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April Cold and Snow Revisited

April Cold and Snow Revisited:

The first 12 days of April have been historically cold in Minnesota with average temperatures ranging from 14 to 16 degrees F colder than normal. Some individual days have been 20 to 30 degrees F colder than normal. Within the state climate network over 120 new daily record cold low temperature values have been tied or set, while over 130 cold daily record maximum temperature values have been tied or set as well. Over 50 climate stations have reported subzero temperature readings on at least one morning this month. Crane Lake reported the coldest temperature in the nation on the 4th with a reading of -8°F, while Embarrass reported the nation’s coldest temperature on the 10th with a reading of 0°F.

For Twin Cities’ residents the first 12 days of April have been the coldest in history back to 1872. Here are the top five coldest first 12 days of April in the Twin Cities climate records:

2018 average temperature 27.5°F
1920 average temperature 28.2°F
1874 average temperature 29.2°F
1975 average temperature 29.4°F
1939 average temperature 32.1°F

We are spoiled as Twin Cities’ residents in that only 2 years in the past three decades have brought April monthly mean temperatures less than 42°F. Those years were 1996 and 2013.

In addition many areas of the state have reported 10 to 13 inches of snowfall so far this month (including MSP), with much more snow expected this weekend. Over the past three decades in the Twin Cities only the Aprils 2002 and 2013 have been snowy. On a statewide basis April of 2008 was one of the snowiest with over 20 climate stations reporting 30 inches of snow or more, and some northern communities reporting over 40 inches. So again across most of the recent decades we have had very few episodes of snowy Aprils. Perhaps our faulty human memories help us in this regard and we are more resilient as a result of forgetting the really challenging months of April.

Seems odd with such a cold, and snowy April underway that the NOAA-National Weather Service hosted Severe Weather Awareness Week this week, with tornado practice drills. But in an average spring season severe weather can begin to appear in April and May.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Ski-Scotland reports that it has been cold and snowy enough all winter that the snow pack in the highlands should allow for skiing well into the month of May. This is somewhat unusual but welcome news for avid skiers.

The Weather Underground staff provides a profile and analysis of the impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico in one of this week’s blogs. The NOAA National Hurricane Center did an exceptional job in forecasting Maria, but its’ devastation was remarkable, as it was one of the costliest hurricanes in history.

The Twins are playing the Cleveland Indians in Puerto Rico (April 17-18) next week in hopes of raising money and improving the spirits there as the citizens continue to recover from Hurricane Maria’s impacts. And speaking of Puerto Rico, the organization Casa Pueblo has never been without power since Hurricane Maria struck, thanks to the use of their solar power array. Now they are promoting the use of solar power to restore electricity to health care facilities and other needed services as Puerto Rico rebuilds its power grid.

In an AGU article this week European Union scientists explore the impacts of climate change on the European economy with respect to power generation, fresh water, tourism, and other sectors. It makes for an interesting read.

MPR listener question:

What is the latest date in the Spring season when school has been delayed or cancelled as a result of a snow storm?


Sketchy records don’t allow an accurate answer to this question. I do recall that over May 2-3 (Thursday-Friday) of 2013 Dodge Center (Dodge County) received a record 17.2 inches of snowfall and local schools were either cancelled or delayed. I also suspect that on May 8, 1938 when Windom, MN reported over a foot of snow that school may have been delayed or cancelled back then as well.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 13th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 57 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 36 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 13th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 84 degrees F in 2006; lowest daily maximum temperature of 31 degree F in 1943; lowest daily minimum temperature of 2 degrees F in 1962; highest daily minimum temperature of 59 degrees F in 1941; record precipitation of 0.94 inches in 1991. Record snowfall on this date is 8.5 inches in 1928.

Average dew point for April13th is 31°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 64°F in 1941; and the minimum dew point on this date is -2°F in 1950.

All-time state records for April 13th:

The all-time state high temperature for today's date is 90 degrees F at Wheaton (Traverse County) in 2003; the all-time state low for today's date is -11 degrees F at Roseau (Roseau County) in 1950. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 3.57 inches at Hutchinson (McLeod County) in 2010. Record snowfall is 13.0 inches at Kimbrae (Nobles County) in 1892.

Past Weather Features:

April 13-16, 1928 brought heavy snowfall to many parts of the state. Many areas reported 8 to 12 inches and over 14 inches in parts of Hennepin County.

The coldest April 13 in state history was in 1950 when over 20 climate stations reported subzero morning low temperatures, including -11 degrees F at Roseau where there was still 20 inches of snow on the ground.

April 13, 2003 was the warmest in state history with over 40 climate stations reporting a daytime high of 80 degrees F or greater. Both Campbell and Wheaton reported 90 degrees F.

Spring thunderstorms brought heavy rainfall to many parts of the state on April 13, 2010. Many areas of the state received between one and two inches of rain, while both Willmar and Hutchinson reported over 3 inches.


A powerful storm will affect many parts of Minnesota this weekend with rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow, and high winds. Some communities may see record-setting snowfall amounts. The storm will move out of the area by late Sunday, and the weather will be relatively quiet until another storm system arrives Wednesday and Thursday of next week. Temperatures overall will remain cooler than normal.

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