<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> October 2006 Saint Cloud Weather Summary
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October Deep Freeze? How Soon We Forget....

October 2006 Saint Cloud Weather Summary

    What will be so unusual about the weather we're about to get is that we have suffered through more than two weeks of cold weather. The average Saint Cloud October temperature was 43.0°F, 2.3°F below normal. The list of Saint Cloud's ten coldest Octobers show that we aren't even close to October 2002, the most recent year that October was as cold or colder.

    However, the daily October temperature/rainfall table from the NWS Twin Cities office shows that this October's statistics have been thrown off by the very warm (and hard to remember) first 8 days of the month. The October 1-8 average temperature was 58.1°F (avg. high 72.3°F; avg. low 43.8°F).We had three days with highs in the 80's and no day cooler than 63 degrees. On October 7th, the 83°F high missed record warm high by 3 degrees and the 56°F low missed the record warm low temperature by 1 degree. However, the 70°F average temperature did set the only record temperature in October. In contrast, high temperatures only broke 60 degrees twice after the 8th. Instead, there were 8 days when the high temperature stayed below 50 degrees 13 of the remaining 23 days of the month. That included a solid week (October 18-24) when the high never topped 45 degrees. The October 9-31 average temperature was only 37.8°F (avg. high 47.4°F; avg. low 28.2°F). If these readings had been maintained for the entire month, October 2006 would have ranked as the second coldest October in Saint Cloud records. Instead, this October ranked as the 16th coldest October out of the 126 Octobers in Saint Cloud records.

    The sudden change from very warm to colder than normal weather for the bulk of October was the result of a persistent high pressure system over western Canada. This high forced our steering wind direction to move strong storms from central Canada into the north central US, the Great Lakes, and the Northeast. These storm system also tended to stall out as they dropped into the US, usually keeping us cloudy and windy, but also keeping the cold air over us. Believe it or not, the cold weather was not as bad as it could be since windy and cloudy conditions tend to keep low temperatures milder than they would have been.

    At this point, it's hard to tell whether the cold weather pattern will continue into November since the high pressure area on the Pacific Coast has temporarily weakened and the computers cannot agree on what the new steering pattern will be next week. Yes, I know that the long-range winter forecasts are all for a milder than normal winter, but that forecast depends on El Nino, an abnormal current of warm water in the eastern tropical Pacific. However, the relationship between El Nino and milder winters tend to hold for relatively strong El Nino events. This year's El Nino is a weak one so far.

    After the wet period from late August through September, October 2006 returned to the very dry conditions that plagued central Minnesota through the summer. The total October rainfall in Saint Cloud was 1.14 inches, 1.10 inches below normal. The last 13 days of the month were dry, punctuated only by a few snow flurries in central Minnesota. The October rainfall brought the total growing season rainfall (April 1 - October 31) to 20.47 inches, about an inch and a half short of the normal growing season rainfall of 22.07 inches. The dry October weather was a bit disappointing to thirsty water tables, since October and November rain are the most efficient for raising ground water, lake, and river levels since water usage drops drastically as vegetation ends its growing season. The weekly drought update from the Minnesota State Climatology Office shows that extreme drought conditions continue in north central and northeastern Minnesota. This is the main reason that river levels along the northern Mississippi River and its tributaries and those rivers feeding into Lake Superior continue to have very low streamflow.

     While the first frost of the season occurred in September, the first hard freeze of the season took place in October. The first 28 degrees or colder low took place on October 10. The first 24-degree low in Saint Cloud was on October 14. The average date of the first 24-degree low in Saint Cloud is October 10 (growing season averages can be found here).You can check the Minnesota median first/last frost dates from the Minnesota State Climatology Office.

 

    October 2006 Statistics



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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: 1-November-2006
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