WeatherTalk Blog

Cold settles in for a short stay

2 days 2 hours ago
Cold settles in for a short stay:


Since giving a preliminary January climate summary last Friday, colder than normal weather has dominated the state. Over the last four days of the month at least 16 Minnesota climate stations reported a minimum temperature reading of -30°F or colder. Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the 48 contiguous states on January 27 (-25°F at Baudette), January 28 (-30°F at International Falls), January 29 (-39°F at Ash Lake), and even February 1st (-34°F at Kabetogama). The reading of -39°F at Ash Lake (St Louis County) was the coldest temperature reported in Minnesota since February of last year. Kabetogama set a record low reading on January 29th with -36°F and Cook (St Louis County) reported a record cold maximum temperature that day of -10°F. To finish off the week, on Friday, February 3rd International Falls reported -36°F, coldest in the 48 contiguous states, and Grand Marais Airport reported a Wind Chill of -49°F.

Despite the cold finish to the month, January still ended up warmer than normal by several degrees. Overall, on a statewide basis it was the 12th warmest January in state history. The month also ended up being the 19th wettest in state history, with over 25 climate stations reporting 20 or more inches of snowfall.

After severe cold Wind Chills (-30 to -50°F) around the state Thursday night and Friday, a significant warm-up is expected to start this weekend and last for about two weeks into mid- February. Many days will bring high temperatures above the freezing mark, and perhaps a few places may see 40°F.

Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership Award Winners:

This past Saturday, January 28, I had the pleasure of giving out five awards for outstanding efforts in climate change adaptation work. These awards are under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership Program. The award winners were:


Individual Award Winner: Mindy Granley….” As the first Sustainability Officer for the City of Duluth, Mindy Granley has taken bold action to advance climate change adaptation and set the highest
standards of excellence in her work.”


Organization Adaptation Award Winner: Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed District (represented by Mike Kinney and Jackie Anderson)….” Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed District prepares for future climatic changes by prioritizing this topic in its 10-yr (2022-2031) comprehensive watershed management plan, which includes a coordinated floodplain vulnerability assessment and greenway corridor planning effort, as well as implementing projects to increase floodplain storage and provide multiple environmental and social benefits."


Collaborative Adaptation Award Winner- Minnesota Resilience & Adaptation Action Team (represented by Sharon Stephens and Dana Vanderbosch from the MPCA)…..”as part of the Minnesota Climate Action Framework announced last September, the Resilience and Adaptation Action Plan includes how Minnesota can achieve climate-smart communities; healthy community green spaces and water resources; and resilient buildings, infrastructure and businesses.”


Creative Climate Communications Award Winner: Change Narrative, LLC (represented by Jothsna Harris its’ founder)… "Change Narrative is committed to shifting dominant and damaging narratives in mainstream climate ommunications.by lifting up centering stories that are typically excluded from critical discussions and decision-making on climate change, including Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and others that experience a disproportionate burden of the impacts.”

Climate Justice Award Winner: Michael Chaney founder of Project Sweetie Pie…..” Project Sweetie Pie is a local nonprofit organization founded in 2010 that engages stakeholders in grass roots initiatives to address issues of structural racism and equity, advocates community-led green restorative development, and coordinates youth-led/youth-fed green initiatives and other gardening and urban farming operations.”

Weekly Weather Potpourri:


This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin features an article about how researchers from Columbia have installed acoustic sensors in the Caribbean Sea to measure wave heights and ocean currents. These data will allow forecasters to better predict how wind gusts and waves affect the archipelago during tropical storms, which may become more frequent in a future climate.


The Weather Underground reported on the ice storms that swept across many southern states this week, causing many traffic accidents, downed trees, and widespread power outages. In Texas power outages affected over 300,000 residents. The storm moved off towards the northeast toward the end of the week, but was expected to bring dangerously cold wind chills to the northeast over Friday and Saturday.


The University of Hamburg reported this week that meeting the Paris agreement to limit global temperature change to 1.5°F will be impeded significantly by ongoing society changes and the war in Ukraine. As reported by Science Daily, the Hamburg study considers the impacts of COVID-19s and the war in Ukraine which are producing economic reconstruction programs that require the use of fossil fuels. In addition, how efforts to safeguard Europe’s power supply and other international efforts to become independent of Russian gas may impact the phasing out of fossil fuels remains unclear.

MPR listener question:

With all the ice and snow in the Twin Cities area this winter it has been difficult for walking. We were wondering how often do we get a 50°F day in February?

Answer:

For the Twin Cities climate record back to 1873 (150 years) there have been 40 Februarys that brought at least one day of 50°F or greater temperatures. In all cases there was no snow on the ground, because that works against heating the air temperature that high. There have been five years when February brought 6 days of 50°F weather, most recently 2017. On February 21, 2017 the high temperature was 62°F.

Twin Cities Almanac for February 3rd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 25 degrees F (plus or minus 15 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 9 degrees F (plus or minus 15 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for February 3rd:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 51 degrees F in 1934; lowest daily maximum temperature of -13 degrees F in 1989; lowest daily minimum temperature of -27 degrees F in 1886; highest daily minimum temperature of 35 degrees F in 1991; record precipitation of 0.42 inches in 1943. Record snowfall is 3.3 inches in 1976.

Average dew point for February 3rd is 3°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 34°F in 2005; and the minimum dew point on this date is -37 degrees F in 1923.

All-time state records for February 3rd:


The state record high temperature for this date is 65 degrees F at Browns Valley (Traverse County) in 1991. The state record low temperature for this date is -52 degrees F at Itasca State Park (Clearwater County) in 1996. The state record precipitation for this date is 1.50 inches at Red Lake (Beltrami County) in 2000. Record snowfall is 12.0 inches also at Caledonia (Houston County) in 1983.

Past Weather:

A slow-moving winter storm brought 8 to 16 inches of snowfall to many parts of the state over February 2-3 in 1983. Over 18 inches of snow was reported from Winona County and many schools were closed, or dismissed students early.

The warmest February 3rd in Minnesota history was in 1991 when most areas of the state enjoyed afternoon temperatures in 40s and 50s F. Climate stations in Traverse County reached 60°F or higher. In many areas overnight low temperatures remained about freezing as well.

February 3 of 1996 brought a large Arctic Air Mass to Minnesota which set many record low temperatures. All areas of the state reported subzero morning low temperatures, mostly -20°F or colder. In northern Minnesota, climate stations in Koochiching, Clearwater, and Itasca Counties reported a minimum temperature of -50°F or colder. The daily high temperature at Red Lake Falls only reached a reading of -28°F.

Outlook:


Warming up to above normal temperatures over the weekend and remaining warmer than normal for all of next week. There will be some chance for rain in the south and snow in the norther later on Monday, and again later next week.

Mark Seeley

Preliminary Climate Summary for January 2023

1 week 1 day ago
Preliminary Climate Summary for January 2023:

With just four days left in the month, I can still offer a perspective on the climate summary for January. Despite the colder than normal temperatures expected for the last few days of the month, most climate stations in Minnesota will report an average monthly temperature that is 3 to 7°F warmer than normal. Over two-thirds of the days in the month brought warmer than normal temperatures, with the warmest coming over the first two days of the month. Preston (Fillmore County) reported a 45°F high temperatures on the 1st. Seagull Lake (Cook County) reported a minimum temperature of -23°F on January 6th which is the coldest temperature for the month so far, but there may be colder readings in northern Minnesota over the last few days of the month. Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the nation twice during the month.

Most climate observers reported a wetter than normal January, with the exception of climate stations in the northwestern and far north-central area of the state where precipitation was less than normal. Some areas reported over 2 inches of precipitation and a few places like Winnebago (Faribault County) and New Prague (Le Sueur County) reported over 3 inches. Several climate stations set at least one new daily precipitation record during the month. Among those receiving record precipitation the January 4th were:
MSP Airport 0.61 inches
Rochester 1.12 inches
Lake Wilson 1.19 inches
Redwood Falls 1.39 inches

Snowfall was also above normal in many places around the state, with over 130 climate stations reporting at least 15 inches of snowfall. Eighteen climate stations, including the Twin Cities reported over 20 inches of snowfall. On January 4th during blizzard conditions many highways in Southwestern Minnesota counties were closed and Lake Wilson (Murray County) reported a record 17 inches of snow, while Lamberton (Redwood County) reported a record 10.2 inches of snow.

With above normal snowfall in January, the seasonal snowfall totals in northeastern Minnesota are on a near-record setting pace. Places in Carlton, St Louis, Lake, and Cook Counties have received over 80 inches of snowfall for the season so far, with the months of February, March and April to go.

One more climate feature of note was that January was very cloudy, dominated by almost constant low cloud cover and many days brought fog, some days ice fog which produced hoar frost. Glimpses of the sun were rare and citizens grew grumpy about the grey days. Climate stations reported only 2 or 3 completely sunny days.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

This week NOAA scientists discuss possible climate change implications for the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and what may happen to tropical ocean climate patterns that influence the weather across North America. There are still many unknowns, but scientists caution that historical patterns and associated weather which are currently used as forecast tools may no longer work as well as climate change continues to accelerate.


The Weather Underground reports that the nationwide tornado count in January exceeded 100 storms for only the third time ever. NOAA-Storm Prediction Center statistics kept since 1950 show that in only two other Januarys, 1999 and 2017 has the monthly USA tornado count exceeded 100. The article also points out that this January has been one of the warmest ever for many southeastern states, where most of the tornadoes have occurred.


From the Science Daily web site: “The need for technology that can capture, remove and repurpose carbon dioxide grows stronger with every CO2 molecule that reaches Earth's atmosphere. To meet that need, scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have cleared a new milestone in their efforts to make carbon capture more affordable and widespread. They have created a new system that efficiently captures CO2 -- the least costly to date -- and converts it into one of the world's most widely used chemicals: methanol.”

MPR listener question:

Can you please elaborate more on the question of reduced windiness this January vs last January? It has been very noticeable from the standpoint of our daily walks with the dog.

Answer:

Yes indeed. Here is a comparison for several climate stations showing the number of days with wind gusts over 30 mph, last January vs this January:

                                         Jan 2022               Jan 2023

MSP                                  14 days                  4 days

St Cloud                            11 days                  1 day

Rochester                          16 days                  5 days

Duluth                               13 days                  6 days

International Falls               8 days                  1 day

Moorhead                          22 days                  7 days

Redwood Falls                  17 days                   5 days

Brainerd                            10 days                   4 days

Twin Cities Almanac for January 27th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 24 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 8 degrees F (plus or minus 15 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for January 27th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 47 degrees F in 1934; lowest daily maximum temperature of -10 degrees F in 1915; lowest daily minimum temperature of -23 degrees F in 1950; highest daily minimum temperature of 35 degrees F in 1944; record precipitation of 0.49 inches in 2013. Record snowfall is 3.8 inches in 1916.

Average dew point for January 27th is 1°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 35°F in 1944; and the minimum dew point on this date is -32 degrees F in 1966.

