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Extension > Minnesota WeatherTalk > April 2018

Friday, April 27, 2018

Preeliminary Climate Summary for April

 Preliminary Climate Summary for April:


April of 2018 will be remembered as cold and snowy for most Minnesota citizens. The average temperature for most communities ranged from 9 to 12 degrees F colder than normal. On a statewide basis it was the 5th coldest April back to 1895, only 1950, 1907, 1909, and 1920 were colder. For the Twin Cities (MSP) it was the 4th coldest April back to 1873, only 1874, 1907, and 1950 were colder. Within the Minnesota climate network over 500 daily record cold minimum temperature or cold maximum temperature records were set or tied. Extreme temperatures for the month ranged from -11 degrees F at Ely on the 8th, to over 80 degrees F at several locations on April 30th (forecasted to be that high). Roughly 85 percent of all days in April brought cooler than normal temperature conditions.

Moisture-wise the southern counties were generally wetter than normal, while the north was drier than normal. Many southern communities reported 3 to 4 inches of precipitation, while some northern climate stations received less than 1.5 inches. Snowfall was a big headline during April, as many Minnesota climate stations reported record amounts. The largest storm was the blizzard and heavy snow over April 13-16. MSP reported 15.8 inches of snowfall during that storm, the 12th highest snow storm total in history. You can view the others ranked among the top 20 historically at
the Minnesota State Climatology Office web site.

Over 150 daily snowfall records were broken or tied within the state climate network during the month. In addition, over 100 observers reported 20 inches or more during the month. New records for total April snowfall were common, including:

33.3” at Bricelyn
32.1” at Lakefield
27.0” at Albert Lea
29.6” at Lake Wilson
31.5” at Winnebago
22.9” at Waseca
37.0” at Tracy
23.0” at Lake City
36.9” at Canby
26.1” at MSP
26.0” at St James

Weekly Weather Potpourri:


April has been an windy and dry month in Oklahoma. This has produced a number of wild fires which have been a serious threat there. NOAA this week features an article about the conditions that have caused these fires. Nearly 300,000 acres of land has been burned in Oklahoma so far this month. Firefighters are still struggling to control them in some areas.

Tornado Alley has been unusually quiet so far in 2018. For states like Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri this may be one of the latest starts ever to the severe weather season. Little or no tornado activity has been reported from many of these states. You can read more from the BBC.

Sea-level rise and wave-driven flooding will negatively impact freshwater resources on many low-lying atoll islands in such a way that many could be uninhabitable in just a few decades. A recent U.S. Geological Survey study suggests that many of these islands in the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean may become uninhabitable in the next several decades as they lose freshwater supply.

A recent article in EOS documents how satellite data are now more frequently helping meteorologists forecast snowfall rates. This is a big step forward in forecasting and may be applied more broadly in the future.

MPR listener question:

I heard you say last week the Tracy, MN (Lyon County) had reported a record 37 inches of snow for the month. What is the state record for the month of April?

Answer:

Actually there have been two Aprils in the past ten years when some Minnesota climate stations reported over 40 inches of snowfall, both 2008 and 2013. The all-time April snowfall record is from Island Lake, just outside Duluth on the north shore of Lake Superior where they received 55.6 inches in 2013. That particular April also brought over 50 inches of snowfall to Duluth and Two Harbors.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 27th:


The average MSP high temperature for this date is 63 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 42 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 27th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 85 degrees F in 1977; lowest daily maximum temperature of 34 degree F in 1950; lowest daily minimum temperature of 21 degrees F in 1909; highest daily minimum temperature of 60 degrees F in 1938 and 1974; record precipitation of 2.22 inches in 1975. Record snowfall on this date is 8.5 inches in 1907.

Average dew point for April 27th is 36°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 65°F in 1986; and the minimum dew point on this date is 8°F in 1934.

All-time state records for April 27th:


The all-time state high temperature for today's date is 96 degrees F at Hallock (Kittson County) in 1952; the all-time state low for today's date is 7 degrees F at Brimson (St Louis County) in 1996. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 3.76 inches at Cambridge (Isanti County) in 1975. Record snowfall is 14.0 inches at Ottertail (Otter Tail County) in 2008.

