The Winter Outlook? Partly to Mostly with a Chance
By Paul Douglas
I remain defiantly confident in my long-range winter outlook for Minnesota. "Turning colder, with some snow." Take it to the bank. Anyone who offers up specifics on what will happen months from now has been standing much too close to the Doppler. The science hasn't advanced to the point where we can issue a granular 2-4 month forecast. Broad hand-waving trends? Yes.
NOAA's official winter outlook for December through February predicts warmer than average for most of the western, southern and eastern USA. Minnesota temperatures may go either way. Snowfall is forecast to be above average from Montana to Michigan, so once again we may be giving thanks for all-wheel drive.
If all goes well (the sun visible most of the day) low 60s will feel like a September Siesta today. This weekend should be better than average, with clearing skies Saturday, and the next rain storm holding off until Sunday night into Monday.
A colder storm next Thursday may slush up northern/western Minnesota. Snow in October? I'm shocked!


Extended Twin Cities Forecast

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, windy. Wake up 44. High 63. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind SE 15-30 mph.
SATURDAY: Intervals of sun, probably dry. Wake up 50. High 61. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind W 7-12 mph.
SUNDAY: Fading sun, rain arrives at night. Wake up 47. High 59. Chance of precipitation 60%. Wind SE 10-15 mph.
MONDAY: Periods of rain, turning colder. Wake up 48. High 53. Chance of precipitation 90%. Wind NW 15-25 mph.
TUESDAY: Shower taper early. Gusty winds. Wake up 38. High 48. Chance of precipitation 30%. Wind NW 10-20 mph.
WEDNESDAY: Cloudy and damp. Wake up 39. High 53. Chance of precipitation 30%. Wind S 5-10 mph.
THURSDAY: Metro showers, slushy snow up north? Wake up 42. High 46. Chance of precipitation 60%. Wind NW 15-25 mph.


Fall Colors Reaching Past Peak

Fall color season is quickly reaching an end across the state, with many areas as of the latest update from the Minnesota DNR reporting colors near or past peak. In some areas, the leaves are raining down from the trees, especially with stronger wind gusts. Not the best of news if you were trying to go hunt down some fall colors over the extended MEA weekend, but there is still some color to be found out there! Get the latest information from the Minnesota DNR by clicking here.


Precipitation Update

Wouldn't you know it, but October has kept the wet weather streak alive so far across much of the state, with a good 2-4" of rain falling at the area climate sites, all of which are above average through the 16th. The area of the state that has received the least rain so far has been out in western Minnesota as well as parts of the Arrowhead. In the Twin Cities, the 2.77" of rain that has fallen through the 16th is the 19th wettest start to the month on record, and if we saw no more rain this month would be the 38th wettest on record.

And pretty much the entire upper Midwest conditions to be above average for the year so far in the precipitation department, with 37.78" of rain so far at MSP airport. That makes this the second wettest start to the year on record - behind only 2002 when 37.92" of rain had fallen. If we didn't see any additional rain, it would already be the eighth wettest year on record, and we don't need too much more for it to be the wettest (40.32" in 2016).


Windy October

Hear that? It's the swoosh of strong winds blowing through the region again on Friday - not like we haven't already heard enough of that so far this month. Through the first 16 days of the month (through Wednesday) we have had a wind gust of at least 30 mph on 12 of the days - and wind gusts of at least 40 mph on four of those days. The peak wind gust so far this month was 48 mph, which was reached at 2:01 AM this past Saturday (the 12th). According to the 30-year averages, October is the windiest Autumn month on record with an average wind speed of 10 mph, but it is only the fourth windiest month on average out of the full year.


This Day in Weather History
October 18th

1950: Record high temperatures are set across the area as highs reached the mid to upper 80s. Minneapolis and Farmington saw highs of 87 degrees Fahrenheit, while Albert Lea reached 86 degrees.

1916: A blizzard impacts Minnesota. A sharp temperature drop begins as well; Hallock drops from the 60s to 2 above by the 20th.


Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
October 18th

Average High: 57F (Record: 87F set in 1950)
Average Low: 39F (Record: 18F set in 1972)
Average Precipitation: 0.09" (Record: 1.05" set in 1979)
Average Snowfall: 0.0" (Record: 1.3" set in 1976)


Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis

October 18th

Sunrise: 7:32 AM
Sunset: 6:23 PM

*Length Of Day: 10 hours, 50 minutes and 55 seconds
*Daylight LOST Since Yesterday: ~3 minute and 0 seconds
*When Do We Drop Below 10.5 Hours Of Daylight? October 26th (10 hours, 27 minutes, and 17 seconds)

*Latest Sunrise Before Daylight Time Ends: November 2nd (7:52 AM)
*Next Sunset At/Before 6:00 PM: November 2nd (6:00 PM)


Minnesota Weather Outlook

Expect a mix of sun and clouds for Friday across Minnesota, with highs ranging from the 50s up north to almost touching 70s in far southwestern portions of the state. A few showers might traverse the state, particularly during the evening and overnight hours, as a weak cold front moves through.

