University of Minnesota Extension
www.extension.umn.edu
612-624-1222
Menu Menu

Extension > Mark Seeley's WeatherTalk > January 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Preliminary climate summary for January 2012

Preliminary climate summary for January 2012

A very warm January prevailed across Minnesota. Many observers report mean monthly temperatures that are 7 to 9 degrees F warmer than average. Both Fargo-Moorhead and International Falls report their 5th warmest January in history, while on a statewide basis January 2012 appears to rank as the 7th warmest historically. Three new state record high temperatures were set for the month (on the 4th, 54 F at Marshall; on the 5th, 63 F at Marshall and Canby; and on the 10th, 59 F at Marshall). MSP International Airport reported only three mornings with below zero F temperatures, well below the average of eleven. The monthly temperature extremes were 63 degrees F at Marshall and Canby on the 5th, and -30 degrees F at Brimson (St Louis County) on the 20th. January was the 4th consecutive month with significantly above normal temperatures across the state, making the October (2011) through January (2012) period one of the warmest in state history. One final note on temperature: despite the dominance of warm temperatures, Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the 48 contiguous states on four dates during the month.

It was also generally a drier than normal month, though some observers reported significant snowfall, and the largest monthly total for the winter so far. Some of those with significant January snowfall included: 14.9 inches at Orr; 14.1 inches at Kabetogama; 12.7 inches at Lanesboro; 11.4 inches at Grand Meadow; and 10.3 inches at Gunflint Lake. The last weekend of the month may bring additional snows to these areas as well.

Over January 9-10 strong winds were reported around the state with the advance of an arctic high pressure system. Many reported wind gusts from 40 to 50 mph.

Soil frost depths increased during January, starting out at just a few inches below the soil surface and dropping to as deep as 20 to 30 inches in places where there is little snow cover.

Minneapolis Climate Action Planning

On February 1, at 5:30 pm the City of Minneapolis is hosting a meeting to discuss climate change and human health impacts at the Minneapolis Central Library. This is part of the process for the city to develop a detailed climate action plan as it considers its future. The meeting is open to the public, and if you wish to attend you can find out more here.

I will be a speaker at this meeting, along with Kristin Raab from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Weekly Weather Potpourri

This weekend, over January 28-29, the Mall of America is hosting "Government on Display." Your National Weather Service and North-Central River Forecast Center staff will be present with interactive displays of some of the data and tools they use to make forecasts. If you are in the vicinity, please drop by and visit as they will be in the Rotunda area.

After three consecutive years of serious spring snow melt flooding along the Red River in northwestern Minnesota, it was a relief to hear from the National Weather Service this week that there is little or not threat of major spring snow melt flooding along the basin this year. Precipitation patterns for the past six months have shown large deficits in most areas along the Red River Basin and this dryness is expected to persist. Very little snow cover has been realized so far this winter along the Red River and its tributaries as well. There is still a 30-50 percent chance of minor flooding along some points depending on the amount of late winter and early spring precipitation.

The NOAA Storm Prediction Center reported that January 22nd was the busiest severe weather day of the new year. There were 37 reports of tornadoes (significant ones in Alabama), 32 reports of large hail, and 128 reports of strong winds, mostly across the southeastern states.

Two tropical cyclones were churning in the southern hemisphere this week. Off the northwest coast of Australia Cyclone Iggy was increasing in strength with wind gusts over 80 mph and sea waves of 23 feet (as of Jan 27). It was expected to reach peak strength by the 31st of January, bringing heavy rains to northwestern Australia. Between Mozambique and Madagascar Cyclone Funso was bringing seas heights of 30 feet with wind gusts up to 150 mph. It was expected to dissipate by the 30th of January.

MPR listener question

What are your thoughts on the new Plant Hardiness Zones released earlier this week by the USDA and showing that a wider array of plants may now be adapted to the Twin Cities area (zone 4b) and southern Minnesota counties (zone 5a)?

