Duluth saw its second-warmest November on record and its third-warmest fall, continuing a warm trend that has blanketed the Northland for months.
The National Weather Service in Duluth reported November finished with a preliminary average temperature of 40.3 degrees, just behind 40.6 in 1899 and just ahead of 39.5 degrees in 2001.
Meteorological fall — September, October, November — averaged 49.3 degrees, just behind 49.8 in 1963 and 49.5 in 1931. Some 79 of those 91 days saw above-normal temperatures.
November saw two days that hit 70 degrees and three individual daily record highs.
That also continues a trend for this century, with four of the top five warmest Duluth Novembers on record occurring since 2000. Accurate weather records in Duluth go back 142 years.
“Other than a few days it’s been consistently warm month after month,” said Steve Gohde, observation program leader for the National Weather Service in Duluth.
Brainerd also had its second-warmest November on record at 40.3 degrees, Gohde noted, and International Falls hit 37.4 degrees for the month, the warmest November on record, beating out 36.9 degrees in 2001.
An unusually warm week that has brought rain instead of snow across the Northland has melted away nearly all the snow that fell earlier in the month. Even areas that saw nearly two feet of snow on Nov. 18 are down to just a few inches remaining, Gohde said. Duluth had six inches on the ground a week ago and now has none.
“It’s been more like spring with rain on top of snow,” Gohde noted. “The snowmobilers can’t be happy watching it all melt away.”
The warm weather has meant ski areas are unable to make snow, and most won’t be able to open this weekend as planned. Snowmobile trails that were set to open Thursday in Minnesota also are mostly impassable and unsafe. Most lakes and rivers remain open, and even some ponds and creeks that had frozen have reopened.
The Weather Service is forecasting a slight cooldown but still above-normal temperatures for the next week.
The next big weathermaker could be a snowstorm by midweek next week, followed by a cold snap by about Dec. 9 or 10. That change could be enough to jump start some winter activities.
April was the only month in 2016 below normal for temperatures so far, and there hasn’t been an unusually cold period in Duluth since February 2015. Globally, scientists say 2016 will be the warmest on record, just beating out 2015.
Written by John Myers for the Duluth News Tribune