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Moisture arrives for some areas

April Precipitation Update:

Some Minnesota observers across the southern third of the state have reported measurable rainfall every day since last Saturday, by far the wettest period of the year so far.  Over April 4-10 many climate stations reported over half an inch of rainfall, while far northern and southeastern locations received 1 to 3 inches of snowfall.  Hail was reported from Freeborn, Martin, and Rock Counties.  The weekly precipitation totals were significant for many southeastern Minnesota cities with Grand Meadow reporting 3.14 inches,   Minnesota City reporting 3.16 inches, and La Crescent reporting 3.36 inches.

Thunderstorms brought some record-setting rainfall values to southeastern Minnesota locations late on April 7th and early morning on April 8th, including the following reports for April 8th:
2.15" at Preston
1.79" at Caledonia
1.65" at Austin
1.64" at Spring Grove
1.46" at La Crescent
1.45" at Lanesboro
1.20" at Grand Meadow
In addition lingering and persistent rains over April 9-10 brought some record setting amounts to a handful of southeastern climate stations as well, including:
Spring Valley 2.10”
Wycoff 2.00”
Whitewater State Park 1.31”

Other areas of the state did not receive enough precipitation to change their drought status, still designated as moderate drought in most places. 

Regional meetings to discuss climate change:

The Will Steger Foundation, along with the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships Program of the University of Minnesota will be hosting meetings next week to discuss climate change in our state.  The meetings are called "Climate Minnesota: Local Stories, Community Solutions", more information at the web link.  The first meeting will take place in Bemidji on April 14th where I will be speaking along with Mayor Rita Albrecht and others.  The second meeting will be in Crookston on April 15th, where I will have the opportunity to speak along with Mayor Gary Wilhite.  If you live in those areas, please consider attending.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Earlier this week, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, NJ published an interesting analysis of the variation and decline in Arctic sea ice based on satellite observations since 1979.  Their findings indicate that Arctic sea ice fluctuations are significantly impacted by heat transport from the Atlantic Ocean.

The web site features an interesting article on March tornadoes in the USA and the relatively quiet month that just passed.  They note that peak tornado season runs from April through June, with expectations for more activity.  This article is available online under the title "Quiet March in Tornado Alley."
In fact our own National  Weather Service Office in Chanhassen will have special announcements next week during "Severe Weather Awareness Week" in Minnesota.

Tropical Cyclone Joalane was churning in the Southern Indian Ocean this week south of Diego Garcia.  It packed winds of 95 mph with gusts up to 115 mph, producing sea wave heights up to 30 feet.  It was expected to remain out to sea and dissipate by early next week.

The Department of Soil Water and Climate at the University of Minnesota St Paul Campus is hosting the distinguished Larson-Allmaras Lecture for Soil and Water Issues on Friday April 17, 2015 from 2:00 to 4:30 PM.  The speaker for this annual lecture is Dr. Raj Khosla (Colorado State University), and his presentation will take place in Room 335 Borlaug Hall. The title of Dr. Khosla's lecture is Eureka! Precision Agriculture for Small Scale Farming Systems.   All are welcome to attend.

MPR Listener Question:

I live in Preston, MN (Fillmore County) and have been listening to you and Cathy on Friday mornings since I was in grade school.  Mom and Dad call me a weather geek, but I have been a cloud watcher since I was 5 years old.  This week we had a 2 inch thunderstorm in Preston, with plenty of lightning and thunder.  What is the record one day thunderstorm rainfall in April?  Is it much more than 2 inches?


Glad to hear you are so enthusiastic about the weather.  That rainfall in Preston this week was a new daily record for April 8th (2.15 inches) but not quite up to the all-time record daily rainfall for April which is 2.30 inches on April 10, 2013. By the way on that same date (April 10, 2013) Harmony reported 3.14 inches and Lanesboro had 2.40 inches.  The all-time state record daily rainfall for April is 6.90 inches on April 26, 1954 at Morris, MN.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 10th:

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 33 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 10th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 88 degrees F in 1977; lowest daily maximum temperature of 33 degrees F in 1997: lowest daily minimum temperature is 18 degrees F in 1962; highest daily minimum temperature of 57 F in 2005; record precipitation of 1.33 inches 1883; and record snowfall is 6.0 inches also in 1891.

Average dew point for April 10th is 29 degrees F, with a maximum of 61 degrees F in 2011 and a minimum of 3 degrees F in 1959.

All-time state records for April 10th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 92 degrees F at Browns Valley (Traverse County) and Madison (Lac Qui Parle County) in 1977. The state record low temperature for this date is -8 degrees F at Brimson (St Louis County) and Gunflint Lake (Cook County) in 1989.  State record precipitation for this date is 3.14 inches at Harmony (Fillmore County) in 2013; and the state record snowfall for this date is 14.0 inches at Lynd (Lyon County) in 1913.  

Past Weather Features:

April 10-11, 1929 brought a winter storm with plenty of wind and snow.  Many areas received 3-5 inches of slushy snow, but in southern Minnesota amounts were much higher.  Albert Lea and Fairmont reported 10 inches, 13 inches fell at Pipestone, and Tracy and Lynd reported 18 inches.  It was the last winter storm of that spring season.

Following nearly a snowless March, southeastern Minnesota was hit with a late season blizzard over April 8-10, 1973.  Winds gusted to 70 mph piling snow into huge drifts.  Several observers reported record setting amounts of snow including over 16 inches at Spring Grove and La Crescent, 17 inches at Harmony, and 21 inches at Grand Meadow.  Schools were closed and there were widespread power outages. 

By far the warmest April 10th in state history was in 1977. Daytime temperatures in the 80s F prevailed across the state.  It was 86F at Itasca State Park and 89F at Crane Lake.  A temperature of 92F was reported from both Browns Valley (Traverse County) and Madison (Lac Qui Parle County).  The warm spell lasted until the last week of the month.

A polar air mass brought winter-like temperatures to the state over April 9-10, 1989.  With several inches of snow on the ground, overnight lows fell to single digits and sub-zero readings in many places.  Seven northern cities reported sub-zero temperatures and even southern counties fell into single digits with Pipestone reporting 6F and Worthington 9F.

April 8-12, 2013 brought heavy rains to many parts of the state, especially southern counties where 2 to 3 inch amounts were common.  In fact Harmony and Caledonia reported over 4 inches.  For many observers April of 2013 ranked among the three wettest in history.


Warmer over the weekend with temperatures climbing to above normal values.  Increasing cloudiness with chances for showers and thunderstorms later on Sunday and into Sunday night.   Continue warm temperatures but drier on Monday and Tuesday, then a chance for showers and thunderstorms again on Wednesday and Thursday.  Somewhat cooler towards the end of next week.

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