The Autumn In North Dakota

The state climatologist has once again asked me to write my thoughts for the upcoming autumn season for North Dakota.  Although this is similar to what I wrote in a previous blog, I thought I would post this analysis as well.  I have been on vacation this week and I will get more posting from not only me, but also John Wheeler,  online when I return to work next week.


North Dakotans have experienced a number of mild autumns in recent years. In fact, many parts of the state have recorded eight straight years with autumn temperatures finishing at or above normal.   This has not necessarily meant consistently mild conditions for all three months, as our climate is prone to wild fluctuations.  Yet, the overall trend has been for this region to experience cool springs and mild autumns during the past two decades.

By analyzing past years with similar atmospheric and oceanic conditions to what has been occurring in 2011, the odds seem to favor this area recording yet another fall season with above average temperatures.

Although the past few weeks have brought some relief to the excessive precipitation that most of North Dakota has received in the past year, three weeks is not necessarily a trend.  With fall harvest beginning and dry conditions also needed to lessen fears of more catastrophic flooding next spring, precipitation will continue to be forefront on everyone’s mind for months to come.

Using the same techniques as the temperature forecast, would lead one to believe precipitation trends may be favorable the next three months (near average).  However, our current wet phase makes it difficult to have confidence in any precipitation forecast besides a wet one.

The Climate Prediction Center’s (CPC) autumn forecast for the area can be seen below.














The North Dakota State Climate Office has links to the National Weather Service’s local 3-month temperature outlooks for the upcoming year (updated monthly).  Those outlooks can be found at:  The latest CPC forecasts can be found at

Plus, a blog with updates and continuous analysis of the weather in this region can be found at: