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April Climate Summary

April Climate Summary:

For the second consecutive year the month of April was cool, ranging from 1 to 4 degrees F cooler than normal for most climate stations in Minnesota. Extremes for the month ranged from -6°F at Marshall on the 14th to 86°F at Windom, Waseca, and Winnebago on the 22nd. Though it was a cool month, Minnesota reported the nation’s lowest temperature on only two days during the month.

April was wetter than normal around the state, especially so in southwestern and southeastern counties. The state average total precipitation was nearly 3 inches making it the 16th wettest April in history. In south-central counties it was the 9th wettest April in history with an average precipitation of 4.75 inches, while in southwestern counties it was the 4th wettest April with average precipitation of 5.40 inches. Lake Wison (Murray County) reported its wettest April in history at 7.55 inches, while Lamberton (Redwood County) reported its 3rd wettest April with a total of 5.91 inches. As a result of all the precipitation farm field work made little progress during the month.

Most observers reported at least a few inches of snowfall during the month. The largest amounts occurred along the north shore of Lake Superior and in west-central Minnesota. Madison and Dawon in Lac Qui Parle County and Milan (Chippewa County) all reported over 20 inches of snow for the month, while Grand Marais reported 26.4 inches, their snowiest April.

April is most commonly the windiest month of the year in Minnesota. It was indeed so this year, with 5 or more days producing wind gusts over 40 mph around the state. Some reported wind gusts over 60 mph during the winter storm of April 11-12.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Tropical Cyclone Fani was moving through the Bay of Bengal and up the east coast of India this week packing winds over 130 mph and producing seas waves of 45 to 50 feet. Over a million people were being evacuated from low lying coastal regions. It has the potential to be the worst cyclone to strike India in 20 years. It will undoubtedly bring heavy rains (6-12 inches), high winds, and huge coastal surge over Friday and Saturday.

This week NOAA features an article about Understanding Antarctic Sea Ice Extent. The fluctuations in Arctic Sea Ice are less complicated than those of the Antarctic (a much bigger ice sheet). The reasons behind the complicated picture of sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere are explained.

The BBC reported this week that a study by the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has found that with the proper incentives and deployment of technology the United Kingdom could achieve a “net zero emissions” goal for carbon dioxide by the year 2050.

Onboard machine learning and compact thermal imaging could turn satellites into real-time fire management tools to help officials on the ground. Inspired by the Camp Fire that was so destructive in California last November and a similar fire that flared up at Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada in May 2016, researchers wondered if satellite-based remote sensing could help. Sure enough it can. You can read more in EOS from the AGU this week.

MPR listener question:

I heard it was snowing Thursday morning at International Falls, MN. How common on May snowfalls in that northern city?


The climate history shows that it snows during the month of May about 75 percent of all years at International Falls, MN. In fact in 1954 and 2008 it snowed on 9 separate days during the month of May. In 1954 they reported 13 inches of snow at International Falls. So this is not uncommon at all.

Twin Cities Almanac for May 3rd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 66 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 45 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 3rd:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 93 degrees F in 1949: lowest daily maximum temperature of 35 degrees F in 1954; lowest daily minimum temperature is 18 degrees F in 1967; highest daily minimum temperature of 65 degrees F in 1959; record precipitation of 1.72 inches in 1912; and there was a record 0.5 inches of snowfall in 2013.

Average dew point for May 3rd is 39 degrees F, with a maximum of 66 degrees F in 1949 and a minimum of 12 degrees F in 2005.

All-time state records for May 3rd:

The state record high temperature for this date is 97 degrees F Bird Island (Renville County) and Willmar (Kandiyohi County) in 1949. The state record low temperature for this date is 6 degrees F at Crookston (Polk County) in 1967. State record precipitation for this date is 4.00 inches at Albert Lea (Freeborn County) in 1902; and record snowfall is 12.0 inches at Leonard (Clearwater County) in 1954.

Past Weather Features:

The first three days of May 1902 brought thunderstorms and heavy rains to southern Minnesota. Many climate stations reported from 2.50 to 5 inches of rain. Blooming Prairie in Dodge County reported 5.35 inches, while Albert Lea reported 6.10 inches of rain.

The hottest May 3rd in history was in 1949 when over 60 Minnesota communities reported afternoon highs in the 90s F. Redwood Falls reported a low temperature of only 69°F.

The coldest May 3rd was in 1967. A fresh coating of May snow over the first few days of the month ushered in some cold polar air mass which dropped low temperatures into the teens and single digits. Waseca saw a low of just 19 degrees F, while in Polk County of northwestern Minnesota the temperature over 2 inches of fresh-fallen snow was just 6°F.


It will be sunny, breezy and warm on Saturday then increasing cloudiness throughout the rest of the weekend and into Monday and Tuesday with cooler than normal temperatures and chances for scattered showers. It will be drier on Wednesday but another chance for showers for Thursday with persistently cooler than normal temperatures.

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