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November Climate Trends

November Climate Trends:

Periodically I get asked by MPR listeners or Minnesota WeatherTalk Blog readers what some of the recent climate trends are for Minnesota. I thought I would take a moment to exam the trends for temperature and precipitation in the month of November of the most recent 25 years (since 1998). So here goes.

For context the long-term November temperature trend in Minnesota (on a statewide basis) is plus 2.6°F over the past century. The months of February (+4.4°F), January (+4.1°F, March (+4.0°F, and December (+3.3°F) show an even more positive temperature trend over the past century. But if we break down the most recent 25 years of climate data, November has been warmer than normal in 17 years including 9 consecutive years from 2004 to 2009, normal in 4 years, and cooler than normal in only 4 years. That is a very strong warming trend,statiscally speaking. The warmest November in state history was in 2001 which was nearly 13°F above normal on a statewide basis. So far, this November (2023) has been cooler than normal in far northern Minnesota, but warmer than in the southern two-thirds of the state. Outlook models suggest the balance of the month will be warmer than normal statewide.

Regarding the November precipitation trends, there is a modest upward trend over the past century of 0.13 inches on a statewide basis. But over the most recent 25 years November has been drier than normal 15 times, wetter than normal 9 times, and normal just once. Five of the last six Novembers have been drier than normal on a statewide basis, while November of 2002 was the 5th driest in state history with a statewide average precipitation of only 0.26 inches. Through the first 10 days of this November, most climate observers are reporting less than normal precipitation, following along with this recent 25-year trend.

A FURTHER FOOTNOTE ON THIS NOVEMBER: Based on Minnesota’s climate history, November is the 2nd windiest month of the year (trailing only April). This is proving to be the case this year in that a majority of state climate stations are reporting 4 to 5 days with wind gusts over 30 mph, and some days with wind gusts over 40 mph.

Give To The Max Day, November 16:

If you routinely participate in Give to The Max Day and also care about our changing climate and its impacts in Minnesota, please consider a donation to the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership (MCAP). MCAP is doing great work to help Minnesota citizens adapt to climate change. If you wish more information before making a donation, please go to MCAP web site.

Program on Climate Change at Hennepin Ave UMC:

Hope for Creation in a Climate Changed World is an ongoing discussion and seminar series sponsored by Hennepin Ave United Methodist Church (511 Groveland Ave) in Minneapolis. As part of this series I will be speaking on Climate Change, Environmental Stewardship, and Community Care: A Minnesota Perspective this Sunday, November 12, from 11 am to 12:15 pm in the Art Gallery Room. If this topic is of interest, all are welcome to attend.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

This week the BBC Weather Center reports on the record-breaking wildfire season in Canada and on research that shows most wildfires in the northern boreal forests are started by lightning. Climate change research further suggests that there will be more frequent lightning caused fires in the northern boreal forests. Recent research based on climate models that lightning frequency over intact northern forests would increase by 11-31% for every degree of global warming.

Jonathan Erdman of the Weather Underground reports this week and what a record-setting year it has been for billion-dollar weather disasters. NOAA has reported that 25 weather events each have caused at least $1 billion in damage across the USA this year. This is the most in 43 years of such record keeping.

MPR listener question:

From ice-fisherman Bob….Are lake water temperatures warmer than average for Red Lake and Lake of the Woods? If so and with little below 32 temperatures forecast the next 10 days, when will there be drivable ice?


Yes, both lake and soil temperatures are running above normal for this time of year. Many lakes are registering temperatures from the upper 30s F to mid-40s F. MN-DNR guidelines suggest 9-12 inches of ice cars and 13-17 inches for trucks. It will be a long time yet before ice thickness reaches that level. Be aware that the forecast for the balance of this month is for warmer than normal temperatures, so even more delay is likely for lake ice to form.

MPR listener question:

Over the years my wife and I have heard you speak several times at the Gales of November Conference on the North Shore. You highlighted many of the great storms on Lake Superior, including the loss of the Edmund Fitgerald on November 10, 1975. You also mentioned some of the history of shipping losses on the Great Lakes. If I remember correctly strong storms are the primary reason for historical shipping losses, is that correct?


You are correct. Of the documented historical shipping losses on the Great Lakes, back to the 19 Century, well over 50 percent of them have been due to stormy weather. Of further note, many hundreds of shipping losses have occurred during the month of November, a peak time for storm weather on the Great Lakes.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 10th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 45 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 30 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 10th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 69 degrees F in 2012; lowest daily maximum temperature of 19 degrees F in 1986; lowest daily minimum temperature of 3 degrees F in 1986; highest daily minimum temperature of 52 degrees F in 1909; record precipitation of 1.36 inches in 1915. There was a record 5.0 inches of snowfall in 1896.

Average dew point for November 10th is 26°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 56°F in 2012; and the minimum dew point on this date is -3 degrees F in 2017.

All-time state records for November 10th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 78 degrees F at Winona Dam (Winona County) in 1999. The state record low temperature for this date is -15 degrees F at Big Falls (Koochiching County) in 1933. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.80 inches at Minnesota City (Winona County) in 1975. The state snowfall record is 12.4 inches at Moorhead (Clay County) in 1919.

Past Weather:

November 10 of 1933 was the coldest in history with most areas of the state reporting morning low temperatures in the single digits or teens. Thirteen northern Minnesota counties reported subzero temperatures.

About 7pm on November 10, 1975 a brutal winter storm sank the Edmund Fitzgerald ore carrier on Lake Superior just northeast of Whitefish Bay, after the ship had fought through 70 plus mph winds and huge waves to cross the lake. The sinking was immortalized by Gordon Lightfoot who died earlier this year.

On November 10, 1999 most Minnesota climate stations reported afternoon temperatures of 60°F or greater. The temperature reached 70°F or greater in 30 counties. The temperature reached 72°F as far north as Tower (St Louis County) setting a record there. Over 50 record high temperatures were set that day.


Temperatures will warm up significantly over the weekend and through Thursday of next week, with many daytime highs reaching the 50s and 60s F. The entire week looks to be dry in most areas with an increasing chance for showers by Thursday.

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