October so Far – Cool and Dry (posted October 11th)
Four weeks after an early frost nipped scattered sections of Southwest Minnesota, a more general frost and freeze ended the growing season across the area on the mornings of October 10th and 11th. Though all reporting stations fell below 32 degrees, the coldest temperatures included 24 degrees at Granite Falls on Friday the 10th, and Saturday morning lows of 27 at Redwood Falls, Windom, and Slayton. These dates are very close to the normal time of our first hard freeze (28 degrees or colder) in the autumn.
Though October has started cooler than normal across the area (see map to left from the High Plains Regional Climate Center), the tendency for temperatures to fluctuate between well above and well below normal may very well repeat during the middle portion of October. Enjoy the next five mild days which should reach the low to middle 60s. Following some rain late Sunday and Sunday night (which should total less than 0.25″) excellent harvesting weather is likely for the remaining days through October 18th, helping to reduce the moisture content of standing corn.
This month is on track to join the cool and dry Octobers of 1987, 1991, and 2006 as years when El Nino events started which brought this type of October pattern . And yes, the Climate Prediction Center experts continue to forecast a 65% or higher probability that El Nino will finally take hold in the Pacific Ocean during the next few weeks.