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News and Information

Minnesota WeatherTalk Newsletter for Friday, October 30, 2009

To: MPR's Morning Edition
From: Mark Seeley, University of Minnesota Extension
Department of Soil, Water, and Climate
Subject: Minnesota WeatherTalk Newsletter for Friday, October 30, 2009

Minnesota WeatherTalk Newsletter for Friday, October 30, 2009


-Preliminary October Climate Summary
-Weekly Weather Potpourri
-MPR listener question
-Almanac for October 30th
-Past weather features

Topic: Wrap Up on October....good riddance....

October of 2009 was very unusual in that it behaved much more like November. It was cold and wet, with measurable precipitation on at least half the days in the month and mostly cloudy skies on two-thirds of the days. There were no perfectly clear days, and only three days registered less than 3 tenths cloud cover. When all of the data are assembled October of 2009 is likely to be the 5th coldest and perhaps the 3rd wettest in history on a statewide basis.

Temperatures for October 2009 averaged 5 to 8 degrees colder than normal, with a number of observers reporting some record-setting overnight lows and cold daytime highs. Extremes in the state ranged from 71 degrees F at Preston on the 19th to just 11 degrees F at Brimson on the 13th.

Nearly all observers reported above normal precipitation for the month, except for those in the northeastern counties. Several daily records were set at many locations. Most recently, Rochester reported a record 1.21 inches on the 29th. Many reported two or three times normal monthly amounts. Browns Valley, Montevideo, Marshall, Redwood Falls, Wheaton, Collegeville, St Cloud, Fairmont, Winnebago, Waseca, Preston, Spring Grove, Austin, Albert Lea, Lake City, La Crescent, and Willmar reported well over 6 inches, exceeding or threatening the monthly record values for October. Moose Lake with 7.77 inches and Winona with 7.44 inches reported their 2nd wettest October in history, while Rochester with 8.37 inches, Wabasha with 7.43 inches, Austin with 7.49 inches, and Grand Meadow with 10.24 inches reported the wettest ever October. In fact the value at Grand Meadow is a new statewide record for wettest October, at least from preliminary data, surpassing the 10.23 inches at Zumbrota in 1911.

Snowfall was recorded several times this month around the state, and in many places it was substantial. At Waskish (12 inches), Rochester (7.9 inches), Brimson (6.1 inches), and Grand Meadow (6.0 inches) it was the most October snow in their respective climate records. For the Twin Cities, 2.8 inches of October snowfall was the most since 1991.

Solar radiation measured at the University of Minnesota Climate Observatory on the St Paul Campus was the lowest of record for the month of October dating back to 1963. The average daily solar radiation for October is about 233 calories per square centimeter per day. This October was about 163 calories per square centimeter per day, or about 30 percent less. This dovetails with the cloud cover conditions reported by the National Weather Service during the month. Only three days (7th, 9th, and 27th) were designated as mostly sunny. All other days of the month were mostly cloudy or cloudy, promoting an earlier onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder for Minnesota citizens who suffer from this malady (see Weekly Weather Potpourri for how the British deal with this).

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Gloomy weather can seriously impact some people bringing about sustained low mood and lack of energy. Clinically this is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Because of short winter days and persistent cloud cover many citizens of the United Kingdom suffer from SAD. Last year the U.K. Met Office initiated a new service called Brighter Outlook. This forecast service pinpoints days with weather that will stimulate SAD, so that citizens who suffer from this malady might make use of light therapy or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help alleviate it. Citizens who participate in the Brighter Outlook project are given a full spectrum light box to use as therapy, along with a booklet on CBT practices, including relaxation and distraction techniques that have shown positive results for those who suffer from SAD.

A joint project involving the University of Sunderland, the United Kingdom Met Office, and the U.K. National Archives will digitize the weather observations and data from 18th Century and 19th Century ship's logs and lighthouse records. The goal is to have a fully searchable data base available on the National Archives web site next year. These data may be useful in the study of climate patterns over the major ocean basins. Some of the logbooks being used include those of famous explorers such as Parry, Bligh, and Cook.

