Monday snowfall breaks record

Published 7:21 am Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fall took on a new meaning Monday in southern Minnesota.

Unseasonable snow dropped throughout the morning and afternoon. It did not stick to sidewalks or roads, but it covered tree branches — still clinging to their colorful leaves.

The early snowfall accumulated enough to cover the ground in much of southern and central Minnesota, according to the National Weather Service in La Crosse, Wis.

In Austin, two and a half inches fell.

Rochester reported two and a half inches of snow by 1 p.m., the National Weather Service said, breaking the Oct. 12 record for snowfall. The previous record was set in 2006 at one tenth of an inch.

“Because there is no National Weather Service in Austin, it is difficult to know exactly when precipitation is record-breaking,” KAAL-TV meteorologist Rusty Dawkins said.

But, the early October snow is unusual, and temperatures are below average, he said.

The average temperature this time of year is near 60 degrees and sunny, but Monday it dipped into the 20s and a winter weather advisory was in effect until early afternoon, the National Weather Service said.

In the Twin Cities, more than four inches of snow fell at the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus by 11 a.m., as reported in the Star Tribune.

In addition, the combination of snow and low clouds created visibility problems and flight delays at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Web site, www.faa.gov.

Temperatures will remain in the 40s the rest of the week, according to KAAL-TV’s forecast.

The National Weather Service predicts more snow Tuesday night, which will turn into rain by Wednesday. Snow could fall again Thursday night.

Whatever falls probably won’t stick around.

Warmer temperatures — reaching into the 50s — are expected to return to southern Minnesota Saturday and Sunday, Dawkins said.