Warm March 6thMarch 6th was the warmest statewide in 12 years. Many observers reported daytime temperatures 20 to 30 degrees above normal. Several locations reached the 50s and 60s F. Among the warmest spots in the state were: 68 F at Minnesota; 67 F at Preston; 66 F at Winona; 65 F at Albert Lea; 64 F at Austin, Caledonia, and La Crescent; 63 F at Rochester, Amboy, Winnebago, and Fairmont; 62 F at Pipestone; and 60 F at MSP.
Kabetogama set a new record high with 51 degrees F, while La Crescent also set a record high with 64 degrees F. It was probably the 2nd warmest March 6th in history behind 2000 when a number of observers report 70 degrees F and higher.
In addition the warm, moist southerly winds brought near record setting dewpoint for the Twin Cities. The dewpoint reached 42 degrees F on March 6th and reached 45 degrees F on March 7th. For some southern Minnesota counties dewpoints reached the low 50s F before cooler and drier air settled in. The warm air mass brought plenty of fog to places as well.
Windy March 8thThe windiest day of the month so far occurred on Thursday the 8th, as a strong high pressure cell moved down from Canada with an associated cold front. The temperature at International Falls plummeted from 28 degrees F to -14 degrees F. From 5:00 pm in the late afternoon through 9:00 pm in the evening, many observations of 40 mph plus winds were reported around the state. All of these communities saw winds of 40 mph or higher for brief periods of time:
MSP, Duluth, Hibbing, St Cloud, Park Rapids, Warroad, Winona, Cloquet, Rush City, Canby, Clearwater, Hutchinson, and downtown St Paul. Highest wind speeds reported were 47 mph. You can find a summary here.
Weekly Weather PotpourriThe Joint Typhoon Warning Center was issuing advisories this week for two southern hemisphere storms: long-lived cyclone Irina between Madagascar and Mozambique (expected to weaken), and another tropical cyclone Koji way off the west coast of Australia (expected to strengthen) but no threat to land.
New South Wales in Australia continued to have flooding rains this week, after some areas received nearly 5 inches last week. Many daily and weekly rainfall records were set. It was said to be the wettest week since 1974. Evacuation orders were given for some cities, as roads and bridges were damaged by rushing waters. The economic cost of the flooding is estimated to exceed $530 million.
Researchers from McGill and Concordia University report that the outdoor hockey season in Canada is shrinking significantly. Ice conditions suitable for skating
have suffered as winter season temperatures have warmed since the 1950s. The largest decreases in the skating season length were observed in the Prairies and Southwest regions of Canada. You can read more here.
In other Canadian climate news, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources-Climate Change Program has released "A Practitioner's Guide to Climate Change Adaptation in Ontario's Ecosystem." It is a pragmatic look at what measures can be taken to adapt to climate change and build resilience. You can learn more on the web here.
MPR listener questionMarch was expected to see above normal precipitation. Last weekend brought heavy snow in the northeast. Which observers have already seen a wetter than normal start to March?
Answer: Some northeastern places have certainly seen above normal snowfall amounts so far this month: Two Harbors reports 13 inches; Duluth reports 11.8 inches; Tofte and Hibbing report 12 inches; Isabella reports 16.5 inches; and Hermantown reports 19 inches. Only Beaver Bay has reported over an inch of precipitation (liquid) with 1.21 inches in their gage so far this month.
Twin Cities Almanac for March 9thThe average MSP high temperature for this date is 35 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 18 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation).
MSP Local Records for March 9thMSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 61 degrees F in 1878 and 1879; lowest daily maximum temperature of 6 degrees F in 1933; lowest daily minimum temperature of -10 F in 1951 and 2003 (Pioneer Era -16 F in 1856); highest daily minimum temperature of 50 F37 F in 1878; record precipitation of 0.84 inches in 1918 (Pioneer Era 0.92 inches in 1871); and record snowfall of 10.9 inches also in 1918. Snow depth was 22 inches on this date in 1979.
Average dew point for March 9th is 16 degrees F, with a maximum of 44 degrees F in 1911 and a minimum of -17 degrees F in 2003.
All-time state records for March 9thThe state record high temperature for this date is 77 degrees F at Caledonia (Houston County) in 2000; the state record low temperature for this date is -33 degrees F at Tower (St Louis County) in 1984. State record precipitation for this date is 1.96 inches at St James (Watonwan County) in 1992; and state record snowfall for this date is 16.0 inches at Red Wing (Goodhue County) in 1999.
Past Weather Features:March of 1878 was the 2nd warmest in Twin Cities history. Back to back afternoon temperatures of 61 degrees F occurred on the 8th and 9th. The temperature topped 60 degrees F eight times that month. By March 11, 1878 all the ice was out on Lake Minnetonka, the earliest date for such an occurrence. On March 9,1878 the minimum temperature never fell below 50 degrees F in the Twin Cities, 15 degrees warmer than the average daily high!
March 9, 1883 brought light snow to the Twin Cities, with 0.01 inches of precipitation recorded. That turned out to be a rare event, as that March brought only 0.06 inches, the driest March in Twin Cities history.
In March, 1951, 12 of the first 14 days of the month brought at least a trace of snowfall to the Twin Cities. This snowiest March in history brought 40 inches, and produced an average snow depth by mid-month of 27 inches. Later in the month a large spring snow melt flood began on the Mississippi River.
March 8-9, 1999 brought a very heavy snowfall to eastern sections of the state, closing roads and schools in many areas. The Twin Cities airport reported a new record snowfall of 12.5 inches on the 8th and a storm total of 16 inches. Stillwater reported 11 inches, Chanhassen 13 inches, Red Wing 15 inches, and Hastings 12 inches. Further north Two Harbors reported over 15 inches, and Duluth over 9 inches. It was the heaviest snowfall for the month of March that year.
An arctic cold outbreak held its grip on the state on March 9, 2003. Red Lake reported -27 degrees F, while Warroad recorded -21 degrees F. As far south as Marshall (Lyon County) it was the coldest March 9th in history, with a high of only 9 degrees F and a low of -12 degrees F.
Blizzard Coyote (named by the Grand Forks Heald newspaper) struck the Red River Valley on March 11, 2009. It was a precursor to spring snow melt flooding of long duration along the Red River.