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 8, 2022
What happened in October 2022:
- One of the driest Octobers on record continued to deepen the ongoing drought across the state. The preliminary statewide average was only .65 inches or 1.93 inches below normal. The largest deficits were in a swath from southwestern into central and eastern Minnesota where most areas saw less than a half inch of precipitation. One of the few places that came even close to normal was Preston in southeast Minnesota with 2.08 inches, still .65 inches short of normal. The Twin Cities only had .24 inches, the sixth driest October in 152 years of records. October 2021 saw above normal precipitation statewide.
[see: October 2022 Precipitation Total Map | October 2022 Precipitation Departure Map | October 2022 Climate Summary Table | October 2022 Percent of Normal Precipitation Map]
- Severe storm events were few and far between in October 2022. There was one lone large hail report in northern St. Louis County on the 13th and storms produced strong winds in southwest Minnesota on October 23. There was a storm gust to 74 mph 1 mile southeast of Magnolia in Rock County.
[see: Storm Reports from the Storm Prediction Center]
- The first widespread measurable snow of the season was on Friday October 14. Snowfall totals of an inch or more were reported from the central and northern Twin Cities area, through the Arrowhead region. Observers in east-central Minnesota through the Duluth area reported some totals of 2-3 inches, with two inches reported during the morning observation at the Duluth National Weather Service office, and three inches reported in parts of northern Pine County.
[see: First Widespread Snow of Season, October 14, 2022]
- October 2022 continued the streak of above normal temperatures that began in May 2022. The preliminary state average October 2022 temperature was 47.5 degrees or about a degree-and-a-half above normal. October 2021 was six degrees warmer than normal and more than ten degrees warmer than October 2020, which finished as the fifth coldest statewide back to 1895. The highest temperature for October 2022 was 86 degrees at Granite Falls on October 3 and 11, and the coldest reading found so far was 6 degrees at Crookston on October 18 and 19 and also at 12 miles NNW of Goodridge in Pennington County on October 18.
[see: October 2022 Climate Summary Table | 2022 October Departure from Normal Temperature Map]
Where we stand now:
- Seasonal precipitation totals (April 1 through November 1) ranked above the historical median over the north, a mosaic of above and below historical rankings in the central, and southeast. A swath from the Twin Cities metro area to the southwest was in the 25th percentile or less.
[see: Seasonal Precipitation Ranking Maps]
- The U. S. Drought Monitor map released on November 3, depicts areas of drought that have increased in intensity since last month. 21% of the state is free of any drought. 27% of the state in the Abnormally Dry category, 33% in the Moderate Drought category, 13% in the Severe Drought category and 7% in the Extreme Drought category. 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 have generally declined over the past month and there are now more “warm” colors on the map. In general, most stream flows in the state are ranking on the lower side of the normal to below normal. No streams in the state as of November 8 are reporting above normal conditions. Some streams in central Minnesota are much below normal or below the 10th percentile.
[see: USGS Stream Flow Conditions]
- Water levels on most Minnesota lakes vary depending on lake and location in the state. The USGS water level gauge at Mille Lacs was discontinued as of October 10, 2022. On November 8, Minnetonka was at 927.38 feet, the lowest level since 1991. The Gray’s Bay Dam closed on July 21. White Bear Lake was at 923.27 feet on November 5, a fall of .8 (eight tenths) of a foot from one year ago and the lowest level since 2016. . Rainy Lake is in the median range and Lake of the Woods is in the low end of the median band. Lake Superior was forecasted to be at 602.26 feet on November 4, four inches higher than the monthly average for early November and six inches higher than the same time last year.
[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 November 7 reports that topsoil moisture across Minnesota is 23 percent Very Short, 40 percent Short, 37 percent Adequate, and 0 percent Surplus. Soil moisture levels at Lamberton on November 1 are still well below historical averages, but improved somewhat since mid-October. Waseca’s last fall soil moisture reading was in late September.
[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 on November 8, 2022 is currently rated by DNR Forestry as Low across northeast, east central and parts of northwest Minnesota, Moderate over the rest of the state, except in west central Minnesota where the fire danger is High. Historically, 80 percent of all wildfires in Minnesota occur during April and May.
[see: Fire Danger Rating Map]
- The November precipitation outlook leans towards equal chances of above, normal and below normal precipitation. 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 tendency for above normal temperatures in the south and east, with equal chances for above normal and below across the rest of the state. 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 above below and normal temperatures and 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:
- For the third winter in a row, La Niña conditions are forecast to be present. The Winter Outlook (December-February) from the Climate Prediction Center has a tendency for below normal temperatures statewide, with the best chance in the north, a classic La Nina pattern. The precipitation outlook is for a tendency for above normal precipitation in the north and equal chances for above normal and below normal precipitation over the rest of the state. [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