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The magic starts to fade

“November always seemed to me the Norway of the year,” wrote Emily Dickinson, who apparently equated Norway and shivering. Thomas Hood was even less kind to the month:

“No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,

“No comfortable feel in any member –

“No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,

“No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds –


My hunch is that both Emily and Tom were optimists. November can be nothing short of grim: gray, cold, blustery, talk of rain early in the month mutating into snow-babble around Thanksgiving as Canada stabs increasingly numbing airmasses south of the border. We pick up an average of 8-10″ of snow this month (on average), making November the third snowiest month of the year. Yes, really! September is hypnotizing, October a cool slap across the face. November can be a punch to the nether regions, a subtle yet blunt reminder that winter is not only imminent – it’s here.

That’s what makes the last 10 days especially remarkable: unusually sunny, mild – quiet, almost as if Mother Nature is showing true remorse for one of the wettest, coolest Octobers in modern-day records. You’ll still see the sun today, cloaked behind a thickening veil of cirrus and altostratus (mid-level) clouds streaming in from the Dakotas. Even so the mercury should reach the mid 50s, a good 10-15 degrees warmer than average. You’ll notice a stiff wind kicking in by Thursday, an approaching cold front squeezing out .25 to .50″ of rain by late Friday.

Where’s the Snow? The latest snow cover map, courtesy of NOAA. There’s still ample snow over the highest terrain of the Rockies, but note the nearly total absence of snow on the ground east of Denver. Parts of the Great Lakes and interior New England should have a few inches of snow on the ground by mid November. Not this year.
A Forgettable October. According to the weather gurus at NOAA October was the wettest and the third coolest on record. For Minnesota it was the 5th coldest, in Oklahoma it was the coldest October in modern-day records. Only Florida was warmer than average. For more fun weather statistics that will make you the center of attention at your next party click here.

The sun peeks through Saturday (temperatures much closer to average – we’ll all be rummaging around for heavy jackets) and the approach of a trough of low pressure could spark a little wet snow Saturday night; a coating or dusting of slushy snow isn’t out of the question Saturday night, but right now I can’t get too excited about amounts. We start to warm up again Sunday (the odds of a major rain storm late Sunday into Monday have diminished dramatically in the last 24 hours). A warming trend is expected the first half of next week, more 50s likely (although 60 may be a bit of a stretch). There’s little doubt we’ll finish the first half of November with temperatures 6-8 degrees above average. Colder air is brewing for Thanksgiving week, although I still don’t see any awe-inducing arctic fronts in our future, looking out 10-15 days. The last few days have been an atmospheric gift from on high, a reminder of how stunning November can be in Minnesota, the exception, not the norm. The trend is for Minnesota winters to be shrinking, fewer days with heavy snow (or snow on the ground). Doubt that? Ask any snowmobiler, cross country skier (or kid). Snow days have been rare in recent decades. El Nino SHOULD leave us with a slightly milder, slightly drier winter – at least on paper. Reality may not be so kind, but the last 10 days have been a pleasant intermission. The tumble into the depths of winter isn’t a straight downward line – make the most of this “lack of weather”!

Slow Temperature Tumble. Daytime highs should reach the mid 50s today and tomorrow, then drop into the 40s by the weekend, the atmosphere marginally cold enough for a few snow showers or flurries Saturday night.

Almanac. Tuesday’s high at MSP: 61. Rainfall for November: .09″ Snowfall: 0″ Temperatures running 7.1 degrees warmer than average.

Paul’s Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: Dim sun through increasing clouds, windier. Winds: South 15-25. High: 56

Tonight: Mostly cloudy. Low: 41

Thursday: Mostly cloudy, chance of a little drizzle, especially north of town. High: 55

Friday: Periods of rain, wettest day of the week. High: near 50

Saturday: More clouds than sun, chilly. High: 50 (slight chance of a little wet snow Saturday night).

Sunday: Partly sunny, breezy, a bit milder. High: 51

Monday: Intervals of sun, pleasant. High: 53

Tuesday: Plenty of sun, still above average. High: 54

Wednesday: Increasing clouds, cooler. High: 51

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