Highs on Friday will be up to 10F above average across most of the state. The exception will be up toward Grand Marais, where they will just be around average. The average high for October 18th in the Twin Cities is 57F.

Winds will be strong across the state on Friday, with some areas (including the Twin Cities) potentially seeing wind gusts of 30+ mph, continuing to add to the number of windy days that we have observed.

Highs this MEA weekend will be about 5F above average, with sunnier conditions expected Saturday versus Sunday. While Saturday morning could feature a few showers hanging around, expect most of the day to be dry. Clouds thicken up Sunday ahead of a system which will bring rain chances in Sunday Night into Monday.

After the weekend, though, the temperatures start to drop with and behind that next system. By Tuesday, highs may only be in the 40s, about 6F degrees below average.

Enjoy the warmer weather the next few days, as the extended forecast shows that cooler weather that moves in early next week sticking around for the foreseeable future. There might be a chance that we could see highs approach 60F during the last weekend of the month, however, chances could be slim of that occurring at the moment.

Besides the shower chance Friday Night into early Saturday in the Twin Cities, we will remain dry through the MEA weekend with the next chance of rain moving in Sunday Night into Monday. Some of that rain could be heavy, with the potential of over an inch of precipitation early next week.


National Weather Forecast

On Friday, the area of low pressure responsible for heavy rain and hurricane-force winds across the Northeast will be winding down across portions of Canada but still producing some rain and higher elevation snow across New England, particularly early in the day. What will be "Nestor" will be in the Gulf of Mexico, already bringing some rain to the northern Gulf Coast (more on this system below). A frontal system moving through the central U.S. will bring some scattered showers and storms with it from the Upper Midwest into far northern Texas. Meanwhile, rain and snow will be possible from the Pacific Northwest into the Northern Rockies.

Areas of heavy rain will be possible in the Northwest (where 1-2" will be possible for areas like Seattle and Portland) and along the Gulf Coast with "Nestor." Some snow will fall from the Cascades into the central Rockies, with the heaviest expected across the Cascades.

Here's a closer look at the expected precipitation totals in the Northwest with a good 1-2" possible for areas like Seattle and Portland.

The good news is that they could use the rain, as they are running a good 2-4" below average for 2019 so far.


Praedictix Corporate Weather Briefing: Thursday, October 17th, 2019

  • A strong coastal system has been causing hurricane-force wind gusts, heavy rain, and power outages across portions of the Northeast over the past several hours. High Wind Warnings have been issued through later today across portions of the region – including New York City – as wind gusts up to 60 mph will continue to be possible.
  • Potential Tropical Cyclone Sixteen has been named in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and is likely to become a tropical storm (named “Nestor”) later today or tonight. It will quickly move to the northeast as we head toward the end of the week, making landfall along the Florida Panhandle Friday Night with winds around 50 mph. Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings, as well as Storm Surge Watches, have been issued across portions of the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida.

Strong Autumn System In The Northeast. A coastal system has been rapidly intensifying through the overnight hours into Thursday morning across southern New England, causing very heavy rain and hurricane-force wind gusts. Mt. Washington had a wind gust of 128 mph this morning, with a wind gust of 90 mph reported in Provincetown, MA. This also produced a wind gust of 70 mph overnight at Boston Logan airport, as well as a 70 mph gust at Bar Harbor, ME. These winds have also produced numerous power outages across New England, with almost 222,000 without power in Maine and ~219,000 without power in Massachusetts as of 10:20 AM ET according to

High Wind Warnings In Place. This system will continue to produce high winds across portions of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast today, with numerous Wind Advisories and High Wind Warnings in place. Some of the High Wind Warnings include:

  • Georgetown, DE, and Atlantic City, NJ: In place through 6 PM tonight for wind gusts to 60 mph.
  • New York City metro and southern Connecticut: In place through 6 PM for wind gusts to 60 mph.
  • Hyannis and Nantucket, MA: In place through 6 PM for wind gusts to 60 mph.
  • Bar Harbor, ME: In place through Noon for wind gusts to 60 mph.

