1st December 55F in 11 years; “Average Front” Tuesday; Weekend snow trending south?

55F high temp at MSP Airport Monday

55F average high temp for October 22nd

11 years since we’ve hit 55F in the metro (December 5th 2001 62F)

+24F vs. average Monday at MSP

+16F vs. average so far in December in the metro

“Average Front” blows in – “cold” front returns temps to near average

December “thaw” Soils literally “thawed out” with mild temps the past few days

21 days until Christmas

Trending south? Latest model runs trending weekend snow system’s heavy snows south toward Madison & Chicago.

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21 day until Christmas?? How did that happen? What month is this again?

Some Minnesotans I talk to over the weekend are still stunned that it’s actually December. If your seasonal compass is a little off, you’re in good company.

The first 3 days of December this year felt more like October. In fact, Monday’s high of 55 degrees as the average high for….October 22nd…or April 10th. Take your pick.

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Image: University of Illinois

So far we’re running about +16F vs. average temps at MSP for the first 3 days of December. That’s not just “unseasonably warm”…that’s like living in a whole different month.

MN Climate Working Group’s Greg Spoden sends along this news on just how rare our December 55F temp is for the metro.

Today’s maximum temperature in the Twin Cities will reach at least 55 degrees F. Attaining a temperature of 55 degrees or greater during December is rare for the Twin Cities, occurring on only 20 December dates since the modern temperature record began in 1872 (141 years of record).

Twin Cities December dates where maximum temperature greater than or equal to 55 degrees F

date max temp (degrees F)

12/21/1873 56

12/23/1888 58

12/11/1913 56

12/04/1916 55

12/18/1923 55

12/06/1939 63

12/09/1939 58

12/16/1939 58

12/04/1941 56

12/03/1948 56

12/03/1951 57

12/01/1962 57

12/02/1962 55

12/03/1962 62

12/02/1982 63

12/01/1998 68

12/02/1998 58

12/03/1998 59

12/14/1998 55

12/05/2001 63

The normal maximum temperature for today’s date is 31 degrees F. The record is 62 degrees F, set in 1962.

Indian Summer in December? What a concept.

Let’s review.

  1. 55F on Monday December 3rd
  2. 1st december 590s in 11 years
  3. +24F vs. average Monday
  4. +16F vs. average so far for December
  5. 47F soils temp at 2″ in Waseca Monday
  6. Open water on most metro areas lakes as of December 3rd


“Average Front” blows in:

It seems even our cold fronts this year are just “average fronts” that return our temps to near average levels after periods of unseasonable warmth.

The cooler air will be with us for most of this week. Temps should stay in the 30s for highs, with the exception of Thursday when November-like 40s will make another push.

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As the warmer air pushes back in, some mixed precip may fall Wednesday night into Thursday. It may be mostly warm enough for just plain rain…but temps may be marginally cold enough to produce some freezing drizzle.

Weekend storm trending south?

Monday’s model runs showed a distinct trend toward pushing our potential weekend snow system south.

The latest runs push the bulk of heavy snow with the system toward Madison & Chicago.

At this point the GFS & Euro suggest only lighter snow Friday & this weekend for the metro and southern Minnesota.

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Image: ISU

The models may still flop around some on this one during the week. Expect more changes in the potential storm track and…stay tuned.


  • Chris B. Critter

    In an e-mail exchange I had with Mark Seeley yesterday, he said that our hourly report of a dewpoint of 54 °F sets the record for December dewpoint (previous record was 52 °F). It was also only the fourth time on record that we’ve had a 50s dewpoint in December.