October 2009 Saint Cloud Weather Summary

Third Wettest, Ninth Coldest, Tenth Snowiest October in St. Cloud
Saint Cloud October 2009 Weather Summary

Let's sum up the past few months: St. Cloud had its 9th coolest summer, then had August-like weather for much of September, ending up with the 11th warmest September. The rain also completely stopped, producing St. Cloud's second driest September and running the growing season rainfall deficit to nearly 5 inches. Then, the calendar turned to October and the weather pattern completely changed again.

On October 1, St. Cloud picked up 2.13 inches, more than three times the rainfall for September and nearly a whole October's worth of rainfall (2.24 inches) in a day. The two-day storm produced 2.34 inches of rain at St. Cloud Airport and over three inches of rain in Kimball, Litchfield, and New London-Spicer. By the end of October, St. Cloud had 16 days with measurable rainfall, tying October 1959 for the most October days with measurable rain, and 6.02 inches of precipitation, the third wettest October out of the 107 years of rainfall records. Only October 1971 with 6.16 inches and October 1899 with 7.94 inches had more rainfall.

The net result of all of the rain was to substantial bring the large rainfall deficits at the end of September (see DNR September Hydrologic Report ) down to just about normal. In fact, eastern Stearns County has been one of the wettest spots in the state, along with the Fargo-Moorhead area. The St. Cloud Regional Airport's growing season deficit has dropped from nearly 5 inches at the end of September to about an inch behind at the end of October (actual: 20.92 inches, normal: 22.05 inches). Foley, Milaca, Santiago, and Glendorado, who have had a larger moisture deficit than St. Cloud, have now climbed within three inches of normal.

Rainfall after plants have matured and leaves have dropped is the most efficient at recharging ground water, according to University of Minnesota researcher Don Baker. As much as 50% of the rainfall can go into replenishing ground water.

The driest conditions in the state have now moved from the Twin Cities-Taylors Falls area (still 4-6 inches behind) to north central Minnesota (several regions 7-9 inches behind). This area is shown in the moderate drought category on the the National Drought Mitigation Center's Drought Monitor, but the Twin Cities and Taylors Falls area have improved from severe drought to the lowest stage of drought (see 12-week loop of drought rankings).

The problem with all of the wetness has been that farmers have been unable to get in the fields and harvest. Only 2 days on average between October 5 and 25 were suitable for work. The Minnesota Crop Weather Report from Oct 25 listed 41% of the state having surplus moisture. Only 6 percent of the corn crop and 44 percent of the soybeans crop have been harvested.

October was also the opposite of September (11th warmest) in temperature. The persistently cloudy, rainy weather was mostly cold and rainy as Minnesota moved into the storm track, but most storms tracked to our south. Those conditions kept St. Cloud's October 2009 average temperature to 40.9°F, 4.4°F colder than normal. That ranks as the 9th coldest October in the 129 years of St. Cloud temperature records. A cold surge immediately behind the October 1-2 rainstorm quickly produced a frost on the evening of October 8 (one day short of the St. Cloud's latest first frost) on the way down to a hard freeze with a low of 25°F on the morning of October 9 (right about the normal date of the first low of 24 or colder). There were a total of 13 days with a low of 32°F or colder, three more than normal.

The persistent cold also produced record cold highs on October 10 and 15 and record cold average temperatures on October 10 and 11.

The combination of cold and wet conditions did allow two storms to produce brief accumulations of wet snow: 0.9 inches on October 10, setting a daily record for snowfall, and 1.6 inches on October 12. The snow on October 10 was the third earliest measurable snowfall in St. Cloud records. Only September 21, 1995 (0.2 inches), and October 9, 1970 (0.4 inches), had earlier measurable snowfalls. The inch plus of snow on October 12 tied October 12, 1969 for the earliest inch and the fourth earliest snowfall in St. Cloud. 3.4 inches fell on October 12, 1969, so it's still the biggest early season snowfall in St. Cloud records. 4.2 inches were dropped on St. Paul on October 12 this year.

The two storms totalled 2.5 inches, tying October 1932 for the tenth snowiest October in St. Cloud records. However, none of these storms were able to match the snowstorm of October 20-21, 2001, when 9 inches of snow in Little Falls, 8 inches in Milaca and Mora, and 3.9 inches of snow at St. Cloud.

What's up for November? The first week of November looks to be a sped up version of the last three months, since a fast-moving but relatively dry weather pattern will alternate days with highs well into the 50's with other days with highs only in the 30's to near 40.

St. Cloud's 10 Wettest Octobers



    October 2009 Statistics

Temperatures (°F)
October 2009
Average High Temperature (°F)
Average Low Temperature (°F)
Mean Temperature for October (°F)
@Ninth Coldest October in St. Cloud Records
Temperature Thresholds
Number of Days
October 2009 Days with Low Temperature of 32°F or lower
October Temperature Extremes
Warmest High Temperature for October 2009 (°F)
October 18
Coldest High Temperature for October 2009 (°F)
34 (broke record; see below)
October 10
Warmest Low Temperature for October 2009 (°F)
October 29
Coldest Low Temperature for October 2009 (°F)
October 10,13
Record Temperatures in October 2008
Old Record
Record Cold High
October 10
39°F set in 1967
Record Cold High
October 15
40°F set in 1952
Record Cold Average
October 10
30°F set in 1987
Record Cold Average
33 (tie)
October 11
33°F set in 1959
Precipitation (in)
This Year
October 2009 Precipitation (in)
2009 Growing Season Rainfall (April 1-October 31) (in)
2009 Dry Period Rainfall (April 1 - Sept 30) Rainfall (in)
2009 Total Precipitation (in)
Precipitation Thresholds
Number of Days
October 2009 Days with Measurable (>= 0.01 inch) Precipitation
October 2009 Days with >= 0.10 inch Precipitation
October 2009 Days with >= 0.25 inch Precipitation
October 2009 Days with >= 0.50 inch Precipitation
October 2009 Days with >= 1.00 inch Precipitation

#3rd Wettest October; Wettest Since 1971
*Ties October 1959 for most October days with measurable rainfall
**Tied for Second Most October days with 0.10 inch (10 days in 1904)
***Tied for Third Most October days with 0.25 inch (7 days in 1968, 1970)

Record Precipitation in October 2009
Old Record
Record Daily Precipitation
October 21
0.80 in 1906
October Precipitation Extremes
Precipitation (in)
Most Daily Precipitation in October 2009

2.13 inch

October 1
Snowfall (in)
This Year
October 2009 Snowfall (in)
Most Daily Snowfall in October 2009
October 12
%Tied with 1932 for 10th Snowiest October  
Record Snowfall in October 2009
Snowfall (in)
Old Record
Record Daily Snowfall
October 10
Trace in 1905, 1958,1959

St. Cloud's 10 Wettest Octobers

Earliest Measurable Snowfalls - St. Cloud, MN
Snowfall (inches)
Sept. 21, 1995
0.2 inch
Oct. 9, 1970
0.4 inch
Oct. 10, 2009
0.9 inch
Oct. 12, 1969
3.4 inches
Oct. 12, 2009
1.6 inches


Historic temperature data provided courtesy of the Saint Cloud National Weather Service Office, and NOAA/NWS
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