Answer: I am not an expert in plants, but from a climate perspective there has been a change in Minnesota's temperature patterns, especially in winter. In many locations the average winter minimum temperatures are higher now than they once were. The downtown areas have not seen -25 degrees F since February of 1996, while Rosemount reported temperatures that cold in 2009, and Chaska reported such temperatures in 2011. Zone 4b designates an area suitable for plants that can withstand winter temperatures down to -25 degrees F, while zone 5a designates an area for plant materials that can tolerate down to -20 degrees F. Because of micro-climate effects (slopes, soils, lakes, and urban heat islands) it is difficult to generalize about plant hardiness zones. In the Twin Cities Metro Area, we see that winter minimum temperatures colder than -25 degrees F occur with widespread variation. Some areas record such temperatures every 4-5 years while others may go 7-10 years.

Almanac for January 27th

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 20 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 2 degrees F (plus or minus 15 degrees standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for January 27th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 47 degrees F in 1934; lowest daily maximum temperature of -10 degrees F in 1917; lowest daily minimum temperature of -23 degrees F in 1950; highest daily minimum temperature of 34 degrees F in 1944; record precipitation of 0.42 inches in 1916; record snowfall is a 3.8 inches in 1916.

Average dew point for January 27th is 1 degree F, with a maximum of 35 degrees F in 1944 and a minimum of -32 degrees F in 1966.

All-time state records for January 27th

Scanning the state climatic data base: the all-time high for this date is 61 degrees F at Winnebago (Faribault County), Worthington (Nobles County), and Lakefield (Jackson County) in 2002. The all-time record low for this date is a very cold -54 degrees F at Pokegama Dam (Itasca County) in 1904. The all-time record precipitation amount for this date is 1.80 inches at Harmony (Fillmore County) in 1944. State record snowfall for this date is 18.0 inches at Hokah (Houston County) in 1996.

Past Weather Features:

Following a fresh snowfall on January 25 and 26 in 1915, Wednesday the 27th brought record cold temperatures to many areas. At least seven communities saw the alcohol thermometer drop to -40 degrees F or colder. The daytime high only reached -19 degrees F at Bagley and Fosston.

A soaking rainfall was welcome across southwestern Minnesota over January 27-28, 1944.
 It broke a 75-80 day drought when very little precipitation had occurred. Amounts of 1.00 to 1.55 inches were recorded along a stretch from Tracy to Canby.

January 25-27, 1996 brought heavy snow to southern Minnesota communities, during what was already a very snowy winter. Many observers reported at least a new foot of snow, while Preston, Winona, and La Crescent reported over 17 inches.

January 27, 2002 brought a sunny and warm day to southern Minnesota communities. Over two dozen weather observers reported daytime highs of 50 degrees F or higher, and a number of places reached 60 degrees F. There was little snow left on the ground after such a warm up.

Outlook

Chance of light snow with cooler temperatures over the weekend. Precipitation may be mixed in places with freezing drizzle possible in the northeast. Then, a warming trend begins on Monday and runs through next week as temperatures will average well above normal. Another chance for snow by Wednesday.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Coldest readings of the winter so far

Coldest readings of the winter so far

Some of the National Weather Service Offices issued Extreme Cold Warnings for parts of Minnesota this past Wednesday and Thursday (Jan 18-19) as a result of an arctic air mass advancing across the state and associated strong winds that produced wind chill values from -35 to -40 F. In fact overnight near Grand Marais a katabatic wind (drainage wind from higher elevation) peaked at 59 mph. These high winds made for some extreme overnight and early morning wind chill (WC) values along the north shore of Lake Superior with WC of -50 degrees F at Isabella, -51 degrees F near Grand Portage, and -53 degrees F near Grand Marais. On Thursday morning Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the 48 contiguous states for the 3rd time this month with a low of -26 degrees F at Hallock, Park Rapids, Fosston, Babbitt, Orr, and Crane Lake. And again on Friday morning, Cook reported -27 degrees F (same as Churchill, Manitoba along the shores of Hudson Bay!).

