Records Were Meant To Be Broken

     When we first bought Voyageur in 1993 we had a certified weather station on our property.  The previous owner was responsible for recording data on a daily basis.  This involved walking out to the station to check the low temperature, the high temperature, precipitation and then to spin the thermometer so the new data could be recorded.  It might have had to be checked at night too but I can’t remember.  All it meant to me was we had to be home every single day to do this and neither Mike nor I were very interested in the temperature or the lack of a paycheck for the service we provided.  It didn’t take us too long or too much arm twisting to give up the job when someone else expressed interest in it.  I think recording weather data is a bit easier now and I’m a little bit more interested in the weather for the sole purpose of breaking records.

     I know there is value in historical data involving the weather but I kind of think what’s the point in keeping track of weather data unless it’s to see if a record is broken?  If the temperature or precipitation is just average then it doesn’t provide much of a conversation topic.  If the weather is different than the normal then it’s worth talking about.

     Take this year for instance.  Basically the weather in June, July and August wasn’t that nice.  It was cold, rainy and windy more days than any other summer I can remember.  Then there was September.  What a September it was.  We had beautiful weather with warm temperatures and very little precipitation.  It was like the summer we never had.  Then came October which is usually a beautiful month in the northwoods with comfortable temperatures. 

     This October was anything but beautiful on the Gunflint Trail and across the United States.

The October 2009 average temperature for the contiguous United States was the third coolest on record for that month according to NOAA’s State of the Climate report issued today. Based on data going back to 1895, the monthly National Climatic Data Center analysis is part of the suite of climate services provided by NOAA.

The average October temperature of 50.8 degrees F was 4.0 degrees F below the 20th Century average. Preliminary data also reveals this was the wettest October on record with average precipitation across the contiguous United States reaching 4.15 inches, 2.04 inches above the 1901-2000 average.


     Now November is here and it feels more like October outside.  This morning it was 48 degrees outside when Mike left to go deer hunting.  It wasn’t just today that was nice but the entire past week we’ve had high daily temperatures of high forties and up into the fifties!  This I’m pretty sure is unheard of for the northland and especially on the Gunflint Trail.  It’s the first November I’ve thought about taking a Boundary Waters canoe trip.  The average low temperature is above thirty degrees and if something doesn’t change soon we’ll be breaking a record.  

     Where is the snow and cold weather?  It isn’t uncommon for the Gunflint Trail to receive over 20 inches of snow in November and I don’t think we’ve seen a flake fall from the sky. According to this snow depth chart of the United States there isn’t much snow anywhere right now.  

     The forecast calls for more unseasonably warm temperatures up through Thanksgiving at least.  I for one don’t mind having a little bit warmer weather right now.  We’re working on our roof and getting more time than we’ve ever had to get things picked up in the yard before the snow flies.  I’m not a fan of the time of year when there’s too much snow to hike but not enough to cross country ski so if it wants to wait awhile to dump then that’s ok.  But when it does decide to come I’m hoping it’s a big load that drops and sticks around for the entire winter.

     Who knows, maybe we’ll break a record for snowfall this winter or even cold temperatures.  At least it will give us something to talk about and maybe even for years to come.