Weather Extremes

Update on World Heat Record (58°C/136.48F) at Al Azizia, Libya, Sept. 13, 1922

By: weatherhistorian, 11:20 PM GMT on November 16, 2010

In my blog posted on Oct. 8th, I raised questions concerning the hottest officially measured temperature in the world: the 58°C (136.4°F) reading from Al Azizia, Libya on September 13, 1922. Since that post, new information has come to my attention:

1) The director of the Libyan National Meteorological Center (LNMC), Khalid Ibrahim El Fadli, has confirmed that they officially do not accept this temperature reading.

2) Randy Cerveny, Rapporteur for Extreme Records of the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) Commission for Climatology, has advised that perhaps this record should be reevaluated in light of the Libyan rejection.

In the past month, the LNMC has also sent data for the POR (period of record) for Azizia from beginning of record in 1919 to 1984 when the station was retired. Earlier data from the site beginning in 1913 has been confirmed to have been set up by an Italian physicist, F. Eredia, and NOT by the National Geographic Society, as has been widely reported in the past (thanks to Ms. Julie Crain at NGS for investigating and clarifying this issue once and for all).
Below is a chronology of the weather observations at Al Azizia.

Important Dates in The Chronology of Al Azizia Weather Station
1913 (April): Italian Prof. F. Eredia establishes weather station at Castello Benito (a small fort on a farm located on a 46-meter/150-foot-high hill in Al Azizia, Libya), approximately 55 kilometers south-southwest of Tripoli. Local Carabinieri (police) employed to make observations. Station ceases observations in June 1915.


Figure 1. This cross-section is a schematic of the location of the weather station at Al Azizia in 1922 (on a small hill) on the Gefara Plain and near the Jabal Nafusah Mountains. (From ‘La Piu Alta Tempura del Mondo’ p. 55, by Amilcare Fantoli).

1919 (July): Italian Military takes over site and begins weather observations again. Weather station under the aegis of Amilcare Fanatoli, Chief of the Italian Meteorological Service responsible for Libya.

1922: When Chief Fantoli visits site following report of 58°C temperature reading, he finds that the usual thermometer used by the weather station had failed at some previous date (unspecified), and been replaced with a Six-Bellani thermometer (see my previous blog for explanation of this type of thermometer).

1927: Station moved off the hill and placed in civilian hands in the town of Al Azizia (unknown change in instrumentation).

1942 (December): Advent of World War II closes station.

1947 (April): Station re-established at same location. Libyan National Meteorological Center takes over operation of weather station when Libya becomes independent in 1951.

1970 (May): Station ceases observations for reasons unknown, but perhaps because of the change in government that occurred around this time.

1974 (February): Station begins reporting again.

1984 (December): Last month of observations from site.

Temperature Data by Date Sets
The new data sent to me by Director El Fadli at LNMC can be broken into five distinct periods (these are the years that complete data sets are available. September analysis:

1913-1915 (1 year): 1914 is the only complete year of data. Absolute maximum temperature for that year was 48.7°C (119.7°F) and for that September 40.9°C (105.6°F).

1920-1926 (7 years): Three months of data missing (no Septembers missing). September average absolute maximum temperature is 48.3° (118.9°F) with an absolute maximum of 58° (136.4°F) in September 1922.

1927-1942 (16 years): Two months missing (no Septembers missing). September average absolute maximum temperature is 42.2° (108.0°F) with an absolute maximum of 45.9° (114.6°) in September 1938.

1948-1968 (21 years): Three months missing (no Septembers missing). September average absolute maximum temperature is 40.3°C (104.5°F) with an absolute maximum of 44.5°C (112.1°) in September 1959.

1974-1984 (11 years): Two months missing (no Septembers missing). September average absolute maximum temperature is 41.5°C (106.7°F) with an absolute maximum of 44.0° (111.2°F) in September 1975.

For all months of the year (not just September), 50°C (122°F) or warmer has been recorded only during these months:

1919-1926: (9 months) July 1920 (50.4°C), Aug. 1921 (53.0°C), July 1922 (51.0°C), Aug. 1922 (52.0°C), Sept. 1922 (58.0°C), Aug. 1923 (56.0°C), Sept. 1923 (54.8°C), June 1926 (51.2°C), Aug. 1926 (53.4°C).

1927-1942: (2 months) June 1928 (51.9°C), Aug. 1941 (51.0°C).