Snowfall was generally light associated with this arctic cold front. Nevertheless some observers reported 1 to 4 inches of new snowfall. Hibbing reported 3.9 inches. But the arctic air mass reinforced by the presence of fresh snow cover brought very cold temperatures across the entire state, the coldest of the winter. MSP International Airport fell to -1 degrees F just before midnight on January 18th tying the record date (set in 1889 and 2002) for the latest below 0 F temperature reading during any winter season back to 1871. Later that night MSP dropped all the way to -11 degrees F, the coldest reading of the winter so far in the Twin Cities. As far south as Austin and Albert Lea fell to -9 degrees F. Daytime high temperatures remained below 0 F in many locations, and only reached the single digits above 0 F in some southern Minnesota communities.

Soil temperatures plummeted by over 40 degrees where there was no snow cover, and frost depths grew deeper going down to depths of 20 to 24 inches. Fortunately Friday brought more snow to southern counties (1-3 inches) and further snow was expected over the weekend, so perhaps some insulting snow cover will be present next week across much of the Minnesota landscape.

 

New Seasonal Climate Outlook

The NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issued new seasonal climate outlooks this week for the balance of winter and early spring. Their models suggest a warmer than normal February for parts of Minnesota, but equal chances for above or below normal temperature values for the balance of winter and early spring. The models also suggest wetter than normal conditions across much of Minnesota during the spring (March-May).

Course on Minnesota's Severe Weather

I will be teaching another course for the College of Continuing Education this winter called: "From Hurricanes to Fresh Water Furies: Severe Storms and Their Consequences." The course is offered during only 3-Tuesday night meetings (7:00 to 9:00 pm), concluding with a tour of the National Weather Service in Chanhassen on March 6th. I will attempt to make the class informative and educational, so if you are interested please check it out!

Weekly Weather Potpourri

A strong winter storm brought rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow to the states of Washington and Oregon this week. Snowfall amounts of 4 to 12 inches were common on Wednesday with a record 6.8 inches at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Olympia reported over a foot of snow, while Mount Hood in Oregon received over 50 inches. Additional snowfalls were expected in higher elevations for Thursday as the storm moved further east over Idaho and Montana.

The NOAA National Weather Service announced recently that 2011 saw the fewest lightning deaths across the USA of any year on record. The NWS reported only 26 lightning deaths during 2011, less than half of the historical average. This may provide evidence that citizens are more aware and educated than every before regarding lightning safety measures, a good sign. You can read more about this here.

In addition NOAA announced two additional weather events in 2011 that resulted in an economic impact of $1 billion or more. This brings the total number of billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in 2011 to 14. You can read more about this here.

Tropical Cyclones Ethel and Funso were spinning away in the Southern Indian Ocean this week. Funso was bringing heavy rainfall and high seas to Madagascar and Mozambique, while Ethel was staying generally over open water.

Featured this week on the NOAA web site are some interesting ocean facts, some often overlooked. If you want to read about them further you can go here.

Research published in the current edition of the journal Nature documents changing climate patterns in the southern and eastern Amazon Basin as a result of land disturbance (notably deforestation and fire). This work documents some changes in the hydrological cycle and drought frequency. You can read more here.

MPR listener question

I heard that the below zero degrees F reading in the Twin Cities on Wednesday this week (Jan 18) tied the historical record for the latest such reading during a winter season, set in 1889 and 2002. I am curious to know what was the weather pattern like for the rest of the winter snow season during those earlier years, and if they are similar might that be the case this year?

Answer: Unfortunately, there is little similarity between the winters of 1888-1889 and 2001-2002. In 1889 there was a very cold February, followed by a cold March and April, with abundant snowfall towards the end of winter. In 2002, a moderately cold February, was followed by a warm March and April, with only 8 inches of snowfall after January 31st. As for the rest of this winter, please see the discussion above on the new seasonal climate outlook.