Yet another typhoon in the Western Pacific Ocean was taking aim at the Philippines this week. Typhoon Mirinae with winds greater than 100 mph, heavy rain bands and sea waves of 30 feet was expected to hit the islands on Friday and Saturday this week. After crossing the Philippines on the weekend, Mirinae will weaken over the South China Sea.

Heavy snow blanketed portions of CO, WY, NE, and SD during mid-week as a strong mid-latitude cyclone made its way east across the nation. Snowfalls were being measured in feet out in Colorado and closed many highways and schools in that state. Snowfalls of 6 to 12 inches were being reported in western Nebraska and South Dakota, along with eastern Wyoming. Winds of 25 to 35 mph were blowing the snow into sizable drifts and making travel very difficult. National Weather Service Offices in these states were doing a good job in forecasting and tracking this storm.

MPR Listener Question: We live in Eyota just east of Rochester, MN along Highway 14. We have emptied our rain gage on 18 separate days this month already and my husband was wondering what is the record for most number of days with precipitation during the month of October?

Answer: For your area of the state you have set a record in October for number of days with precipitation. The old record was 15 days with measurable precipitation back in October of 1919, and again in 1984. So you can add that note to your weather diary for this month. This is extraordinary for the month of October, though Minnesota history shows some other months have produced measurable precipitation on over 20 days.

Almanac for October 30th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 53 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 35 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP local Records for October 30th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 83 degrees F in 1950; lowest daily maximum temperature of 29 degrees F in 1873; lowest daily minimum temperature of 10 degrees F in 1925: highest daily minimum temperature of 57 F in 1933. Record precipitation for this date is 1.26 inches in 1971. Record snowfall for this date is 0.8 inches in 1951.

Average dew point for October 30th is 35 degrees F, with a maximum of 63 degrees F in 1946 and a minimum of 6 degrees F in 1984.

All-time state records for October 30th:

The all-time state record high temperature for this date is 90 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1950. The all-time state record low temperature for this date is -8 degrees F at Duluth in 1925. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 3.15 inches at Glenwood (Pope County) in 1979. The state record snowfall for this date is 12 inches at Sandy Lake Dam (Aitkin County) in 1951.

Past Weather Features:

The coldest last week of October in the Twin Cities climate history was that of 1873. From October 25 to 31 the daily high temperature was only around freezing or colder, while the overnight lows were consistently in the teens and twenties F. In addition precipitation came on five days, with a weekly snowfall of 9.5 inches. On Halloween, the mean temperature for the day was just 22 degrees F.

The back to back Halloween's of 1950 and 1951 provide a striking contrast in weather. Over October 30-31 daytime temperatures reached the low to mid 80s F in most of western, central and southern Minnesota. It was generally a dry and sunny period. Canby reached 90 degrees F on the 30th, while Worthington recorded 86 degrees F on the 31st. The next year, 1951, October 30-31 brought daytime temperatures in the 20s and 30s F with several inches of snowfall. Sandy Lake Dam reported a foot of snow on the ground on Halloween, while Park Rapids reported a temperature of just -2 degrees F. Virginia set a record for total snowfall that October with 18.9 inches. For many observers Halloween of 1951 was the snowiest until 1991 came along.

Word of the Week: Pagophobia

As we migrate deeper into the fall season many Minnesota citizens begin to show symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and a very small minority may show signs of pagophobia, the irrational fear of ice and frost. This word is derived from the Greek word "paggos" for ice and "phobia" for fear. Most of this fear stems from concern over injuring oneself in a fall. It is so extreme in some cases that people will not go out of the house unless the sidewalk or ground is frost-free and dry.


Continuing chance cloudiness with a chance of rain and/or snow flurries in northern counties on Saturday. Breezy with generally cool and dry conditions elsewhere. Chance for scattered showers later on Sunday, then a mostly dry day on Monday. A trend toward warmer and drier weather begins on Tuesday and may last for several days. This respite in early November will finally bring some reasonable field working days for Minnesota farmers.

Further Information:

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