1948-1968: (no temperature over 50°C recorded). Absolute maximum was 47.0°C (116.6°F) on three occasions (July 1954, July 1955, July 1965).

1974-1984: (no temperature over 50°C recorded). Absolute maximum was 48.0°C (118.4°F) in Aug. 1984.

During the September 1922 heat wave the temperature at Al Azizia reportedly exceeded 50°C for five consecutive days Sept. 11-15:

Sept. 11: 50.0°C (122.0°F)
Sept. 12: 56.0°C (132.8°F)
Sept. 13: 58.0°C (136.4°F)
Sept. 14: 53.0°C (127.4°F)
Sept. 15: 53.0°C (127.4°F)

This is an amazing feat considering no temperature over 50°C was ever measured in the 32 years of records from 1948-1984.

Diurnal fluctuations for September Periods of Record
I won’t bore you with the details of the exact data on this but what is interesting to note is that even during the 1920-1926 period the average minimum temperatures during September were not abnormally warm compared to the average maximums or compared to the average minimums in the other periods of record. So the diurnal spread (average difference between daily minimums and daily maximums) was significantly greater during the 1920-1926 period relative to all the other periods of record as this graph illustrates:


Figure 2. Average daily range of temperature (in C°) for the month of September at Al Azizia between 1919-1940. (Graph courtesy of Piotr Djakow).

Philip Eden, an eminent British weather historian, noted in an email to me recently:

”The tarred concrete (agreed, presumably near-black) would probably explain nearly all of the wide excursions during the 1922-27 period…Bear in mind also that the earliest Stevenson screens in use in the UK had no bottom, so were open to reflected radiation from the ground. These were gradually replaced here in the 1890s and 1900s, but it is conceivable that old-pattern screens were in use elsewhere beyond this time.”

Mr. Amilcare Fantoli (the Chief of the Meteorological Service in Libya in 1922 as discussed above), wrote a paper on the subject of the Al Azizia record in an Italian meteorological journal ( Rivista di Meteorologia Aeronautica, pp. 54-63 in 1958, and wrote this summary of his article La Piu Alta Temperatura del Mondo:
“The highest temperature recorded in a meteorological station next to that of Death Valley in California is the one recorded at El Azizia in Tripolitania. It should, however, be pointed out that this figure as well as the other one is the subject of doubts based particularly on the influence of the place where the meteorological screen was set up, and on the type of weather instruments used in determining the temperature. After analyzing the circumstances concomitant to the peak figure of 58°C recorded, these having occurred during a spell of ghibili (SE foehn-like wind) of an unprecedented duration and intensity, the causes are expounded [sic], which may have brought about this exceedingly high value. It is therefore proposed to reduce the recorded value to 56°C, waiting for an eventual double of the phenomenon to be ascertained.”

Conclusion
What Mr. Fantoli did not do in his article was address the disconnect between the many extreme values (not just the one 58°C reading) that were measured between 1922-1926 and those temperatures recorded thereafter in the period of record. Of course, the “eventual double of the phenomenon” has not yet occurred. Also, perhaps the most suspicious aspect of the data is the extreme diurnal excursions during the 1920-1926 period which could certainly be explained as a result of bad instrument exposure.

However, there is one question difficult to understand. If over-exposure was the problem during the 1920-1926 period of record, then why were there actually several summer months during this time that did not show excessive heat anomalies? The possible answer to this is that the Six-Bellani thermometer was badly calibrated and the other thermometer OK but occasionally failed and so was replaced from time to time by the faulty Six-Bellani. When the station was moved in 1927 a new thermometer may have been acquired and the anomalous readings ceased and, one assumes, the shelter was no longer situated on a black-tarred surface.

For weather historians, the world’s hottest measured temperature is something like the Mt. Everest of weather records. Although it matters little in the grand scale of things, it is something that sets a meteorological standard that, in the geophysical world, has some relevance as a point of reference. I hope that the reliability of this record will eventually be scrutinized and its validity is once and for all determined.

References:
Fantoli, Amilcare La Piu Alta Temperatura del Mondo, Rivista di Meteorologia Aeronautica, pp. 54-63, 1958.

Pedemonte, Roberto, Italian Meteorological Society letter to Weather magazine Vol. 56, Oct. 2001, p. 378-379.

