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Hard freeze this week

Hard freeze this week

Several areas of the state reported morning lows in the teens and twenties F this week, the coldest temperatures since March 9th for many communities. The early spring advancement in vegetative growth had many concerned for plant damage, notably to flowers, trees, and shrubs which had already budded out or bloomed. It remains to be seen how many of the state's apple orchards were adversely affected by the freezing temperatures. Growers are cautiously optimistic that damage to orchards won't be extreme. Some of the minimum temperature observations included: 16 degrees F at Wadena, Windom, and Itasca State Park; 15 degrees F at Babbitt; 14 degrees F at Bemidji, Hallock, and Embarrass; and 13 degrees F at Park Rapids, lowest in the 48 contiguous states on April 11th. You can read more about the low temperatures on our web site.


Mid-April and still soils are very dry

With field working season underway, and some of the state's 2012 crops already in the ground many Minnesota farmers are waiting for rain to replenish the dry soils that were a carryover from last year. The precipitation deficiency reported by some climate observers is very significant. There are many areas of the state that have reported precipitation totals since last August (a period of 8.5 months) that are more than 7 inches behind normal values for the period. Some of these locations are in the list below, showing how the deficiency for this 8.5 month period ranks historically.

Location; Precipitation Total; Departure from Normal; Historical Rank
(8/1/2011-4/11/2012); (8/1/2011-4/11/2012);

Lamberton; 5.35 inches; -7.51 inches; Driest of record
Winnebago; 8.03 inches; -7.17 inches; Driest of record
Marshall; 4.66 inches; -8.69 inches; 2nd Driest
Granite Falls; 4.89 inches; -7.82 inches; 3rd Driest
St James; 6.35 inches; -7.72 inches; 4th Driest
Canby; 3.97 inches; -8.70 inches; 5th Driest
Zumbrota; 8.96 inches; -7.54 inches; 7th Driest

So far in April, rainfall has been lacking or totally absent in many areas of the state. Rainfall normals for April range typically from 1.50 to 3.00 inches. MSP International Airport in the Twin Cities is one of the few places in the southern half of the state that has received over 0.50 inches so far this month (0.63 inches). In the north some areas have received more, for example 0.75 inches at Orr and 0.70 inches at Cook. Some significant showers are expected this weekend. In fact, on Friday morning some areas of southern Minnesota had already received a half to one inch of rainfall. But the outlook for the remainder of April does not favor abundant rainfall in the state with the possible exception of southeastern counties. So by the end of April we may see these precipitation deficits increase even more.

Weekly Weather Potpourri

The 10th Annual Larson/Allmaras Emerging Issues in Soil and Water Lecture will take place on the University of Minnesota St Paul Campus next week, April 19th. The lecture program runs from 2:00 to 4:30 pm in Rm 335 Borlaug Hall. Our keynote speaker is Dr. Ken Cassman from University of Nebraska who will speak about "How to guide agriculture towards sustainable food security." We will also hear remarks from Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. All are welcome to attend.

NOAA announced this week that Coors Field in Denver, CO has become the 4th Major League Baseball Park to be declared a StormReady facility. The other ball parks are Target Field (Twins), Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati Reds), and Busch Stadium (St Louis Cardinals). To be declared and certified as a StormReady facility there must be:
-a 24-hr warning point and emergency operations center
-more than one way to receive severe weather forecasts and warning updates
-a local system that monitors weather conditions continuously
-promotion efforts toward public readiness through community seminars
-a formal hazardous weather plan, utilizing weather spotters and training exercises

I think Target Field was the first MLB ball park to be certified in this program thanks to the Twins meteorologist Craig Edwards.

The National Weather Service announced this week that Anchorage, Alaska has set a new seasonal snowfall record with a total of 134.5 inches, surpassing the season of 1954-1955 (132.6 inches). City snow removal crews worked overtime filling the metro disposal sites to capacity. Many other, smaller communities in Alaska also reported their snowiest season ever.

NOAA-National Weather Service in Chanhassen, MN will promote Severe Weather Awareness Week next week (April 16-20) with daily information about severe weather threats, communication procedures for watches and warnings, recommendations to protect yourself, and a siren drill. It is a good time to check your NOAA Weather Radio and make sure it has fresh batteries.

For those visiting the Washington D.C. area close to Earth Day, NASA scientists will be in place at their tent on the National Mall over April 20-22 to share their Earth Science technologies and explorations. This is a great opportunity to learn more about satellite monitoring, climate modeling, and sample some "hands-on activities." You can learn more here.

