Major USA aurora outbreak! October reality check

Major USA Aurora Monday night!

A major aurora episode dazzled viewers in the USA Monday night all the way south to Arkansas. Clouds over most of Minnesota prevented our view. Check out some of the amazing images below.

The display may have been the best in 11 years according to

“AURORAS IN THE USA: A coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth on Oct. 24th at approximately 1800 UT (2:00 pm EDT). The impact strongly compressed Earth’s magnetic field, directly exposing geosynchronous satellites to solar wind plasma, and sparked an intense geomagnetic storm. As night fell over North America, auroras spilled across the Canadian border into the contiguous United States.

“Wow, wow, wow! These were the best Northern Lights I’ve seen since 2004,” says Shawn Malone, who took this picture from the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan.”

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Photo by: Randy Halverson

Oct. 24, 2011

Location: Cross Plains, WI


“On 10-24-2011 the forecast was for storm level Aurora displays. My son and I went out that night west of Madison, WI to shoot some timelapse and take stills of them. At one point they were so bright they lit up the ground, it will be hard to edit the timelapse because they were almost over exposed at that point. Many more pics on my site.”

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Photo by: Brian Emfinger

Oct. 24, 2011

Location: Ozark, Arkansas, USA


“Unbelievable! Thank you Spaceweather! I just happened to click on your site and saw the alert… I ran out and put my camera out and immediately saw reddish aurora. I ran out into the field and within a few minutes the Aurora went crazy! …. and this from near Ozark, ARKANSAS!!!! Canon T1i”

I personally saw a faint aurora dirctly overhead outside the weather lab around 9pm Monday evening through some breaks in the clouds. Unfortunately, thickening clouds shielded most of Minnesota from seeing what looks like the most dazzling display in years. Bummer!

Here are the details and photos from

Mild “Sep-Tober” Monday:

62 degrees– high temperature Monday at MSP Airport!

54 degrees – average high for October 24th

+ 8.3 degrees vs. average so far this October at MSP Airport

8th warmest October on record in 2011?

(weather lab estimate with 1 week to go)

33 tornadoes reported in Minnesota in 2011 (Complete list here from Twin Cities NWS)

114 tornaodes in Minnesota in 2010 (all time state record)

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Indian Summer 60s nosed into southern Minnesota Monday. Summer like 70s and 80s poised to the south in Iowa and Kansas!

Cooler front Tuesday:

A cooler front will blow into Minnesota Tuesday. Breezy low pressure is gathering and passing through Iowa. You’ll feel the cooler east-northeast winds Tuesday gusting over 20 mph at times.

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Spotty showers may dot your windshield Tuesday, but this system is a bit moisture starved and rainfall totals should be mostly light.

Wednesday – Saturday: “Seasonably cool & frosty!”

A drier colder Canadian air mass will push into Minnesota by Wednesday. Look for sunny skies, cool days and chilly nights Wednesday into Saturday.

The GFS is hinting at the potential for some light um…..(gulp) light snow Friday morning around eastern Minnesota and possibly the metro. It’s early, but I can’t rule out a few snow flakes in the air Friday morning as an upper air disturbance slides through.

It’s been at least 6 months since I had to pull out this graph!

(Click for an image you can actually read!)

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Highs should be in the upper 40s to near 50 late this week. Lows will tumble into the lower 30s with frost likely each morning.

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Indian Summer Halloween Ahead?

A warming trend will kick in Sunday and Monday. Right now Halloween looks mild. Mostly sunny skies and southwest winds could boost temps into the upper 50s to near 60 degrees by the time the trick or treaters get rolling around 6pm Monday evening!

60s to open November?

Next week (the first week of November) looks mild.

Milder air will spill into the upper Midwest as a lazy ridge of high pressure amplifies over the central USA next week. If the pattern verifies as portrayed by the GFS modle, temps may push 60 degrees again next Tuesday – Thursday November 1st – 3rd.

Southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities may see a nice dry mild stretch of 4-5 days near or at 60 degrees. With an average high at MSP of just 49 by next week, that would put temps as much as 11 degrees above average…definitely Indian Summer!

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After that the models are murkier, and all bets for mild weather are off. The chances for early winter like cold and snow increase dramatically by mid November. Right now though it appears we’ll see some brief cold air intrusions, followed by milder air again…possibly sunshine, dry skies and 50s for the weekend of November 5th?

There’s still a window to get those leaves up and those last outdoor projects done….but that window is closing a little more each day!


  • Disco

    Only one MN tornado in June and NONE in August!

  • Chris

    Any predictions for continuing over the next couple days…granted clouds might be an issue tonight and tomorrow.