Season’s First Flakes! Mild November returns; Brown Thanksgiving?

Trace of snowfall at MSP Airport Wednesday evening!

November 9th – First flakes of 2011 at MSP

October 26th – average date of first trace of snow at MSP

September 21st – First trace of snow in fall of 2010

November 18th – Average date for 1st 1″ snowfall at MSP

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MSP doppler radar loop shows snow showers sailing through metro Thursday morning.

First Flakes: Later than usual this fall

Flakes finally flew in the metro and much of southern Minnesota Wednesday evening. The wintery preview came about 2 weeks later than average this season.

It’s interesting to chart the first 1″ of snowfall in the Twin Cities. The average date of the first inch is November 18th. But if you really look at the numbers it’s clear the first 1″ of snowfall varies dramatically from year to year, and has occurred as late as January 21st just a few years ago!

Latest 1 inch snowfall (season) (From 1891-2005)


1.) Jan 21 2005 (04-05)

2.) Jan 9, 1945 (44-45)

3.) Jan 6, 1981 (80-81)

4.) Jan 1, 1914 (13-14)

5.) Dec 30, 1918 (18-19)

6.) Dec 26, 1904 (04-05)

7.) Dec 21, 1920 (20-21)

8.) Dec 20, 1998 (98-99)

9.) Dec 19, 1939 (39-40)

10.) Dec 16, 1908 (07-08)

*Source: MN Climate Working Group

Looking at the past 20 years, the first 1″ of snowfall at MSP has occurred in December or January 5 of 20 years, or about 25% of the time! So, it’s really not that unusual to see the first 1″ of snow so late in the season.

Mild November returns:

It definitely feels like November in the air today, but the Novemberrrrr chill won’t last.

Milder breezes will kick in as soon as Friday, and 50s will return to Minnesota by Saturday, with a shot at 60 in the south by Saturday!

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Reluctant Winter of 2011-’12?

It’s too early to say this winter will be mild, and you may recall I’m forecasting a mostly average winter in spite of the many below average temperature forecasts flying around out there this year.

So far this November temperatures are running +4.7 degrees at MSP Airport.

At this point the CPC’s forecast of a milder than average November for the Upper Midwest is looking good!

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Looking at the medium range forecast maps for the next 10 days or so, I expect milder than average temps overall. We’ll see some cool punches form Canada like today, but the cold will have a tough time sticking around given the relative lack of snow cover in Canada and Minnesota.

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As of today I also do not see any big snowstorms yet for Minnesota looking out to the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Is it possible we’ll have a “Brown Thanksgiving” this year? It’s too early to be definitive, but at this point I’d say the chances of little or no snow cover by Thanksgiving are higher that 50%!

Stay tuned!


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