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Preiminary Climate Summary for October 2021

Preliminary Climate Summary for October 202

A warmer than normal October prevailed across the state with most climate stations reporting a mean monthly temperature that ranged from 4 to 5 degrees F above normal. On a statewide basis October of 2021 will likely rank among the warmest 6 in history, while for the Twin Cities it will likely rank among the 10 warmest. Extremes ranged from 86°F at Milan on October 4th to just 16°F at Hibbing on October 24th. Within the state climate network 16 daily maximum temperature records were set or tied during the month, and 127 daily warm minimum temperature records were set or tied.

Rainfall for October was highly variable. Generally north-central and northeastern sections of the state received more than most of the rest of the state, although portions of Swift and Big Stone Counties in western Minnesota reported 5-7 inches of total rainfall. Portions of southeastern Minnesota received less than normal rainfall, including Hokah and Wabasha which reported less than 1 inch. There were 34 daily rainfall records set within the state climate network during October, including 3.79 inches on the 10th at Artichoke Lake (Big Stone County) and 3.61 inches at Crookston (Polk County) on the 11th, which was a new statewide rainfall record for that date. Overall, the designated Drought area in the state shrunk during the month, but some Severe and Extreme levels of drought remain in far northern counties, but is down to just 36 percent of  the state landscape, the smallest number in months.

Working around the days with rain, farmers made good progress on harvesting major crops. Corn was over 80 percent harvested, sugar beets nearly75 percent harvested, and soybean harvest was all but complete.

Notes on the Halloween Blizzard, October 31-November 3, 1991:

Over 30 communities reported 20 or more inches of snow from this storm. Hardest hit communities were the Twin Cities (28.4”), Two Harbors (36.0”), and Duluth (36.9”). A 180- mile-long stretch of Interstate 90 was closed for a time. Snowfall intensity was up to 2 inches per hour at times and the National Guard provided many power generators to rural areas because of power outages. Winds of 40-60 mph produce snow drifts up to 10 feet.

A personal story: In those days were still needed to make daily manual observations at the University of Minnesota St Paul Climate Observatory. I had the task of making the observation on Friday, November 1st in the middle of the storm. For the first time in my life I used snowshoes to trek out to the observatory, normally a 10 minute walk from my campus office. It took me 45 minutes to get there. Then it took me an hour and a half to shovel out all the instruments that were buried in snow drifts. It was quiet as a morgue as there was no traffic out anywhere and virtually no activity on campus. All I could hear were the howling winds. Besides the measurements I made, I noted that visibility was terrible and if I had not know the campus so well, I probably would have wondered out there for hours.

Time to Nominate for Climate Adaptation Awards

The Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership Program is currently seeking nominations for its climate adaptation awards in 2022. There are four categories of awards:

The MCAP program is a one of a kind bringing together climate adaptation practitioners from all over the state. If you know of outstanding work within your community or work-place please consider sending in a nomination. Instructions and more details are available on their web site.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The Weather Channel reported on the record-setting rainfalls that hit portions of California this week. Many areas reported from 5-10 inches of rain, some of which caused mudslides in the landscapes that had been denuded by wildfires during the summer.

Reported in Science Daily this week was a study from Tufts University describing climate change impacts on the coffee crop. For many areas climate change will have an impact on both the quantity and quality of the coffee beans produced. Irrigation and shade management may be husbandry practices that can mitigate this.

MPR listener question:

Now that most places in the state have reported at least one frost, we were wondering when does the average overnight low temperature reach freezing in the Twin Cities based on the new 1991-2020 Climate Normals, and how does that compare to other places in the state?


The average daily minimum temperature reaches freezing (32°F) on November 6th in the Twin Cities, based on the normals from 1991-2020. The range across the state for the average minimum temperature to reach 32°F is slightly over a month, varying from October 9th at Embarrass to November 10 at Winona. When the average minimum temperature reaches 32°F for few other places in the state is listed below:
Rochester October 31
Marshall October 24
St Cloud October 25
Fergus Falls October 22
Crookston October 19
Duluth October 25
International Falls October 14

Twin Cities Almanac for October 29th:

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 36 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 29th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 78 degrees F in 1922; lowest daily maximum temperature of 25 degrees F in 1925; lowest daily minimum temperature of 15 degrees F in 1925; highest daily minimum temperature of 56 degrees F in 2004; record precipitation of 1.01 inches in 1896. Record snowfall is 5.5 inches in 1905.

Average dew point for October 29th is 35°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 66°F in 2004; and the minimum dew point on this date is 6 degrees F in 1988.

All-time state records for October 29th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 85 degrees F at Marshall (Lyon County) and Windom (Cottonwood County) in 1937. The state record low temperature for this date is -3 degrees F at Campbell (Wilkin County) in 1919 and at Pipestone in 1925. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.88 inches at Montevideo (Chippewa County) in 2004. Record snowfall is 8.5 inches at Orr (St Louis County) in 1932.

Past Weather Features:

Winterlike morning temperatures prevailed over Minnesota on October 29, 1925. Most northern areas reported lows in single digits, while across the south temperatures in the teens prevailed. The afternoon high at Wheaton (Traverse County) was only 16°F.

A slow-moving storm system brought a mixture of rain, sleet, and snow to the state over October 28-30, 1932. Snowfall in many areas ranged from 5-11 inches.

The warmest October 29th occurred in 1937 when many areas of the state reported afternoon highs in the 70s and 80s F. Windom (Cottonwood County) started the day at just 41°F but warmed up to 85°F by 3pm. Duluth hit 74°F.


Mostly sunny weekend with temperatures a bit above normal. Then generally cooler than normal and dry for much of next week, with frequent frosty mornings.

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