All-time state records for January 27th:


The state record high temperature for this date is 61 degrees F at Lakefield (Jackson County) in 2002. The state record low temperature for this date is -54 degrees F at Pokegama Dam (Itasca County) in 1904. The state record precipitation for this date is 1.55 inches at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1944. Record snowfall is 18.0 inches also at Hokah (Houston County) in 1996.

Past Weather:

An Arctic Air Mass took up residents in Minnesota on January 27, 1915 bringing subzero temperatures to all areas of the state. At least a dozen climate stations across central and northern Minnesota reported a morning low temperature of -40°F. The afternoon high temperature at Little Fork only managed to reach -22°F.

A slow-moving winter storm brought 8 to 15 inches of snow to many parts of the state over January 27-29 of 1996. Blizzard conditions prevailed in southeastern Minnesota where Interstate 90 and other highways had to be closed down for hours.

January 27, 2002 brought a respite from winter. Under sunny skies many areas of the state saw afternoon temperatures climb into the 40s and 50s F. In Murray, Nobles, Rock, Jackson and Faribault Counties the thermometer reached 60°F, rare territory for January.

Outlook:

Some areas of the state will still see some snow showers on Saturday (mostly in southern sections), but then the rest of the weekend will be dry but sharply colder. Cold and dry weather will be the rule for most of next week with many subzero overnight temperature readings.

Mark Seeley

Perspectives Snow and Winterkill of Alfalfa

2 weeks 1 day ago
Perspectives Snow and Winterkill of Alfalfa:The weather since December 1st has been up and down with respect to temperature. Most places in Minnesota reported a colder than normal month of December, with abundant snowfall, well above normal in many areas. January so far has tracked warmer than normal and maintained the trend this winter for above normal snowfall. Snow cover across the landscape has been consistently above 6 inches in many areas of the state since the third week of December. One exception to this snow cover description is southeastern Minnesota, where recent warm temperatures and unusual January rainfall have eroded the snow cover to less than 2 inches in many counties. However, the winter storm on Thursday of this week deposited a fresh coating of 4 to 6 inches of snowfall there.

Snow cover is an asset for an alfalfa crop in winter as it serves as a blanket to insulate the crop from wide swings in temperature and helps prevent extremely low soil temperatures that might damage or kill the crop. Soil temperatures so far this winter have been greatly modified by the snow cover. Winter injury to alfalfa becomes more probable when soil temperatures at the 4 inch depth fall below 15°F, and very likely when soil temperatures fall into the single digits. Looking at reports from around the state most average 4” soil temperatures have remained in the upper 20s to low 30s F even during the cold snaps that have produced subzero air temperature readings this winter.

About the only negative factor with respect to winter injury potential to forage crops this winter has been the recent freezing drizzle and freezing rain which has put a sheet of ice over much of the landscape, especially in southeastern Minnesota where snow cover was sparse. This prevents the normal exchange of gases between the soil and the atmosphere and can cause substantial winter injury to grasses and forage crops such as alfalfa. For both drought recovery and for reducing the risk of winterkill to forage crops, more snowfall in January and February would be welcome by most farmers.

On the other hand, foresters in northern Minnesota would not mind seeing a break from the snow, as Dan Kraker from MPR radio has reported the severe damage done by earlier snowstorms that were so heavy and laden with moisture they caused many trees (especially Aspen) to bend and break. The winter so far has produced a number of snowstorms that have delivered very high quantities of moisture.

There is an excellent article on this topic by Dr. Craig Sheaffer who is a University of Minnesota Extension forage agronomist in a recent Crop News blog.

Weather Potpourri:
This week BBC meteorologist Ben Rich offers an explanation for how winter weather patterns are changing across the United Kingdom due to climate change. Among other changes the number of frosts, as well as the number of days with snow cover are shrinking.

There is a very good article this week by Jonathan Erdman of the Weather Underground about how the National Weather Service performs storm surveys and tornado damage analysis to determine all the characteristics of the storm. Lots of work goes into documenting this surveys which are use to learn more about tornadoes and helps in severe weather forecasting.

A study published in the journal Nature documents a 1000 year old ice core from Central Greenland that showed the rapid level of warming which has occurred there in recent decades. Temperature reconstruction from the ice core shows that the decadal temperature average for 2001-2011 was a striking anomaly from anything in the historical record.

MPR listener question: After the extraordinary windy year in 2022, and very windy January of last year, it seems like we are off to a much less windy year so far in 2023. Is that true?
Answer:

Yes, for Minnesota climate stations this month has seen far less very windy days than observed last January. In the list below, I compare the number of days with wind gusts of 30 mph or stronger observed last January vs this January (through the 19th) for three locations in Minnesota.
MSP Airport, January of 2022 14 days, January of 2023 2 days
Rochester, January 2022 16 days, January of 2023 3 days
Redwood Falls, January 2022 18 days, January 2023 3 day

Twin Cities Almanac for January 20th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 23 degrees F (plus or minus 15 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 8 degrees F (plus or minus 15 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for January 20th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 52 degrees F in 1908; lowest daily maximum temperature of -17 degrees F in 1888; lowest daily minimum temperature of -32 degrees F in 1888; highest daily minimum temperature of 35 degrees F in 1921; record precipitation of 0.80 inches in 1982. Record snowfall is 17.2 inches in 1982.

Average dew point for January 20th is 4°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 36°F in 1921; and the minimum dew point on this date is -38 degrees F in 1985.

All-time state records for January 20th:


The state record high temperature for this date is 61 degrees F at Madison (Lac Qui Parle County) in 1944. The state record low temperature for this date is -57 degrees F at Embarrass and Tower (St Louis County) in 1996. The state record precipitation for this date is 1.76 inches at Preston (Fillmore County) in 1988. Record snowfall is 17.1 inches also at MSP Airport (Hennepin County) in 1982.

Past Weather:

One of the coldest Cold Waves of the 19th Century gripped Minnesota during the week of January 14-21 in 1888. The average temperature in the Twin Cities for the 8 days was -17°F and the same average for Morris was -24°F which was also the daily high temperature on January 20th after a morning low of -35°F.

The warmest January 20 in state history was in 1944 when most areas of the state saw daytime high temperatures reach the 40s and 50s F. Temperatures of 60°F were observed in much of southwestern Minnesota. Redwood Falls started out in the morning with 15°F but saw the temperature climb to 60°F by afternoon.

January 20 to 26 of 1982 was one of the snowiest weeks in Minnesota history for many climate stations. A series closely spaced winter storms dumped enormous amounts of snowfall. Several climate stations reported over 25 inches that week. Jordan reported over 40 inches, while the Twin Cities reported 39.7 inches. Snowplow operators were busy almost everyday of the week working 16-hour shifts.

Outlook:


Dry over the weekend with warmer than normal temperatures. Increasing cloudiness on Monday with a slight chance for snow flurries and snow showers in far northern areas. Drier the rest of next week with colder than normal temperatures.




Mark Seeley

Moderating Temperatures, Fog, Haze, Freezing Rain, and Poor Air Quality

3 weeks 1 day ago

Moderating Temperatures, Fog, Haze, Freezing Rain, and Poor Air Quality

Temperatures moderated either side of normal this week, with some subzero mornings in northern Minnesota. But there were many daytime high temperatures that were warmer than normal. Much of the moderation in temperature was due to stagnant high pressure across the region, but also fog and haze. In addition, air quality was poor due to inversions keeping the mixing depth of the atmosphere closer to the surface, and therefore building up particulate levels. The poor air quality was the worst since 2005 according to the MPCA.

Small amouts of freezing drizzle and freezing rain were measured on Tuesday and Wednesday. Amounts were generally less than a tenth of an inch, but the build up of ice made conditions dangerous for pedestrians and motor vehicles, especially on Wednesday morning. Hundreds of accidents were reported. Climate studies of Minnesota show that across much of the state freezing rain or freezing drizzle occurs 2-4 times each year.

A notable feature of winter fog and winter rainfall is that it adds significantly to the water content of the snow cover already present on the landscape. Even in the absence of additional snow, the water content of 6 inches of snow cover can continue to increase with a high frequency of winter fog or winter rain and drizzle, as the moisture is absorbed in to the snow pack.

Weather Potpourri:

The AGU EOS Bulletin this week reported on some preliminary success from NOAA’s Modeling, Analysis, Predictions and Projections Program (MAPP) investigations into improving sub-seasonal to seasonal climate outlooks. There are promising results from examining the interactions of surface atmospheric features like the Madden-Julian Oscillation and El Nino Southern Oscillation with stratospheric features like the quasi-biennial oscillation which seem to produce better predictions of colda air outbreaks, heat waves, and tropical cyclones.


NOAA reported this week that the 2022 global average temperature was the 6th warmest since 1880. This factors in all land and ocean areas. It is worth noting that the warm signal prevailed globally despite a La Nina Episode that brought cooler than normal surface waters to the Equatorial Pacific Ocean and the fact that portion of the North American continent experienced a cooler than normal year. The 2022 warm signal was record-setting or near record-setting in many parts of Europe and Asia.


NOAA also reported this week that there were 18 weather-related disasters across the USA in 2022 that produced at least $1 billion dollars in damages. Among these disasters were both of the widespread severe hailstorms that occurred across our region in May, one on May 9th and one on May 19th. NOAA scientists also reported that drought over the western states produced some of the lowest lake and reservoir levels ever measured.


The Weather Underground reports that at least six separate rounds of rain and mountain snow have drenched the Golden State since the day after Christmas. There have been many reports of flooding and mudslides. In addition, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains has reached record levels for mid-January. Mammoth Mountain near Yosemite National Park reported 190 inches of snowfall between December 26 and January 11th, and 328 inches for the season so far. The series of intense storms is expected to continue through this weekend and may affect the NFL playoff game between the San Francisco Forty-Niners and the Seattle Seahawks this Saturday afternoon.

MPR listener question:

Which months in Minnesota show the highest frequency for freezing rain or freezing drizzle?

Answer:

Studies by the Midwest Climate Center show that the highest frequencies for freezing rain and freezing drizzle in Minnesota are in December and January, typically in the range of 1 or 2 days per year. The frequency in December is statistically slightly higher than in January. The study also shows that freezing rain or drizzle has occurred as early as October, and as late as April, but those are extremely rare cases.

Twin Cities Almanac for January 13th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 23 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 9 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for January 13th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 48 degrees F in 1987; lowest daily maximum temperature of -14 degrees F in 1916; lowest daily minimum temperature of -30 degrees F in 1916; highest daily minimum temperature of 34 degrees F in 1960; record precipitation of 0.37 inches in 1881. Record snowfall is 6.0 inches in 1967.

Average dew point for January 13th is 9°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 37°F in 1947; and the minimum dew point on this date is -33 degrees F in 1982.

All-time state records for January 13th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 60 degrees F at Lamberton (Redwood County) in 1987. The state record low temperature for this date is -50 degrees F at Bagley (Clearwater County) in 1916. The state record precipitation for this date is 1.41 inches at Grand Marais (Cook County) in 2008. Record snowfall is 15.0 inches also at Grand Marais (Cook County) in 2008.