Almanac for January 20th

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 23 degrees F (plus or minus 15 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 6 degrees F (plus or minus 15 degrees standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for January 20th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 52 degrees F in 1908; lowest daily maximum temperature of -17 degrees F in 1888; lowest daily minimum temperature of -32 degrees F in 1888; highest daily minimum temperature of 35 degrees F in 1921; record precipitation of 0.80 inches in 1982; record snowfall is a 17.1 inches in 1982.

Average dew point for January 20th is 4 degrees F, with a maximum of 36 degrees F in 1909 and a minimum of -38 degrees F in 1985.

All-time state records for January 20th

Scanning the state climatic data base: the all-time high for this date is 61 degrees F at Madison (Lac Qui Parle County) and Montevideo (Chippewa County) in 1944. The all-time record low for this date is a very cold -57 degrees F at Tower and Embarrass (St Louis County) in 1996. The all-time record precipitation amount for this date is 1.76 inches at Preston (Fillmore County) in 1988. State record snowfall for this date is 17.1 inches at MSP International Airport in 1982.

Past Weather Features:

An arctic air mass brought a severe cold wave to the state in mid-January of 1888. On January 20th downtown St Paul reported a morning low of -41 degrees F (-46 F at Fort Snelling) and an afternoon high of only -20 degrees F. In the far north at St Vincent, MN they were in the midst of a long cold wave which kept the temperature at 0 degrees F or below for 288 consecutive hours. On the 20th the morning low was -45 degrees F with an afternoon high of -22 degrees F.

Conversely a warm, sunny day greeted Minnesota citizens on January 20, 1944. Over two dozen Minnesota cities reached temperatures of 50 degrees F or higher, topped by 61 degrees F at Montevideo.

January 20, 1982 started one of the snowiest 4-day January periods in Minnesota history. Over that period of time Duluth received 24.2 inches, Cambridge reported 18 inches, Rosemount reported 24 inches, and the Twin Cities reported an incredible 37.4 inches.

In the famous drought year of 1988, January 20th brought one of the heaviest precipitation events of the year to some southern Minnesota communities. Windom, Worthington, and Mankato reported over 1.20 inches. Theilman reported 1.69 inches, while Preston reported 1.76 inches, mostly falling as snow, but these amounts were the second largest daily precipitation amounts for the entire year of 1988 at those locations.

Following a fresh snowfall, severe cold prevailed across the state on January 20, 1996. At least 35 communities reported morning lows of -40 degrees F or colder, while in the north 7 climate stations reported lows of -50 degrees F or colder.

Outlook

Increasing cloudiness over the weekend with chances for occasional snow and moderating temperatures. Daytime temperatures will climb into the 20s and 30s. Drier by Tuesday with temperatures near normal, then warming again towards the end of next week.

Friday, January 13, 2012

More temperature records, then snow

More temperature records, then snow

January 9-10 brought even more new high temperature records to the state and the region, adding to the previous weeks record-setting values. It was far and away the warmest first 10 days of January ever measured in Minnesota history, averaging over 20 degrees F above normal statewide (27.2 F versus a normal of 7.1 F). New temperature records were established for many Minnesota communities on January 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10, as a total of 163 new temperature records were reported, and 18 record temperatures were tied around the state. Three all-time state high temperature daily records were set.

On January 9th 37 communities reported new record high temperatures (values in the 40s and 50s F) topped by 57 degrees F at Milan and Redwood Falls, while on January 10th, new temperature records were set for 35 communities, including 59 degrees F at Marshall, which was a new statewide record high for the date In addition on January 10th automated stations at Morton, St Peter, Minnesota, and Blue Earth reported temperatures over 60 degrees F, but those won't be entered as records because of the absence of historical context with automated measurement systems.

Following January 9-10th warmth, the other shoe dropped as temperatures fell by 30-35 degrees F on the 11th. Strong winds ushered in a cold polar air mass. Many weather stations reported wind gusts from the NW of 30 mph or more. Some stations even saw winds peak over 40 mph, including 41 mph at Starbuck and Benson, 42 mph at Sauk Centre, 43 mph at New Ulm and Olivia, 44 mph at Madison and Appleton, 45 mph at Clara City, 46 mph at at St James, and 47 mph at Canby. The strong winds produced windchill values from -20 to -30 F in some western and northern counties. By Thursday (Jan 12) Bigfork, MN had seen their temperature drop to -1 degrees F, having seen a record 45 degrees F only two days before. And by Friday morning, Hallock reported -15 degrees F, much more typical of January weather.

