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New State Annual Precipitation Record Confirmed

New State Annual Precipitation Record Confirmed:

Back in the very wet year of 2016 Waseca recorded 56.24 inches of precipitation, setting a new statewide annual precipitation record. Only two years later in 2018 five southeastern Minnesota climate stations reported 50 inches of annual precipitation and two of them broke the state record: Caledonia (Houston County) reported 57.97 inches; and Harmony (Fillmore County) reported 60.21 inches. At Caledonia the record total precipitation was greatly enhanced by an intense thunderstorm that delivered 8.10 inches there on August 28th. However at Harmony the new precipitation record was set because of more frequent heavy rains and not so much individual record-setting rainfalls. For example at Harmony they normally record about 7 one day rainfalls of 1 inch or greater per year, but this year they had 18 such days. Also they average about 2 days per year with 2 inches of rainfall, and in 2018 they reported 7 such days.

The new state record of 60.21 inches of precipitation is a greater quantity than the average annual precipitation in states like Alabama and Florida.

High Winds This Week:

Sunday through Wednesday (January 6-9) brought a great deal of wind to the state. Many climate stations reported 40-60 mph wind gusts on those days. Rochester reported 4 consecutive days with wind gusts of 40 mph or greater. In some northern Minnesota areas these strong winds combined with the cold temperatures pushed Wind Chill values below -25 degrees F. Large 18-wheeler truck rigs had a difficult time negotiated the crosswinds on I90 across southern Minnesota as well.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Though the National Weather Service Forecast Offices across the country continue to issue forecasts, watches, and warnings, many data service and research branches of NOAA continue to be shut down due to the partial government closure.

There is an amusing article in this week’s AGU-EOS newsletter that humorously describes ways for scientists to talk about their work using common jargon of the day. It may be worth thinking about in some situations as complex, discipline-based scientific words can often confuse the public.

The BBC reported this week that several people died as heavy snow continued to cause disruption across parts of Europe. In Austria, avalanches claimed the lives of several people, while temperatures dropped to record lows in northern Greece. Beaches near Athens, Greece were covered in snow.

MPR listener question:

When we do set a record temperature, how often do we break the old record by 1 or 2 degrees, and how often by more, like the 47 degree F reading last week that broke previous record by 6 degrees?


Indeed it was not especially unusual to see a new maximum temperature record set on January 4th last week in the Twin Cities with a reading of 47 degrees F, but breaking the old record by 6 degrees F (max temp of 41 degrees F in 2007) was relatively rare. In the Twin Cities climate record which dates back to 1873, about 53 percent of all daily maximum temperature records on the calendar broke the previous record by just 1 or 2 degrees F. So this margin for record breaking values of maximum daily temperature is pretty common throughout history. Only about 14 percent of the time is the old maximum temperature record broken by 6 degrees F or more, as it was on January 4th this year. The all-time maximum temperature record aberration in the Twin Cities dates to May 31, 1934 when the afternoon high reached 106 degrees F, breaking the old record of 92 degrees F in 1925 by a whapping 14 degrees!

BTW almost all of the wintertime daily maximum temperature records in Minnesota are set in winters with an absence of snow cover.

Twin Cities Almanac for January 11th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 23 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 7 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for January 11th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 44 degrees F in 1986; lowest daily maximum temperature of -19 degree F in 1912; lowest daily minimum temperature of -31 degrees F in 1977; highest daily minimum temperature of 34 degrees F in 2013; record precipitation of 0.47 inches in 1930. Record snowfall is 6.0 inches also in 1905.

Average dew point for January 11th is 5°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 36°F in 1980; and the minimum dew point on this date is -38°F in 1977.

All-time state records for January 11th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 59 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 2012. The state record low temperature for this date is -53 degrees F at St Vincent (Kittson County) in 1888. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.70 inches at Beaver Bay (Lake County) in 1866. Record snowfall for this date is 24.0 inches at Riverton (Crow Wing County) also in 1975.

Past Weather Features:

On a statewide basis January 11, 1912 was the coldest in state history with virtually all areas of the state recording subzero temperatures. Over 20 climate stations reported a morning low negative 40 degrees F or colder, with -52°F at Bagley (Clearwater County). The temperature at Crookston, MN never rose higher than -25°F all day.

The “Storm of Century” occurred over January 10-12, 1975 and paralyzed the state with heavy snow and high winds. Many counties were under a blizzard warning and scores of roads and highways were closed. There was a good deal of wind damage in rural areas as gusts topped 50 to 80 mph in places. Many areas received over 20 inches of snow. Near Willmar, 168 passengers were trapped on a train for many hours.

The warmest January 12 in state history was in 2012 when over 70 communities saw the thermometer climb into the 50s F, under bright sunny skies and little or no snow cover. The overnight low temperature never dropped below the freezing mark at Kimball and St James.


Increasing cloudiness over the weekend, but temperatures will be warming up to above normal values, well into the 30s F in many areas. No major storms for the next week or so. The warmth will peak on Monday with some 40s F temperature possible, then temperatures will diminish a bit next week closer to normal values for this time of year. No major winter storms are seen through the period.

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GFS said…
I wouldn't have guessed that old record maximums are broken by 6+ degrees F so often (about 1 in 7 based on what you wrote). Do new record low minimums follow a similar pattern?