Past Weather Features:


At the end of a snowy month, April 27, 1909 brought many record cold temperatures including single digit lows to many northern Minnesota communities. The afternoon high temperature at Roseau and Baudette on that day was only 30 degrees F, with snow still on the ground.

By far the warmest April 27th in state history was in 1952 when afternoon high temperatures of 90 degrees F or greater were reported from over 20 communities around the state. There was also high fire danger as some afternoon relative humidity readings were less than 20 percent.

A big late season snow storm on April 27, 2008 made travel very difficult across sections of northern Minnesota. Some climate stations reported 6 to 14 inches of heavy, wet snow.

Outlook:

Sunny, but cooler than normal on Saturday around the state, then a warming trend starts on Sunday, bringing temperatures that will rise above normal, reaching perhaps the 70s and 80s F by Monday. There will be a chance for showers and thunderstorms on late Sunday through early Tuesday, then cooler again for Wednesday and Thursday of next week.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Record Snowfall Totals for April

Record Snowfall Totals for April:

The heavy snowfalls and blizzard of April 13-16 set many records around the state. Many observers reported 12 to 18 inches of snowfall in total, while Milan, Lake Wilson, Tracy, Canby, and Madison reported over 19 inches. During the height of the snow, MSP Airport was closed and MN/DOT reported over 600 vehicle accidents.

Many new record daily snowfall amounts were reported for April 14th, among dozens were 7 inches at Amboy, 8 inches at Ortonville, 14 inches a Milan, and 23 inches at Canby (a new statewide record for the date). Then on April 15th even more new daily record snowfall amounts were reported, among them 12 inches at Winnebago and Rosemount, 12.7 inches at Duluth, 14 inches at Dawson and Montevideo, 16 inches at Minneota, and 25 inches at Tracy (a new statewide record for the date). So two new statewide daily snowfall records were set by this storm, 23 inches at Canby on the 14th and 25 inches at Tracy on the 15th, remarkable!

Overall during the snow storm 63 daily snowfall records were tied or set within the Minnesota climate network.

In addition many climate observers now report April of 2018 as their snowiest April in history, including the following:

MSP 26.1 inches (and 78.3” for the snow season, 10th highest all-time back to 1884)
Tracy 37 inches
Canby 36.9 inches
Montevideo 33 inches
Dawson 32 inches
Winnebago 31.5 inches
Milan 29.7 inches
Lakefield 32.1 inches
Bricelyn 33.3 inches
Marshall 27 inches

The Minnesota State Climatology Office posted a comprehensive summary of the storm.
Thankfully, it appears that much of the precipitation for the rest of the month will fall as rain, not snow.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The International Arctic Research Center reports this week via NOAA the most unusual winter conditions that have prevailed in the Bering Strait off the southwestern coast of Alaska. The lack of persistent sea ice there this winter caused a variety of problems for coastal communities.

There is a good article this week in the Yale Climate Connections about the city of Lancaster, CA transforming its power grid to mostly solar. That area of California has over 300 sunny days per year, so lots of potential for solar energy. The Republican Mayor, Rex Parris, has been a big proponent of solar energy, which has created over a thousand local jobs.

Warmer than normal weather will be a factor for the London Marathon on Saturday, April 21st. The daytime high temperature should be around the 70 degrees F mark, just short of the record for the London Marathon set in 2007 of 73 degrees F.

As a follow up to last year’s March for Science at the State Capitol in St Paul, there will be a Rally for Science at Mears Park in downtown St Paul on May 19th from noon to 2pm. There will be a variety of speakers, family activities, and information tables.

MPR listener question:

Paul and Susan Schurke at Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge near Ely noted that for them and Roland Fowler at Embarrass, overnight temperatures have been below freezing every night since October 27, 2017, a period of over 170 days. Is this a state record for consecutive nights with temperatures below freezing in Minnesota?

