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Extension > Source - Fall 2006 > Feeding our fascination with the weather

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Feeding our fascination with the weather

Minnesotans have a fascination with weather. From drought to floods, humidity to wind chills, weather information is often the way we start our day. Now, there is a book, Minnesota Weather Almanac, to feed your weather interest.


Written by University of Minnesota Extension Service climatologist and meteorologist Mark Seeley and published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, the book is equal parts entertainment and education. References to nearly two centuries of weather-related happenings help Minnesotans better understand the state's complex weather systems.

The book is loaded with historical details, fun facts and scientific lessons. For example, did you know there are three kinds of twilight—- civil, nautical and astronomical? Do you know how the term Indian summer originated? And what is a turkey tower?

Seeley shares stories from weather stations around the state and reviews significant weather-related events from the past, including the great tropical thunderstorm that struck west-central Minnesota in July 1867, the Long Winter of 1880–81, and the Twin Cities' worst-ever flash flood in July 1987.

"These are the stories that stand out historically," explains Seeley. "We like to focus on our own experiences as being extreme, but if we review them in a historical context, we have a greater understanding about what other generations of Minnesotans have put up with."

Seeley also predicts Minnesota's weather future based on four trends from the last 30 years: warm winters, higher minimum temperatures, high summer dew points and greater annual precipitation.

A member of the U of M faculty since 1978, Seeley has developed educational programs related to weather and climate impacts on agriculture and natural resources. He also operates a network of automated weather stations, most of which are at University research and outreach centers.

Minnesota Weather Almanac retails for $22.95 and can be purchased through Minnesota Historical Society Press and area bookstores.

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