Skip to main content

Commentary produced April 11, 2014

  • Spring is here!
  • New record sub-zero F days
  • Weekly weather potpourri
  • MPR listener question
  • Almanac for April 11th
  • Past weather
  • Outlook

 Spring is here! 

Many Minnesota climate observers reported 5 consecutive days with warmer than normal temperatures this week, a trend which rapidly diminished the landscape snow cover. On Wednesday, April 9th a number of observers reported their first 70 degrees F or greater since the second week of October 2013. A few places reached 80 degrees F or greater including Browns Valley, Madison, Milan, Wheaton, Canby, and Ortonville.

Many places have lost all of their seasonal snow cover over the past week with consistent melting, even during the overnight hours when temperatures have remained above freezing. The snow-free line on the satellite image of Minnesota migrated north through Ottertail and Wadena Counties this week. Even in the far northeastern counties, snow cover diminished over the course of the week by 6 to 12 inches.

In addition frost was rapidly coming out of the ground, especially in southern Minnesota where there was no snow cover. Soil temperatures climbed into the 30s and 40s F by the end of the week.

A new record for sub-zero temperatures

You may recall that earlier this winter an MPR listener asked me if there had ever been a heating season (Oct-Apr) in Minnesota history when a weather observer reported 100 days or more of sub-zero F low temperatures. The most I could find were 97 days of sub-zero F readings at Fort Ripley in the winter of 1874-1875 and at St Vincent in the winter of 1887-1888. By a recent count of sub-zero F low temperature readings reported this heating season (2013-2014) some observers have now reached 100 days or more. Embarrass reports 100 days exactly with sub-zero F low temperatures, Babbitt reports 102 days, and Kabetogama on the door step of Voyageurs National Park reports 104 days of such temperatures. I think these numbers are truly a marker of how persistently cold this past winter has been, and perhaps they will be added to yet this month when colder than normal weather returns to the state.

Weekly weather potpourri

Tropical Cyclone Ita was bringing high seas, strong winds, and heavy rains to northeastern Australia this week. Winds ranged as high as 160 mph, with gusts over 180 mph. Sea wave heights of 30-35 feet were reported. Bands of heavy rain were supposed to lash the coastline through the weekend, with the strongest coastal storm surge expected between Cape Melville and Cape Tribulation. Ita is feared to be one of the strongest cyclones to strike Queensland in many years. It was not expected to dissipate until the middle of next week.

Somewhat cool weather is expected for the London Marathon this Sunday with temperatures climbing into 50s F by afternoon. There is little chance that rain will be a factor.

Colorado State University experts in tropical weather predicted a quiet Atlantic Hurricane Season for 2014 in their press release on Thursday (Apr 10) this week. They see nine tropical storms, but only three that may develop into hurricanes. Much of their forecast is weighted to the formation of an El Nino episode in the equatorial Pacific Ocean which tends to suppress tropical storm development in the Atlantic Ocean. You can read more at...

MPR listener question

"This winter was the second coldest on record for Duluth, and now is in the top 10 snowiest. How common is it for a winter to be both cold and snowy in the same year?"

Answer: In general heavy snow seasons in Minnesota are indeed associated with colder than normal meteorological winters (Dec-Feb). But the correlation is NOT PERFECT. Here is a list of all historical snow seasons in Duluth (20 in number) which have produced 95 inches or more of total snowfall, along with the mean temperature departure from normal (ave for 1981-2020) for meteorological winter (Dec-Feb):

1995-1996 135.4" -4.6 F
1949-1950 131.8" -4.8 F
2012-2013 129.4" +1.7 F
1996-1997 128.2" -2.5 F
1968-1969 121.0" -2.2 F
1988-1989 119.1" -2.7 F
2013-2014* 117.6" -9.5 F
1970-1971 116.9" -4.8 F
1964-1965 110.8" -6.8 F
2003-2004 109.9" +1.0 F
1950-1951 109.1" -4.9 F
1993-1994 108.3" -6.2 F
1983-1984 107.3" -3.0 F
1971-1972 107.1 " -6.2 F
1955-1956 103.5" -2.7 F
1974-1975 100.4" +0.4 F
1991-1992 100.0" +4.5 F
2000-2001 99.3" -3.4 F
1982-1983 96.5" +4.6 F
1981-1982 95.7" -6.0 F

As you can see 15 of the 20 cases depicted in the Duluth climate history for snow seasons show high seasonal snowfall amounts associated with colder than normal meteorological winter temperatures (Dec-Feb). In a couple of cases, those of 2012-2013 and 1991-1992 when above normal temperatures for meteorological winter are shown, it must be noted that over two-thirds of the snowfall occurred outside the months of meteorological winter (Dec-Feb). Also note that the recent winter (2013-2014) with a temperature departure from normal of -9.5 degrees F, is the 2nd coldest all-time at Duluth, trailing only the winter of 1874-1875.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 11th

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 53 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 34 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP local records for April 11th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 83 degrees F in 1890 and 1968; lowest daily maximum temperature of 25 degrees F in 1940; lowest daily minimum temperature is 12 degrees F in 1940; highest daily minimum temperature of 59 F in 2006; record precipitation of 1.58 inches in 1887; and a record 5.7 inches of snow fell on this date in 1929. Maximum snow depth on this date was 4 inches in 1980.

Average dew point for April 11th is 29 degrees F, with a maximum of 59 degrees F in 1945 and a minimum of -1 degrees F in 1940.

All-time state records for April 11th

The state record high temperature for this date is 92 degrees F at Browns Valley (Traverse County) in 1977. The state record low temperature for this date is -4 degrees F at Baudette (Lake of the Woods County) in 1940. State record precipitation for this date is 3.75 inches at Rochester (Olmsted County) in 2001; and state record snowfall for this date is 13.0 inches at Ortonville (Big Stone County) and at Pipestone (Pipestone County) in 2013 (last year).

Past weather features

April 9-10, 1931 brought a dust storm to many parts of southwestern Minnesota. Dust was noted in weather observations across central Minnesota as well, including the Twin Cities. So much dust was in the air that several people reported a midday solar halo. This was the first of many dust storms throughout the 1930s.

A short-live cold snap brought the coldest ever April 11th to the state in 1940. Many observers reported lows in the single digits F, and at least five communities reported morning lows below 0 degrees F. It was as cold as 9 degrees F as far south as Tracy. Temperatures rebounded into the 70s F just three days later.

April 9-12 brought an exceptional warm spell to the state in 1977, allowing farmers to get an early start on planting. Daily afternoon high temperatures ranged from the mid 70s F to mid 80s F under bright sunny skies. In western Minnesota Browns Valley, Madison, and Campbell set new daily temperature records for so early in April with daytime readings in the 90s F.

Just last year at this time, April 9-14, 2013 it snowed on 6 consecutive days bringing significant amounts to many parts of the state and causing travel difficulty for many. Many observers reported over 10 inches of snow, with Duluth getting close to 17 inches. It turned out to be the snowiest month in Duluth history with over 50 inches of snow in April.


Mostly a wet weekend coming up, with some thunderstorms and perhaps even snow showers in the north. Much cooler temperatures too will settle in Sunday night and into early next week, with readings well below normal. Drier by the middle of next week with continued cooler than normal temperatures.

Further information

For older versions of the "Minnesota WeatherTalk" newsletter go to

For access to other information resources go to
NOTE: News releases were current as of the date of issue. If you have a question on older releases, use the news release search (upper left-hand column of the News main page) or the main Extension search (upper right of this page) to locate more recent information.


Print Friendly and PDF