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Warmth with High Winds

Warmth with High Winds:

Last week I wrote about and talked about November’s warm temperatures. It has indeed been a very warm November so far. Much of this week daily temperatures were ranging from 12 to 20 degrees above normal, though few records were set. On Thursday, November 16 some daily record high maximum temperatures were reported, including:

69°F at MSP

65°F at Theilman (Wabasha County)

57°F at Kabetogama (St Louis County)

With these record-setting maximum temperatures on Thursday were strong winds from the south, as was the case with most of the warm days so far this month. At least 20 climate stations reported wind gusts of 40 mph or greater on November 16th, and we should remember that historically November is the 2nd windiest month on the Minnesota calendar, trailing only April. In fact here is a comparison for several Minnesota locations of the number of days with wind gusts of 30 mph or greater for November so far, with the total number of such days that occurred last April (one of the windiest April months in history):

Location                        November 1-16              April 1-30

MSP                                 9 days                             26 days

Rochester                         7 days                             22 days

Redwood Falls                 8 days                             22 days

Brainerd                           9 days                             19 days

Duluth                              9 days                             14 days

Granite Falls                    6 days                              14 days

Saint Cloud                     5 days                              12 days

Looking at the outlook models for the remainder of the month, most Minnesota climate stations will probably see at least 3 or 4 more days with wind gusts over 30 mph, but they will also be associated with colder temperatures.

New NOAA Climate Prediction Center Outlooks:

The new outlooks from NOAA CPC favor cooler than normal temperatures across Minnesota after this weekend and continuing through the balance of the month. They also suggest a warm-up to above normal temperatures beginning in early December and last through most of the month. For precipitation the outlooks all favor near normal and drier than normal conditions to prevail in Minnesota. The U.S. Drought Monitor released for November 14th shows less than one percent of the Minnesota landscape is in Extreme Drought, about 18 percent is in Severe Drought and 25 percent is in Moderate Drought. These figures are likely to change little before the end of the year.

New USDA Plant Hardiness Zones:

Earlier this week the USDA used a press release to announce the new Plant Hardiness Zones. The new map was derived by analyzing climate data from 13,412 climate stations across the USA using the period of the three most recent complete decades. It shows quite an expansion of Plant Hardiness Zones across Minnesota, including the emergence of Zone 5a across a much larger geography. Pockets of northeastern Minnesota where extreme low temperatures can range between -40°F and -45°F are in zone 2a, while many sections of southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities Metro Area are in zone 5a. The expansion of the Plant Hardiness Zones is definitely a result of climate change and allows nursery and landscape professionals to use a wider range of plants in designing for home, park, and business landscapes. You can find the new Plant Hardiness Zone map on the USDA web site.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin features a summarizing article about the 5th Annual Climate Assessment released earlier this week. Among many findings the report states that “without rapid and deep reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, the risks of accelerating sea level rise, intensifying extreme weather, and other harmful climate impacts will continue to grow.” This report is definitely worth reading if you care about climate change.

The BBC reported on a record-setting Heat Wave in parts of Brazil this week. Sao Paulo reported a high temperature of 100°F and Rio de Janeiro reported 109°F, both record highs for November. But dew points were above the 80°F mark making the Heat Index range between 121°F and 137°F. More than a hundred million people were being affected by the Heat Wave, which was expected to slowly dissipate over the weekend. Summer does not begin in Brazil for two more weeks.

Strong winds and heavy rains plagued southeastern Florida on Wednesday and Thursday this week. Some areas reported 6 to 9 inches of rainfall which produced flash flooding. Winds gusted from 40 to 60 mph bringing down some trees and power lines. The Weather Underground web site reported on the storm.

MPR listener question:

Wind gusts over 40 mph this week kept blowing over our trash cans and making it difficult to rake leaves. Made us wonder what has been the strongest wind in November for the Twin Cities?


November 18 of 2016 brought wind gusts up to 59 mph, and November 6th of last year (2022 brought 4 consecutive hours of wind gusts over 50 mph. November 8th of 1986 also brought similar wind gusts. Not much you can do to stop trash cans from blowing over, or for the wind sending your leaves off to another neighborhood!

Twin Cities Almanac for November 17th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 41 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 27 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 17th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 71 degrees F in 1953; lowest daily maximum temperature of 12 degrees F in 1880; lowest daily minimum temperature of -5 degrees F in 1880; highest daily minimum temperature of 49 degrees F in 2015; record precipitation of 1.21 inches in 2015. There was a record 9.0 inches of snowfall in 1886.

Average dew point for November 17th is 26°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 58°F in 1958; and the minimum dew point on this date is -14 degrees F in 1959.

All-time state records for November 17th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 76 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 2001. The state record low temperature for this date is -19 degrees F at Hallock (Kittson County) in 1914. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.21 inches at Tower (St Louis County) in 1996. The state snowfall record is 15.0 inches at Roseau (Roseau County) also in 1996.

Word of the Week: Gale

This word is popularly used to describe an unusually strong wind (i.e. anything greater than 25 mph but less than hurricane strength of 75 mph). In nautical terminology it has more specific meaning: a moderate gale is a wind of 32 to 38 mph; a fresh gale is 39 to 46 mph; a strong gale is 47 to 54 mph; and a whole gale is greater than 55 mph. It first came into use in the nineteenth century with the British adoption of the Beaufort scale to estimate wind speeds at sea based upon observed effects (such as size of the swells).

Past Weather:

An Arctic air mass invaded Minnesota on November 17 of 1914 bringing many record-setting low temperatures. Much of the northern half of the state saw subzero morning lows, while single digit temperatures were common in the southern counties. The daytime high temperature only reached 9°F at Hallock in Kittson County.

A large winter storm system brought mixed precipitation and strong winds to the state over November 14-18 in 1996. Blizzard conditions occurred in portions of northwestern and north central Minnesota where 10 to 14 inches of snow fell and then blew into large drifts as a result of the strong winds. Elsewhere a mixture of sleet, rain, and freezing rain occurred. Some areas of eastern Minnesota reported over 4 inches of rain causing some minor flooding. Freezing rain brought down powerlines and knocked out electrical service in portions of southwestern Minnesota.

Mild autumn weather blanketed most of the state on November 17 of 2001. Most afternoon temperatures ranged from 60°F to as high as 76°F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County). Even the morning low temperatures set records for warmth, with 55°F recorded at Wheaton (Traverse County).


Mostly sunny over the weekend with daytime high temperatures above normal. Increasing cloudiness on Monday with a chance for rain (some snow in the north), lingering into Tuesday. Then cooling down next week for Wednesday through Friday with below normal temperatures. Most of the week will be dry.

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