SUBJECT: Dry and cold November finishes strange fall Saint Cloud November 2002 and fall weather summary  

FROM: Bob Weisman

Earth Sciences, St. Cloud State University

The October weather pattern continued in November. While the persistent air flow from the Yukon produced Saint Cloudís second coldest October on record, we ended up with slightly above normal temperatures for November. According to the Saint Cloud Municipal Airport statistics, the average temperature was 29.8 degrees, a degree above normal.

The main news of November 2002 was the dry weather. Yukon air contains very little moisture and both the November precipitation (0.11 inch) and the November snowfall (0.4 inch) demonstrated the dominance of Canadian air. This made November 2002 the driest November in 61 years and the 7th driest November in Saint Cloud history. The snowfall total marked only the 5th November in the past 50 years in which there was half an inch or less. The last time this happened was 1981. Despite the dryness, Saint Cloudís total rainfall for 2002 has now reached 34.94 inches, which ranks as the 10th wettest year in Saint Cloud history with December still to go.

Saint Cloudís fall (September 1-November 30) statistics are proof of the adage, "Figures donít lie, but liars sure figure."

Combine a September that was nearly four degrees above normal with the second coldest October in Saint Cloud history, then add a November that had about the same temperatures as November, and what do you get? Answer: Fall temperatures that were within a degree of normal, even though the daily temperatures were rarely near normal.

∑ Combine the fourth wettest September on record and an October with more than an inch above normal with the 7th driest November on record and what do you get? Answer: The seventh wettest fall on record and the wettest since 1985, even though we have only picked up 0.90 inch since October 13.

Combine the second snowiest October in Saint Cloud history with only the 5th November in the last 50 years with no more than half an inch of snow and what do you get? Answer: A near normal snowfall total for this time of year.

What lies ahead? Well, the National Weather Service has its official winter forecast out (can be found at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/). According to this forecast, Minnesota has the best chance of anywhere in the country for a mild winter. The reason for this forecast is the development of El Nino, the anomalous warm ocean condition in the Tropical Pacific. However, I look at the weather pattern that weíve been stuck in for the past 7 weeks and say, "Ha!"

As long as that persistent high stays in British Columbia, our air will continue to come from the Northwest Territories. My only question is whether our temperatures will be near normal or below normal. That depends on how quickly we get snow cover. Snow reflects most of the sunís energy back to space. Without it, the cold air masses are being warmed more than the usual as they pass over the bare ground over the Northern Plains and much of the adjacent Canadian Prairie Provinces. That factor has kept the temperature from being able to drop below zero during our cold blasts. This northerly flow pattern is very dry pattern so, to get a storm system to produce snow, it will have to pass through Minnesota to the south of Saint Cloud. During the past month, nearly every storm has stayed well to our north, leaving us high and dry. So, thatís the only uncertain point in my mind. Otherwise, I think we can expect a winter with below normal snowfall and normal to below normal temperatures.


Summary For November 2002               Nov 2002        Normal
Temperature (oF)
Average high temperature                38.5            37.2
Average low temperature                 21.0            20.4
Average temperature                     29.8            28.8
Warmest high for this monthc            62 on the 7th
Coolest high for this month             22 on the 30th
Mildest low for this month              34 on the 9th
Coldest low for this month              10 on the 30th

Precipitation (in)                      Nov 2002         Normal
November                                0.11*            1.54                       
Greatest in 24 hours (Nov 2002)         .03 on the 6th, 21st
Total 2002 precipitation                34.94%           26.44
*7th driest November on record (see table below)
%ranks as 10th wettest year on record through November (see table below)

Snowfall (in)
November                                0.4              6.8
Greatest in 24 hours                    0.4 on the 23rd
Seasonal snowfall (2002-2003)           6.8              7.3

Summary For Fall (Sept-Nov) 2002        Fall 2002       Normal
Average High Temperature (oF)           52.3            54.2
Average Low Temperature (oF)            34.0            33.5
Average Temperature (oF)                43.0            43.8
Liquid precipitation (in)               10.36+           6.71
Snowfall (in)                             6.8             7.3
+7th wettest fall on record; wettest since 1985 (see table below)

 
     St. Cloud Precip--November  (108 Years; Avg =  1.28 in; Sdev =  0.98 in)

         Wettest                                          Driest

      4.16 in  1922                                     trace     1916
      4.02 in  1931                                     trace     1939
      3.83 in  1996                      		0.01 in  1912
      3.74 in  1977                      		0.01 in  1941
      3.24 in  1975                      		0.05 in  1917
      3.14 in  1940                      		0.08 in  1904
      3.11 in  1983                      		0.11 in  2002 - 7th driest on record; driest in 61
      3.09 in  2000                      		0.14 in  1967       years
      2.99 in  1918                      		0.14 in  1976
      2.83 in  2001                      		0.16 in  1942


     St. Cloud Precip--Fall      (108 Years; Avg =  6.26 in; Sdev =  2.62 in)

         Wettest                                          Driest

     13.47 in  1926                     		0.61 in  1952
     12.75 in  1983                     		1.92 in  1923
     12.19 in  1985                     		1.95 in  1976
     11.84 in  1971                      		2.47 in  1912
     11.21 in  1982                      		2.48 in  1917
     11.12 in  1968                      		2.55 in  1964
     10.30 in  2002 - 7th wettest                 	2.61 in  1939
     10.27 in  1934                      		2.71 in  1967
     10.09 in  1900                      		2.78 in  1937
      9.99 in  1899                      		2.85 in  1966

     Annual St. Cloud Precipitation ( 95 Years; Avg = 24.54 in; Sdev =  6.31 in)

         Wettest                                          Driest

     41.01 in  1897                     		14.64 in  1910
     39.32 in  1965                     		14.93 in  1976
     37.26 in  1951                     		18.20 in  1933
     36.69 in  1905                     		18.30 in  1901
     36.18 in  1983                     		18.31 in  1992
     35.71 in  1903                     		18.54 in  1923
     35.59 in  1977                     		19.12 in  1925
     35.42 in  1986                     		19.46 in  1989
     35.13 in  1899                     		19.54 in  1987
     34.94 in  2002  - 10th wettest year		19.62 in  1930
                  so far


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Last modified: December 2, 2002