines, with lots of daytime high temperatures reaching the 40s F this month so far. Even Cotton and Embarrass (both in St Louis County) usually some of the colder spots in Minnesota reached record highs on Wednesday this week with 44°F and 43°F, respectively.

Outlook models continue to favor generally warmer than normal temperatures for Minnesota through Christmas Eve. Some golf courses continue to be open for business.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The NOAA Arctic Program released the Annual Arctic Report Card this week. It emphasized the continued loss of sea ice and declining glaciers in the area, as well as the early loss of snow cover, combined with warming temperatures. The extent of Arctic Sea Ice as measured by satellites on September 15, 2020 was the 2nd lowest of record for the period 1979-2020. There are many more details in the report.

“Minnesota. Maine. Upstate New York. The Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Practically anywhere in Idaho. And of course, the Rockies or the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These are the parts of the Lower 48* where weather history suggests you want to be if you're looking for the best chance of a white Christmas.” NOAA features an article on the historical frequencies for a White Christmas this week for most of the USA geography. Looks like Minnesota will have to see a snow storm or two before Christmas if we are to live up to our historical reputation.

The Weather Channel ran a feature this week showing areas of the USA that are recording their warmest year of record. All of the USA is recording a warmer than normal year in 2020 which may end up among the top 7 warmest historically.

MPR listener question:

I walk the dog everyday and he loves to fetch the frisbee. So I pay careful attention to the wind. It seems that there has hardly been any wind this December over 10 mph? What has the average wind speed been so far this month, and is it less than average? BTW I live in Cottage Grove?


Indeed, you are very astute in your wind observation. Average wind speeds so far this month are only between 4-5 mph. Only one day have wind gusts approached 20 mph (December 3rd). This is kind of remarkable, but indicative of how most of the storm systems have been tracking south of us. Average wind speeds for all other months in 2020 so far have ranged from 7 to 10 mph in the Twin Cities, so it could be that December will deliver the lowest wind speeds of the year.

Twin Cities Almanac for December 11th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 28 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 14 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for December 11th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 56 degrees F in 1913; lowest daily maximum temperature of -3 degrees F in 1995; lowest daily minimum temperature of -14 degrees F in 1972; highest daily minimum temperature of 36 degrees F in 2015; record precipitation of 1.16 inches in 2010. Record snowfall is 16.3 inches also in 2010.

Average dew point for December 11th is 10°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 49°F in 1949; and the minimum dew point on this date is -28 degrees F in 1962.

All-time state records for December 11th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 67 degrees F at Long Prairie (Todd County) in 1913. The state record low temperature for this date is -41 degrees F at Pokegama Dam (Itasca County) in 1936. The state record precipitation for this date is 1.70 inches at Beaver Bay (Lake County) in 1870. Record snowfall is 18.0 inches at Montgomery (Le Sueur County) in 2010.

Past Weather Features:

The warmest December 11th in state history was in 1913 when over 60 climate stations reported afternoon high temperatures in the 50s and 60s F. Most places reported little or no snow cover.

The coldest December 11th in state history was in 1936. Morning temperatures ranged from the teens below zero to -35°F. Pine River Dam reported -40°F, while Pokegama Dm reported -41°F. The warmest spot in the state was Fairmont with a morning low of -4°F and an afternoon high of 20°F.

December 11-12, 2010 brought a strong winter storm to Minnesota which delivered very heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions in some areas. This storm produced 14-20 inches across portions of southern and central Minnesota. Around La Crescent and Winona more than 20 inches fell. Blizzard conditions caused road and school closures and the heavy snow caused the collapse of the Metrodome roof Minneapolis.


A mostly dry outlook through the weekend and next week. Generally sunny to partly cloudy skies. Temperatures will continue warmer than normal, but by fewer degrees. Possible hints of snowfall during Christmas week.

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Adams Steward said…
What about the Siberian winds? As there was a strong discussion going on that these are going to drop down temperatures to sub zero around the world. So what is the future prediction regarding this? Thanks