KUDOS: Thanks to Khalid Ibrahim El Fadli at Libyan National Meteorological Center (LNMC), Julie Crain at National Geographic Society, Manola Brunet Visiting Fellow at the Climatic Research Unit, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, UK and her colleagues in Italy for supplying the Fantoli document and other data from their files, Philip Eden, Randy Cerveny, Thomas C. Peterson, and Federico Noris for his gracious translation work.

Christopher C. Burt

Heat

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Nov. 10th: A Day of Weather Infamy for the Great Lake States and the Upper Midwest

By: weatherhistorian, 2:10 AM GMT on November 10, 2010

November the 10th (and the day before and after) is the anniversary of several extraordinary weather events in the Great Lakes Region and Upper Midwest and, for that matter, anywhere in the United States. No less than five incredible weather events have occurred on these dates, resulting in some of the deadliest and most ferocious storms ever to affect Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio. They are the following:

1) 1911: The Great Cold Front and Tornado Outbreak
2) 1913: The White Hurricane
3) 1940: Armistice Day Blizzard
4) 1975: "Edmund Fitzgerald" storm
5) 1998: The super-cyclone

1911: The Great Cold Front and Tornado Outbreak
The first of note is the amazing cold front that swept across the central portion of the United States Nov. 9-12, 1911.


Figure 1. The weather map for November 11, 1911.

No such an intense frontal passage has occurred in modern records anywhere in the United States (a similar event also occurred on Dec. 20, 1836). On Nov. 10, 1911, a blast of arctic air invaded the northern plains, sending the temperature at Rapid City, South Dakota from 62° at 6 a.m. to -13° by 8 a.m., an astonishing 75-degree drop in just two hours! CORRECTION: This is wrong. The front passed Rapid City on Nov. 9th and the drop in temperature there was just from 55° to 3° that day (falling to -8° by the 12th). Ironically, it was Jan. 10, 1911 that Rapid City saw its most amazing temperature drop when the Weather Bureau thermometer registered a fall of 47° in 15 minutes: 55° at 7:00 a.m. to 8° at 7:15 a.m. Then on January 12, 1911 the temperature dropped from 49° at 6 a.m. to -13° at 8 a.m. Sorry for the confusion! In my defense, I can say many people aside from myself have also confused the 1/10-11/1911 versus 11/10-11/1911 Rapid City temperature antics as well!

The front pushed eastward on Nov. 11th, when a low pressure formed along it over Missouri, sucking very warm and unstable air into the lower Great Lakes region. Violent tornadoes broke out in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. An F-4 twister decimated Janesville, Wisconsin, killing 9 people and injuring 50, and an F-2 hit Shiawassee County, Michigan, killing two more. An F-3 roared through Lake and Porter Counties in Indiana, injuring five. Other strong tornadoes struck Scott County, Iowa (F-2), Cass County, Illinois (F-2), Mason County, Illinois (F-3), Dupage County, Illinois (F-2), Calhoun County, Michigan (F-2), and De Kalb County, Indiana (F-2). The Janesville tornado struck at 9 p.m., and by midnight, blizzard conditions were raging and the temperature had fallen from 70° to 7° (as recorded in nearby Madison).

Aside from the phenomena of the tornadoes (the most violent so late in the season on record for the north-central states), the frontal passage was even more notorious for the incredible rapidity of the temperature change during its passage. Kansas City's temperature dropped from a record high 76° at noon on Nov. 11th to a record low of 11° by midnight. Springfield, Missouri dropped from a record 80° at 3pm to 13° by midnight. Oklahoma City fell from a record 83° at 1pm to 17° by midnight. Chicago dropped from 74° at 1pm to 13° by midnight, and the Monthly Weather Review stated "one man was overcome by heat and two others frozen to death in the short space of 24 hours".

The following is a summary of the state monthly (November 1911) high temperatures set on Nov. 11th, and the state monthly low temperatures set on Nov. 12th or 13th (from Monthly Weather Review; Condensed Climatological Summary, November, 1911:

It should be noted that never before or since in the United State's climate record have so many states recorded both their extreme monthly heat and cold records within a 24 to 36-hour period.