Past Weather:

A winter storm brought heavy snow to the north shore of Minnesota on January 13, 1874. Areas along Lake Superior from Duluth to Grand Marais reported 14 or more inches.

An Arctic Cold Wave gripped the state on January 13, 1916. All areas of thee state reported subzero temperatures, in many cases record-setting low temperatures. It was -30°F at St Peter and -50°F at Bagley. The high temperature at Campbell (Wilkin County) only reached -28°F.

The warmest January 13th was in 1987. In the absence of snow cover afternoon temperatures soared into the 40s and 60s F most places. Lamberton reached 60°F which is a statewide record high temperature for the date.

A series of storms brought snow to the state over January 11 to 14 in 1999. Many areas reported 5 to 12 inches, along with a good deal of blowing. This produced sizable drifts and took some extra time to clear highways in central Minnesota counties.

Outlook:


Warm and sunny through the weekend, with some melting of snow. There will be increasing chances for rain and perhaps some snow on Monday, then drier for the middle of next week. Temperatures will remain mostly warmer than normal. Another chance for snow later in the week.

Mark Seeley

Warm, Wet Start to January

4 weeks 1 day ago
Warm, Wet Start to January:
Through the first 5 days of January average temperatures around the state are running 8 to 12 degrees F above normal. Many Minnesota climate stations reported daily high temperatures this week in the 30s F, and in the southeast portion of the state Minnesota City (Winona County) and Preston (Fillmore County) reported highs of 44°F and 45°F, respectively. Coupled with the warm temperatures were very high dew points for this time of year, stretching into the upper 20s to low 30s F, indicating a great deal of water vapor.

Late Monday (January 2nd) to late Thursday (January 5th another slow-moving weather system brought abundant precipitation and snowfall to many areas of Minnesota. Total amounts of precipitation ranged from 0.50 inches to 1.50 inches at many climate stations, while many snowfall totals ranged from 5 inches to 15 inches. In some cases new daily precipitation or snowfall records were established at some of Minnesota’s oldest climate stations, including:

January 3rd:
Rochester 1.12 inches precipitation
Collegeville 0.86 inches precipitation
Winnebago 0.52 inches of precipitation
Windom 0.45 inches of precipitation
Pipestone 0.47 inches precipitation and 8.0 inches of snow

January 4th
Redwood Falls 1.39 inches precipitation
Hastings 1.05 inches precipitation and 7 inches of snow
Red Wing 0.93 inches precipitation
Theilman 0.82 inches precipitation
MSP 0.61 inches precipitation and 8.8 inches of snow
Lamberton 0.59 inches precipitation and 10.2 inches of snow

January 5th
Pipestone 0.50 inches precipitation
Wright 0.47 inches of precipitation
Pine River 5.0 inches of snow

The DNR State Climatology Office documented the storm this week with a comprehensive analysis of its characteristics and which areas received the most precipitation and snow.

The abundant snow this week, combined with a snowier than normal December left much of the state looking at snow depths ranging from 8 to 18 inches. A few areas of northeastern Minnesota show snow depths over 24 inches according to the DNR State Climatology Office Weekly Maps.
Weather Potpourri: This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin features an interesting article about using nature-based structures to help mitigate the risk of coastal damage brought by tropical storms and hurricanes. More use of berms and dunes along coastlines is one example. More detailed data collection from flooding and storm surge events can be better utilized by engineers to design structural features that mitigate damage potential as well.

The BBC reported that record high January temperatures were common throughout Europe the first week of January. All-time national high temperature records were set for early January in the Netherlands, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Poland, Denmark and Belarus. It was 66°F in Warsaw, Poland. Just days earlier, the UK, Ireland, France and Spain declared 2022 their hottest year on record.

The Weather Underground reported on the series of strong storms that have crossed California recently dropping near-record setting rains and snows. Many areas have reported 6 to 10 inches of rainfall over the past 10 days, and yet more is expected. Snow cover in the Sierra Nevada Mountains has really seen significant increases as well.

MPR listener question: With all the snow this week, we were wondering what is the greatest measured snow depth for the month of January in the Twin Cities?

Answer: If the 14-15 inches of snow depth in the Twin Cities measured this week seems like a lot, imagine January 23, 1982. The measured snow depth was 38 inches, while the drifts and snowplow piles around the Twin Cities exceeded 6 feet.

Twin Cities Almanac for January 6th: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 24 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 10 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for January 6th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 49 degrees F in 1900; lowest daily maximum temperature of -14 degrees F in 1909; lowest daily minimum temperature of -27 degrees F in 1912; highest daily minimum temperature of 37 degrees F in 2012; record precipitation of 0.40 inches in 1967. Record snowfall is 5.2 inches in 1932.

Average dew point for January 6th is 6°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 35°F in 2008; and the minimum dew point on this date is -34 degrees F in 1942.

All-time state records for January 6th:
The state record high temperature for this date is 62 degrees F at Marshall (Lyon County) in 2012. The state record low temperature for this date is -55 degrees F at International Falls (Koochiching County) in 1909. The state record precipitation for this date is 1.85 inches at Orwell Dam (Otter Tail County) in 1997. Record snowfall is 19.0 inches at Hinckley (Pine County) in 1997.
Past Weather:
This Saturday, January 7th, marks the 150th anniversary of one of the state's most lethal blizzards. The New Ulm observer called it the "most violent snow storm" he had ever witnessed, as within seconds visibility was reduced to less than 20 yards by snowfall and winds of 45 mph. The storm raged from the 7th to the 10th of January. Wind chill conditions, though unmeasured back then, were very dangerous, and with the absence of any visibility farmers strung ropes between home and barn so they wouldn't become lost going to tend their animals. Still, 70 people lost their lives and hundreds of livestock perished as well. This 3-day blizzard was one of the longest lived of the 19th Century in Minnesota, leaving drifts over 10 feet high that blocked trains for days.

January 6 of 1912 was the coldest in state history with subzero temperature readings everywhere in the state. Many areas of central and northern Minnesota reported morning low temperatures of -40°F or colder, and it was -50°F in a few spots. The warmest afternoon temperature in the state was -2°F at Collegeville.

January 6 of 2012 was the warmest in state history with most places reporting daily highs in the 40s and 50s F. Marshall, Browns Valley, Madison, and Canby all reached 60°F or greater. The low temperature at Canby was a balmy 40°F.
Outlook: Starting out cooler than normal over the weekend, but sunny skies. Temperatures will warm up to above normal from Monday through Thursday next week with a chance for snow later in the week.

Mark Seeley

Minnesota Weather and Climate Headlines from 2022

1 month ago
Minnesota Weather and Climate Headlines from 2022:
The two key climate words for Minnesota in 2022 are windy and drought. Both were prevalent during the year and impacted many citizens.

In terms of both average wind speeds, as well as frequency of wind gusts over 30 mph, 2022 brought the highest numbers across Minnesota in over four decades. There were many days that brought damaging winds (over 50 mph). There is no simple explanation for this, and I am sure this anomaly in our weather will be studied in years to come.

After one of the wettest combinations of April and May in state history, there were no signs of drought present in Minnesota during June of 2022, but by the second week of November over 50 percent of the state was in Moderate Drought and over 20 percent in Severe or Extreme Drought. Some of the worst drought was in areas of the Twin Cities and in south-central and southwestern counties, where rainfall deficiencies for the year ranged from minus 10 to minus 15 inches. Despite the mid to late summer drought onset, most Minnesota crops produced better than expected yields.

Other notable features of Minnesota weather during 2022:

-Northern Minnesota recorded the 2nd wettest April-May period in history and combined with abundant snowmelt runoff, the Rainy River Basis experienced historic Spring flooding. Parts of Voyageurs National Park were closed for a period of time.

-May was a very unusual month in terms of Severe Weather. There were 44 reports of tornadoes, over 330 reports of large hail (3/4 inch diameter or larger), and 340 reports of damaging winds. The insurance industry was greatly impacted by this, with thousands of claims to resolve.

-Yet another warmer than normal summer in Minnesota saw a number of Heat Advisories issued by the National Weather Service. The highest Heat Index Value reported came on August 2nd at Hutchinson (McLeod County) where it felt like 115°F.

-One of the driest ever months of October brought high fire danger and some Red Flag Warnings by the National Weather Service. Many climate observers reported less than a half inch of precipitation for the month. Both St Peter and Litchfield reported zero precipitation.

-November 2nd brought record-setting heat to many parts of the state with over 140 climate stations reporting afternoon temperatures in the 70s F. Both Granite Falls and Theilman reported highs of 79°F.

-December brought abundant snowfalls (over 40 inches to many northeastern Minnesota communities), and many Blizzard Warnings. The second half of the month also brought Wind Chill Advisories with many readings ranging from -30°F to -45°F.

-Lastly, the year 2022 were be recorded overall as a cooler than normal year for Minnesota, as well as drier than normal in most places. Exceptions to the dry pattern occurred in north-central and northeastern counties which were much wetter than normal. International Falls reported its wettest year in history with 35.47 inches of precipitation, as did Wolf Ridge ELC with 43.29 inches.


Preliminary Climate Summary for December 2022: Average monthly temperatures for December at most Minnesota climate stations were 2 to 4°F below normal. There were wide swings in temperature during the month from several degrees above normal to several degrees below normal. Few new daily record temperatures were set within the climate network, but a handful of record cold maximum and minimum temperatures were set over December 22 and 23, including a reading of -25°F at Gunflint Lake for a morning low on December 22nd. Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the nation (48 contiguous states) 4 times during the month. Extremes for the month ranged from 46°F at Rushford (Fillmore County) on the 3rd to -35°F at Warren (Marshall County) on the 21st.

December was wetter than normal in most places. Many climate observers reported over 2 inches of precipitation for the month. In fact, the average from all climate stations for the state will be very close to 2 inches, making this December one of the wettest 3 in state history. Over 40 new daily precipitation records were set during the month with the state climate network, including 1.60 inches at Brimson (St Louis County) on December 15th. Snow was obviously abundant as well, with many places reporting from 20 to 40 inches of snowfall. Over 30 new daily snowfall records were set within the climate network.

Windy days were common during December. Most climate stations reported between 10 and 15 days brought wind gusts over 30 mph. Some areas reported wind gusts over 50 mph. The National Weather Service had to issue numerous Blizzard Warnings during the month.

Weather Potpourri: Some notable 2022 Weather and Climate Extremes across the USA included:

-a very wet June combined with winter snowmelt runoff to produce record flood crests on the Yellowstone River. Many portions of the National Park had to be closed for weeks.

-July brought unprecedented record-setting flash flooding: first to the St Louis area where up to 13 inches of rain fell in 24 hours flooding many communities and overwhelming the storm sewer runoff system; then 10 inch plus rains inundated eastern Kentucky, destroying homes and damaging infrastructure for many communities. Category 4 Hurricane Ian pounded Florida on September 28th with 80-120 mph winds, storm surge, and rainfall amounts up to 18 inches. Both insured and infrastructure damages were estimated to be well over $100 billion. A Christmas time winter storm brought blizzard conditions and dangerous severe cold to much of the eastern half of the USA and was blamed for dozens of deaths and thousands of commercial flight cancellations.

