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Crews from the city of Bemidji started the arduous task of stringing trees at the lakefront Wednesday with Christmas lights in preparation of the Night We Light Parade. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper
Crews from the city of Bemidji started the arduous task of stringing trees at the lakefront Wednesday with Christmas lights in preparation of the Night We Light Parade. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Mild October contrasts to winter outlook; colder, wetter winter likely for northland

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news Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

If October seemed a bit warmer than normal, you're right.

Just how much warmer, it's hard to say.

And you probably shouldn't plan on the mild, dry conditions to hang around too long.

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The National Weather Service in Grand Forks, N.D., said the region, including northwest Minnesota and the Bemidji area, can expect colder temperatures and more precipitation than normal, likely starting by December.

"Obviously, the fall has been warm throughout the area," said Greg Gust, weather service warning coordination meteorologist.

Detailed historical records for the Bemidji area aren't complete or extensive, so Gust couldn't give specific numbers about how this October compared to previous years in Bemidji.

However, in North Dakota, Fargo and Grand Forks were 7.1 degrees and 7 degrees warmer than normal, respectively. In Minnesota, data collected from Duluth, International Falls and St. Cloud all were 5.3 degrees above normal for the month.

Gust said it's fair to say Bemidji fell somewhere between the 5 and 7 degrees warmer than normal in October.

And while the mild stretch could continue to through November but beyond that, the winter outlook isn't so rosy.

"As we've seen the last two years, the cold snaps really hit in the end of December and early January," Gust said.

Weather patterns are setting up similar this fall compared to the previous two years, so Northern Minnesota can expect colder temperatures and more snow than normal. But just how much snow is hard to determine, especially since there were wide disparities across the region last winter.

"This year, the above normal precipitation is still a little sketchy," Gust said.

The forecast for today through Saturday calls for high temperatures near 50. By Saturday afternoon, the Bemidji area could see rain showers and cooler temperatures into Sunday. Further to the west, near the Red River Valley and into the plains of North Dakota, the weather service is preparing people for the first measurable snowfall of the season.

For its recently released seasonal outlook for December, January and February, the weather service expects a La Nina pattern to set up in the equatorial Pacific, a pattern generally producing colder and wetter conditions.

Mark Ewens, senior hydrometeorologist technician for the weather service, said a La Nina pattern enhances the chances for colder temperatures for longer periods.

"You may not have record lows but more frequent outbreaks of unusually cold temperatures," Ewens said. "Instead of two to three days of below zero highs, you might see seven to 10 days in a row."

Since the weather service doesn't currently a station collecting historical data in Bemidji, outside of basic daily readings at the airport, there are no reliable, updated records for the area.

But there is a station in Itasca State Park, about 30 miles southeast of Bemidji, with records dating back to 1911.

Those 100 years of records show Itasca State Park receives an average of 50.9 inches of snow each year. During the past 30 years, the annual average is 47.5 inches.

As for temperatures, here are the averages for the winter months:

E In December, the average high is in the low 20s and lows are in the single digits.

E For January, the average high is in the mid teens with lows just below zero.

E Average highs in February are in the low 20s and lows remain below zero.

Historically, the average date for the first 1-inch snowfall is Nov. 9.

If October seemed a bit warmer than normal, you're right.

Just how much warmer, it's hard to say.

And you probably shouldn't plan on the mild, dry conditions to hang around too long.

The National Weather Service in Grand Forks, N.D., said the region, including northwest Minnesota and the Bemidji area, can expect colder temperatures and more precipitation than normal, likely starting by December.

"Obviously, the fall has been warm throughout the area," said Greg Gust, weather service warning coordination meteorologist.

Detailed historical records for the Bemidji area aren't complete or extensive, so Gust couldn't give specific numbers about how this October compared to previous years in Bemidji.

However, in North Dakota, Fargo and Grand Forks were 7.1 degrees and 7 degrees warmer than normal, respectively. In Minnesota, data collected from Duluth, International Falls and St. Cloud all were 5.3 degrees above normal for the month.

Gust said it's fair to say Bemidji fell somewhere between the 5 and 7 degrees warmer than normal in October.

And while the mild stretch could continue to through November but beyond that, the winter outlook isn't so rosy.

"As we've seen the last two years, the cold snaps really hit in the end of December and early January," Gust said.

Weather patterns are setting up similar this fall compared to the previous two years, so Northern Minnesota can expect colder temperatures and more snow than normal. But just how much snow is hard to determine, especially since there were wide disparities across the region last winter.

"This year, the above normal precipitation is still a little sketchy," Gust said.

The forecast for today through Saturday calls for high temperatures near 50. By Saturday afternoon, the Bemidji area could see rain showers and cooler temperatures into Sunday. Further to the west, near the Red River Valley and into the plains of North Dakota, the weather service is preparing people for the first measurable snowfall of the season.

For its recently released seasonal outlook for December, January and February, the weather service expects a La Nina pattern to set up in the equatorial Pacific, a pattern generally producing colder and wetter conditions.

Mark Ewens, senior hydrometeorologist technician for the weather service, said a La Nina pattern enhances the chances for colder temperatures for longer periods.

"You may not have record lows but more frequent outbreaks of unusually cold temperatures," Ewens said. "Instead of two to three days of below zero highs, you might see seven to 10 days in a row."

Since the weather service doesn't currently a station collecting historical data in Bemidji, outside of basic daily readings at the airport, there are no reliable, updated records for the area.

But there is a station in Itasca State Park, about 30 miles southeast of Bemidji, with records dating back to 1911.

Those 100 years of records show Itasca State Park receives an average of 50.9 inches of snow each year. During the past 30 years, the annual average is 47.5 inches.

As for temperatures, here are the averages for the winter months:

- In December, the average high is in the low 20s and lows are in the single digits.

- For January, the average high is in the mid teens with lows just below zero.

- Average highs in February are in the low 20s and lows remain below zero.

Historically, the average date for the first 1-inch snowfall is Nov. 9.

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