MPR listener question

With all of the dry, cold air this week around the state, have we set any low dewpoint or humidity records?

Answer: Though the air has been consistently dry we have not seen dewpoints fall below 0 F this week, which would have been record-setting values. The lowest readings in the Twin Cities wee 13-14 degrees F, while dewpoints fell as low as 10 degrees F at Marshall. Some afternoon relative humidity readings have ranged from 16 to 19 percent, very desert-like.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 13th

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 55 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 35 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 13th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 84 degrees F in 2006; lowest daily maximum temperature of 33 degrees F in 1893 and 1928; lowest daily minimum temperature of 2 F in 1962; highest daily minimum temperature of 61 F in 1941; record precipitation of 0.94 inches in 1991; and record snowfall of 8.5 inches in 1928. Snow depth was 5 inches on this date in 1962.
Average dew point for April 13th is 31 degrees F, with a maximum of 64 degrees F in 1941 and a minimum of -2 degrees F in 1950.

All-time state records for April 13th

The state record high temperature for this date is 90 degrees F at Wheaton (Traverse County) in 2003; the state record low temperature for this date is -11 degrees F at Roseau (Roseau County) in 1950. State record precipitation for this date is 3.25 inches at St Cloud (Stearns County) in 1862; and state record snowfall for this date is 13.0 inches at Kinbrae (Nobles County) in 1892.

Word of the Week: VisualEyes

This is the name given to the new forecasting service provided by the United Kingdom Meteorological Office and intended to provide accurate, site-specific forecasts for those who manage wind turbines. This system provides map based visualizations of weather attributes on an hour by hour basis out to five days. Temperature, visibility, wind, and precipitation types are some of the forecasted elements needed by wind turbine managers to maximize the efficiency of these systems and to guard them against weather-inflicted damage from extremes.

Past Weather Features:

April 13, 1862 brought a large spring storm to St Cloud where it rained 3.25 inches. It continued to rain off and on for three more days producing a total of 4.22 inches and accelerating snow melt from the landscape raising the flow on the Mississippi River considerably above flood stage.

April 13-14, 1928 brought a strong spring snow storm to southern Minnesota. Downtown St Paul reported 12.8 inches, Farmington and Maple Plain received 12 inches, while Zumbrota, Faribault, New Ulm, and St Peter reported 10 inches. Following the snowfall overnight temperatures fell into the single digits.

After a snowy first two weeks of the month, April 13th brought record-setting low temperatures to the state in 1950. Many northern communities reported overnight lows ranging from -1 degrees F to -11 degrees F. Duluth reported a 29 inch snow depth on the 13th, while Grand Marais reported 23 inches of snow on the ground during one of Minnesota's coldest and snowiest Aprils.

April 12-13, 1962 saw another large spring snow storm move across the state depositing 6 inches at MSP and New Ulm, over 7 inches at Rochester, Fairmont, and Redwood Falls, and 8.5 inches at Tracy. Pipestone reported 11 inches of snow, a record that still stands.

A strong spring storm brought winds of 60-80 mph with rain, ice, and snow over April 13, 1964. Snow amounts from 6 to 10 inches were reported in NW Minnesota where roads were closed for a time. Ice build up brought down some power lines, and tipped many trees in central counties. A mixture of rain, sleet, and snow brought daily precipitation records to many locations including 2.59 inches at Bemidji, 2.55 inches at Bird Island, 2.40 inches at Itasca State Park, and 2.05 inches at Fergus Falls. In southern Minnesota near Rochester a tornado touched down at 3:00 pm and traveled three miles toward the downtown business district. It unroofed some buildings and broke out many windows. Fortunately there were no injuries or deaths reported.

April 13-14, 2003 brought a mini-heat wave to Minnesota. Strong south winds brought in an warm air mass on the 13th as temperatures soared from morning lows in the 30s and 40s F to afternoon highs in the 70s and 80s F. Wheaton was at the top of the heap with 90 degrees F. Temperatures continued warm into the 14th as over a dozen communities saw the thermometer climb into the 90s F, topped by 94 degrees F at Benson and Milan.


Warmer over the weekend, with a chance for showers and thunderstorms each day. Cooling down on Monday with a chance for rain and/or snow showers. Generally cooler on Tuesday and Wednesday, then a warming trend towards the end of next week. Chances for showers again mid-week as well.
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