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 3, 2016
What happened in October 2016:
- Rain and thunderstorms favored west central and southern Minnesota in October, 2016 with those areas finishing one half to two inches above normal. North central and north east Minnesota finished about one to two inches below normal. There was measurable precipitation in the Twin Cities on eleven days of the month, compared to nine days for the 1981-2010 normal. Statewide precipitation was 2.62 inches or .15 inches above normal.
[see: October 2016 Precipitation Total Map | October 2016 Precipitation Departure Map | October 2016 Climate Summary Table | October 2016 Percent of Normal Precipitation Map]
Some notable events include:
- October 2016 had one heavy rain episode over south central and south east Minnesota. The heaviest rains fell in the Wells and the Winnebago area in Faribault County. 4.25 inches fell at Wells and 3.80 inches fell from October 25 to October 26 at Winnebago.
[see: Weekly Precipitation Map ending November 1, 2016]
- In an otherwise balmy month, October 2016 had a brief winter-like flirtation with the first snowfall of the season on October 7. The accumulating snow was confined to the Arrowhead.
[see: First Snowfall of the Season: October 7, 2016]
- More memorable were the mild temperatures, with residual summer-like mugginess. On October 17, dew point temperatures surged into the middle 60's over southern Minnesota.
[see: Warm and Muggy: October 17, 2016]
- October 2016 continued the warmer-than normal pattern that has been in place since September 2015. The preliminary statewide average for October 2016 was 49.2 degrees or 3.2 degrees above normal. The warmest temperature for the month was 80 degrees at Milan in Chippewa County on October 2 and at Marshall in Lyon County on October 2 as well. The coldest was at Hallock in Kittson County on October 7.
[see: October 2016 Climate Summary Table | 2016 October Departure from Normal Temperature Map]
Where we stand now:
- Seasonal precipitation totals (April 1 through November 1) ranked above the historical median over most of Minnesota, with much of south central, southeast and east central Minnesota in the 98% for the wettest growing season. Some areas are in the 99 percentile or nearly the wettest on record. Also, parts of northwest Minnesota rank in the 95 percentile as well. There are a few areas in north central and west central Minnesota that fall short of the median. The largest pocket of dryness is in southern Beltrami County.
[see: Seasonal Precipitation Ranking Map]
- The U. S. Drought Monitor map released on November 1, depicts the entire state free of any drought designation. The state has been completely free of any drought designation for nine weeks in a row, beginning on September 6. The U.S. Drought Monitor index is a blend of science and subjectivity where drought categories (Moderate, Severe, etc.) are based on several indicators.
[see: Drought Conditions Overview]
- The U.S. Geological Survey reports that stream discharge values are much above normal across large sections of western, central and southern Minnesota. Above normal flows are in northwest Minnesota and normal flows are in the north central and northeast.
[see: USGS Stream Flow Conditions]
- Water levels on most Minnesota lakes vary depending on lake and location in the state. Mille Lacs was above the median lake level for October. On November 3, Minnetonka was at 928.98 feet with 250 cfs flowing through Grays Bay Dam. White Bear Lake was at 922.61 feet on November 3, a rise of 1.24 feet from one year ago and a rise of 3.77 feet from the record low of 918.84 measured January 10, 2013. Rainy and Lake of the Woods are in the median range for September. Lake Superior was at 602.43 feet on November 3, six inches higher than the monthly average for early November.
[see: Mille Lacs Lake Water Level | Lake Minnetonka Water Level | White Bear Lake Water Level | Lake of the Woods Control Board Basin Data | Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Water Levels]
- The Agricultural Statistics Service on October 31 reports that topsoil moisture across Minnesota is 0 percent Very Short, 1 percent Short, 71 percent Adequate, and 28 percent Surplus. Soil moisture levels at Lamberton and Waseca are well above the historical median. The soil moisture at Lamberton on November 1 is 2.08 inches above the historical average and is the highest for early November in at least five years.
[see: Agricultural Statistics Service Crop Progress and Condition | U. of M. Southwest Research and Outreach Center (Lamberton) | U. of M. Southern Research and Outreach Center (Waseca)]
- The potential for wildfires is currently rated by DNR Forestry as Low across Minnesota. Historically, 80 percent of all wildfires in Minnesota occur during April and May.
[see: Fire Danger Rating Map]
- The November precipitation outlook leans towards below normal precipitation across the state, with the best chance of below normal precipitation in the central part of the state. November precipitation normals range from about three-quarters of an inch in northwest Minnesota to about two-and-a-half inches in Cook County. Southern and central Minnesota range by about one-and-a-quarter of an inch in the southwest to about two-inches_and a quarter in south central Minnesota.
[see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook | November Precipitation Normal Map]
- The November temperature outlook has a strong tendency for above normal temperatures throughout Minnesota, with the best chance in the west. Normal November high temperatures are in the 40s to start the month, dropping to the 30s by month's end. Normal lows are in the 30s to upper 20s early in the month, falling to the teens by late November.
[see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook | November Temperature Normal Map]
- The 90-day temperature outlook for November through January has equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions across Minnesota, The 90-day precipitation outlook for October through December also indicates equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions across most of Minnesota. The far northeast tip of Minnesota has a slight tendency for above normal precipitation.
[see: Climate Prediction Center 90-day Outlook]
- 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.
[see: National Weather Service - North Central River Forecast Center]
From the author:
- The Winter Outlook (December-February) From the Climate Prediction Center continues to have a slight tendency for below normal temperatures. There is a slight tendency for above normal precipitation for northern Minnesota and equal chances for below, normal and above normal elsewhere. There is a 70 percent chance of a weak La Nina this winter.
[see: Climate Prediction Center December-February Outlook]
Upcoming dates of note:
- November 17: National Weather Service releases 30/90 day temperature and precipitation outlooks
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Pete Boulay, DNR Climatologist