According to the United Kingdom Met Office the year 2022 will be the warmest year ever for the country, with every month of the year except December recording above normal temperatures. Recall too, that in July, London recorded an all-time high temperature of 104°F. The BBC noted that the heat was persistent in nearly every month of the year, with most days warmer than normal.

MPR listener question: We were wondering when was the coldest New Year’s Day in Minnesota? We are betting that is an old date.
Answer: Indeed, according to the state climate database the coldest New Year’s Day was -46°F at St Vincent (Kittson County) way back in 1885. In the Modern Era, the coldest reading on New Year’s Day is -45°F at Embarrass (St Louis County) in 2018. The coldest ever in the Twin Cities was -30°F back in 1974.

Twin Cities Almanac for December 30th: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 25 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 11 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for December 30th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 51 degrees F in 2004; lowest daily maximum temperature of -6 degrees F in 1976; lowest daily minimum temperature of -20 degrees F in 1973; highest daily minimum temperature of 34 degrees F in 2006; record precipitation of 0.39 inches in 1884. Record snowfall is 4.0 inches in 1906.

Average dew point for December 30th is 12°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 36°F in 1982; and the minimum dew point on this date is -37 degrees F in 1983.

All-time state records for December 30th:
The state record high temperature for this date is 59 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1999. The state record low temperature for this date is -47 degrees F at Warroad (Roseau County) in 1910. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.00 inches at Pigeon River (Cook County) in 1936. Record snowfall is 14.2 inches at Mankato (Blue Earth County) in 1887.

Past Weather: Pioneer Era weather data show that blizzard-like conditions prevailed around the Twin Cities over December 27-30 in 1852. Nighttime temperatures ranged between -20°F and -28°F. Many settlers remained indoors, but enjoyed journeys to visit friends and family on New Years riding horse drawn sleighs over the 3 feet of snow cover.

By far the coldest December 30th was in 1910. Many climate stations reported subzero readings, including minus 40s in Roseau and Koochiching Counties. At International Falls the daily high only reached -4°F.

A large winter storm brought a mixture of rain, sleet, and snow to Minnesota over December 29-31 in 1972. Many areas received 1 to 2 inches of precipitation. Some north-central and northeastern counties reported 12 to 18 inches of snow with some roads closed. No schools were in session, as all were still on holiday recess.

The warmest December 30th in state history was in 1999 when most Minnesota communities reported daytime highs in the 40s and 50s F. Sunny skies prevailed across the state with a south wind and many citizens went out for a walk in the afternoon.

Outlook:
Continued mild temperatures and generally dry weather over the weekend. Increasing cloudiness on Monday with a chance for snow/rain mix Monday and snow on Tuesday. Should b drier again by Wednesday but will cooler temperatures the remainder of the week.

Mark Seeley

Another snowy, windy week, but with dangerous cold

1 month 1 week ago
Another snowy, windy week, but with dangerous cold:

Similar to last week, the weather pattern across Minnesota this week favored wind and snow, but this time with an Arctic Chill. Last week brought temperatures from 10°F to 15°F above normal with rain and heavy snow, as well as wind. This week temperatures have been from 12° to 25°F colder than normal bringing significant but fluffy snowfall to many areas and lots of wind.

Many climate stations have reported overnight lows from -10°F to -20°F this week, with at least six northern locations reporting -30°F to -35°F (Warren in Marshall County). Both Crookston and Red Lake Falls reported a daily high temperature of only -17°F on Wednesday, December 21st. The subzero temperatures are expected to prevail in Minnesota through the Christmas weekend.

Snowfall was widespread again this week across the state, but not the heavy-wet kind that we experienced last week. Many areas reported 4 to 12 inches. Some climate stations reported new record daily snowfalls this week, including:
9.0 inches at Grand Portage on December 20th
7.4 inches at MSP on December 21st
6.8 inches at Jordan on December 22nd
6.5 inches at Rosemount on December 22nd
5.0 inches at Milaca on December 22nd

Winds picked up this week as well, especially on Wednesday through Friday when many climate stations reported wind gusts from 30 mph to 40 mph. This brought dangerous conditions in terms of widespread Blizzard Warnings, as well as Wind Chill Warnings. Such warnings caused early closures for some schools, businesses, and institutions. Wind Chill Values ranging from -25 to -40°F were expected to prevail into the weekend.

After the snows of this week, some climate stations in Minnesota now report over 35 inches of snowfall for the month (Brimson, Two Harbors, Duluth, among them). In addition, since the start of the snow season in October, a few Lake Superior north shore locations have reported over 60 inches (68.2” at Wolf Ridge ELC in Lake County).

Weather Potpourri:


NOAA reports this week that with declining Arctic Sea ice levels in the past two decades the amount of ship traffic has greatly increased, especially in the summer season. In fact from 2009 to 2019 the amount of Arctic-wide ship activity has roughly doubled.


CTV news and Environment Canada were issuing warnings for blizzards and extreme cold this week across the nation’s central and western Provinces. High temperatures were only from -10°F to -20°F in some parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan with lows in the minus 30s F. In the Yellowknife Region of the Northwest Territories temperatures were as cold as -58°F.


Mean while in the Southern Indian Ocean Cyclone Darian was being monitored by satellite as its winds peaked near 135 mph, causing sea wave heights to reach up to 45 to 50 feet. Fortunately this storm is expected to remain well to the southeast of Diego Garcia according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

MPR listener question:


With Christmas week producing Wind Chills around the state ranging from -25°F to -35°F, we were wondering when was the coldest week leading up to Christmas?

Answer:

Interesting question because we don’t have comprehensive historical data on Wind Chill back to the 19th Century. But some of the coldest weeks leading up to Christmas were in 1872, 1879, 1884, 1962, 1983, and 1989. In all cases temperatures ranged into the -20s F to -30s F in most places and Wind Chill readings were undoubtedly -30°F to -50°F. On Christmas Day of 1879 the Twin Cities reported -39°F, but nobody knows what the Wind Chill value was.

Probably the absolute coldest conditions braved for Christmas week were in 1983. Actual temperatures bottomed out for most places ranging from -25°F to -45°F. Wind Chill conditions ranged from -50°F to -65°F. While the Twin Cities, Redwood Falls, and Moorhead reported -54°F Wind Chill on December 23rd, residents of Alexandria reported -61°F Wind Chill.

Twin Cities Almanac for December 23rd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 26 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 13 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for December 23rd:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 58 degrees F in 1888; lowest daily maximum temperature of -17 degrees F in 1983; lowest daily minimum temperature of -27 degrees F in 1872; highest daily minimum temperature of 38 degrees F in 1877; record precipitation of 0.53 inches in 1996. Record snowfall is 6.2 inches in 1996.

Average dew point for December 23rd is 12°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 36°F in 1982; and the minimum dew point on this date is -37 degrees F in 1983.

All-time state records for December 23rd:


The state record high temperature for this date is 62 degrees F at Faribaultr (Rice County) in 1923. The state record low temperature for this date is -48 degrees F at St Vincent (Kittson County) in 1884. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.10 inches at Cass Lake (Cass County) in 1968. Record snowfall is 13.0 inches at Isabella (Lake County) in 1959.

Past Weather:

Over December 23 to 25 in 1893 a slow-moving winter storm dumped large amounts of mixed precipitation across the state. Many areas reported 1 to 2 inches of rainfall and some southeastern counties reported 2 to 3 inches. The rain turned to snow towards the end of the storm, dropping 1 to 2 inches in some places.

A winter storm spread across the state over December 23-24 in 1987. This storm deposited 5 to 12 inches of snow across many portions of southern Minnesota. Arctic air with subzero temperatures followed on the heels of the storm.

December 23, 2020 was decisively warm in southwestern Minnesota. Over a dozen climate stations reported afternoon highs in the 50s F, and some citizens took their lunch break to eat outside or go for a walk in the sun.

Outlook:


Although the sun will make appearances this weekend, temperatures will be very cold and blowing snow will be common around the state. A warming trend will start on Monday with a chance for rain or snow by late Wednesday and into Thursday. Temperatures will climb to above normal values for Wednesday and into next weekend.

Mark Seeley

Warm/Wet Trends in December

1 month 2 weeks ago
Warm/Wet Trends in December:Since 2004 wetter than normal Decembers have been a Minnesota climate signature. Thirteen of the 17 years have brought abundant precipitation to the state in December. Over the same period of time (17 years) eleven have brought warmer than normal temperatures during December, with the warmest December in state history in 2015.

This week’s weather clearly reminded me of these trends as temperatures have been averaging 10 to 15°F about normal and abundant precipitation, both rain and snow has been persistent around the state. With daily temperatures reaching into the mid 30s F to low 40s F across the state, much of the precipitation this week has been measured as rainfall, especially in southern counties. Over Tuesday through Thursday, many climate stations have reported precipitation totals ranging from 0.50 inches to 1.25 inches. Brimson in St Louis County has reported well over 2 inches.

In central and northern areas of the state observers commonly reported 4 to 8 inches of snowfall. Many climate stations set new daily snowfall records this week, including:

For December 14th:
6.8 inches at Long Prairie (Todd County)
5.0 inches at Milaca (Mille Lacs County)
5.8 inches at Brainerd (Crow Wind County)
8.0 inches at Georgetown (Clay County)

In northeastern Minnesota snowfall quantities were record-setting too, with many climate stations reporting 10 inches for more on a daily basis. Some of the new daily snowfall records reported for For December 15th included:
10.0 inches at Ely and Floodwood
10.8 inches at Duluth National Weather Service
12.0 inches at Tower
12.2 inches at Embarrass
15.0 inches at Silver Bay
15.4 inches at Brimson

The 15.4 inches on December 15th at Brimson (St Louis County) set a new all-time state record snowfall total for that date, replacing 14.6 inches at Rockford (Wright County) in 1996. Many areas from Duluth north to Grand Portage reported storm total snowfall amounts ranging from 20 to 29 inches (at Finland). The Minnesota State Climatology Office provide a good storm summary on their web site.

Dramatic Moisture Rebound in Northern MN:
In the late autumn of 2021 north-central and northeastern Minnesota counties were in the grip of Extreme Drought. But the year 2022 has brought a remarkable turn-around to this situation as abundant precipitation has bee the year-long trend in that region of the state (in contrast to the south and west where Drought took a foothold this year). Some of the following climate stations are reporting one of their wettest years in history, and we still have half a month to go.
International Falls reports 34.87 inches (wettest in history)
Grand Marais reports 39.42 inches (2nd wettest in history)
Wolf Ridge ELC reports 40.74 inches (2nd wettest in history)
Gunflint Lake reports 34.15 inches (2nd wettest in history)
Grand Portage reports 39.00 inches (3rd wettest in history)
Tower reports 37.59 inches (3rd wettest in history)

Weather Potpourri: This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin features an article about increasing precipitation in the Arctic region of the Northern Hemisphere. Of interest to many atmospheric scientists is the finding that rainfall is increasing, as well as snowfall. All climate trends for temperature and moisture are upward since the 1950s.


