Increase in seasonal snowfall totalsMonday through Wednesday this week brought several inches of new snow to areas of the state. In fact, it was the snowiest 3-day period of the winter for some observers. In the north International Falls reported 8 inches; Crookston, Orr, Hibbing, Cook, and Two Harbors reported 6 inches; Isabella reported 6.2 inches; and Kabetogama reported 7.4 inches. In central Minnesota Mora reported 5.2 inches and Plymouth 5.0 inches, while MSP reported 2.7 inches. In the south Theilman, and Cannon Falls reported over 2 inches.
The new seasonal snowfall totals for some observers: Gunflint Lake 36.6 inches; Isabella 49.4 inches; Kabetogama 48.3 inches; Orr 40 inches, and International Falls 41.2 inches. Despite the recent snowfall, many locations are still significant seasonal deficiencies: at Duluth the season has delivered just 22.9 inches (normal through the end of February is 65.6 inches); at MSP the seasonal snowfall total is 18 inches (normal through the end of February is 39.7 inches); and at Rochester the seasonal snowfall total is just 20.1 inches (normal through the end of February is 39.9 inches).
Southern counties in the state were getting more appreciable snowfall on Thursday (Luverne reported over 4 inches), and there is another chance for snow (and mixed precipitation) expected on Sunday, and again next Tuesday and Wednesday to close out the month of February. If all of this snow and rain materializes February may end up to be the first wetter than normal month statewide since last July. Yes, we have recorded six consecutive drier than normal months in Minnesota, and it is about time to bring that to a halt.
Watch for any new Leap Day precipitation recordsSince Leap Day (Feb 29) only comes around every 4 years, the record amounts for precipitation that day at many Minnesota locations are rather modest (0.7 inches of snowfall in the Twin Cities for example). With a major winter storm in the forecast for next Tuesday and Wednesday it is possible that many new precipitation records will be set around the state on Wednesday. We'll see.
Weekly Weather PotpourriWednesday and Thursday brought a strong winter storm to Colorado and Wyoming this week. Heavy snow was driven by extreme wind, 70-90 mph in places. This resulted in power outages for some, broken trees, and closure of Interstate 70 and Interstate 25 for periods of time. It snowed up to 3 feet in Wyoming's Teton Mountains.
Long-lived Cyclone Giovanna brought heavy rainfall to Madagascar last week and early this week. NASA's TRMM satellite measurement systems estimated rainfall amounts of over 10 inches across Madagascar, causing serious flooding. News services reported at least 23 deaths due to the storm, and up to 190,000 people were displaced from their homes. Fortunately no threat of tropical storm development was seen in the Western Pacific or Indian Oceans this week.
According to recent research from the University of North Carolina at least 18 different bird species in the eastern USA are migrating north to their breeding grounds earlier in the year, most probably due to climate change. Researchers at UNC are using data collected through the eBird citizen observing program that has been operating the past decade. You can read more about this study here.
MPR listener questions
I go into the bathroom of my house on a windy day and the toilet water is moving around in the bowl. What causes this to happen?
Answer: The simple answer is pressure. House plumbing is vented to the outside through a vent stack (usually in the roof). On very windy days, the rapidly moving air across the top of the vent stack creates a suction, causing a fluctuating lowering of pressure in the vent stack. This in turn causes the water to move about in the waste water plumbing of the house. You can read more about this here.
With the relatively new NOAA Threaded Extremes in the Twin Cities climate record, what is the all-time high temperature and low temperature officially? How does this compare to say Rochester to the south and International Falls to the north?
For the Twin Cities (1871-2012), the highest temperature recorded is 108 F on July 14, 1936, the lowest ever is -41 F on January 21, 1888.
For Rochester (1886-2012), the highest temperature recorded is 108 F on July 14, 1936, the lowest ever is -42 F on January 7, 1887.
For International Falls (1897-2012), the highest temperature recorded is 103 F on July 22, 1923, the lowest ever is -55 F on January 6, 1909.
(Note: temperature records were not kept for International Falls in the 1930s).
Almanac for February 24thThe average MSP high temperature for this date is 30 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 12 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees standard deviation).
MSP Local Records for February 24thMSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 59 degrees F in 1880; lowest daily maximum temperature of -2 degrees F in 1967; lowest daily minimum temperature of -20 degrees F in 1967; highest daily minimum temperature of 42 degrees F in 2000; record precipitation of 1.90 inches in 1930; record snowfall is a 4.8 inches in 2007.
Average dew point for February 24th is 16 degree F, with a maximum of 44 degrees F in 1930 and a minimum of -34 degrees F in 1950.
All-time state records for February 17th
Scanning the state climatic data base: the all-time high for this date is 67 degrees F at Pipestone (Pipestone County) in 1958. The all-time record low for this date is a very cold -46 degrees F at Red Lake Falls (Red Lake County) in 1955. The all-time record precipitation amount for this date is 2.10 inches at Beaver Bay (Lake County) in 1868 and at Tower (St Louis County) in 1964. State record snowfall for this date is 19.0 inches at Beaver Bay (Lake County) in 1868.
Past Weather Features:February 21-24, 1868 brought a significant winter storm to Minnesota. Rain and snow mixed fell across the state. Fort Ripley received over a foot of snow, while Beaver Bay reported 19 inches. In the Twin Cities nearly 10 inches of snowfall was reported.
On February 24, 1880 a mild, spring-like day greeted Minnesota citizens. Residents of St Paul enjoyed 59 degrees F under sunny skies, while up north in Duluth the afternoon temperature reached a balmy 52 degrees F. Temperatures cooled down to single digits and below zero F readings by the end of the month that Leap Year of 1880.
A winter storm over February 22-25, 1964 brought heavy snowfall to northern Minnesota. Waskish received 7 inches, Leech Lake 8 inches, and Big Falls reported 8.5 inches from the storm. For some Minnesota weather observers this was the only significant snow storm of the month.
Both February 24, 1955 and 1967 saw extreme cold visit the state. Many observers reported overnight lows of -30 degrees F or colder, and even -40 F and colder in northern counties. Daytime highs could not rise above 0 F. Many observers reported daytime highs between -5 and -8 degrees F.
The last exceptionally snowy February 24 was in 2001, when many observers reported from 4 to 12 inches of new snowfall. Minnesota, Cloquet, Two Harbors, Duluth, Moose Lake, and Hinckley all reported 10-12 inches of new snow.