Answer:

Well, no, but it is getting close. The climate station at Brimson (St Louis County) reported 185 consecutive days from October 25, 2012 to April 27, 2013. Don’t know if there are 19th Century climate records that beat this, but Embarrass and Ely will have to string together several more days to beat Brimson.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 20th:


The average MSP high temperature for this date is 60 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 39 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 20th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 83 degrees F in 1980; lowest daily maximum temperature of 36 degree F in 1893; lowest daily minimum temperature of 21 degrees F in 2013; highest daily minimum temperature of 67 degrees F in 1985; record precipitation of 0.85 inches in 1893. Record snowfall on this date is 8.5 inches in 1893.

Average dew point for April 20th is 35°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 58°F in 1957; and the minimum dew point on this date is 6°F in 1988.

All-time state records for April 20th:

The all-time state high temperature for today's date is 96 degrees F at Georgetown (Clay County) in 1980; the all-time state low for today's date is -14 degrees F at Embarrass (St Louis County) in 2013. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 3.08 inches at Collegeville (Stearns County) in 1893. Record snowfall is 18.0 inches at Ft Ripley (Crow Wing County) in 1893.

Past Weather Features:



One of the heaviest late season snowfalls in state history occurred over April 19-21, 1893. Snow was heavy with blizzard conditions in many areas. Among the state observer network, a foot of new snow was common, while Maple Plain reported over 20 inches, and St Cloud reported over 30 inches.


The warmest April 20th in state history was in 1980 when over 70 climate stations reported a daily high temperature of 80 degrees F or higher. Over a dozen western communities in Minnesota reported afternoon temperatures of 90s degrees F or greater. This heat was a precursor to drought in northwestern Minnesota that year.



The coldest April 20th in state history was in 2013, when an Arctic air mass brought subzero temperature readings to over a dozen communities in northern Minnesota. Even in southern areas of the state temperatures fell to the single digits and teens.

Outlook:

Plenty of sun under partly cloudy skies over the weekend, with warming temperatures. Sunday’s temperatures will be the first above normal readings since March 28th, and if the forecast high of 63 degrees F is reached for MSP it will be the first temperature that high since October 22 of last autumn. More cloudiness and slightly cooler Monday and Tuesday with a chance for rain by Tuesday. Warmer again towards the end of next week.

Friday, April 13, 2018

April Cold and Snow Revisited

April Cold and Snow Revisited:


The first 12 days of April have been historically cold in Minnesota with average temperatures ranging from 14 to 16 degrees F colder than normal. Some individual days have been 20 to 30 degrees F colder than normal. Within the state climate network over 120 new daily record cold low temperature values have been tied or set, while over 130 cold daily record maximum temperature values have been tied or set as well. Over 50 climate stations have reported subzero temperature readings on at least one morning this month. Crane Lake reported the coldest temperature in the nation on the 4th with a reading of -8°F, while Embarrass reported the nation’s coldest temperature on the 10th with a reading of 0°F.

For Twin Cities’ residents the first 12 days of April have been the coldest in history back to 1872. Here are the top five coldest first 12 days of April in the Twin Cities climate records:

2018 average temperature 27.5°F
1920 average temperature 28.2°F
1874 average temperature 29.2°F
1975 average temperature 29.4°F
1939 average temperature 32.1°F



We are spoiled as Twin Cities’ residents in that only 2 years in the past three decades have brought April monthly mean temperatures less than 42°F. Those years were 1996 and 2013.

In addition many areas of the state have reported 10 to 13 inches of snowfall so far this month (including MSP), with much more snow expected this weekend. Over the past three decades in the Twin Cities only the Aprils 2002 and 2013 have been snowy. On a statewide basis April of 2008 was one of the snowiest with over 20 climate stations reporting 30 inches of snow or more, and some northern communities reporting over 40 inches. So again across most of the recent decades we have had very few episodes of snowy Aprils. Perhaps our faulty human memories help us in this regard and we are more resilient as a result of forgetting the really challenging months of April.

Seems odd with such a cold, and snowy April underway that the NOAA-National Weather Service hosted Severe Weather Awareness Week this week, with tornado practice drills. But in an average spring season severe weather can begin to appear in April and May.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Ski-Scotland reports that it has been cold and snowy enough all winter that the snow pack in the highlands should allow for skiing well into the month of May. This is somewhat unusual but welcome news for avid skiers.