The BBC Weather Center produced an interesting video this week about how the winter season in the United Kingdom has been altered in recent decades because of climate change. The number of frosty days has declined significantly as have the days with snowfall.


A new article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science describes the most plausible explanation for the differences in storminess between the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. Lead author is Dr. Tiffany Shaw of the University of Chicago. The primary drivers of increased storminess in the Southern Hemisphere are the lack of numerous mountain ranges and of the stronger imbalance of surface energy flux due to ocean circulation.

MPR listener question: Well, with the snowfall still ongoing after three days here in Two Harbors we are wondering what the record snowfall is for the month of December in Minnesota? Thought that you would know.

Answer: Indeed, it has been very abundant this week in your area! The all-time state record total snowfall for the month of December is 58.7 inches in 2021. Observers near Two Harbors reported 55-56 inches for the month in December of 2013. So these extreme snowy Decembers are of recent vintage.
Twin Cities Almanac for December 16th: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 28 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 15 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for December 16th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 58 degrees F in 1939; lowest daily maximum temperature of -5 degrees F in 1876; lowest daily minimum temperature of -22 degrees F in 1876; highest daily minimum temperature of 35 degrees F in 1889; record precipitation of 0.93 inches in 1894. Record snowfall is 7.0 inches in 2000.

Average dew point for December 16th is 9°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 43°F in 2001; and the minimum dew point on this date is -25 degrees F in 1963.

All-time state records for December 16th:
The state record high temperature for this date is 65 degrees F at St Peter (Nicollet County) in 1939. The state record low temperature for this date is -39 degrees F at Pokegama Dam (Itasca County) in 1903. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.57 inches at Gunflint Lake (Cook County) in 1984. Record snowfall is 14.0 inches at Farmington (Dakota County) in 1940.

Past Weather: The warmest December 16th came in 1939 when 20 climate stations reported afternoon temperatures of 60° or greater. It was as warm as 55°F at Moorhead in the Red River Valley, a record high temperature for them.

A strong winter storm brought heavy snowfall to central and northern Minnesota over December 15-16 of 1940. Many climate stations reported over 10 inches of snow. In southern Minnesota where 12 to 17 inches of snow fell and winds whipped the snow into huge drifts schools were closed on Monday the 16th.

An Arctic cold air mass brought record-setting low temperatures to Minnesota on December 16, 1963. Subzero temperatures prevailed in every corner of the state. Many northern communities reported morning lows of -30°F or colder. The afternoon high temperature at Campbell (Wilkin County) only reached -10°F.
Outlook:
Lingering chance of snow flurries in northern Minnesota for Saturday, mostly cloudy elsewhere. Clearing skies for Sunday but much colder. Temperatures will be well below normal in many areas starting on Sunday and lasting all of next week. There will be another chance for snow on Wednesday. Many nights of subzero temperature readings are ahead of us.
Mark Seeley

Widespread Subzero Temperatures This Week

1 month 3 weeks ago
Widespread Subzero Temperatures This Week:
December 5-8 brought some of the coldest temperatures in many months to Minnesota. Over 40 counties reported subzero temperatures this week. A sampling includes -27°F at Warren (Marshall County), -24°F at Warroad (Roseau County), -22°F at Baudette (Lake of the Woods County), -21°F at International Falls (Koochiching County), and -20°F at Kabetogama (St Louis County). Just to the south of the Twin Cities at Rosemount it was -1°F and in the southwestern corner of the state at Pipestone it was -2°F. Cold as these temperatures were, no new cold minimum records were set from the long-term climate network. If snow depths were greater and more widespread around the state, I am sure these subzero readings would have been even colder. Soil temperatures in the top 6 inches have fallen into the upper 20s F in many areas now.

Health Effects of Winter Weather Revisited:
Though many Minnesotans truly enjoy the winter season, it also tests our health. Shorter daylengths and increased cloudiness are contributors to the depression felt by those who suffer from Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD). Snow shoveling, slippery sidewalks, and treacherous roads test our stamina, sure-footedness, and driving abilities. Remember navigating ice thickness on lakes is tricky (at least a foot is recommended thickness for cars). It is often best to do your own measurements. Contagious flu bugs usually make an appearance and circulate among us. And perhaps the most widely felt effect of winter is the Minnesota desert, the extraordinary low indoor humidity we are exposed to on most winter days. Relative humidity values sometimes fall into the single digits. This is what produces our dry noses, lips, hands, throat and feet, as well as that annoying static shock we get from touching metal objects.

There are a number of methods to combat the Minnesota desert, including the use of humidifiers, house plants, keeping exhaust from clothes dryers indoors, hanging laundry on drying racks inthe basement, not running kitchen or bathroom exhaust fans in order to keep water vapor indoors. I would be interested in hearing if listeners have other methods to keep indoor humidity levels tolerable in the winter.

Weather Potpourri: The Weather Underground reported this week that Barrow, Alaska (now known as Utqiagvik) recorded its warmest temperature ever in December with a reading of 40°F on Monday the 5th. Located at 71.3 degrees north latitude, this city is the USA’s northernmost climate station. Monday's high was 37 degrees above Utqiagvik's average high for early December and represents the highest temperature reading there for any date between October 30 and April 22.


The Australian Weather Bureau has predicted extreme heat for northern Australia this coming weekend with temperatures topping 104°F some areas. The heat is expected to dissipate next week, but the Bureau warns that many of there outlook models suggest more heat is in store for this summer. The Conversation published further comments about this story.


This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin features an interesting article about dust from the diminished Aral Sea in Central Asia. Long used for irrigation water supply since 1959, the Aral Sea has declined to a small fraction of what it once was. As a result, much of the lake bed soil is now vulnerable to loss as dust when high winds blow across the region, most notably in Spring and early Winter. The added dust load is detrimental to the air quality of several cities in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

MPR listener question: We were discussing snowing Christmas seasons at the Bear’s Den in Bryon (Olmsted County) the other night and wondered what is the deepest snow cover we have had at Christmas here? The guys thought you might know.

Answer: Late 19th Century and early 20th Century snow depth records for your area are sparse. But from what I can find, the snow depths during Christmas of 1946 and 2010 were close to 30 inches at Bryon, making it difficult to walk around, at least where it was not shoveled. We would have to have a very snowy next couple of weeks to come close to that level of snow depth. BTW, historically, snow depths in northern Minnesota communities have exceeded 50 inches in some years, and were as high as 75 inches in the winter of 1949-1950.

Twin Cities Almanac for December 9th:
The average MSP high temperature for this date is 31 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 17 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for December 9th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 58 degrees F in 1939; lowest daily maximum temperature of -5 degrees F in 1977; lowest daily minimum temperature of -27 degrees F in 1876; highest daily minimum temperature of 40 degrees F in 1899; record precipitation of 1.19 inches in 1899. Record snowfall is 10.5 inches in 2012.

Average dew point for December 9th is 11°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 38°F in 2015; and the minimum dew point on this date is -25 degrees F in 1977.

All-time state records for December 9th:
The state record high temperature for this date is 74 degrees F at Wheaton (Traverse County) in 1939. The state record low temperature for this date is -39 degrees F at Warroad (Roseau County) in 1909. The state record precipitation for this date is 1.31 inches at Minneapolis (Hennepin County) in 1899. Record snowfall is 17.0 inches at St Francis (Anoka County) in 2012.

Past Weather:
An unusual December storm brought some heavy rains to southern Minnesota over December 9-10 in 1899. Many areas reported an inch of rain or more, with no snow, as temperatures remained in the 40s F.

An Arctic air mass brought extreme cold to the state on December 9, 1909. All climate stations in the state reported subzero temperatures in the morning, with readings of -30°F or colder in three northern counties. The high temperature at Hallock (Kittson County) only reached -15°F.

Several Minnesota communities enjoyed some mild afternoon temperatures in the 50s and 60s F on December 9, 1939. There was no snow on the ground, so that the sun’s energy could be absorbed more readily. Some chose to take their lunch break outside.

A slow-moving weather system brought large quantities of snowfall to Minnesota over December 8-10 of 2012 Many climate stations reported 10 to 19 inches of snow. A blizzard warning was issued by the National Weather Service for many southern and central counties and a number of roads were closed for a time.

Outlook:
Partly to mostly cloudy skies over the weekend with temperatures near or a bit above normal. Warmer than normal temperatures for Monday and Tuesday, with chances for rain/snow and even freezing rain increasing over the Tuesday through Thursday period. Some areas may see a good deal of rain or snow. Cooler and drier by next weekend.

Mark Seeley

Climate Summary for November 2022

2 months ago
Climate Summary for November 2022:Most climate observers reported a mean monthly temperature that was close to normal, or in a few cases 1 or 2°F above normal. Extremes for the month ranged from 79°F at Granite Falls (November 2nd) and Theilman (November 3rd) to -6°F at Seagull Lake (Cook County) on the 20th. Overall. Temperatures were up and down with 87 daily maximum temperature records set or tied within the state climate network, mostly in the first 10 days of the month which were extraordinarily warm; and a handful of cold low temperature or cold high temperature records set over the balance of the month. Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the 48 contiguous states only once during the month (3°F at Cotton on the 16th).

Most areas of the state reported above normal precipitation in November, especially in northeastern Minnesota. Only a few spots in northwestern and south-central Minnesota reported below normal precipitation. A number of climate stations reported over 3 inches, and in the northeast counties there were several reports of 3 to 5 inches or more. Wolf Ridge ELC (Lake County) reported 5.41 inches of precipitation, the 2nd wettest November in history there, while Duluth reported 3.63 inches, the 8th wettest November in their climate record. There were over 30 reports from the climate network of at least one new daily precipitation record, including 1.87 inches at Cloquet on the 10th.

Northeastern Minnesota was also the area of heaviest snowfall in November with many climate stations reporting 15 inches or more. Wolf Ridge ELC and Hovland reported over 30 inches for the month. Hovland also reported a new daily statewide record snowfall of 18.5 inches on November 15th. Nearly all areas of the state reported at least a trace of snow during the month. There were over 20 reports of new daily record snowfall from the climate network.

November was windy as well, following the trend of 2022. Many climate stations reported 10 or more days with wind gusts over 30 mph. Rochester reported 15 days with wind gusts of 30 mph. Some blizzard warnings were issued for mid-month storms.

Soils were starting to freeze up during the last week of the month, and ice cover was forming on many lakes, but far from safe for ice fishing.

Weather Potpourri:
NOAA released an interesting summary of the Atlantic Hurricane Season for 2022 documenting 14 names storms and 8 hurricanes. Ian, Nicole, and Fiona brought the most damage, especially with respect to Florida and Puerto Rico. NOAA’s Hurricane Center was commended for its diligent work this season in producing accurate forecasts and reports.


