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March is being March

March is being March:

Beginning with the rain and snow storm of the 5th and 6th this month has continued to bring a very typical March weather pattern. There has been plenty of clouds and wind, with a mixture of rain and snow. Temperatures so far are near the monthly average, and so are the precipitation totals.

Over 35 daily snowfall records were tied or brokend with the storm over March 5-6, but generally record setting values of precipitation and temperature have been lacking this month. Minnesota has reported the coldest temperature in the nation on only four dates, three of which were subzero readings from Ely where snow cover has remained relatively deep.

It appears that cooler and wetter than normal conditions will prevail generally for the balance of the month and into the first few days of April. The patience of those Minnesota citizens afflicted with spring fever will be taxed over the coming weeks, as signs of the spring season will be slow to appear.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

This week NOAA features an article highlighting the extremely warm month of February which occurred over the Arctic Regions, where average monthly temperatures were as much as 25 to 35 degrees F above normal. Portions of Greenland reported some daily temperatures that were 45 degrees F above normal during late February.

For comparison Florida reported its warmest month of February in history last month, and there it was 10 degrees F warmer than normal.

The rapid Arctic warming, also referred to as “polar amplification” is also a topic of discussion in Earth and Space Science News this week. Researchers point out that the continuing decline in Arctic sea ice is causing some latitude displacement of the polar jet stream, which in turn is altering weather patterns across the mid latitudes.

In the Southern Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone Marcus was spinning off the coast of Western Australia this week, producing winds up to 140 mph and sea waves of 35 feet. Thankfully it was expected to remain out to sea and not threaten the Australian coast.

The BBC Weather Centre this week posted video of a rare snow-nado which occurred in Wales. This takes the form of the common American dust devil, except it is a vortex wind that forms at the surface of the Earth and lifts the snow off the ground into a spiraling funnel.

MPR listener question:

How often does Easter fall on April Fool's Day (the 1st) and what has the weather been like when it does?


Easter generally falls between March 22 and April 25 each year. Since Minnesota statehood in 1858 Easter Sunday has fallen on April 1st only 8 times, including this year. These years were 1866, 1877, 1888, 1923, 1934, 1945, 1956, and 2018. The following were the remarks about the weather on those Easter Sundays of the past:

1866 overcast all day, temperature in the 30s and 40s with an unusual afternoon thunderstorm
1877 started out cold with temperatures in the single digits and teens, mixture of rain and snow, followed by a sunny, and windy afternoon
1888 snow on the ground, blustery and cloudy all day with temperatures in the 30s and 40s F
1923 cloudy and hazy day, with temperatures in the low 40s F, light rain in the northwestern areas
1934 overcast all day with a mixture of rain and snow and temperatures hovering in the 20s and 30s F. 6-8 inches of snow fell in northern parts of the state
1945 cloudy, and a very windy day with temperatures climbing into the 50s and 60s F. Got up to 70°F at Winnebago and Windom, but snowed at Itasca State Park
1956 snow covering the ground, but temperatures climbed into the 40s and 50s F. Thunderstorms brought a half inch of rain in the north
2018 ?

So for the most part these April 1st Easter Sundays were not generally great weather to be outside.

Twin Cities Almanac for March 23rd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 45 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 27 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for March 23rd:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 83 degrees F in 1910; lowest daily maximum temperature of 10 degree F in 1965; lowest daily minimum temperature of -4 degrees F in 1965; highest daily minimum temperature of 59 degrees F in 2012; record precipitation of 1.18 inches in 1966. Record snowfall on this date is 11.6 inches in 1966.

Average dew point for March 23rd is 24°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 54°F in 1945; and the minimum dew point on this date is -21°F in 1974.

All-time state records for March 23rd:

The all-time state high temperature for today's date is 88 degrees F at Montevideo (Chippewa County) in 1910; the all-time state low for today's date is -37 degrees F at Baudette (Lake of the Woods County) in 1965. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 3.87 inches at Isabella (Lake County) in 1979. Record snowfall is 18.0 inches at Montgomery (Le Sueur County) in 1966.

Past Weather Features:

The warmest March 23rd in state history was in 1910. Over 40 communities reported a high temperature of 80 degrees F or greater. It reached 81 degrees F at Warroad and the nighttime temperature never dropped below 50 degrees F at Long Prairie.

The coldest March 23rd in state history was in 1965. Over 30 communities reported a morning low of -20 degrees F or colder, and subzero readings occurred as far south as Albert Lea. The afternoon high temperature at Hallock only reached 3 degrees F.

A major winter storm paralyzed the state over March 22-23, 1966. Many southern and eastern Minnesota communities reported 9 to 18 inches of snowfall. High winds brought blizzard conditions to many areas, blocking roads and closing schools. For the first time in history the University of Minnesota campus was closed due to poor weather conditions.


Snow ending on Saturday morning, with cooler than normal temperatures prevailing. Heavier snowfall amounts are expected in portions of southwestern and south-central Minnesota. Another rain and snow mix is developing for later on Sunday night and Monday across much of the state. Then partly cloudy skies will prevail on Tuesday with temperatures climbing closer to normal. It will be warmer and drier with more sun for Wednesday and Thursday.

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