The Weather Underground staff provides a profile and analysis of the impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico in one of this week’s blogs. The NOAA National Hurricane Center did an exceptional job in forecasting Maria, but its’ devastation was remarkable, as it was one of the costliest hurricanes in history.

The Twins are playing the Cleveland Indians in Puerto Rico (April 17-18) next week in hopes of raising money and improving the spirits there as the citizens continue to recover from Hurricane Maria’s impacts. And speaking of Puerto Rico, the organization Casa Pueblo has never been without power since Hurricane Maria struck, thanks to the use of their solar power array. Now they are promoting the use of solar power to restore electricity to health care facilities and other needed services as Puerto Rico rebuilds its power grid.

In an AGU article this week European Union scientists explore the impacts of climate change on the European economy with respect to power generation, fresh water, tourism, and other sectors. It makes for an interesting read.

MPR listener question:

What is the latest date in the Spring season when school has been delayed or cancelled as a result of a snow storm?

Answer:

Sketchy records don’t allow an accurate answer to this question. I do recall that over May 2-3 (Thursday-Friday) of 2013 Dodge Center (Dodge County) received a record 17.2 inches of snowfall and local schools were either cancelled or delayed. I also suspect that on May 8, 1938 when Windom, MN reported over a foot of snow that school may have been delayed or cancelled back then as well.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 13th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 57 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 36 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 13th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 84 degrees F in 2006; lowest daily maximum temperature of 31 degree F in 1943; lowest daily minimum temperature of 2 degrees F in 1962; highest daily minimum temperature of 59 degrees F in 1941; record precipitation of 0.94 inches in 1991. Record snowfall on this date is 8.5 inches in 1928.

Average dew point for April13th is 31°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 64°F in 1941; and the minimum dew point on this date is -2°F in 1950.

All-time state records for April 13th:

The all-time state high temperature for today's date is 90 degrees F at Wheaton (Traverse County) in 2003; the all-time state low for today's date is -11 degrees F at Roseau (Roseau County) in 1950. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 3.57 inches at Hutchinson (McLeod County) in 2010. Record snowfall is 13.0 inches at Kimbrae (Nobles County) in 1892.

Past Weather Features:

April 13-16, 1928 brought heavy snowfall to many parts of the state. Many areas reported 8 to 12 inches and over 14 inches in parts of Hennepin County.

The coldest April 13 in state history was in 1950 when over 20 climate stations reported subzero morning low temperatures, including -11 degrees F at Roseau where there was still 20 inches of snow on the ground.

April 13, 2003 was the warmest in state history with over 40 climate stations reporting a daytime high of 80 degrees F or greater. Both Campbell and Wheaton reported 90 degrees F.

Spring thunderstorms brought heavy rainfall to many parts of the state on April 13, 2010. Many areas of the state received between one and two inches of rain, while both Willmar and Hutchinson reported over 3 inches.

Outlook:

A powerful storm will affect many parts of Minnesota this weekend with rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow, and high winds. Some communities may see record-setting snowfall amounts. The storm will move out of the area by late Sunday, and the weather will be relatively quiet until another storm system arrives Wednesday and Thursday of next week. Temperatures overall will remain cooler than normal.




Friday, April 6, 2018

Cold Start to April, With Some Record Snows

Cold Start to April With Some Record Snows:


Through the first six days of the month temperatures are averaging 15 to 20 degrees F colder than normal around the state. At least 17 climate stations have reported subzero overnight temperatures so far this month, including -8 degrees F at Warren (Marshall County). Most other climate stations have been reporting high temperatures in the 20s and 30s with lows in the single digits and teen values.

Some new daily minimum temperature records have been set around the state so far. A sample listing includes:

3°F at Floodwood on April 1
19°F at Minnesota City on April 2
13°F at Hastings on April 3
-3°F at Park Rapids on April 4
0°F at Morris on April 4
2°F at Pipestone and Marshall on April 4
3°F at Milan and Madison on April 4
5°F at Austin and Albert Lea on April 4
-6°F at Embarrass and Long Prairie on April 5
-5°F at Kabetogama on April 5
-3°F at Redwood Falls on April 5
1°F at Browns Valley on April 5
3°F at Montevideo on April 5

Many other low minimum temperature and cold maximum temperature records were set within the Minnesota climate network as well.

