Frost brings sudden end to growing season

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By Mark Seeley

Three mid-month frosts brought an end to the growing season for most areas of the state.

The most intense and widespread frost occurred the morning of Sept. 15 when Embarrass reported the nation’s low of just 18 degrees. Elsewhere around the state there were many reports of low temperatures in the 20s, even across southern Minnesota where Lamberton reported 29 degrees, Redwood Falls 28 degrees, Byron 28 degrees, Grand Meadow 29 degrees, and Preston 28 degrees. Some of these low temperatures were record setting for the date, including 32 at Rochester, 31 at Albert Lea, 21 at Cambridge, 29 at Jordan, 21 degrees at Hibbing and 36 degrees at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. Frosts also occured on Sept. 12 and 13.

These cold mornings have accelerated the fall leaf color change.

In addition, episodes of heavy rains and thunderstorms have continued this month, fueled by dewpoints in the 60s and 70s.


Sept. 18 and 19 brought heavy amounts of rainfall to many parts of the state and in a narrow band across northeast Minnesota radar estimates of 3 inch to 5 inch amounts occurred, temporarily flooding Highway 169 north of Grand Rapids.

Some observers reported record setting amounts of rainfall for the date, including Moose Lake with 2.58 inches, Tower with 2.18 inches, Leech Lake with 2.72 inches and Bruno with 3.64 inches. Tower has reported more than 11 inches of rainfall so far this month. Such intense rainfalls in the northern sections of the state are rare for September.

Yet more flash flooding was reported in western and central counties of Minnesota on Sept. 20, when 2 inch to 4 inch rains were detected by Doppler radar across the region, and even more heavy rainfall came on Sept. 21 with 3 inch to 4 inch rainfall amounts across sections of central Minnesota.

Seeley is the University of Minnesota Extension climatologist and meteorologist.

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