For the first time in 16 months October’s average high temperature was clearly below average.
The average high for the month according to weather.com is 59 degrees F. For the month just ended, the average high temperature for St. James was 56.29 degrees F. That’s about 2.7 degrees below normal.
August broke a long stretch of above normal months, but that was only fractionally lower - three hundredths of a degree lower.
October was a decisive break in the string of months with above average temps.
There were no 80 degree days and there were some down right chilly days, even at the beginning of the month.
The highs on the 4th and the 5th of the month were in the 40s, which is very cold for that early in the month. The first night in the teens was on the 7th when the temp fell to 19. The coldest night of the month was the 12th, when the temperature fell to 18.
It’s hard to determine, whether the pattern is changing so that we are now likely to experience normal or even below normal temperatures. The National Weather Service has issued a 90 day forecast for November through January that says we have an equal chance of having above or below normal temperatures.
One of the climate features that turned Hurricane Sandy into the east coast was the presence of a large, blocking high pressure system over Greenland.
This large, blocking high pressure may be a feature of climate change and global warming. The warming Arctic may lead to this pressure system developing more frequently.
In years when this happens, and it appears to be strongest in the fall and the winter, it is more likely the jet stream will be forced down across the upper Midwest.
That would probably mean cold to very cold winters for Minnesota. This Greenland blocking high was in place two winters ago when we had a cold, snowy, miserable winter.
The Weather Service 90 day forecast for precipitation is that there is at least a 40 percent probability that we will experience drier than normal conditions. Meaning the drought will continue.
Some parts of the county experienced an inch or more of rain on the 24th, but October ended up being another month of below normal rainfall. The average for the month is 2.17 inches of precipitation and we received only 1.40 inches of precipitation.
The only month this year with above normal precipitation was May, which was a month that had far above normal rainfall. The rainfall every other month has been way below average. This dry spell stretches back to the middle of 2011.
Page 2 of 2 - The soil is going to need to be recharged either this fall, or with a heavy snow cover if the drought is going to be broken.
The ten day forecast calls for chilly temperatures and has only small chances of precipitation.