<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> November and Fall 2008 Saint Cloud Weather Summary
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What Do You Mean It Was Warm??!!

Saint Cloud Weather Summary for November 2008 and Fall 2008

    The second half of November was consistently cold, often cloudy, and featured wind chills in the single digits. Yet, statistics don't lie: St. Cloud's November average temperature ended up more than three degrees warmer than normal. According to the St. Cloud Regional Airport statistics, the mean temperature was 31.9°F, 3.1°F warmer than normal. While this November was slightly colder than last November, it continued our recent streak of being warmer than normal during seven out of the past 8 Novembers.

    If it's been so cold, how did we end up warmer than normal? Blame it on the long-forgotten first week of the month, which featured 5 highs above 60 degrees. The average temperature for that week was 51.1°F (high: 61.8°F; low 40.4°F), more typical of the first week of October than November. On November 5, a new November record warm low (58°F) was set and the record average November temperature (61°F) was tied. In all, four record temperatures were tied or broken in that first week, including several southern Minnesota records on November 3. The warm weather was created by persistent steering winds from the southwest into or to the north of Minnesota (see 500 mb chart from NWS HPC Daily Weather Map on Nov. 4)

    After that week, however, the main steering wind pattern changed drastically to a northwest flow pattern (see 500 mb chart from NWS HPC Daily Weather Map on Nov. 21), which steered a series of cold air masses from the Canadian Northwest Territories and Nunavut into the Northern Plains. From November 8 on, St. Cloud's average temperature was 26.1°F (high: 33.6°F; low 18.6°F), 2.7°F colder than normal. High temperatures only topped 40 degrees on 4 of the last 23 days, and never reached 40 between November 15 and November 26. High temperatures didn't even reach 30 degrees on 4 days and low temperatures stayed dropped to the single digits above zero twice, including a low of 3°F on November 21, the coldest low since March 10, our last sub-zero low of last winter. On the day that the cold air swept in, there were very strong winds not associated with rainfall. Winds gusted to 63 MPH in Goodhue and 46 MPH in St. Cloud.

    November precipitation shadowed the Jekyll and Hyde temperature pattern. St. Cloud's November precipitation totalled 0.93 inch, 0.61 inch below normal. Nearly all of the precipitation fell in the warm weather pattern of the first week since the southwest steering winds allowed Gulf of Mexico moisture to get involved in a strong storm on November 6 and 7. About 86% of the total precipitation (0.80 inch out of 0.93 inch) fell during the first week of the month, including 0.63 inch in thunderstorms on November 6. That rain broke the daily record rainfall for November 6. Once the cold weather pattern hit, very little precipitation fell. We did pick up .12 inch of liquid (0.9 inch of snow) on November 11-12, but most of the storm systems had very little moisture, so they went through dry. In fact, there has been no measurable precipitation (0.4 inch of snow) at the St. Cloud Airport since November 16. Still, this November was much wetter than last November (0.01 inch of precipitation, tied for the third driest November on record). Most of the fast-moving storm systems produced little lasting snow, but November did produce 1.3 inches of total snowfall, 7.5 inches less than normal.

    The early month rain again eased the persistent dry conditions in central Minnesota. However, the Minnesota State Climatology Office November 13 report on Minnesota's dry second half of the growing season still showed moderate drought conditions from the Twin Cities Metro through Faribault and southeastern Minnesota. From Clearwater and Clear Lake south and eastward, the rainfall deficit since mid-July was generally 5 inches or more. In extreme southeastern Minnesota, the rainfall deficit was 8-10 inches. Meanwhile, the Willmar rainfall deficit was 2-3 inches, and Stearns, Benton, Morrison, and Mille Lacs Counties had rainfall within 2 inches of normal with above normal rainfall near Little Falls, Lake Mille Lacs, and Hinckley. In St. Cloud, the worst growing season rainfall deficit we had was 4 inches short between July 15 and September 10, but we ended up within .01 inch of normal April-November rainfall (23.60 inches actual; 23.59 inches normal). According to the USGS WaterWatch, streamflow through most of central Minnesota is within the normal range of variation with Royalton's flow actually well above normal.

For the entire fall (Sept 1-Nov 30), St. Cloud ended up warmer than normal (46.1°F average; 43.8°F normal), but not nearly as warm as last fall's 47.7°F, the 11th warmest fall in St. Cloud records. A wet September into October produced 6.88 inches for the entire fall, .17 inch above normal.

    The current steering wind pattern continues the trend of flow from central Canada into the central US, so we will continue the cold and dry weather for much of this week. However, the lack of snow cover does limit (by about 5-10 degrees) how cold we can get, so I doubt that we will be setting any records.

    November 2008 Statistics
Fall (September 1-November 30) 2008 Statistics

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All climate data provided courtesy of NOAA/NWS
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and Minnesota Climatology Working Group, including the Minnesota State Climatologist's Office, University of Minnesota-Saint Paul Campus.

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Last updated: Tuesday, December 2, 2008 11:16 AM
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