Autumn moisture recharge; Red River of the North on the rise

Once crops are in and our gardens have been shut down for the season, precipitation can be a welcome sight.  Storage of rainfall before the soil freezes helps stablize the water table, but can also set the stage for a spring snow melt flood.

Rainfall Monday and Monday night.

Heavy rain in the headwaters of the Red River, which flows north into Canada, has pushed the river to near flood stage already in Wahpeton,  N.D. The Red is forecast to crest around 11 feet on Thursday, about a foot above minor flood stage, according to the National Weather Service flood warning.

Rises on the Red are expected to continue upstream to Fargo, N.D., where the National Weather Service has posted a flood watch.

Observed river stage and forecast for the Red River in Fargo (Image: NWS)

Fields are likely to remain a little muddy for  pheasant hunting, opening this weekend in South Dakota.

Rainfall in central and southern Minnesota was on the order of an inch and a half to close to two inches at many locations.  In the Twin Cities, a number of locations tallied more than an inch and a half from Monday night through Tuesday night.

This radar estimate of rainfall indicates how the accumulation tailed off just off in southeast Minnesota and west central Wisconsin. (Source: NWS/

Skies are expected to brighten today, but temperatures are likely to remain on the cool side.  The remainder of the week is forecast to bring below normal temperatures.  For the first half of October, temperatures have been running over five degrees above normal in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Overnight minimum temperatures have yet to fall much below 40 degrees in the immediate Metro. The coldest reading so far at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport this season has been 39 degrees.

The National Weather Service in the Twin Cities announced that there is no need to issue frost warnings in our neck of the woods since we are already so deep into autumn and the growing season has come to an end.

If you have put off outdoor chores, you’ll be dealing with chilly temperatures this weekend.

Some of my associates are still looking to get some house painting completed.  I’d like to put another coat of stain on my observation deck floor before it’s covered with snow.

Temperatures trending down heading into the weekend. Note issue time was Tuesday night. (Image: NWS Twin Cities)

Snow is not entirely unusual as we head into later October. Here’s a reminder from mid October 2009 from Eden Prairie, Minn., of how a coating of snowflakes can mask the autumn colors.

On October 12, 2009, 2.5 inches of snow fell at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport. (Image: Craig Edwards)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a cooler than normal period right on through the next couple of weeks.  Too early for me to make a prediction for Halloween!

Temperature outlook from NOAA. Odds favoring a cooler than normal period through Oct. 29.