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Record Snowfall Totals for April

Record Snowfall Totals for April:

The heavy snowfalls and blizzard of April 13-16 set many records around the state. Many observers reported 12 to 18 inches of snowfall in total, while Milan, Lake Wilson, Tracy, Canby, and Madison reported over 19 inches. During the height of the snow, MSP Airport was closed and MN/DOT reported over 600 vehicle accidents.

Many new record daily snowfall amounts were reported for April 14th, among dozens were 7 inches at Amboy, 8 inches at Ortonville, 14 inches a Milan, and 23 inches at Canby (a new statewide record for the date). Then on April 15th even more new daily record snowfall amounts were reported, among them 12 inches at Winnebago and Rosemount, 12.7 inches at Duluth, 14 inches at Dawson and Montevideo, 16 inches at Minneota, and 25 inches at Tracy (a new statewide record for the date). So two new statewide daily snowfall records were set by this storm, 23 inches at Canby on the 14th and 25 inches at Tracy on the 15th, remarkable!

Overall during the snow storm 63 daily snowfall records were tied or set within the Minnesota climate network.

In addition many climate observers now report April of 2018 as their snowiest April in history, including the following:

MSP 26.1 inches (and 78.3” for the snow season, 10th highest all-time back to 1884)
Tracy 37 inches
Canby 36.9 inches
Montevideo 33 inches
Dawson 32 inches
Winnebago 31.5 inches
Milan 29.7 inches
Lakefield 32.1 inches
Bricelyn 33.3 inches
Marshall 27 inches

The Minnesota State Climatology Office posted a comprehensive summary of the storm.
Thankfully, it appears that much of the precipitation for the rest of the month will fall as rain, not snow.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The International Arctic Research Center reports this week via NOAA the most unusual winter conditions that have prevailed in the Bering Strait off the southwestern coast of Alaska. The lack of persistent sea ice there this winter caused a variety of problems for coastal communities.

There is a good article this week in the Yale Climate Connections about the city of Lancaster, CA transforming its power grid to mostly solar. That area of California has over 300 sunny days per year, so lots of potential for solar energy. The Republican Mayor, Rex Parris, has been a big proponent of solar energy, which has created over a thousand local jobs.

Warmer than normal weather will be a factor for the London Marathon on Saturday, April 21st. The daytime high temperature should be around the 70 degrees F mark, just short of the record for the London Marathon set in 2007 of 73 degrees F.

As a follow up to last year’s March for Science at the State Capitol in St Paul, there will be a Rally for Science at Mears Park in downtown St Paul on May 19th from noon to 2pm. There will be a variety of speakers, family activities, and information tables.

MPR listener question:

Paul and Susan Schurke at Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge near Ely noted that for them and Roland Fowler at Embarrass, overnight temperatures have been below freezing every night since October 27, 2017, a period of over 170 days. Is this a state record for consecutive nights with temperatures below freezing in Minnesota?


Well, no, but it is getting close. The climate station at Brimson (St Louis County) reported 185 consecutive days from October 25, 2012 to April 27, 2013. Don’t know if there are 19th Century climate records that beat this, but Embarrass and Ely will have to string together several more days to beat Brimson.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 20th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 60 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 39 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 20th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 83 degrees F in 1980; lowest daily maximum temperature of 36 degree F in 1893; lowest daily minimum temperature of 21 degrees F in 2013; highest daily minimum temperature of 67 degrees F in 1985; record precipitation of 0.85 inches in 1893. Record snowfall on this date is 8.5 inches in 1893.

Average dew point for April 20th is 35°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 58°F in 1957; and the minimum dew point on this date is 6°F in 1988.

All-time state records for April 20th:

The all-time state high temperature for today's date is 96 degrees F at Georgetown (Clay County) in 1980; the all-time state low for today's date is -14 degrees F at Embarrass (St Louis County) in 2013. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 3.08 inches at Collegeville (Stearns County) in 1893. Record snowfall is 18.0 inches at Ft Ripley (Crow Wing County) in 1893.

Past Weather Features:

One of the heaviest late season snowfalls in state history occurred over April 19-21, 1893. Snow was heavy with blizzard conditions in many areas. Among the state observer network, a foot of new snow was common, while Maple Plain reported over 20 inches, and St Cloud reported over 30 inches.

The warmest April 20th in state history was in 1980 when over 70 climate stations reported a daily high temperature of 80 degrees F or higher. Over a dozen western communities in Minnesota reported afternoon temperatures of 90s degrees F or greater. This heat was a precursor to drought in northwestern Minnesota that year.

The coldest April 20th in state history was in 2013, when an Arctic air mass brought subzero temperature readings to over a dozen communities in northern Minnesota. Even in southern areas of the state temperatures fell to the single digits and teens.


Plenty of sun under partly cloudy skies over the weekend, with warming temperatures. Sunday’s temperatures will be the first above normal readings since March 28th, and if the forecast high of 63 degrees F is reached for MSP it will be the first temperature that high since October 22 of last autumn. More cloudiness and slightly cooler Monday and Tuesday with a chance for rain by Tuesday. Warmer again towards the end of next week.

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