The following states did not record monthly heat and cold records during a 24 to 36-hour period but nonetheless display the amazing temperature fall as a result of the passage of the cold front:

References:
Monthly Weather Review, November, 1911
Significant Tornadoes; 1680-1991, by Thomas P. Grazulis

1913: The "White Hurricane"
The deadliest weather event in Great Lakes history (excluding heat waves) was the so-called "White Hurricane" of Nov. 9-11, 1913. Synoptically, this storm was very similar to the great blizzard of Jan. 26-28, 1978: a trough of low pressure moving eastward from Minnesota combined with a developing low over the southern Appalachians to create a super-storm over Ohio. The lowest measured barometric pressure was not as low as the 1978 storm (968 mb/28.61" versus 955 mb/28.21"), but the storm's effects were far more devastating given the fact that many mariners on the Lakes chose to ignore the Weather Bureau's warnings. All told, 12 ships foundered with all hands lost, and another 29 were stranded or washed ashore. The exact loss of life remains unknown, but was likely in the range of 260-300. Some of the ships lost were very large cargo vessels over 500 feet in length. Winds were measured as high as 80mph in Buffalo, New York, and 79mph in Cleveland, Ohio. On the open waters of Lake Erie and Lake Huron, wind gusts over 90 mph and waves estimated to 35-feet high were reported.

In Cleveland a (still standing) record 22.2" of snow fell during the storm, with 17.8" falling in just the 24-hour period between noon Nov. 10th to noon Nov. 11th.


Figure 2. Cleveland was brought to a standstill by 22" of wind-blown snow during the blizzard of Nov. 10-11, 1913. (Photo courtesy of Western Reserve Historical Society).

One of the precedents set by this storm was the culpability of the Weather Bureau so far as the deaths of the mariners was concerned. Shipping companies tried to lay the blame for their lost ships and sailors at the feet of the Weather Bureau (then under the aegis of the Department of Agriculture), since the Weather Bureau had not raised hurricane warnings (74mph+ winds) but just storm warnings (58-73mph winds). A debate, that went all the way to the White House in Washington D.C., raged for a month following the storm until evidence uncovered by Cleveland newspapers divulged the fact that the directors of the shipping companies who owned the lost ships had been pressuring captains to sail "no matter what" and pay "performance bonuses" to those who would take the risk of sailing in bad weather in order to get their cargoes to port on schedule.

In the summer of 1986 divers discovered the hulk of the S.S. Regina, all of whose 20 shipmen were lost without a trace during the 1913 storm, about three miles offshore between Port Sanilac and Lexington, Michigan. She was discovered upside down 80 feet deep on the bottom of Lake Huron. Four of the ships lost during the storm have yet to be found.

Reference:
"White Hurricane" by David G. Brown, McGraw Hill, 2004

Armistice Day Blizzard of November 10-11, 1940
Minnesota's deadliest blizzard on record occurred on Nov. 10-11th, 1940. No other snowstorm in Minnesota lore holds as revered a status as this one. Many of the 154 who died in this blizzard were duck hunters who were taking advantage of the Armistice Day (now known as Veterans Day) holiday and unusually mild late season weather to pursue their hobby. A classic Texas Panhandle low developed on Nov. 10th and traveled northeastward deepening to 971mb (28.65") over Wisconsin on Nov. 11th. In Minnesota temperatures dropped 50 degrees in hours and 50-80mph winds drove 12-27" of snow into monstrous drifts up to 20 feet deep.


Figure 3. "Needed an 8-foot probe to find pickup", photo by Richard Bren Sr., 1940, from "All Hell Broke Loose", by William H. Hull

On Lake Michigan, 66 sailors perished when three freight ships and several other smaller vessels sank. Winds at Grand Rapids, Michigan gusted to 80mph in the eastern quadrant of the low-pressure system. An incredible seiche occurred on Lake Huron and, near Saginaw, Michigan, the southwest wind caused the waterline in Saginaw Bay to retreat as much as a mile offshore from Winona Beach (assumed location) (see Monthly Weather Review, November 1940, Severe Local Storms, p. 335). In Saginaw, Michigan, the river level fell an incredible 8 feet to its lowest level on record.

The storm had been badly forecast by the Weather Bureau and the event resulted in, like the 1913 "White hurricane", considerable acrimony towards the agency. The Minneapolis Morning Tribune weather forecast for Nov. 10th called for "Cloudy, with snow flurries". 16.8" of snow fell on the city in 24 hours on Nov. 10-11. Temperatures in the low 60s in southeastern Minnesota on Nov. 9th fell to the single digits during the blizzard by Nov. 11th. The official maximum storm-snowfall from the blizzard was 26.5" at Collegeville, Minnesota.

