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March closing out with some moisture

Some moisture to close out March:

This week brought arguably the wettest spell of the year to some Minnesota counties with four consecutive days of measurable precipitation. Some areas benefited from over half an inch of moisture, most of which went into the soil. A few spots like Owatonna, Grand Meadow, Lanesboro, Rochester, Spring Valley, and Zumbrota received over an inch of precipitation. Much of it fell in the form of snow, sometimes mixed with rain. Some observers reported a total of 8-12 inches of snowfall during the week, but much of it melted as daytime temperatures reached the upper 30s to low 40s F.

In fact some observers also reported new daily record snowfalls for March 23rd, including: Bird Island with 6.1"; Redwood Falls with 5.0"; Waseca with 7.5"; Caledonia with 6.7": Spring Valley with 8.5": Theilman with 8.9"; Zumbrota with 10.0", and on March 24th Rochester reported a new record snowfall of 2.6 inches.

Though these moisture values did little to alleviate moderate drought across the state they did signal a change towards wetter weather. Good chances for precipitation prevail for the last few days of March, and further the models used by the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC) now indicate that April will start out wetter than normal, at least through the first 10 days.

Preliminary climate summary for March:

It appears that March will wrap up bringing higher temperatures and more moisture the last few days of the month. Most observers will report a mean monthly temperature from 4 to 7 degrees F warmer than normal (mean values), and total precipitation that is less than normal. Extremes for the month were 78F at Browns Valley on the 15th and -40F at Cotton on the 5th, with the highest monthly precipitation value of close to 2 inches at Lanesboro. Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the nation only twice during the month, with -40F at Cotton on the 5th and 3F at Warroad on the 22nd.

Second Edition of Minnesota Weather Almanac:

Minnesota Historical Society Press has released the Second Edition of the Minnesota Weather Almanac. It is now available online there to order.

It is also available from, as well as Barnes and Noble ( I will be appearing at Micawber's Books in the St Anthony Park Neighborhood of St Paul on the evening of April 2, 2015 at 7:00pm to talk about it and share some stories. If you can come to this event please add a comment below the Minnesota WeatherTalk blog page. If not able to come, there will be other bookstore events later in the year.

I will also be on TPT's Almanac Program (Channel 2, Fridays at 7pm) tonight to talk about Minnesota weather history and stories from the book.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

NOAA released a helpful guide for gardeners to use this spring which is a map depicting the new climate normals. Plant Hardiness Zones have clearly shifted geographically with the changing climate and NOAA scientists explain this in some detail at the web site in an article titled "Planting your spring garden? Consider climate's 'new normals.'"

NOAA also released a New Wind Climatology for the USA derived from the records from 1950 to 2014. It is available to view and read using mean monthly values of wind speed and wind speed anomaly (deviation from average), so you can find out which months have been unusually windy or calm.

photo courtesy ABC news
The NOAA Storm Prediction Center had a busy day on Wednesday, March 25th with reports of 8 tornadoes across the states of Oklahoma and Arkansas. There was extensive damage to a mobile home park in Oklahoma, along with one death. This was the first significant outbreak of tornadoes for the month

The White House has joined the Community Collaborative, Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) with the deployment of a rain gage in the White House Kitchen Garden. Reports from there will become part of the national network. Nolan Doesken, State Climatologist from Colorado and originator of this national network was there to celebrate this past week.

MPR Listener Question: 

It seems like we have had a lot of windy days this month with many strong gusts. Is this true?


Indeed although mean winds speed for the month has not sharply deviated from average we have recorded 9 days so far with a peak wind gust of 30 mph or greater in the Twin Cities, including a 42 mph gust on March 25th. Fargo, ND has seen 12 such days this month with wind gusts up to 48 mph, while Redwood Falls has recorded 11 such day, with 3 days of wind gusts over 40 mph.

Twin Cities Almanac for March 27th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 44 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 26 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for March 27th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 75 degrees F in 1946; lowest daily maximum temperature of 24 degrees F in 1899 and 1965: lowest daily minimum temperature is 5 degrees F in 1921; highest daily minimum temperature of 57 F in 1910; record precipitation of 1.52 inches 1998; and record snowfall is 5.6 inches in 1965.

Average dew point for March 27th is 27 degrees F, with a maximum of 58 degrees F in 1989 and a minimum of -1 degrees F in 1934.
All-Time State Records for March 27th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 88 degrees F at Winona (Winona County) in 2007. The state record low temperature for this date is -29 degrees F at Red Lake Falls (Red Lake County) in 1955. State record precipitation for this date is 2.75 inches at Two Harbors (Lake County) in 1975; and the state record snowfall for this date is 15.0 inches at Virginia (St Louis County) in 1975.

Past Weather Features:

Winter still held Minnesota in its grip on March 27, 1913 when many northern and central climate stations reported morning low temperatures that were sub-zero F. Bagley near Itasca State Park started the morning at -28F but warmed up during the day to 25F.

Back to back heavy snow storms hit the state the last week of March in 1975. Over March 26-28 many observers reported over 10 inches of snowfall with heavy moisture content.

The warmest March 27th in state history occurred in 2007 with 75 climate observers reporting afternoon temperatures of 70F or higher and at least two dozen cities reaching highs in the 80s F. The warmth ended with a cold front and rain storm dropping the temperatures by 20-30 degrees F on the 28th.


Temperatures will moderate and warm up over the weekend and into next week. There will be increasing chances for mixed precipitation late Saturday and into Sunday. Mild temperatures Monday and Tuesday, then another chance for precipitation Wednesday with cooler temperatures ushered in on Thursday.
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