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Preeliminary Climate Summary for April

 Preliminary Climate Summary for April:

April of 2018 will be remembered as cold and snowy for most Minnesota citizens. The average temperature for most communities ranged from 9 to 12 degrees F colder than normal. On a statewide basis it was the 5th coldest April back to 1895, only 1950, 1907, 1909, and 1920 were colder. For the Twin Cities (MSP) it was the 4th coldest April back to 1873, only 1874, 1907, and 1950 were colder. Within the Minnesota climate network over 500 daily record cold minimum temperature or cold maximum temperature records were set or tied. Extreme temperatures for the month ranged from -11 degrees F at Ely on the 8th, to over 80 degrees F at several locations on April 30th (forecasted to be that high). Roughly 85 percent of all days in April brought cooler than normal temperature conditions.

Moisture-wise the southern counties were generally wetter than normal, while the north was drier than normal. Many southern communities reported 3 to 4 inches of precipitation, while some northern climate stations received less than 1.5 inches. Snowfall was a big headline during April, as many Minnesota climate stations reported record amounts. The largest storm was the blizzard and heavy snow over April 13-16. MSP reported 15.8 inches of snowfall during that storm, the 12th highest snow storm total in history. You can view the others ranked among the top 20 historically at
the Minnesota State Climatology Office web site.

Over 150 daily snowfall records were broken or tied within the state climate network during the month. In addition, over 100 observers reported 20 inches or more during the month. New records for total April snowfall were common, including:

33.3” at Bricelyn
32.1” at Lakefield
27.0” at Albert Lea
29.6” at Lake Wilson
31.5” at Winnebago
22.9” at Waseca
37.0” at Tracy
23.0” at Lake City
36.9” at Canby
26.1” at MSP
26.0” at St James

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

April has been an windy and dry month in Oklahoma. This has produced a number of wild fires which have been a serious threat there. NOAA this week features an article about the conditions that have caused these fires. Nearly 300,000 acres of land has been burned in Oklahoma so far this month. Firefighters are still struggling to control them in some areas.

Tornado Alley has been unusually quiet so far in 2018. For states like Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri this may be one of the latest starts ever to the severe weather season. Little or no tornado activity has been reported from many of these states. You can read more from the BBC.

Sea-level rise and wave-driven flooding will negatively impact freshwater resources on many low-lying atoll islands in such a way that many could be uninhabitable in just a few decades. A recent U.S. Geological Survey study suggests that many of these islands in the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean may become uninhabitable in the next several decades as they lose freshwater supply.

A recent article in EOS documents how satellite data are now more frequently helping meteorologists forecast snowfall rates. This is a big step forward in forecasting and may be applied more broadly in the future.

MPR listener question:

I heard you say last week the Tracy, MN (Lyon County) had reported a record 37 inches of snow for the month. What is the state record for the month of April?


Actually there have been two Aprils in the past ten years when some Minnesota climate stations reported over 40 inches of snowfall, both 2008 and 2013. The all-time April snowfall record is from Island Lake, just outside Duluth on the north shore of Lake Superior where they received 55.6 inches in 2013. That particular April also brought over 50 inches of snowfall to Duluth and Two Harbors.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 27th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 63 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 42 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 27th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 85 degrees F in 1977; lowest daily maximum temperature of 34 degree F in 1950; lowest daily minimum temperature of 21 degrees F in 1909; highest daily minimum temperature of 60 degrees F in 1938 and 1974; record precipitation of 2.22 inches in 1975. Record snowfall on this date is 8.5 inches in 1907.

Average dew point for April 27th is 36°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 65°F in 1986; and the minimum dew point on this date is 8°F in 1934.

All-time state records for April 27th:

The all-time state high temperature for today's date is 96 degrees F at Hallock (Kittson County) in 1952; the all-time state low for today's date is 7 degrees F at Brimson (St Louis County) in 1996. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 3.76 inches at Cambridge (Isanti County) in 1975. Record snowfall is 14.0 inches at Ottertail (Otter Tail County) in 2008.

Past Weather Features:

At the end of a snowy month, April 27, 1909 brought many record cold temperatures including single digit lows to many northern Minnesota communities. The afternoon high temperature at Roseau and Baudette on that day was only 30 degrees F, with snow still on the ground.

By far the warmest April 27th in state history was in 1952 when afternoon high temperatures of 90 degrees F or greater were reported from over 20 communities around the state. There was also high fire danger as some afternoon relative humidity readings were less than 20 percent.

A big late season snow storm on April 27, 2008 made travel very difficult across sections of northern Minnesota. Some climate stations reported 6 to 14 inches of heavy, wet snow.


Sunny, but cooler than normal on Saturday around the state, then a warming trend starts on Sunday, bringing temperatures that will rise above normal, reaching perhaps the 70s and 80s F by Monday. There will be a chance for showers and thunderstorms on late Sunday through early Tuesday, then cooler again for Wednesday and Thursday of next week.

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