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Wet October Will Wrap Up with Snow

Wet October Will Wrap Up with Snow:

Another wet week prevailed across much of southern Minnesota with rainfall totals over 1 inch in many locations. A few spots in southeastern Minnesota reported over 2 inches this past week and some long-term climate stations reported new daily rainfall records.

For October 24 MSP reported a record 1.34 inches, Rochester a record 2.26 inches, and Minnesota City a record 1.40 inches. Then for October 25th there were several new daily record rainfalls reported, including:

4.17 inches at Winona Dam
2.15 inches at Lamberton
2.10 inches at Hastings Dam and St Peter
1.78 inches at Zumbrota
1.75 inches at Red Wing
1.56 inches at Faribault

The 4.17 inches at Winona Dam on October 25th was a also a new statewide record for that date.

Yet more significant rainfall was measured on October 26th but few record amounts were reported.

Snow was also reported in northwestern Minnesota counties on October 26th and 27th. Some reports included:

8 inches at Lake Bronson (Kittson County)
5.6 inches at Karlstand (Kittson County)
5.0 inches at Warroad (Roseau County)
4.0 inches at Warren (Marshall County)
3.0 inches at Crookston (Polk County)
2.6 inches at International Falls (Koochiching County)
1.0 inches at Moorhead, Big Falls, and Kabetogama

The month-to-date rainfall totals are already over twice normal and range from 3 to 5 inches in some areas now. With five days left in the month to bring more rain (and snow) there is a possibility this month will end up with a statewide average precipitation of over 3 inches, places it among the 20 wettest Octobers in history.

There is also an unusual statistic in this year’s precipitation data for many climate stations: because it has been a dry year for most locations in the state, many some areas are reporting October as the wettest month of the year. Some of these places include:

Winona Dam with 7.65 inches
Marshall with 5.98 inches
Faribault with 5.81 inches
Canby with 4.59 inches
Dawson with 4.45 inches

Areas of Moderate to Severe Drought declined over the past week by about 4 percent, but this assessment did not include rainfalls from Wednesday and Thursday this week. The area of the state in Moderate Drought or worse remains above 50 percent.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The Weather Underground reported on Category 5 Hurricane Otis coming ashore on the Pacific coast of Mexico this week. It was one of the strongest hurricanes to ever strike the Pacific coast of that Mexico with winds close to 165 mph. Acapulco was especially hit hard. At least 27 people were killed and over 30,000 evacuated from their homes. Power outages were widespread.

This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin has an interesting article about the effects of climate change on North America’s deepest lake, the Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Warming temperatures and declining ice cover brought by climate change are changing the lake’s ecosystem. Among other measured changes, there has been a detectable change in the composition of phytoplankton in the lake. This has implications for the entire aquatic food chain.

MPR listener question:

With nearly 7 inches of rainfall so far this month here in Winona County, we were wondering what the record wettest October is?


The record October precipitation for Winona County was in 1900 with 11.35 inches at St Charles (this is also the statewide record). Second most in your county was 7.54 inches at the city of Winona in 1911.

Twin Cities Almanac for October 27th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 53 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 36 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 27th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 74 degrees F in 1948; lowest daily maximum temperature of 29 degrees F in 1925; lowest daily minimum temperature of 13 degrees F in 1997; highest daily minimum temperature of 50 degrees F in 1964; record precipitation of 2.22 inches in 1971. There was a record 2.6 inches of snowfall in 1919.

Average dew point for October 27th is 35°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 60°F in 1971; and the minimum dew point on this date is 11 degrees F in 1925.

All-time state records for October 27th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 93 degrees F at Chatfield (Olmsted County) in 1927. The state record low temperature for this date is -10 degrees F at Itasca State Park (Clearwater County) in 1919. The state record precipitation for this date is 4.25 inches at St Charles (Winona County) in 1900. The state snowfall record is 7.7 inches at Two Harbors 7NW (Lake County) in 2010.

Words of the Week: Dog Teeth

Norwegian meteorologists devised the concept of the weather front following World War I. For mapped synoptic depiction of clashing air masses and their associated frontal boundaries, symbols needed to be used to distinguish cold fronts from warm fronts. The Norwegians saw a moving boundary of an air mass across a land surface as analogous to the advance of the Allied army in WWI, thus they coined the use of the word front. In the battle for the Western Front in WWI, the British Army front line was symbolized by a solid blue line on maps, and some had dog teeth (right-facing triangles) along the forward edge. The blue line with dog teeth was adopted as the symbol for a cold front, characterized by the fast approach of harsh weather, with strong winds. Conversely, the red line (symbolic of the German Army front line in WWI), with half circles became symbolic of the warm front. Such colors and symbols are still used today. Any meteorologist will associate dog teeth with a cold front.

Past Weather:

October 27 of 1919 a winter storm brought snow and cold to the state with some record-setting low temperatures as well as record-setting snowfalls. Many northern communities reported sub zero low temperatures and also 4 to 5 inches of snow. Hinckley reported 6 inches of snow on the ground.

October 27 of 1955 brought a very warm autumn day with afternoon temperatures in the 70s and 80s F across the state. Campbell (Wilkin County) started out the morning at 33°F but warmed up to 84° by mid-afternoon.

Thirteen years ago, over October 26-27 one of the strongest storms to ever cross Minnesota brought a mixture of precipitation to the state, along with extreme winds. Many areas reported wind gusts over 60 mph. Waves were as high as 27 feet on Lake Superior. A new all-time statewide record low pressure was measured at 5:14 pm at Bigfork (Itasca County) with a reading of 28.21 inches, equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane. The National Weather Service did an excellent job in forecasting the storm. A storm summary was provided by the Minnesota State Climatology Office.


Transition to colder than normal temperatures over the weekend with chances for snow on Saturday and in the north both Saturday and Sunday. Remaining colder than normal for Monday through Wednesday of next week. Then temperatures return to near normal towards the end of next week. It will generally be dry over the first few days of November.

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