Reference:
"All Hell Broke Loose", by William H. Hull, 1985

1975: The "Edmund Fitzgerald" Storm
Yet another deadly extratropical storm raked the Great Lakes on November 10, 1975, resulting in the loss of the ore freighter S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior with all hands, 29 in all, lost. The ship was one of the largest ever to sail the Great Lakes with a length of 730 feet and deadweight of 26,000 tons. It was transporting a cargo of taconite (iron ore) from Superior, Wisconsin (mined from Silver Bay, Minnesota) to a steel mill at Zug Island near Detroit. A powerful storm, although not spectacular relative to other November cyclones to rake the Great Lakes, moved from central Kansas at 7 a.m. on Nov. 9th to a position over the Upper Peninsula of Michigan by 7 a.m. on Nov. 10th. The pressure of the storm fell to to 975 mb (28.80"). Winds increased to 60mph (with gusts to 85mph) from the northwest over Lake Superior and storm warnings were in effect with waves up to 20 feet reported from ships plying the lake. As the Fitzgerald approached Whitefish Bay near Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, it made a final, but not alarming, report that it had lost its radar and was listing slightly. No further communication was ever received. It is speculated that the long ship, heavily laden with ore, was caught straddling a deep trough between two large waves and literally split in two, probably sinking within minutes.


Figure 4. The S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald in calmer waters. Photo from NOAA.

Canadian musician Gordon Lightfoot immortalized the incident in his song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald which concludes with the mournful standard:

"The Legend lives on from the Chippewa on down, of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee.
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead when the gales of November come early".


1998: The Super-Cyclone
Until the "super-super-cyclone" (one runs out of superlatives!) of last October 26 (2010), the most intense low-pressure system ever to carve its way across the Upper Midwest was the storm of November 10, 1998. All-time minimum barometric pressure records were set in Minnesota when the cyclone bottomed out at 962 mb (28.43") over southern Minnesota (as was recorded in Albert Lea and Austin).



Figure 5. The great cyclone as depicted on the weather map at 7 a.m., Nov. 10, 1998.

Until last month (October 26, 2010, when the barometric pressure bottomed out at 28.21" in Bigfork, Minnesota), the Nov. 10 1998 cyclone was the most intense on record to affect the Midwest of the United States. The storm packed ferocious winds, with a peak gust of 64mph in St. Cloud, MN. Like the Oct. 26, 2010 storm, however, the cyclone was a relatively warm one. Little snow of note occurred (the maximum depth being 12.5" at Sioux Falls, South Dakota). The October, 2010 event produced a maximum snowfall of 11" in North Dakota and a peak wind gust of 78mph at Rock of Ages, Isle Royale, Michigan. See here for more concerning the October 2010 event: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dlh/?n=101026_extratropic allow

Conclusion
The extreme weather events of November 9-12 in years past have included: 1) the deadliest late-season tornado outbreak in the north-central United States, 2) deadliest Great Lakes storm, 3) most intense frontal passage in United States history, 4) deadliest blizzard in Minnesota history, and 5) the 2nd most intense low pressure system on record for the Midwest (only surpassed by the event of October 2010). Not bad for a three-day period in just one region of the United States. The second week of November is normally the transition period from Fall to Winter in the central portion of America, so extreme weather events may always be anticipated at this time and in this section of the country.

Christopher C. Burt

Barometric Pressure Extreme Weather Winter Weather Extra-tropical Storms

Updated: 8:13 PM GMT on June 19, 2012

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Early Season Snowfalls

By: weatherhistorian, 6:16 PM GMT on November 03, 2010

October is normally the month that the first measurable snowfalls of the winter season fall in the Northern Plains, Rocky Mountains, Cascades of the Pacific Northwest (above about 4000 feet), and the Sierra Nevada of California (above about 6000 feet). On occasion, snow also falls in the Northeast and Appalachians at higher elevations.


Figure 1. A record early snowfall blanketed much of Nebraska on Oct. 9-10, 2009 with North Platte receiving 13.8". (photo credit: Mike Hollingshead/extremeinstability.com)

On some occasions, October snow may fall at sea level in New England, and has been reported in the past as far south as the tidewaters of Virginia, and Oklahoma in the Central Plains. Below are a list of the earliest dates of measurable snowfall at selected sites in the U.S.A. since the beginning of their official records, and a list of some all-time snow records that were set in October and still stand today:



As of Nov. 1, 2010 the only cities from the list above that have already recorded measurable snowfall so far this season are Great Falls, MT (on Sept. 17), Salt Lake city, UT (on Oct. 25), and Bismarck, ND (on Oct. 26). Please note that I would be happy to research the first measurable snowfalls on record for any city you might be interested in. However, the caveat is that your requests are for first order NWS sites. Please feel free to email me your requests.



