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News and Information

Minnesota WeatherTalk Newsletter for Friday, November 4, 2011

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

Subject: Minnesota WeatherTalk Newsletter for Friday, November 4, 2011

-Drought continues to develop in southern MN
-Metro Area snowfall frequency tables
-Cold November 3rd and 4th
-Weekly Weather Potpourri
-MPR listener question
-Almanac for November 4th
-Past Weather

Topic: Drought continues to develop in southern Minnesota

Many Minnesota weather observers in southern counties are reporting large precipitation deficiencies since July. In fact the USA Drought Monitor shows that across southern Minnesota, from Lincoln County eastward to Goodhue County and from the Iowa border north to McLeod County much of the landscape is in moderate to severe drought, especially portions of Watonwan and Martin Counties. Many observers in southwestern and south-central Minnesota have reported their driest August through October period in history. Some of the locations reporting the least amount of rainfall over this 3-month period include: 1.93 inches at Winnebago; 1.03 inches at Marshall; 1.85 inches at Worthington; 1.35 inches at St Peter; 1.41 inches at St James; 1.30 inches at Lamberton; 1.28 inches at Windom; 1.65 inches at Fairmont; and 1.59 inches at Canby.

You can read more about this situation at the DNR-State Climatology Office web site....

Topic: New table of snowfall frequency available for the Twin Cities area

The DNR-State Climatology Office has posted a new snowfall frequency table on their web site for Twin Cities residents to use. It shows the frequency distribution of 0.1, 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 inch snowfalls based on the 1891-2011 time period. Four inch snowfalls occur with an average of 2-3 events per season, but have been as high as 8 events in one season. Two inch snowfalls occur with an average frequency of 7-8 times per season, but have been as high as 16 events in one winter. If you want to view the data for yourselves you can go to....

Topic: Coldest temperatures of the fall season on November 3rd and 4th

Many Minnesota weather observers reported their coldest readings of the fall season so far on Thursday morning (Nov 3) this week. Some of these included: 11 degrees F at Embarrass; 14 degrees F at Silver Bay; 15 degrees F at Tower; 19 degrees F at Marshall; and 16 degrees F at Orr and Pine River. These temperatures are cold enough to cause the formation of ice in shallow lakes and ponds. Hibbing was quite cold again on Friday morning (Nov 4) with just 14 degrees F, while as far south as Fairmont and Austin temperatures fell to 19 degrees F. Some moderation in temperatures will occur over the weekend.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Russia has decided not to "fall back" to Standard Time this year. As a result they will effectively remain on "Daylight Svings Time" throughout the northern hemisphere winter. This is based on the recommendation of their President Dmitry Medvedev who thinks it will help with energy use patterns, public safety and mental health if mornings remain dark longer, and evenings remain light longer. This will conflict with the rest of the European Community which has gone back to Standard Time, and therefore the difference may cause some complications will travel scheduling and business communications among countries as work days will not be in sync.

The deep low pressure system that brought 8-12 inches of snowfall last weekend to much of the northeastern USA passed across the North Atlantic this week and was poised to bring some significant rains to the United Kingdom over Friday and Saturday. As much as 1-2 inches of rain was expected in some places.

Speaking of the United Kingdom, the Meteorological Office there launched a new program in conjunction with the Health Ministry to provide information resources and forecasting for a Cold Weather Plan of Action to help better protect more vulnerable residents, such as senior citizens and those with serious illness. The plan has evolved in response to the United Kingdom last year (2010) experiencing its coldest December since 1910. It is based on four-levels of alertness to the weather and you can read more about it at...

A possible break-through in solar power technology was published in Nature Communications. It involves the development of a composite trapezoid-shaped metal gratings (composed of metal and silcon oxide) at a nano-scale which are highly effective a trapping energy from the broad solar spectrum. This material may lead to far more efficient, and lower cost solar cell development. Researchers from Northwestern University in Illinois are hopeful that this nano-design technology may be a boost to the solar energy sector. You can read more at...

Researchers from the University of Virginia and NOAA report this week that studies of Tropical Cyclone frequency and intensity over the Arabian Sea reveal that atmospheric pollution in the area may be having an effect. The build up of aerosols in the lower atmosphere may be contributing to less wind shear over the Arabian Sea. In this context the absence of strong wind shear allows tropical wave disturbances greater potential to build into tropical storms, which seems to be happening in recent years there. You can read more about this study at...

MPR listener question: With the threat of snowfall mentioned in the forecast for next week I wondered how often does the Twin Cities get a 2 inch snowfall before mid-November? In my lifetime here it seems pretty rare.

Answer: Good question. It has happened each of the last two years. In 2009 we received 2.5 inches of snow on October 12th, while in 2010 there was 7.7 inches of snow on November 13th. However checking the climate record all the way back to 1891, snowfalls of 2 or more inches prior to November 15th occur in only one year out of every four in the Twin Cities area. So, I would say it is not rare in occurrence but occasional. It is far more common in northern communities like Bemidji and International Falls.

Almanac for November 4th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 48 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 32 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for November 4th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 74 degrees F in 1975; lowest daily maximum temperature of 17 degrees F in 1991; lowest daily minimum temperature of -3 degrees F in 1991; highest daily minimum temperature of 51 degrees F in 1895; record precipitation of 0.61 inches in 1988; record snowfall is a 1.0 inches in 1910.

Average dew point for November 4th is 29 degrees F, with a maximum of 55 degrees F in 1956 and a minimum of -5 degrees F in 1991.

All-time state records for November 4th:

Scanning the state climatic data base: the all-time high for this date is 79 degrees F at Redwood Falls (Redwood County) in 1975. The all-time record low for this date is a very cold -13 degrees F at Warren (Marshall County) in 1919. The all-time record precipitation amount for this date is 1.84 inches at Fairmont (Martin County) in 1922. State record snowfall for this date is 15.8 inches at Isabella (Lake County) in 1982.

Past Weather Features:

November 3-4, 1909 brought a late autumn heat wave to southern Minnesota counties. Daytime temperatures set records with highs in the 70s F on both days. Lynd, Pipestone, and Redwood Falls all reached 78 degrees F, while Windom was 76 degrees F, Winnebago 74 degrees F, and St Peter reached 72 degrees F.

November 4, 1919 brought several inches of snowfall to northern Minnesota, followed by below zero temperature readings. The temperature fell to -11 degrees F at Hallock, -7 degrees F at Crookston, -5 degrees F at Detroit Lakes, and -4 degrees F at Fergus Falls. It was the start of a long, cold, and snowy November. Duluth reported 14 days with snow and Red Lake Falls reported nearly 3 feet of snow for the month.

Another early season snow storm visited northern Minnesota residents over November 2-4, 1982. Babbitt reported a total of 22 inches, International Falls had over 7 inches, and Hibbing reported over 6 inches.

Following the great Halloween Blizzard in 1991, many Minnesota communities set new low temperature records on November 4 as arctic high pressure settled over the state. Fosston fell to -11 degrees F, Bemidji reported -9 degrees F, and Blackduck and Itasca State Park reported -8 degrees F. As far south as Caledonia (Houston County) was as cold as -1 degrees F.


Somewhat windy and mild on Saturday with afternoon highs in the 50s and 60s F. Increasing cloudiness with a chance of showers on Sunday, especially in western sections. Cooler temperatures with another chance for showers later next week, including rain and snow.

Further Information:

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