The relatively fast moving cold front deposited measurable snowfall in places, especially southeastern and northern counties. Some of the amounts included: 3.5 inches at Hibbing; 2.0 inches at Bemidji; 2.4 inches at Orr; 2.5 inches at Tofte; 3.0 inches at Gunflint Lake; 3.4 inches at Preston; 2.5 inches at Rushford; 5.5 inches at Winona; 4.0 inches at Lanesboro and at Grand Meadow; and 7.3 inches at Caledonia. Areas of northern and western Wisconsin received even larger amounts of snowfall (13 inches at Ashland and 10 inches at Hurley, among others). More information on the weather change in January can be found here.

Snowfall will more commonly be in the forecast for the balance of January, as a series of weather disturbances pass. Still, many residence of the state wonder where the snow is. Duluth Airport has reported less than 13 inches of snowfall so far for the winter of 2011-2012. Their record for least snowfall in a season is 26.8 inches in 1899-1900.

Weekly Weather Potpourri

Portions of the United Kingdom have also been reporting a mild winter so far, with many daytime temperature in the 40s and over night lows from the mid 30s to mid 40s F. Under such conditions gardeners had noticed roses and daffodils were staying in bloom and gardens were being showcased on some of the BBC broadcasts.

The NOAA Storm Prediction Center reported the first tornadoes of 2012 this week. On January 9th (Monday) two tornadoes were reported in east Texas (Meadows and Dickinson) with somewhat minimal damage, while on January 11th (Wednesday) a tornado was reported in Ellenboro, NC where it caused some damage to buildings.

The National Weather Service in Alaska has reported exceptional snowfall amounts for many climate stations there. Valdez has reported over 95 inches of snowfall so far in January, following over 150 inches in December. Areas around Anchorage are also seeing record amounts of snowfall this winter.

NCAR scientists have studied down-scaled climate model output to assess the frequency of hail storms over Colorado. If the climate models are right in their prediction of warmer temperatures in the future, the frequency of pea-sized hail storms over Colorado may be diminished according to this report. You can read more here.

MPR listener question

I am missing the snow for cross country skiing, something I trained for this fall and have not had the opportunity to do. What is the snowiest 2nd half of January for the Twin Cities area.

Answer: Don't give up hope! We will definitely see more frequent chances for snowfall during the second half of January. Back in 1982, the Twin Cities recorded over 42 inches of snow during the second half of January, producing a nice 20-25 inch snow base for skiers.

Almanac for January 13th

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 23 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 6 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for January 13th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 48 degrees F in 1891, 1980, and 1987; lowest daily maximum temperature of -14 degrees F in 1916; lowest daily minimum temperature of -30 degrees F in 1916; highest daily minimum temperature of 34 degrees F in 1960; record precipitation of 0.37 inches in 1887; record snowfall is a 6.0 inches in 1967.

Average dew point for January 13th is 9 degrees F, with a maximum of 37 degrees F in 1947 and a minimum of -33 degrees F in 1982.

All-time state records for January 13th

Scanning the state climatic data base: the all-time high for this date is 60 degrees F at Lamberton (Redwood County) in 1987. The all-time record low for this date is a very cold -50 degrees F at Bagley (Clearwater County) in 1916. The all-time record precipitation amount for this date is 1.75 inches at Owatonna (Steele County) in 1999. State record snowfall for this date is 14.0 inches at Beaver Bay (Lake County) in 1874 and at New Richland (Waseca County) in 1910.

Past Weather Features:

Powerful winds from Lake Superior combined with a strong winter storm produced 14 inches of new snowfall on January 13, 1874. This record was tied by New Richland (Waseca County) which reported 14 inches of snowfall on January 13, 1910. That 1910 winter storm also brought 12 inches of new snow to Fairmont, 11 inches at Grand Meadow, and 10 inches at Lynd.