The BBC Weather Center reported that November was much warmer and wetter than normal across the United Kingdom. This continued a year-long climate trend which will likely make 2022 the warmest year of record for them.

A recent article by scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research documents how the heat and drought of the North American Dust Bowl Era (1930s) contributed to atmospheric patterns and behavior elsewhere which triggered heat waves in other areas of the Northern Hemisphere, particularly Northern Europe and parts of eastern and northeastern Asia. It is reported in Nature Scientific Reports.

MPR listener question: I live in Roseville and still need to paint one side of my garage which did not get painted this fall. I need a 50°F day to do it. Any chance this December will deliver one?
Answer: The 147 year climate record for the Twin Cities shows a 3 in 10 chance of getting 50°F day in December. Not very good chances, but you never know. In 2014, 2017, and 2021 the thermometer hit 50°F or warmer on 3 days in December, and 7 days in December of 1939. None of the forecast or climate outlook models suggest that we will see 50°F this month, so you may be stuck until Spring.

Twin Cities Almanac for December 2nd: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 34 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 20 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for December 2nd:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 63 degrees F in 1982; lowest daily maximum temperature of -3 degrees F in 1886; lowest daily minimum temperature of -17 degrees F in 1886; highest daily minimum temperature of 49 degrees F in 1962; record precipitation of 0.30 inches in 1933. Record snowfall is 2.7 inches in 1978.

Average dew point for December 2nd is 19°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 53°F in 1982; and the minimum dew point on this date is -27 degrees F in 1976.

All-time state records for December 2nd:
The state record high temperature for this date is 69 degrees F at Mankato (Blue Earth County) in 1998. The state record low temperature for this date is -47 degrees F at Pokegama Dam (Itasca County) in 1896. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.51 inches at Caledonia (Houston County) in 1984. Record snowfall is 14.0 inches at Elbow Lake (Grant County) in 1985.

Past Weather:
December 2, 1896 brought extreme cold to Minnesota with subzero temperature readings in most places. Temperatures of -20°F or colder were widespread across central and northern counties. The afternoon high temperature at Crookston only reached -10°F.

Very snowy start to December in 1985 as each of the first five days of the month brought snow. Many places reported 10 to 20 inches of snowfall, and there were a number of school closings. By the end of the month some southeastern Minnesota climate stations reported over 30 inches.

December 2, 1998 brought record warmth to many areas of the state. Without much snow cover, daytime temperatures warmed into the 60s F in 35 central and southern counties. Several golf courses opened for the day.

Outlook: Sunny, but quite cold over the weekend. Increasing cloudiness on Sunday night and Monday with slightly warmer temperatures, and a chance for snow. Then mostly cold and dry for next week with temperatures trending cooler than normal.

Mark Seeley

Wet Year Continues for Northern Locations

2 months 1 week ago
Wet Year Continues for Northern Locations:November has turned wetter than normal, a partial relief for much of Minnesota where drought has mostly prevailed. But at some northern Minnesota climate stations 2022 has been a wet year throughout. Places like International Falls, Grand Portage, Tower, and Wolf Ridge ELC have already seen over 10 inches of snow this month and continue to have above normal precipitation totals for the year. Grand Portage with a total of 35.89 inches and Tower with a total of 35.75 inches for 2022 a re racking up a top ten wettest year historically. Further, Wolf Ridge ELC with 39.41 inches and International Falls with 33.71 inches in 2022 already rank among the five wettest years in history.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:During this month where Seasonal Affected Disorder materializes for many citizens due to short days, cloudy skies, and cold temperatures, there is an interesting article provided by the BBC Weather Center about the overall effects of weather on moodiness. The article stresses how important it is to get outdoors at least for brief periods during the winter months, especially on days when the sun is shining.


A recent article in the Journal of Geophysical Research by scientists from Stockholm documents the disparity in warming that is occurring across Europe. Many areas are warming dramatically, especially in summer, and trending more towards a drier climate as well. This is due primarily to aerosols (greenhouse gases) as opposed to natural variability.

MPR listener question: With all the heavy snowfalls this month, especially in northeastern Minnesota (Lake Superior north shore locations), we wondered what is the all-time daily record for snowfall in the state during the month of November?

Answer: The all-time 24-hr snowfall record for Minnesota during the month of November is 29.0 inches at Cook 18W (St Louis County) on November 1, 1991, during the 2nd day of the famous Halloween Blizzard. Several other northeastern communities reported over two feet of snow that day as well.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 25th: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 37 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 23 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 25th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 62 degrees F in 1914; lowest daily maximum temperature of 6 degrees F in 1977; lowest daily minimum temperature of -18 degrees F in 1880; highest daily minimum temperature of 44 degrees F in 2011; record precipitation of 0.97 inches in 1896. Record snowfall is 5.3 inches in 1952.

Average dew point for November 25th is 21°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 45°F in 2011; and the minimum dew point on this date is -19 degrees F in 1977.

All-time state records for November 25th:
The state record high temperature for this date is 76 degrees F at Faribault (Rice County) in 1933. The state record low temperature for this date is -36 degrees F at Pokegama Dam (Itasca County) in 1903. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.00 inches at Le Sueur (Le Sueur County) in 1896. Record snowfall is 16.7 inches at Island Lake (St Louis County) in 1983.

Words of the Week: Manitoba Mauler:
This is the name given to a particularly intense Alberta Clipper by meteorologist Larry Cosgrove who writes the daily Weather America newsletter. It is an intense closed low that passes over Canada and entrains the high latitude polar air on the back side, dragging it down across the Great Lakes and producing large quantities of lake-effect snow, gusty winds and cold windchills.

Past Weather: November 25, 1960 brought a very mild day to Minnesota with most southern counties reporting daytime high temperatures of 60°F or greater. In Yellow Medicine and Lac Qui Parle Counties the temperature reached 70°F. Under sunny skies, many chose to take their lunch break outside.

One of the coldest ever November 25ths in state history occurred in 1977. Except for Winona, the entire state of Minnesota awoke to subzero temperature readings with -20°F or colder prevailing in many central and northern communities. The daytime high temperature at Detroit Lakes only reached -3°F.

Outlook: Mild weather prevailing through the weekend, then increasing cloudiness early next week with a chance for snow on Tuesday and Wednesday. Much cooler towards the end of next week.




Mark Seeley

November Turns Wet

2 months 2 weeks ago
November Turns Wet:With nearly everyday bringing some form of precipitation to the state over the last week, most climate observers are reporting a wetter than normal November so far. Rain and snow have fallen in most areas, especially over November 9 and 10, when scores of observers reported 1 to 2 inches of precipitation. In fact, several climate stations reported new daily record values for November 10th, including:
1.66 inches at Dawson
1.35 inches at Milan
1.50 inches at Artichoke Lake
1.59 inches at Mora
1.67 inches at Isle
1.87 inches at Cloquet
1.35 inches at Hibbing
1.27 inches at Brainerd
1.92 inches at Two Harbors

Thanks to the wet spell, many places in central and northern Minnesota report over twice normal precipitation for the month so far, some between 2 and 4 inches. Wolf Ridge (Lake County) along the north shore of Lake Superior reports 5.06 inches of precipitation so far, their 2nd wettest November in history.

Snowfall has been abundant too this week, especially in northern Minnesota from Roseau east to Grand Portage. Many places have reported 6 to 10 inches of snowfall for the week. Gunflint Lake reported a new daily record snowfall of 5.5 inches on November 15th, while Wolf Ridge reported a record 8.9 inches on November 17th, which brought their monthly total snowfall to near 30 inches.  The Minnesota DNR State Climatology Office offers a nice summary of the over precipitation from these storms.

According to the US Drought Monitor the area of Minnesota embedded in some form of drought shrunk slightly over the previous week. Roughly 48 percent of Minnesota is designated to be in Moderate Drought or worse.
Weather Potpourri: This week BBC meteorologist Ben Rich looks at how some of the extreme weather around the world in 2022 shows why we should care about climate change. It is an effective video to share with kids in the classroom.

A new study appearing in Nature Communications reveals that the composition of vegetation in Arctic environments that have already been impacted by climate change dictates to a large degree the rate or pace of warming. The results demonstrate that some of the greatest differences in energy conversion are found between dry areas with little vegetation, where grasses and lichens typically grow, and wet areas such as peat bogs, that are rich in mosses, shrubs and small trees. Dry soil surfaces produce greater warming than wet areas as the energy from wet areas is converted into evaporation.

A recent paper in Environmental Research Letters suggests that climate change will impact lightning distribution and frequency across Europe. This will partially be caused by a change in the mixing depth of the lower atmosphere and also the composition of droplets in the clouds, both of which affect lightning potential.

MPR listener question: With the recent onset of cold temperatures and snow can you tell us if soils are starting to freeze up yet around the state?

Answer: According to reports from the Minnesota State Climatology Office, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and the North Dakota State Climatology Office shallow soil temperatures (between 4 and 6 inches) are ranging between 33°F and 35°F the past couple of days. So they are on the threshold of freezing up at least in the surface layers. With the onset of even colder temperatures over the weekend (perhaps single digits above and below zero) it is likely they will freeze up by early next week. The deeper layers of soil, beyond 10 inches deep remain in the 40s F.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 18th: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 41 degrees F (plus or minus 11 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 18th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 68 degrees F in 1941; lowest daily maximum temperature of 13 degrees F in 1874; lowest daily minimum temperature of -4 degrees F in 1891; highest daily minimum temperature of 53 degrees F in 1953; record precipitation of 0.82 inches in 1981. Record snowfall is 7.6 inches in 1957.

Average dew point for November 18th is 26°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 56°F in 1941; and the minimum dew point on this date is -2 degrees F in 1989.

All-time state records for November 18th:
The state record high temperature for this date is 75 degrees F at Faribault (Rice County) in 1923. The state record low temperature for this date is -19 degrees F at Duluth (St Louis County) in 1940. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.10 inches at Hinckley (Pine County) in 1996. Record snowfall is 15.0 inches at Crookston (Polk County) in 1998..
Past Weather: On November 18 of 1953 a September-like weather pattern prevailed across the state bringing temperatures that were over 20 degrees F above normal. Most places in the state reported afternoon highs in the 60s F, with 70s F being reported from 11 counties. Little snow was on the ground.

November 18-19 of 1981 brought heavy, wet snow in a narrow band across much of central Minnesota, including the Twin Cities. Many areas reported 10 or more inches. The heavy snow brought down power lines in some areas and caused the inflated roof of the newly constructed Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome to tear and collapse.

November 18 of 1986 brought mid-winter temperatures to most parts of Minnesota. Many climate stations reported morning lows in the single digits and over 40 stations reported subzero readings. The afternoon high temperature at Hallock (Kittson County) only reached 2°F.

Outlook:
Very chilly weekend with lots of single digit low temperatures, perhaps even subzero up north. Continued mostly dry and cool through Thanksgiving week with some moderation in temperature. Some areas will see daily high temperatures climb above the freezing mark.