In addition, the double dose of snow storms over April 2-4 this week brought some new record daily amounts. Some of those new record amounts for April 3 included:

8.1” at Chanhassen
7.5” at MSP airport
5.5” at Artichoke Lake
5.0” at Amboy
4.0” at Rosemount, Winnebago, and Owatonna

Records for April 4 included:

8.6” at Hokah
7.5” at Bricelyn
7.0” at La Crescent
6.5” at Spring Valley
6.2” at Caledonia
6.0” at Minnesota City and Lake City
5.6” at Preston

The outlook for April continues to favor cooler than normal temperatures and mixtures of rain and snow for much of the month. So patience will be required by gardeners and farmers for this spring.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:


Tropical Cyclone Iris was moving northwest off the coast of northeastern Australia this week, but it did not pose a threat to coastal communities there. It was expected to dissipate by early next week.

Though the weather for the first two days of the Masters Golf Championship in August, GA appears to be very favorable, Saturday will likely bring some gusty and variable winds, along with a chance for thunderstorms. So playing the third round in foul weather seems somewhat likely.

There is an interesting article this week in EOS about the climate proxy data used by scientists to interpret past climate fluctuations and patterns. Among the sources used are bat poop and whale earwax.

MPR listener question:

Why does the snow melt when the air temperature is below freezing (32 degrees F)? This is from our “Morning Edition” producer Jim Bickal.

Answer:

Especially this time of year with a higher sun elevation angle and longer days, the sun’s energy is more powerful than earlier months. The full spectrum radiation from the sun can be absorbed by the snow, thus causing the snow to melt, even when the air temperature stays below freezing. In addition the surfaces that surround the snow, pavement, buildings, roof shingles, trees, etc will more readily absorb the radiation from the sun, and emit long wave radiation (heat) in all directions, and this too can cause the snow to melt. In addition very dry air can cause the snow to diminish by a process called sublimation, where the snow immediately changes to water vapor without melting. All these processes are in play this April.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 6th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 53 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 33 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 6th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 86 degrees F in 1991; lowest daily maximum temperature of 26 degree F in 1939; lowest daily minimum temperature of 10 degrees F in 1979; highest daily minimum temperature of 54 degrees F in 1921; record precipitation of 2.58 inches in 2006. Record snowfall on this date is 6.0 inches in 1962.

Average dew point for April 6th is 28°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 59°F in 1921; and the minimum dew point on this date is -3°F in 1979.

All-time state records for April 6th:

The all-time state high temperature for today's date is 90 degrees F at Madison (Lac Qui Parle County) and Winona in 1991; the all-time state low for today's date is -22 degrees F at Karlstad (Kittson County) in 1979. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 2.67 inches at Dawson (Lac Qui Parle County) in 1997. Record snowfall is 18.0 inches at Fosston (Polk County) in 1947.

Past Weather Features:

A late season winter storm brought heavy snowfall to many parts of northern Minnesota over April 4-6, 1947. Observers from Willmar north to Fosston reported 7 to 18 inches of snowfall, setting records for the first week of April.

The coldest April 6th in state history was in 1979 when over 50 Minnesota climate stations reported subzero morning low temperatures. In northwestern portions of the state the daily high temperature never rose above 10°F at Hawley or Fergus Falls.

By far the warmest April 6th in state history was in 1991 when over 60 climate stations reported an afternoon high temperature of 80 degrees F or higher, topped by 90 degrees F at both Madison and Winona. In fact the temperature never dipped below 65 degrees F at Winona that day.

During the famous 1997 flood-fight along the Red River of the North between North Dakota and Minnesota, a blizzard and heavy snow storm occurred over April 5-7 hampering sandbag operations and the building of temporary dykes. Visibility was near zero at times and snowfall amounts were near record-setting, ranging from 5 to 14 inches. The flood fight continued for the rest of the month.

Outlook:

Partly cloudy with cooler than normal temperatures over the weekend. Increasing clouds on Sunday with a chance for snow later in the day. A chance for rain and snow mix early on Monday of next week, then dry until late Wednesday. Temperatures will continue the trend of being cooler than normal. Chance for rain/snow mix again by Thursday.







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