A monthly electronic newsletter summarizing Minnesota's climate conditions and the resulting impact on water resources. Distributed on the first Thursday of the month.
State Climatology Office - DNR Division of Ecological and Water Resources, St. Paul
distributed: November 6, 2013 (early distribution)
What happened in October 2013:
- October rainfall totals were above historical averages in most Minnesota counties, especially central and southeast sections of the state. October precipitation was light along the Canadian border. For many Minnesota locales, October precipitation totals exceeded long-term averages by an inch or more. In some central and southeast Minnesota communities, October precipitation totals topped historical averages by two or more inches and eased drought concerns.
- Average monthly temperatures for October in Minnesota were quite close to historical averages. Warm early-October weather was offset by cooler late-October readings. Extremes for the month ranged from a high of 86 degrees at Madison (Lac Qui Parle County) on the 1st, to a low of 8 degrees at Camp Norris (Lake of the Woods County) on the 29th.
Where we stand now:
- April 1-to-date precipitation totals are highly variable across Minnesota. Spring and early-summer precipitation totals were ample to excessive in many locations, especially southeast Minnesota. Whereas, precipitation totals from the last week of June through early-November were substantially below average in most counties. The seasonal precipitation map offers a patchwork pattern of values above and below historical normals.
- The U. S. Drought Monitor, released on October 31, places large sections of the southern one-half of Minnesota, and a small area of northwest Minnesota in the Moderate Drought category. Roughly one-quarter of the state is designated as undergoing Moderate Drought. This is an improvement over early October when nearly 40 percent of Minnesota's landscape fell in the Moderate Drought or Severe Drought categories. The U. S. Drought Monitor index is a blend of science and subjectivity where drought categories (Moderate, Severe, etc.) are based on several indicators.
- The U.S. Geological Survey and the Minnesota DNR report that stream discharge values are near the middle of the historical data distribution for 75 percent of Minnesota's gauging locations. Approximately 15 percent of Minnesota's streamflows rank below the 25th percentile for this time of year.
- Water levels on some Minnesota lakes are lower than average due to dry summer and autumn weather plus high evaporation rates caused by hot late-summer temperatures. Canadian border lakes are the exception. Heavier rainfall totals earlier in the season kept lake levels near historical medians in these areas.
- In their November 3 report, the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service reported that topsoil moisture was 12% Very Short or Short across the state. Subsoil moisture was said to be 28% Very Short or Short. Soil moisture measurements made at two University of Minnesota Research and Outreach Centers in mid-October indicated near-average conditions at these southern Minnesota locations.
- The potential for wildfires is currently rated by DNR Forestry as Low in most Minnesota counties. The fire danger is rated Moderate in far northwest Minnesota.
- The November precipitation outlook indicates equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions throughout Minnesota. November precipitation normals range from around one inch in western Minnesota to over two inches in eastern sections of the state. The average date of the first enduring snow cover ranges from the first week of November in northeast Minnesota to the final week of November in south central counties.
- The November temperature outlook indicates equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions throughout Minnesota. Normal November high temperatures are in the mid-40s to upper 40s to start the month, dropping to the mid-20s to near 30 by month's end. Normal lows are in the upper 20s early in the month, falling into the mid-teens by late November.
- The 90-day precipitation outlook for November through January offers equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions across Minnesota. The November through January temperature projection also calls for equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions for most Minnesota locales. The long-term temperature outlook for southeast Minnesota leans towards above-normal conditions.
- The National Weather Service produces long-range probabilistic river stage and discharge outlooks for the Red River, Minnesota River, and Mississippi River basins. These products address both high flow and low flow probabilities.
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Greg Spoden, DNR Climatologist