HydroClim Minnesota - November 2008
A monthly electronic newsletter summarizing Minnesota's climate conditions and the resulting impact on water resources. Distributed on the Wednesday following the first Monday of each month.
State Climatology Office - DNR Waters
What happened in October:
October 2008 precipitation totals were larger than average over much of the western one-half of Minnesota. Monthly precipitation amounts
ranged from four to six inches in these counties and exceeded normal by more than two inches. In some west central and northwestern Minnesota locales, October monthly
precipitation totals were among the largest in the historical October record. By contrast, rainfall totals in many east central and southeastern
Minnesota counties were less than the historical October average.
[see: October 2008 Climate Summary Table | Radar-based October Precipitation Estimate]
The largest precipitation event of the month came during the weekend of October 10-12. Showers and thunderstorms, fed by an unusually muggy air mass, dropped a two to
three inch swath of rain from Moorhead to Grand Rapids. Itasca State Park reported 3.42 inches of rain for the episode.
[see: Heavy Rain: October 10-12]
The first snowfall of note for the season was reported by a number of observers on October 26. Two to three inches of snow was recorded in portions of west central Minnesota.
Strong winds accompanied the snow on the 26th. Wind gusts topped 50 mph in many locations across the state.
[see: Snow and Wind: October 26]
Monthly mean temperatures for October 2008 were close to historical averages. Extreme temperature values for October ranged from
a high of 80 degrees at Rochester and Winona on the 12th, to a low of 14 degrees at Embarrass (St. Louis County) on the 30th.
[see: October 2008 Climate Summary Table]
Where we stand now:
- Portions of Minnesota remain impacted by a long-term dry spell. For the four and one-half month period beginning in mid-June and extending into early November,
many southeastern Minnesota communities received less than ten inches of rainfall. This represents a negative departure from normal of five to eight inches in these areas. When compared with
the same nineteen-week time span in previous years, mid-June through early-November rainfall ranked below the 5th percentile (one year in twenty) in some southeastern Minnesota counties.
Heavy October rains in southwestern Minnesota erased drought concerns that lingered through the summer and early autumn in that area.
[see: Drought 2008]
Warm season precipitation totals to date (April 1 through early November) were well below normal in some east central and southeastern Minnesota counties,
as well as a small portion of north central Minnesota. Conversely, for some counties of northwestern and west central Minnesota, warm season rainfall totals were very large, surpassing the
98th percentile (one year in fifty) when compared to other April-through-October totals in the historical record. For a few locations, April-through-October precipitation
totals were near or above all-time highs.
[see: Weekly Precipitation Maps]
- The U. S. Drought Monitor, released on October 30, classified many Minnesota counties in the
D0 - Abnormally Dry category or worse. Portions of the state, most notably
southeastern Minnesota, were placed in the D1 - Moderate Drought classification. The U. S. Drought Monitor index
is a blend of science and subjectivity where intensity categories are based on several indicators.
[see: U.S. Drought Monitor]
- The U.S. Geological Survey reports that stream discharge values are highly variable across the state. Some Minnesota streams have flows that
are below the 25th percentile in the historical distribution for early November. By contrast, the Red River and many of its tributaries report above-median flows in response to
heavy rains that fell during the late summer and autumn.
[see: USGS Streamflow]
- The Lake Superior water level is up 3 inches from last year at this time but remains below the long-term average. Levels on inland lakes
in Minnesota's drought areas are low. In some cases, water levels are similar to those observed during the droughts of 2006 and 2007.
[see: Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Water Levels]
- The Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service reports that as of October 31, topsoil moisture was 1% "Very Short", 9% "Short",
79% "Adequate", and 11% "Surplus". Subsoil moisture was significantly consumed during the 2008 growing season. Autumn rains can lead to significant recharge in the soil
moisture profile. Autumn rainfalls are often wide-spread and of low intensity. Any rains before soil freeze-up will improve the subsoil moisture situation.
[see: Ag. Statistics Service Crop Progress and Condition]
- The potential for wildfires is rated by DNR Forestry as "Low" across Minnesota.
[see: Fire Danger Rating Map]
- The November precipitation outlook leans towards above-average conditions, especially in southern Minnesota. November precipitation normals range from around one inch in western Minnesota to over two inches in eastern sections of the state. The average date of the first enduring snow cover ranges from the first week of November in northeastern Minnesota, to the final week of November in south central counties.
[see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook | November Precipitation Normal Map]
- The November temperature outlook indicates no significant tendencies away from climatological probabilities across Minnesota. Normal November high temperatures are in the mid-40s to upper 40s to start the month, dropping to the mid-20s to near 30 by month's end. Normal lows are in the upper 20s early in the month, falling into the mid-teens by late November.
[see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook | November Temperature Normal Map]
- The 90-day precipitation outlook for November through January indicates no significant tendencies away from climatological probabilities across Minnesota. The November through January temperature projection tilts significantly towards above-normal conditions across the state.
[see: Climate Prediction Center 90-day Outlook]
- The National Weather Service produces long-range probabilistic river stage and discharge outlooks for the Red River, Minnesota River, and Mississippi River basins. These products are part of the National Weather Service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS).
[see: National Weather Service River Forecast Center]
From the author:
Notes from around the state:
Upcoming dates of note:
- November 5: 16th Annual Kuehnast Lecture
- November 20: National Weather Service releases 30/90 day temperature and precipitation outlooks
Web sites featured in this edition:
- http://climate.umn.edu - Minnesota Climatology Working Group, Minnesota DNR Waters and U of M Dept. of Soil, Water, and Climate
- http://water.weather.gov - National Weather Service, Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service
- http://www.drought.unl.edu - National Drought Mitigation Center
- http://water.usgs.gov/cgi-bin/dailyMainW?state=mn&map_type=weekd - U.S. Geological Survey
- http://www.lre.usace.army.mil - US Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District
- http://www.nass.usda.gov - USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service
- http://mndnr.gov/forestry - Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry
- http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov - National Weather Service, Climate Prediction Center
- http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ncrfc - National Weather Service, North Central River Forecast Center
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