January 12-13, 1916 brought a severe cold wave to the state. Over 40 Minnesota communities reported low temperatures of -30 degrees F or colder, while 17 communities were -40 degrees F or colder. This was one of 8 cold waves to hit the state in January 1916.

Temperatures in the 40s and 50s F prevailed during a pronounced thaw period over January 11-14, 1987. Very little snow cover was evident around the state in mid-January that year.

Word of the Week: WAA

This is actually a contraction used in National Weather Service forecast discussions to refer to "warm air advection", when air currents generally from the south, usher in warmer air across the region. A significant rise in temperature can occur, even overnight when WAA plays out over several hours. Sometimes the temperature rise can be larger than the daily change that occurs during the hours that the sun is shining.

Outlook

Chance of snow through Saturday, with a gradual warm up in temperatures to above normal values for Sunday and Monday. Chance of snow again by last Monday and into Tuesday, followed by sharply colder temperatures. Another chance for snow towards next weekend.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Warm and record-setting start to January

Warm and record-setting start to January

After starting New Years Day cold, icy, and snowy, the first week of January has brought temperatures that range from 8 to 12 degrees F warmer than normal on average, with all-time record-setting values on the 4th and 5th. For January 4th many western and southern communities reported new record high temperatures including: 47 F at Redwood Falls; 49 F at Browns Valley; 50 F at Luverne; 51 F at Pipestone and Montevideo; 52 F at Madison, Milan, and Canby; and 54 degrees F at Marshall and Minnesota (both in Lyon County). The last reading is a new all-time state record high for January 4th, breaking the old record of 50 F at Worthington in 1930.

Even more remarkable were the temperatures measured on Thursday, January 5th. It was clearly the warmest January 5th in state history as scores of observers reported new record high temperatures and the former state record high, 57 degrees F at Crookston in 1902, was shattered by a reading of 64 degrees F at Minnesota (Lyon County) reached at 2:30 pm. Some of the new records included: 63 F at Marshall and Canby; 62 F at Granite Falls; 61 F at Madison and Montevideo; 59 F at Morris and Redwood Falls; 57 F at Pipestone, Wheaton, Willmar, Olivia, Tracy, and Luverne; 55 F at Fargo, Rochester, and Fergus Falls, and 54 at Moorhead and Worthington. Even as far north as St Vincent (Kittson County) and Baudette (Lake of the Woods County) hit 50 degrees F, while record highs of 48 degrees F and 46 degrees F were reported at Duluth and International Falls, respectively. The record warmth of January 5th carried over into Friday at Duluth, as at 12:01 am on January 6th they reported a new record high for the date of 45 degrees F! For some observers the temperatures were not only new records for January 5th but near all-time highs for any day in January. The state record high for January remained intact (69 degrees F occurred at Montevideo on the 24th in 1981).

Despite all of the January warmth, Embarrass, MN did report the lowest temperature in the 48 contiguous states on the January 3rd with -19 degrees F. They had warmed nearly 60 degrees F, hitting 41 F by the 5th.

Cold in Florida

In contrast to Minnesota's warm January, Florida residents were turning on their furnaces this week as some new record low temperatures were set on the mornings of January 3rd and 4th. In central and northern Florida counties some overnight lows in the upper teens to low 20s F were reported. As far south as Punta Gorda it was 29 degrees F. Temperatures are supposed to rebound into the 70s F this weekend.

Weekly Weather Potpourri

Many parts of Manitoba, Canada reported record-setting temperature on January 5th as well. Outdoor skating was suspended in most cities, including Winnipeg, which reached a new record high of 44 degrees F.

The new year started out very wet in parts of southeastern Brazil, bringing flooding rains this week to over 60 communities. Parts of the country north of Rio de Janeiro reported over a 10 inches of rain this week. A number of deaths were reported due to flood waters as the rains continued in the higher landscape positions creating huge volumes of runoff in watersheds that flowed through towns and cities. For the second consecutive January flood waters have forced the evacuation of thousands of homes there, complicated by a dam bursting as well.