Mark Seeley

Year of High Winds Continues in November

2 months 3 weeks ago
Year of High Winds Continues in November:

Historically, November is the 2nd windiest month of the year across Minnesota (trailing only April). As noted from many previous months this year, strong winds so far this month have been very much a topic of conversation. Sunday, November 6th brought hour upon hour of wind gusts over 40 mph to most places in Minnesota. At least 20 communities reported wind gusts over 50 mph. with 56 mph observed at MSP and 52 mph at Rochester. Moorhead recorded a gust of 63 mph. On Thursday, November 10th strong winds with gusts of 40 to 50 mph blew across northern Minnesota with mixed precipitation. Portions of the Red River Valley were under a blizzard warning as visibility was greatly diminished. So far, half of the days this month have brought wind gusts of 30 mph or greater to many places.

Much of the windiness ushered in high temperatures and dew points. Many climate stations are reporting average temperatures through the first 10 days of November that are 7 to 9 degrees F above normal. MSP set new high dew point records on both November 9th (63°F) and November 10th (61°F). As the other shoe drops weatherwise staring on Friday it appears the rest of the month will be significantly colder than normal. At least the week brought many areas significant rainfall before the soil begins to freeze up. Some far northern areas like Roseau and Warroad also reported 6 to 9 inches of snowfall.

Consider MCAP for Give to the Max Day:


November 17th is Minnesota’s unofficial “giving holiday” or Give to the Max Day. This annual event, mostly online, has generated nearly $250 million over the years for non-profits, schools, and public service programs, and it is a significant reason why Minnesota is known as the top philanthropic state in the country. This year please consider giving to the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership (MCAP), whose mission is to increase our climate resilience through research, education, collaboration and communications.

Your donation will help MCAP support student involvement in research and engagement, grow scholarship funding to ensure everyone can access our tools and take part in training, sustain high-quality resources like the WeatherTalk Blog, recognize Minnesota's climate leaders, and more. Just use the web link to make your donation, and THANK YOU for your consideration.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Hurricane turned Tropical Storm Nicole brought heavy rain and pounding surf to the Atlantic coast of Florida on Thursday, November 10th. Many climate stations reported 4 to 6 inches of rainfall, and some coastal communities experienced a good deal of flooding. Fortunately the storm moved along fairly rapidly.

The United Kingdom Met Office released a promotional piece this week to describe a new tool for communicating about how climate change actions can lead to multiple community benefits. Researchers at the University of Leeds and the Met Office, present the latest scientific evidence on the broader effects of climate change initiatives that enable decision makers to explain how climate change action can not only help with reducing the physical impacts from a changing climate but also achieve wider benefits such as improving air quality, health and well being and boosting employment.

A recent paper in Nature Climate Change highlights the need to rachet up ambitions to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. It is likely that a 1.5°F warming will occur, but the degree of overshoot can be significantly mitigated by accelerating transitions to net-zero emissions systems.

MPR listener question:

Early this fall you spoke about record driest Septembers and Octobers. Did any parts of Minnesota set records for the driest September-October in history? If so, where?

Answer:

On a statewide basis averaging all of the reports the average precipitation for this September and October was only 2.11 inches, ranking as the 3rd driest historically (behind 1976 and 1952). But some individual long-term climate stations reported their driest ever September-October, including:

St Peter 0.45”
Lakefield 0.50”
Windom 0.65”
Sherburn 0.72”
Rushford 1.25”

In these areas the drought worsened considerably this fall.

Brief Primer on Weather and the Fall Migration of Birds:

There are both direct and indirect effects of weather and climate on bird migration behavior. For many birds one of the triggers to prompt fall migration is the declining daylength (a direct effect). For others migration is triggered by local changes in the food chain. Many insects decline in numbers, especially after frosts, thereby prompting insect-eating birds to move south where their food supply is more abundant. In turn, birds of prey may find their quarry (other birds and small mammals) to be scarce as the weather turns more inhospitable, and therefore begin their migration south as well.

Waterfowl which depend on aquatic plants or field crops may hang around longer into the fall as long as their food supply is abundant and accessible. On occasion the formation of lake ice early in the season will prompt waterfowl to begin their migration. Often following the first large snowstorm and outbreak of Arctic air, the majority of these birds will embark on their journey.

Because this fall has been relatively mild in the upper Midwest, many birds are hanging around waiting for Mother Nature to give them a stronger sign that it is time to leave. And it looks like this sign has come this week.

Other interesting characteristics of bird migration include:

-Most birds gorge themselves in the fall to build up fat reserves (energy) necessary to fly long distances.
-Low pressure systems and their associated strong southerly winds will sometimes stall migrating flocks. On the other hand, birds will often fly south on the tailwinds of cold high-pressure systems that descend from high latitudes and provide helpful northerly winds. Though most frequently spotted at altitudes of 1000-5000 ft, some migrating birds have been observed at 20,000 to 30,000 ft by aircraft. At these altitudes they can take advantage of tailwinds of 80 mph, shortening their trip.

Often in the fall, the peak migrations will be noted during cold high-pressure outbreaks with northerly winds. Cooler temperatures help the birds to dissipate heat from the energy they expend in flying for long distances. During unusually warm conditions in the fall, many waterfowl do not like to fly because they overheat or respirate too much water vapor and become dehydrated. Birds also prefer the good visibility (absence of clouds) which often accompanies high pressure systems.

Many of the largest migrations are nocturnal (occur at night) and therefore not visible to most birdwatchers. However, wildlife biologists can detect and study these migrations using radar. There are some advantages to overnight migrations:

(1) Nights are longer in the fall, so more distance can be covered at night than during the daytime.
(2) There is reduced exposure to predators (raptors), except for owls.
(3) Birds have to expend less energy flying at night, since winds are usually less, there is less turbulence, cooler temperatures (better heat dissipation), and reduced loss of body fluids (less risk of dehydration).
(4) For some species migration routes can be maintained in night flights by using the stars for navigation.

Lastly, concerning navigation techniques, wildlife biologists have offered a number of explanations, many of which have yet to be fully accepted. Some of these include: celestial markers such as the sun, moon and stars; internal detection of the Earth's magnetic field or subtle changes in the gravitational field; following infra-sound beacons such as the sound frequencies of magnetic storms, sea waves, jetstreams, earth tremors, or wind currents through mountains; following scent beacons or regional odors characteristic of different landscapes over which the birds pass; and simple memory, having flown a route once with its parents or flock, a bird will forever remember it in nearly every detail.

References:

Bird Migration by Thomas Alerstam, 1990. Cambridge University Press. 

Travels and Traditions of Waterfowl by H. Albert Hochbaum, 1956. University of Minnesota Press. 

Bird Migration: Physiology and Ecophysiology edited by E. Gwinner, 1990. Springer-Verlag. 

Bird Migration: A General Survey by Peter Berthold, 1993. Oxford University Press.

Twin Cities Almanac for November 11th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 44 degrees F (plus or minus 11 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 11th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 64 degrees F in 2005; lowest daily maximum temperature of 18 degrees F in 1986; lowest daily minimum temperature of -1 degrees F in 1986; highest daily minimum temperature of 46 degrees F in 1930; record precipitation of 2.52 inches in 1940. Record snowfall is 8.2 inches in 1940.

Average dew point for November 11th is 27°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 54°F in 1964; and the minimum dew point on this date is -6 degrees F in 1986.

All-time state records for November 11th:


The state record high temperature for this date is 75 degrees F at Winnebago (Faribault County) in 2012. The state record low temperature for this date is -22 degrees F at Itasca State Park (Clearwater County) in 1919. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.52 inches at Minneapolis (Hennepin County) in 1940. Record snowfall is 14.0 inches at several locations in 1940 (Armistice Day Blizzard)..

Past Weather:

The afternoon of November 11, 1940 brought the devastating Armistice Day Blizzard to Minnesota. The day started mild and promising for duck hunters. But the afternoon deteriorated rapidly with the approach of a strong winter storm that would drop the Twin Cities barometer to 28.93 inches and the Duluth barometer to a record low of 28.66 inches, certainly hurricane strength. Wind gusts to 45 mph were reported from Collegeville, where they received 26.6" of snowfall. The winds at Duluth reached 63 mph and the temperature dropped 41 F over a 24 hour period. In most places traffic came to a standstill, even the streetcars in the Twin Cities. Drifts were reported as high as 20 feet in the Willmar area. Snowfall measurements showed 19.3" at Milaca, 16.7" at Bird Island, 24" at Meadowlands, 22" at Orr, 15" inches at St Peter, and 16.8" in the Twin Cities. During the storm the snowfall intensity was measured at times between 2 and 3 inches per hour. Across parts of the state ice accumulation took the power lines down. Damages were estimated at over $1.5 million. Forty-nine people died, including many duck hunters unprepared and exposed on Mississippi River islands. There is a very good article by Dennis Anderson in the November 11th edition of the Star Tribune newspaper that describes the plight of a teen aged Bud Grant (former coach of the Minnesota Vikings football team) who was out hunting and caught in the Armistice Day blizzard with some friends, but managed to survive.

November 11 of 1986 was the coldest in state history as nearly all parts of Minnesota reported morning low temperatures either in single digits above or below zero. The daily high temperature at Warroad only reached 4°F.

November 11 of 2012 was the warmest in state history, as much of southern and western Minnesota basked in afternoon temperatures in the 70s F. Even Embarrass, MN, normally a cold spot in the state reached 59°F.

Outlook:


Generally, very cool, but sunny over the weekend. Increasing clouds later in the day on Sunday with a chance for snow by evening. Continued chance for snow on Monday and Tuesday, then staying quite cold for the remainder of next week.

Mark Seeley

Preliminary Climate Summary for October 2022

3 months 1 week ago
Preliminary Climate Summary for October 2022:
With the forecast calling for above normal temperatures and no precipitation for the last four days of the month, a preliminary look at October’s climate is possible.

Temperature-wise, most climate stations will report a mean monthly temperature that ranges from 1 to 3°F above normal. Far from record-setting, nevertheless on a statewide basis this October will be among the 20 warmest historically. Extreme temperatures for the month ranged from 86°F at Granite Falls (Yellow Medicine County) on the 11th to just 6°F at Goodridge (Marshall County) on the 6th. Minnesota reported the nations coldest temperature only twice during the month.

Precipitation was below normal in October virtually everywhere in the state, with most observers reporting less than 1 inch. The driest area of the state was in the west where most climate observers reported less than half an inch of precipitation (a few eastern sections of the state were that dry as well). Some climate stations reported only 3 or 4 days with measurable precipitation, while some northern communities reported 8 or 9 such days, but the precipitation was consistently light. Snowfalls were measured over October 14 and 15, and some stations reported new daily snowfall amounts on those dates (usually 1 to 3 inches). Some northeastern Minnesota communities reported 3 to 5 inches, but it was short-lived with warmer temperatures coming shortly after the snowfalls.

