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Brief Return of Subzero Temperatures

Brief Return of Subzero Temperatures:

This week saw the return of subzero temperature readings to many parts of the state with the dominance of a polar high pressure system. Most northern and central Minnesota climate stations reported some overnight lows that were subzero. It was -1°F as far south as Winona Dam and Redwood Falls. Many observers measured their coldest temperatures since the second week of January. No daily record low temperatures were reported, but Minnesota did report the coldest temperature in the nation on some dates this week (see below):

Coldest in the nation reports this week came from:
Goodridge (Marshall County), MN with -13°F on the 5th
Hallock (Kittson County), MN with -29°F on the 8th
Crane Lake and Embarrass (St Louis County), MN with -22°F on the 9th

Temperatures are expected to trend in the opposite direction through the balance of the month, averaging several degrees warmer than normal.

Time to Nominate for MCAP Climate Adaptation Awards:

In conjunction with the National Adaptation Forum hosted at the St Paul River Center over May 8-11, 2017, the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership will be announcing awards to practitioners of climate adaptation who have made a significant impact in the state. Nominations are open until March 1st in four categories: individual; organization (non-profit, community of faith, youth group, neighborhood associations); institution (local, state, or federal units of government, or educational institutions); and business (corporations, small business, and cooperatives). Please consider nomination your deserving colleagues. You can find more information on the MCAP Awards here.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Tuesday, February 7th brought an outbreak of tornadoes in some southern states, especially LA and MS where 8 tornado reports were filed in each state. ABC News reported that thousands were without power and over 40 people were injured, but no deaths were reported. Many homes were damage and some roads blocked by downed power lines.

NOAA issued a press release recently that the weak La Nina episode in the equatorial Pacific Ocean came to an end last month. The Pacific Ocean is now in an ENSO Neutral state and expected to remain so for the months ahead.

NOAA also released an analysis about the demise of Drought in the Western USA states. For the first time since March of 2011 there are no designated areas of "exceptional drought" on the USA map. The reasons behind this demise are described in the narrative along with a time sequence of maps.

MPR listener question:

At my house in Blaine we have measured only 14 subzero nights so far this winter. When subzero temperatures are expected I shut off the water line from my house to the garage so it won't freeze or burst. What is the average per winter for the number of subzero nights and do you think we will have anymore this winter?


The long-term average for the Twin Cities is an average of 29 nights of subzero temperatures each year, with an average of 8 in February and 2 in March. However since 2001 the average number has dropped to just 17, with 5 in February and only 1 in March. In fact 9 of the last 16 months of March have brought no subzero temperature readings to the Twin Cities. As far as the outlook goes for the rest of February I see no subzero nights, and right now all of the outlook models except one favor a warmer than normal month of March, so we may be done with subzero nights.

Twin Cities Almanac for February 10th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 27 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 11 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for February 10th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 49 degrees F in 1877; lowest daily maximum temperature of -8 degrees F in 1899; lowest daily minimum temperature is -24 degrees F in 1885; highest daily minimum temperature of 35 degrees F in 2009; record precipitation of 0.62 inches in 2013; and a record snowfall of 4.3 inches in 1953`.

Average dew point for February 10th is 9°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 41°F in 1999; and the minimum dew point on this date is -25°F in 1982.

All-time State Records for February 10th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 57 degrees F at Luverne (Rock County) in 1977. The state record low temperature for this date is -49 degrees F at Tower (St Louis County) in 1899. State record precipitation for this date is 1.69 inches at Montevideo (Chippewa County) in 1965; and record snowfall is 20.0 inches at Pigeon River (Cook County) in 1939.

Past Weather Features:

Probably the coldest ever February 10th statewide was in the Great Arctic Outbreak of 1899. This Cold Wave persisted from the 7th to the 11th with record-setting low temperatures from the Canadian Border to the Gulf of Mexico. In Minnesota 35 climate stations reported temperature readings of -30°F or colder. The daytime high temperature on the 10th at Roseau was only -24°F after a morning low of -42°F.

A strong winter storm brought heavy snow to the state over February 9-10, 1909. Many areas of the state reported over a foot of snow. Two Harbors received 17 inches, while 18 inches fell at Albert Lea. Drifts were measured as high as 8 feet in some areas.

Bitter Arctic Cold invaded the state on February 10, 1914. Many locations in northern Minnesota reported low temperatures of -40 degrees F or colder. The daytime temperature rose no higher than -15°F at Winton (St Louis County).

Another strong winter storm brought heavy snow over February 9-10, 1939. Many observers reported over 15 inches of snowfall. Pigeon River reported 20 inches and the bridge there was closed for a period of time. Huge waves were observed on Lake Superior as well.

The warmest ever February 10th occurred in 1977 on a statewide basis. Under bright sunshine and with southerly winds temperatures climbed into the 40s and 50s F. It was 44 degrees F at Itasca State Park, while in southern Minnesota daytime highs in the 50s F were common. Luverne made it to 57°F and it was 56°F at Worthington.

On February 10, 1996 northwestern Minnesota counties were hammered by a fierce blizzard (one of several during that winter). Thanks to fine forecasting by the Weather Service, there were no fatalities. However, traffic came to a halt as Interstate 94 was closed between Moorhead and Fergus Falls, Hwy 10 was closed between Moorhead and Detroit Lakes, and Hwy 2 was closed between East Grand Forks and Fosston. Hundreds of cars were stranded as people found shelter for the night.


A strong warming trend will persist through the weekend and early next week, keeping daytime temperatures in the 30s and 40s F. Chance for mixed rain and snow in places late Saturday and into Sunday. Generally sunny and dry, with warmer than normal temperatures for much of next week.

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