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Showing posts from February, 2018

Disparity in Winter Temperature Signal Associated with Snow Cover

Disparity in Winter Temperature Signal Associated with Snow Cover:
Last week I stated that this winter (Dec-Feb) will end up being colder than normal for most places in the state, something that has been fairly rare in occurrence over the past three decades. Approximately 90 percent of the climate stations in Minnesota will end up with an average temperature for the December (2017) through February (2018) period that is colder than average. Only about 10 percent of Minnesota’s climate stations will show a mean winter temperature that is slightly warmer than normal.

Areas of the state with ample snow cover will show the largest negative temperature departures, while areas that have been deficient in snow cover all winter will show slight positive temperature departures. Embarrass (St Louis County) which has reported significant snow cover since mid-December has reported 9 dates with a low temperature of -40 degrees F or colder. Conversely, Montevideo (Chippewa County) which has h…

Snow will be welcome in west-central Minnesota

Snow will be welcome in west-central Minnesota:
Portions of west-central Minnesota have been exceptionally dry since November 1 of last year. Over an area spanning from Lyon County north to Traverse County and east to Meeker County climate observers have reported only about 25 to 35 percent of normal precipitation since November 1st. As a result some of these west-central counties are designated to be in moderate drought by the US Drought Monitor, but more importantly the persistent absence of snow cover this winter has allowed frost depths to go down 20-30 inches and exposed pasture lands to some extremely low temperatures (conducive to winter injury of perennial grasses and alfalfa). Should this pattern persist into the spring farmers would be justifiably considered about lacking enough moisture for the planting season.

Fortunately the emerging weather pattern delineated by recent forecast models shows favorable conditions for significant snow cover to finally come to this port…

Cold Start to February

Cold Start to February:
February has begun with a prolonged cold spell of many subzero nights with daytime highs only reaching the single digits in many places. Average temperatures around the state are running 10 to 12 degrees F cooler than normal. Over the first nine days of the month Minnesota has reported the nation’s coldest temperature 5 times, including -43 degrees F at Embarrass on the 4th. So far 16 climate stations in northern portions of the state have seen the temperature drop to -30 degrees F at least once this month.


Several observers have reported 3 to 5 inches of new snow this month. In many northern areas snow depths range from 8 to 15 inches, while west-central counties still lack snow cover as many observers there report less than 2 inches. Soil frost depths around the state currently range from 15 to 30 inches, and will likely go deeper. The colder than normal temperatures are likely to continue on Wednesday of next week (Feb 14th) when temperatures are expec…

Climate Summary for January 2018

Climate Summary for January 2018:Temperatures exhibited great variation during the month of January with daily departures that were over 20 degrees F above and below normal. Overall the mean temperatures for the month ended up from 1 to 2 degrees F cooler than normal, especially in NE and SE communities, to 1-2 degrees F warmer than normal in many other parts of the state. Extremes for the month ranged from 51 degrees F at Browns Valley (Traverse County) on the 20th to -46 degrees F at Embarrass (St Louis County) on the 14th. Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the nation 8 times during the month, and on 6 of those dates the report was from Embarrass, MN. Four climate stations reported lows of -40 degrees F or colder, while five climate stations reported highs of 50 degrees F or greater.

For most of Minnesota January was drier than normal, with total precipitation (liquid water content) measured at 0.70 inches or less. Exceptions occurred in some south-central, east-ce…