<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> October 2011 Saint Cloud Weather Summary
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Daily Temperature Graphic for October 2011 2011 Daily Conditions at St. Cloud

Warm and Dry, But In A Different Way Than Last October

Saint Cloud October 2011 Weather Summary  

For the second straight October, Saint Cloud and much of the Northern Plains had a warmer than normal and drier than normal October. October 2011 was slightly wetter and a bit warmer than October 2011.

Late Summer Heat in Early October Drives Temperatures Well Above Normal

The average October temperature at the Saint Cloud Regional Airport was 51.0°F, 5.3°F warmer than the average October temperature. That ranks as the fourteenth warmest of the 131 Octobers on record. October 2011 missed the ten warmest Octobers by 1.2°F, but was the warmest October since 1973.

More Consecutive 80°F Highs Than Any Other October

The warmth was driven by a warm weather pattern during the first 12 days of the month. St. Cloud's average temperature on October 1-12 was 63.3°F with an average high of 76.4°F and an average low of 50.1°F. That would be more typical of around Labor Day, rather than around Columbus Day. During those 12 days, St. Cloud had a streak of 5 consecutive days (October 3-7) with a high of at least 80°F. That's the longest streak of 80-degree highs ever in October. The old record was 4 straight days in 1922 and 1947. Those 5 days were also tied for the third highest number of 80-degree highs in October. The most 80-degree days were 7 in October 1947.

Note, however, that 80-degree highs have been relatively frequent in recent years. First of all, the average last date for an 80-degree high is September 30. 54 of the Octobers from since 1897 have had at least one 80-degree high, The record high temperatures on the sixth through the eighth were all set in the past 8 years. Also, the last 80+ high temperature on October 7 was well short of the record latest 80-degree-high, which was set on October 26, 1989.

During the warm period, St. Cloud had three straight days of record warm temperatures. While St. Cloud never reached any of the record highs in the middle to upper 80's, record warm average temperatures were broken on the 5th, 7th, and 8th with a record warm low set on the 7th and tied on the 5th and 8th.

Only near normal temperatures from October 13 on (43.3°F average, 0.1°F colder than normal) kept the early month warmth from producing a top ten warmest October.

Dry Fall Continued

The shift from a wet first 7 months of the year to a very dry weather pattern continued in October. Saint Cloud did double its rainfall total since late August, picking up 1.42 inches of rain in October, but that was still 1.07 inch below the October average. Since August 21, Saint Cloud rainfall has totaled only 2.76 inches, 4.64 inches less than the average. There were only 5 days with measurable rainfall in October with all but one falling on October 8-12. After October 12, Saint Cloud has had only one day with measurable rain (October 24) the rest of the month. After averaging measurable rain on 2.7 days per week through mid-August, there has been measurable rainfall on only 13 of the 72 days between August 21 and October 31 (1.2 days per week).

While St. Cloud still is above normal rainfall for the year (27.44 inches actual through November 2; 25.63 inches average), much of north central and northeastern Minnesota and most of the state south of the Minnesota River have fallen well behind (see State Climatology Office drought update). Since the end of July, parts of the Arrowhead have fallen 4-6 inches behind in rainfall. The rainfall deficits are over 6 inches in most of southern Minnesota with areas west of Rochester 7-9 inches behind. The only part of Minnesota that has had near normal rainfall since late July is a swath from Alexandria through Long Prairie, and Little Falls to Lake Mille Lacs and Mora.

Winter Forecasts Now Out, But Are They Any Good?

For the second straight year, the National Weather Service and other forecasters have been calling for a colder than normal winter in the Northern Plains This is based on the colder than normal temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific, the so called La Nina pattern, combined with the possibility of the Arctic Oscillation reinforcing the cold pattern. The strongest trend in the winter forecast is for the Southern Plains drought to continue with a very good chance of drier than normal weather and a good chance of warmer than normal temperatures. Keep in mind that these forecasts tend to perform about 10% better than flipping a coin.

While last winter's forecast ended up being correct, the winter was only moderately colder than normal. It was much snowier than normal, but mainly in a narrow swath from the Dakotas through southern Minnesota and eastern Iowa.

Snow Season About to Start

On the average, St. Cloud will see its first inch of snow fall and the first snow to stick to the ground in November, although that isn't guaranteed. St. Cloud usually sees one day with at least an inch of snow in November, and an average during the past 30 years of 8.9 inches for the month. That ranks as the second snowiest month of the winter behind December. but that number can range from zero to 4 days and has been as high as 8 days. In recent history, there has been a snowy period (1975 through 1996) with 2.7 days of at least an inch of snow and 9 of the 27 years with at least 4 1-inch days. However, there has been a streak of brown Novembers from 1997 on, averaging 1.7 days with an inch of snow and with 6 Novembers with no days of at least an inch.

On the average, there is one November day with at least 2 inches of snowfall, but only 4 such days since 1998 and none since 2003. St. Cloud has a streak of 4 Novembers from 1991 through 1994 with at least one day of 5 inches of snow, but there has been only one November day since 1994 with a 5-inch snowfall and 21 Novembers since 1904 with a 5-inch snowfall.

The median date of the first inch on the ground is November 15 with 90% of years having our first inch on the ground before December 7. However, the average date of our long streak at staring at snow cover begins on December 10. Only in 10% of cold seasons did the long streak begin before November 22. So, snows in early and middle November tend to melt. Last year, St. Cloud had 130 consecutive days of snow cover (November 23-April 1), the 8th longest such streak in St. Cloud records.

In 2010-2011, St. Cloud totaled 66.1 inches for the cold season, the 8th snowiest in St. Cloud records.


    October 2011 Statistics

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Last updated: 3-November-2011
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