According to the NOAA-Storm Prediction Center the nation has been spared any severe weather reports Next Day » through the first 6 days of 2012. Further their models show no severe weather threats on the horizon through January 8th.

According to Munich Re, one of the world's largest reinsurance firms, 2011 was the costliest year in history in terms of weather damages. It is estimated that total insured damage and loss worldwide was near one third of a trillion dollars. Earthquakes and tsunamis accounted for over half the loss. You can read more about their findings here.

MPR listener question

Do you see signs of real winter coming later this month? Surely we'll see below zero degrees F and some significant snowfall, won't we?

Answer: Indeed, it is too early to dismiss winter. Weather models are suggesting a transition over January 11-13 across Minnesota, as strong winds usher in colder air and a chance for significant snowfall at mid-month, especially in northern Minnesota. I don't know how long it will last, but it will certainly feel more like winter by late next week.

Almanac for January 6th

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 22 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 5 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for January 6th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 49 degrees F in 1900; lowest daily maximum temperature of -14 degrees F in 1909; lowest daily minimum temperature of -27 degrees F in 1887 and 1912; highest daily minimum temperature of 35 degrees F in 1928; record precipitation of 0.40 inches in 1967; record snowfall is a 5.2 inches in 1932.

Average dew point for January 6th is 6 degrees F, with a maximum of 33 degrees F in 1965 and a minimum of -34 degrees F in 1942.

All-time state records for January 6th

Scanning the state climatic data base: the all-time high for this date is 53 degrees F at Bird Island (Renville County) in 1900. The all-time record low for this date is a very cold -55 degrees F at International Falls (Koochiching County) in 1909. The all-time record precipitation amount for this date is 3.00 inches at Fergus Falls (Otter Tail County) in 1997. State record snowfall for this date is 19.0 inches at Hinckley (Pine County) in 1997.

Past Weather Features:

This Saturday, January 7th, marks the anniversary of one of the state's most lethal blizzards. In 1873, the New Ulm observer called it the "most violent snow storm" he had ever witnessed, as within seconds visibility was reduced to less than 20 yards by snowfall and winds of 45 mph. The storm raged from the 7th to the 10th of January. Wind chill conditions, though unmeasured back then, were very dangerous, and with the absence of any visibility farmers strung ropes between home and barn so they wouldn't become lost going to tend their animals. Still, 70 people lost their lives and hundreds of livestock perished as well. This three-day blizzard was one of the longest lived of the 19th Century, leaving drifts over 10 feet high that blocked trains for days.

January 6-8, 1887 brought a cold wave to Minnesota, as many observers reported constant temperature readings below 0 F. Temperatures fell to -42 degrees F at St Vincent, -38 degrees F at Spring Valley, and -34 degrees F at Bird Island. It proved to be one of the coldest Januarys in state history.

January 5-7, 1909 brought another cold wave to the state with temperatures falling to -30 degrees or colder in over 30 Minnesota communities. And yet another cold wave dominated the first half of January in 1912 bringing many mornings with temperatures in the -30s and -40s F. On January 6th the observer at Hallock reported a daytime high of only -24 degrees F.

Conversely on January 6, 1900 a brief one day January thaw brought temperatures in the 40s F with several communities reaching into the 50s F.

Both 1994 and 1997 brought snowy starts to the month of January. In January of 1994 some observers reported snow over the first seven days, with amounts ranging from 3-10 inches on the 6th. Over January 4-6, 1997 northern observers reported 6-20 inches of snowfall and Eveleth reported a snow depth of 45 inches (where are the snowshoes?). Lutsen ended up with over 53 inches of snowfall that month.

Outlook

Partly cloudy skies and above normal temperatures over the weekend, with little chance for precipitation. Continuing that way early next week, then a chance for snow towards the end of next week with strong winds and a significant cooling trend.
  • © Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy