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News and Information

Minnesota WeatherTalk Newsletter for Friday, October 28, 2011

To: MPR Morning Edition Crew
From: Mark Seeley, University of Minnesota Extension
Dept of Soil, Water, and Climate

Subject: Minnesota WeatherTalk Newsletter for Friday, October 28, 2011

-Preliminary October climate summary
-20th Anniversary of the Halloween Blizzard
-Gales of November Conference, Nov 4-5
-Weekly Weather Potpourri
-MPR listener question
-Almanac for October 28th
-Past Weather

Topic: Preliminary climate summary for October

On a statewide basis this has been a very warm October, warmest since 1963 and probably 4th warmest in history. Observers report a mean monthly temperature that is 5 to 7 degrees F warmer than average. Extremes for the month ranged from 90 degrees F at Browns Valley on the 6th to just 13 degrees F at Embarrass on the 21st.

In terms of precipitation, October was very dry, continuing a trend that started in late July. Many observers reported only 4-5 days with precipitation. Most areas had less than half normal monthly totals, and some spots reported one of the driest Octobers in history. Included among the driest places in the state this month were: Lakefield 0.28 inches (driest ever); Zumbrota 0.46 inches (6th driest); Rochester 0.29 inches (6th driest); Minnesota City 0.60 inches (6th driest); Windom 0.29 inches (9th driest); Bemidji 0.40 inches (10th driest); Itasca State Park 0.44 inches (10th driest); and Winnebago 0.36 inches (10 driest).

The wettest spots in the state were in the northeast where Gunflint Lake reported 2.48 inches and Embarrass reported 2.08 inches.

October was windy as well. Many places reported wind gusts over 40 mph. Duluth reported wind gusts over 40 mph on four days.

Topic: 20th Anniversary of the 1991 Halloween Blizzard

Monday marks the 20th Anniversary of the famous Halloween Blizzard that shut down much of the state, and delivered some of the heaviest snowfalls in history for many cities. This long duration storm (30-60 hours) slammed the state over October 31 to November 2nd depositing from 1 to 3 feet of snow in many areas. At times snowfall deposition rates were 2-3 inches per hour. Winds gusted from 35 to 45 mph causing near zero visibility. Over 900 schools and businesses were closed by November 1st. Hundreds of motorists were stranded and some buildings were damaged by snow loads.

Residents of Austin and Albert Lea recall this event as a great ice storm which deposited a coating of 2-3 inches of ice on roads, trees, and power lines. Many were without power. The National Guard provided some emergency generators for power in some communities.

You can read more about this great storm on our web site at....

Topic: Gales of November Event in Duluth, November 4-5, 2011

The 24th Annual Gales of November Event will be held at Canal Park in Duluth over November 4-5. Cathy Wurzer will be the luncheon speaker on Friday, November 4th at the Grandma Sports Garden Event Center. She will be talking about "Tales of the Road - Highway 61." Several other speakers will present at the DECC on Saturday, November 5th, including Mark Seeley at 3:30 pm. Mark will talk about "Great November Storms of Lake Superior." For more information you can visit the following web site:

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

A summary of Minnesota tornadoes during 2011 can be found at the National Weather Service web site......there are 31 in total...

Amarillo, TX reported a record 2.5 inches of snowfall on October 27th this week. The snow made driving difficult, but soon melted as temperatures warmed up to 38 degrees F.

Tropical Storm Rina was spinning off the Yucatan coast this week and expected to bring 3 to 6 inches of rainfall there, along with 1 to 2 foot storm surge. It is slow moving and expected to linger for a while as it weakens.

More than 1900 participants from 86 countries attended the World Climate Research Program held in Denver, CO this week. The audience heard about governmental, experimental, and private climate services currently available, as well as the latest in climate research. You can find the entire program listed at...

Torrential rainfall caused flash flooding in parts of Italy on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The regions of Liguria and central Tuscany were hardest hit with more than 3 inches of rainfall in a 6 hour period. Rivers overflowed their banks, roads were washed out, and at least 9 deaths were blamed on the flooding.

Environment Canada released a national climate summary for the summer months of 2011. They note that the country had its 4th warmest summer and 7th wettest summer in history. It was especially unusual in arctic Canada and in Manitoba. You can read more about it at...

MPR listener question: I love skiing so most winters I am hoping for lots of snow. I see from your web site the most snowfall in one season was 170.5 inches near Grand Portage, MN in the winter of 1949-1950. But which area of Minnesota holds the most daily snowfall records in the state? Is it also the north shore along Lake Superior?

Answer: Indeed, you have answered your own question. Based on daily snowfall records in the state Isabella (11 daily records) in Lake County, Beaver Bay in Lake County (9 daily records); Pigeon River (7 daily records) in Cook County are the places with the most daily snowfall records in our state. Yet more daily snowfall records have fallen since the establishment of the climate station at Wold Ridge Environmental Learning Center near Finland (Lake County) in 1993. They have established statewide snowfall records there for January 7th (36 inches in 1994) and March 2nd (25 inches in 2007).

Almanac for October 28th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 52 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 35 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 28th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 75 degrees F in 1948; lowest daily maximum temperature of 24 degrees F in 1925; lowest daily minimum temperature of 17 in 1905 and 1925; highest daily minimum temperature of 56 degrees F in 1974; record precipitation of 1.97 inches in 1874; record snowfall is a 0.40 inches in 1895.

Average dew point for October 28th is 34 degrees F, with a maximum of 59 degrees F in 1946 and a minimum of 10 degrees F in 1925.

All-time state records for October 28th:

Scanning the state climatic data base: the all-time high for this date is 90 degrees F at Chatfield (Fillmore County) in 1927. The all-time record low for this date is a very cold -9 degrees F at Angus (Polk County) in 1919 and at Meadowlands (St Louis County) in 1942. The all-time record precipitation amount for this date is 3.10 inches at Caledonia (Houston County) in 1900. State record snowfall for this date is 9.5 inches at Big Falls (Koochiching County) in 1932.

Past Weather Features:

Ft Snelling weather observers noted prairie fires on October 28th in 1842, 1844, and 1850, all following dry Octobers. In 1861 another dry fall produced wildfires on Dayton's Bluff overlooking St Paul, where both grass and forest fires sent billowing clouds of smoke across the downtown area on October 29th, causing many of the residents to remain indoors that day.

October 24-25, 1887 brought a cold wave to Minnesota that froze lakes overnight. Low temperatures were generally in the single digits, and many observers reported readings below zero F. Some of the lowest temperatures included: -10 degrees F at St Vincent, -8 degrees F at Argyle, and -6 degrees F at Albert Lea and Rochester.

A late season severe thunderstorm swept across southeastern Minnesota over October 27-28, 1900. La Crescent reported 4.27 inches, St Charles reported 4.25 inches of rainfall, and 3.10 inches fell at Caledonia. Railroad beds were washed out and there was a good deal of property damage reported.

Another cold wave prevailed on October 28, 1925. Many observers saw overnight lows drop into the single digits with afternoon highs only reaching the teens and 20s F.

October 25-29, 1932 brought heavy snowfall to northern Minnesota communities. Mizpah reported over 18 inches, nearly a foot of snow at Big Falls, and over 9 inches at Bemidji and Orr. With the fresh snowfall overnight temperatures fell off into the teens F.

Mostly sunny on Saturday, then increasing clouds with a chance for showers on Sunday. Warmer and drier by Monday and Tuesday, then another chance for showers mostly in southern sections with cooler temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday.

Further Information:

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