International Early-season Snowfall Records
European and all other international snowfall records aside from the USA and Canada are mostly non-existent. This is because they only consider melted precipitation for their databases. Nonetheless, British weather historian Paul Simons informs me that London's earliest measured snowfall was on Oct. 7, 1829 when a "widespread" snowstorm struck Southeast England with a "considerable amount" of accumulation.

Some Historic Early Season Snowstorms

New England's Snow Hurricane of Oct. 9, 1804
Perhaps the most extraordinary early-season snowstorm in New England history occurred on Oct. 9, 1804 when a hurricane roared ashore on Long Island, New York and then encountered an arctic air mass over southeastern Canada. The winds of the hurricane caused extensive structural damage from New York to Massachusetts (where the steeple of North Church in Boston was blown down). The rain turned to snow as far south as the Connecticut River Valley in Connecticut, where low elevation towns from here to the Canadian border received 4-6" of snow, and the higher terrain of Vermont up to three feet of accumulation. In Vermont, drifts buried fences and blocked roads. The Catskills of New York reported 12-18"; the Berkshires of Massachusetts received 24-30". Even coastal New Haven reported some snow (and 3.66" of rain). Reference: "Early American Winters: 1604-1820", by David M. Ludlum, American Meteorological Society, 1966, and "Early American Hurricanes, 1492-1870", by the same author

Buffalo, New York Oct. 12-13, 2006
The Great Lakes snow belts often report their heaviest snowstorms early in the winter season when the lakes are still warm and the first arctic outbreaks blow in from Canada. However, nothing can compare to the amazing snow squall that hit a narrow area over Buffalo, New York on Oct. 12-13, 2006. An official 22.6" of snow fell at the Buffalo Airport NWS station (higher amounts of 24" fell at Depew and Alden).



The heaviest previous snowfall during the first half of October had been just 1.6" on Oct. 10, 1906. Lake Erie's water temperature was 62°F (almost warm enough to swim in!) The air became just cold enough for rain showers to turn to snow at 3pm on Oct. 12, and by that night, cloud tops reached 25-30,000' (exceptionally high for lake-effect storms), and lightning and thunder was observed all night. For a detailed analysis of this storm see http://www.erh.noaa.gov/buf/storm101206.html.

Denver, Colorado Sep. 3-4, 1961
September snowstorms are relatively common along the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies but normally occur during the waning days of the month. Not so during the famous Labor Day snowstorm of 1961, which buried Denver and the foothills under the heaviest early-season snowfall on record. An official 4.2" was measured on Sep. 3 at Stapleton Airport and up to 12" fell in the western foothills of the city. Denver's most intense September snowfall occurred Sept. 26-28, 1936 when 16.5" accumulated in the city.

Minnesota Oct.31-Nov.2, 1991
The famous Halloween blizzard of 1991 was not only Minneapolis and Duluth's heaviest, earliest snowstorm on record, but also their greatest single snowstorm for any month in their respective histories. Minneapolis received a storm total of 28.4" and Duluth 36.9".

Unlike most early-season snowfalls, this one was a true blizzard accompanied by high winds and followed by record low temperatures, with the -3°F in Minneapolis on Nov. 4th being their earliest below zero temperature on record. Coincidentally, while this "perfect blizzard" raged in the Midwest, the more famous "Perfect Storm" was raging over the North Atlantic and New England. For more details about the storm see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween_Blizzard



Conclusion
I am not aware of any scholarly research on the subject of first measurable snowfalls of the season in the United States. If I had spent months researching whether or not measurable snowfalls were occurring later or earlier over the period of record, then perhaps there would be some "conclusion" of note here. Sorry, that is not the case! I'm afraid this blog has nothing of such importance to relate, it is simply an early season notice to all you snow lovers out there. Living in Oakland, California for twenty years I still dream of the day that any measurable snow falls here!

Christopher C. Burt

Winter Weather

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About weatherhistorian

Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.