At month’s end, much of Minnesota remains in the grip of at least Moderate Drought. Stream and river volume flows are low, and many lake levels are very low as well. Prospects for improvement in the drought situation before years end remain bleak.

Like so many months earlier in the year, October brought stronger than normal winds, with 8 to 12 days bringing wind gusts of 30 mph or greater.


Nominations for the 2023 MCAP Awards The Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership Program (MCAP) founded in 2008 promotes increasing climate resilience through research, collaboration & communication. MCAP conducts webinars and statewide conferences to bring people together to share their knowledge of climate change adaptation practices and strategies. Since 2014 MCAP has also given awards to individuals and groups in recognition of their outstanding work. The awards recognize and celebrate exceptional achievements in leadership, education, research, policies, and practices that improve resilience or climate justice through the development, advancement, or implementation of climate adaptation strategies. The award nominations are considered for five categories: Individual Adaptation Award
Collaborative Adaptation Award
Organization Adaptation Award
Creative Climate Communication Award
Climate Justice Leadership Award

The Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership Program is accepting nominations for awards until October 31. To nominate an individual, group, or organization go to the MCAP web site and fill out the nomination form.

Weekly Weather Potpourri: Winter annual crops planted in late summer or early autumn, delay flowering until spring and need cold to develop properly. The AGU-EOS Bulletin this week highlights a study that shows for plants that experienced warmer winters there were reduced yields due to a disturbance in dormancy. This is likely to be an attribute related to climate change which needs more study.


This week, the BBC web site features an interesting article about the Norwegian archipelago Svalgard which is well inside the Arctic Circle. Temperatures there are warming at over six times the rate of global temperature rise, and dramatic effects are emerging such as lose of sea ice and glaciers, as well as more land roving polar bears.


A recent article in the journal Nature documents the overall cost decline in producing solar energy due to development of efficient global supply chains in manufacturing solar arrays. Overall cost of solar energy has declined over the past 40 years becoming more competitive with the costs of other forms of energy. Future trade restrictions or disruptions in supply chains may have negative impacts on the continued progress in this energy source.

MPR listener question: With all the drought headlines this fall in Minnesota, we are wondering what was the driest September and October in state history and how does this year compare?
Answer: On a statewide basis, the average precipitation for September and October (so far) is 2.11 inches, about 3.5 inches less than normal. The only drier combinations of September and October historically were 1976 (statewide average 1.55 inches) and in 1952 (statewide average of 0.79 inches). Both 1976 and 1952 were followed by wetter than normal years which made up for the autumn deficiency in precipitation.

For individual climate stations in Minnesota, the following precipitation statistics are revealing about the autumn dryness:

MSP 0.48 inches for September and October, 2nd driest in history

New Ulm 0.60 inches for September and October, 3rd driest in history

Windom 0.62 inches for September and October, driest in history

Wheaton .047 inches for September and October, driest in history.

Twin Cities 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 36 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 28th:

MSP records for this date: 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 degrees F in 1925; highest daily minimum temperature of 56 degrees F in 1974; record precipitation of 1.97 inches in 1874. Record snowfall is 0.4 inches in 1895.

Average dew point for October 28th is 34°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 59°F in 1946; and the minimum dew point on this date is 9 degrees F in 2008.

All-time state records for October 28th:
The state record high temperature for this date is 83 degrees F at Browns Valley (Traverse County) in 1983. The state record low temperature for this date is -9 degrees F at Angus (Polk County) in 1919. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.10 inches at Caledonia (Houston County) in 1900. Record snowfall is 9.5 inches at Big Falls (Koochiching County) in 1932.
Past Weather:
Ft Snelling weather observers noted prairie fires on this date in 1842, 1844, and 1850, all following dry Octobers. Another dry fall produced wildfires on Dayton's Bluff overlooking St Paul on October 29, 1861. Both prairie grasses and the woods caught fire back then, sending billowing smoke across the settlement.

The coldest October 28th in history was in 1919 when most climate stations reported a morning low temperature in the single digits or teens F. Ten northwestern counties reported subzero morning low temperatures and the daytime high at Park Rapids was only 22°F.

A winter storm passed across Minnesota over October 28-29, 1932 bringing a mixture of precipitation. Northern counties recorded significant amounts of snowfall, with several areas getting 5 to 10 inches. Big Falls reported almost a foot of snowfall.

October 28, 1983 brought record-setting warm temperatures to many parts of Minnesota. Daytime highs ranged from 70°F to 80°F with observers in Brown, Redwood, Yellow Medicine, Lac Qui Parle, and Traverse Counties reported temperatures in the 80s F.
Outlook:
Sunny, dry, and warm over the weekend and early next week, with above normal temperatures, some perhaps even close to record-setting. There will be a chance for precipitation towards the end of the week by Thursday, and a cool down in temperatures.

Mark Seeley

Mid-October Cold Snap is Record-Setting in Some Places

3 months 2 weeks ago
Mid-October Cold Snap is Record-Setting in Some Places:After a generally mild and warm first two weeks, mid-October turned very cold and windy. Most climate stations reported temperatures from 8 to 12 degrees colder than normal from October 13 to October 20. There were multiple nights of freezing temperatures ending the growing season for all parts of the state.

In addition, over 40 long-term climate stations reported setting new low temperature records on some dates. On October 18th many places reported low temperatures in the teens and twenties F, while Milan (Chippewa County) reported a new record low of just 9°F. On October 19th again many morning lows in the teens and twenties F were reported and a new record low of just 7°F was observed at Preston (Fillmore County). More record lows were reported on October 20th as well, with Wells (Faribault County) reported a new record of 15°F. In the Twin Cities Metro Area, Rosemount reported a low of just 19°F and Chanhassen a low of 20°F on October 19th.

During the Cold Snap a few rain showers and snow showers occurred, mostly in northern Minnesota, bringing a third to half an inch of precipitation to a few places. The overall deficit in precipitation this month continues to grow. According to the US Drought Monitor 45 percent of the Minnesota landscape is designated to be in Moderate Drought, with 15 percent in Severe Drought. In addition, portions of 14 counties, mostly in the southwestern Metro Area and far southwestern Minnesota are designated to be in Extreme Drought. At this point in the year even if the weather pattern turned wetter than normal, a full drought recovery is unlikely. There will undoubtedly be some carryover drought impact going into next year. This is validated by the latest Drought Outlook from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center which favors a continuation of most of the drought areas in Minnesota through at least the end of January of 2023.

Nominations for the 2023 MCAP Awards:
The Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership Program (MCAP) founded in 2008 promotes increasing climate resilience through research, collaboration & communication. MCAP conducts webinars and statewide conferences to bring people together to share their knowledge of climate change adaptation practices and strategies. Since 2014 MCAP has also given awards to individuals and groups in recognition of their outstanding work. The awards recognize and celebrate exceptional achievements in leadership, education, research, policies, and practices that improve resilience or climate justice through the development, advancement, or implementation of climate adaptation strategies. The award nominations are considered for five categories: Individual Adaptation Award
Collaborative Adaptation Award
Organization Adaptation Award
Creative Climate Communication Award
Climate Justice Leadership Award

The Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership Program is accepting nominations for awards until October 31. To nominate an individual, group, or organization go to the MCAP web site and fill out the nomination form.

Weekly Weather Potpourri: According to the AGU-EOS, the USGS has issued a new Global Water Cycle Diagram that for the first time incorporates human intervention. This is long overdue and illustrates how much humans disrupt the global water cycle. “In addition to natural processes like ocean evaporation, precipitation over land, and runoff, the new diagram features grazing, urban runoff, domestic and industrial water use, and other human activities. Each label in the chart comes from data tracking the significant paths and pools of water worldwide.”


According to the NOAA Hurricane Center Tropical Storm Roslyn is expected to become a hurricane and to threaten the Pacific coastal areas of central Mexico this weekend, primarily an area around Puerto Vallarta. Winds may be as high as 105 to 115 mph, with coastal wave heights over 20 feet, and heavy rains.

A recent research article in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution highlights the extraordinary benefits of ancient trees in preserving the biodiversity of current ecosystems. “Ecologically, ancient trees are anchored nodes of biodiversity and ecosystem complexity enhancing overall forest stability and interactions, playing a key role in reinstating functionality of perturbed ecosystems.” The authors argue that every effort should be made to preserve these ancient trees.
MPR listener question: We are avid listeners to MPR and residents of Wheaton, MN (Traverse County), working with the local Soil and Water Conservation District. We have only received 0.11 inches of rain so far this month, after having our 5th driest September in history (0.22”). What is the driest October ever reported from Wheaton and how likely are we to approach that record?
Answer: The history of October weather at Wheaton shows that there have been four drier ones than your current value of 0.11 inches. There was just a Trace of precipitation in October 1950, only 0.06 inches in October of 1978, and there was only 0.09 inches in both 1933 and 1964. As for the rest of the month, you will have more chances for rain on the 24th, the 27th, and the 28th, so be hopeful that you will be closer to an inch by the end of the month.
Twin Cities Almanac for October 21st: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 55 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 39 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for October 21st:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 88 degrees F in 1947; lowest daily maximum temperature of 29 degrees F in 1913; lowest daily minimum temperature of 16 degrees F in 1913; highest daily minimum temperature of 62 degrees F in 1920; record precipitation of 1.76 inches in 1894. Record snowfall is 0.4 inches in 2002.

Average dew point for October 21st is 37°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 64°F in 1920; and the minimum dew point on this date is 8 degrees F in 1952 .

All-time state records for October 21st:
The state record high temperature for this date is 91 degrees F at Little Falls (Morrison County) and Redwood Falls (Redwood County) in 1947. The state record low temperature for this date is -2 degrees F at Roseau (Roseau County) in 1913. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.35 inches at Harmony (Fillmore County) in 1982. Record snowfall is 8.0 inches at Milaca (Mille Lacs County) in 2002.
Past Weather: By far the coldest October 21st occurred in 1913 when nearly all of the state reported morning low temperatures in the single digits or teens. The morning low at Roseau was -2°F and the daytime high temperature only rose to 25°F.

Conversely October 21, 1947 was the warmest in history with afternoon high temperatures reaching the 80s F in most parts of Minnesota. After a morning low of 39°F residents of Little Falls saw an afternoon high temperature of 91°F.

Mid-autumn thunderstorms brought 1 to 2 inches of rain to portions of southeastern Minnesota over October 20-21 of 1982. Some areas of Fillmore and Mower Counties received over 2 inches.

An early winter storm brought 4 to 8 inches of snow to a narrow band of counties across central Minnesota on October 21, 2002. The snow did not last long as it warmed into the 40s and 50s F a few days later.

Outlook:
Warmer than normal temperatures over the weekend and into early next week. Many areas will see afternoon high temperatures in the 60s and 70s F. Chance for rain showers late Sunday through early Tuesday, with falling temperatures.by mid-week. Temperature pattern will be cooler than normal for the second half of next week, but then warm up the last few days of the month.

Mark Seeley
Checked
6 hours 52 minutes ago
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