Forecast Peak Wind Gusts Today. Wind gusts of 40-60 mph will be possible from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, and Portland (ME) today as this system continues to push to the north and east, slowly starting to weaken as we go into tonight and Friday as it pushes into Canada. These strong winds will continue to produce the potential of downed trees and branches, downed power lines, and power outages.

Potential Tropical Cyclone Sixteen. An area of showers and thunderstorms in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico has been becoming better organized over the past several hours, and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) believes that this will turn into the next tropical or subtropical system later today or tonight. Due to the expected formation of this system, and to be able to get Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings issued ahead of it, the NHC has declared this area Potential Tropical Cyclone (P.T.C.) Sixteen. As of the 10 AM CT update, P.T.C. Sixteen had sustained winds of 35 mph and was moving to the north at 8 mph. The center of the system was located 140 miles east of Tampico, Mexico, or 620 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Landfall Along The Northern Gulf Coast Friday Night. P.T.C. Sixteen is expected to become a tropical storm later today or tonight (named “Nestor”) and will move mainly northeast over the next few days, with a quicker forward speed Friday into Saturday. This will bring the system toward the northern Gulf Coast Friday into Friday Night, with landfall expected Friday Night in the Florida Panhandle. This system will bring the potential of storm surge flooding, tropical storm force winds, and heavy rainfall across portions of the Gulf Coast and Southeast late this week into the weekend.

Tropical Storm Warnings. Since P.T.C. Sixteen has been named, it allows the NHC and other National Weather Service offices to issue Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings ahead of the system. Tropical Storm Warnings have been issued from Mississippi/Alabama border to the Ochlockonee River, FL, and from Grand Isle, LA, to the Mouth of the Pearl River. Tropical Storm Watches have been issued from East of the Ochlockonee River to Yankeetown, FL. Tropical storm force conditions (winds of 39+ mph) are expected to reach the warning area by late Friday, which will make any additional preparations ahead of this system difficult to complete.

Storm Surge Watch. As future “Nestor” pushes toward the coast, there will be the threat of a dangerous surge of water inland to areas that are typically dry, especially if the surge of water coincides with high tide. The NHC has issued a Storm Surge Watch from Indian Pass, FL, to Clearwater, FL, where a dangerous storm surge inundation of up to five feet (if combined with high tide) will be possible. Here are the potential storm surge heights across the watch area:

  • Indian Pass FL to Chassahowitzka FL...3 to 5 ft
  • Chassahowitzka to Clearwater Beach FL...2 to 4 ft

Heavy Rain Potential. This system will also bring the potential of heavy rain along the Gulf Coast into portions of the Southeast through the weekend, with the potential of at least 2-4” of rain and isolated 5” amounts.

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix


Bomb Cyclone Sets Record As Strongest October Storm Ever In Boston Area

More from CBS Boston: "An intensifying coastal storm bombed out overnight and brought flooding rain and damaging winds to the area. Low pressure rapidly intensified as it moved up the coast into the northeast late Wednesday into Thursday. The storm’s central pressure plummeted 30 millibars in only 15 hours from late Wednesday morning to early Thursday morning. The definition of a ‘bomb cyclone’ is one that drops in pressure by at least 24 millibars in 24 hours or less. As this storm intensified, the central pressure dropped to a new record for lowest pressure during October in our area."

Hurricane Dorian Oil Spill Has Reached Freshwater Resources in the Bahamas

More from Earther: "Nearly 5 million gallons of oil spilled from a Bahamas facility in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. And now advocates have found evidence that the oil from the facility has made its way into nearby wetlands, pine forests, and mangroves. The Category 5 storm hit Grand Bahama and Abacos Islands last month, home to an Equinor oil facility. The company is still cleaning up the mess left behind at its South Riding Point facility in High Rock, which hugs the southern coast of Grand Bahama. Unfortunately, Equinor’s 250-people crew hasn’t been able to work quickly enough to keep oil from seeping into the environment."

Climate crisis raises risk of more Ebola outbreaks

More from CNN: "The climate crisis is going to raise the risk that Ebola will spread farther and reach areas previously unaffected by the virus, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. The study found that the climate crisis will bring a 1.75 to 3.2-fold increase in the rate at which the deadly virus spills over from animals to humans by 2070. There will be an increased risk of more devastating outbreaks in areas of Africa that haven't seen outbreaks before under all of the climate warming scenarios the researchers looked at, including if humans cut their carbon emissions significantly or only slightly. Higher temperatures and slower social and economic development would lead to greater risk."


Thanks for checking in and have a great Friday! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@dkayserwx) and like me on Facebook (Meteorologist D.J. Kayser)!

 - D.J. Kayser

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