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Preliminary February Climate Summary

Preliminary February Climate Summary:

Despite some erratic fluctuations in daily temperatures most areas of the state are reporting an average monthly temperature that is within 1°F of normal. Only the 9th time since 1895 that the February mean temperature has been that close to normal. Extremes for the month ranged from 58°F at Bemidji (Beltrami County) on the 22nd to -40°F at Isabella (Lake County) and Cotton (St Louis County) on the 20th. Minnesota reported the nation’s coldest temperature (48 contiguous states) 8 times during the month and the National Weather Service had to issue a Wind Chill Advisory on several days.

Most climate stations in the state reported below normal precipitation for the month. The exception was in southeastern and south-central Minnesota where some areas reported over an inch of precipitation, mostly thanks to the winter storm of February 9th. The highest reported precipitation came from near Austin with 2.10 inches. Most areas reported just a few inches of snowfall, but near New Ulm and Mankato over 20 inches was reported.

Some climate stations reported 7-10 days with wind gusts over 30 mph. Thankfully over the last week of the month, some of the snow cover was beginning to melt and gradually run off, reducing the spring flood risk in some areas.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

This week NOAA released an updated article about scientific consensus on global climate change. In nearly all scientific societies and academies it is not a contentious issue. The vast majority agree that climate change is real and mostly driven by human activity.

“Inhaling particulate matter is hard on human health. New research shows that Southern California’s Santa Ana winds can clear or exacerbate fine-particulate pollution depending on wildfire conditions.” This is from a feature article in this week’s AGU-EOS newsletter discussing the cases of wildfires and Santa Ana winds that have occurred in Southern California over the period from 1999-2012.

MPR listener question:

We live off Minnesota Highway 2 between Crookson and East Grand Forks in the Red River Valley. Lately there has been a lot of talk about the spring flood threat along the Red River and how it may depend to a degree on whether March precipitation is above or below normal this year. Can you shed some perception about trends and outlooks for March precipitation in our area?


I understand your concern. Looking at the data for your area 3 of the most recent 5 years, 5 of the most recent 10 years, and 10 of the most recent 20 years have brought above normal March precipitation. No emphatic trend is evident. With respect to the weather outlook it appears that March may start out a bit warmer than normal with a chance for above normal precipitation, but then the pattern is expected to turn cooler and drier for much of the month. Hopefully the frozen water on the landscape will be slowly discharged by successive thaw cycles.

Twin Cities Almanac for February 28th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is34 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 18 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for February 28th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 57 degrees F in 1932: lowest daily maximum temperature of -9 degrees F in 1962; lowest daily minimum temperature is -26 degrees F in 1962; highest daily minimum temperature of 38 degrees F in 1895; record precipitation of 0.70 inches in 2012; and record snowfall of 8.0 inches also in 1907.

Average dew point for February 28th 15 degrees F, with a maximum of 40 degrees F in 1983 and a minimum of -40 degrees F in 1962.

All-time state records for February 28th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 66 degrees F at Pipestone (Pipestone County) in 1924. The state record low temperature for this date is -50 degrees F at Pokegama Dam (Itasca County) in 1897. State record precipitation for this date is 2.21 inches at Isabella (Lake County) in 1998; and record snowfall of 16.5 inches at Gull Lake (Cass County) in 1948.

Past Weather Features:

A slow-moving winter storm brought heavy, wet snow to many areas of the state over February 26-28, 1948. The storm initially brought rain, but soon turned over to snow. Many areas received 4-8 inches, while Brainerd reported 14 inches of snowfall. It was the last major snow storm of the season for many.

Arctic high pressure dominated the state on February 27, 1962. Many areas set record cold temperatures with readings in the -20s and -30s F. In Angus and Red Lake Falls in the Red River Valley the afternoon temperature only climbed up to -12°F.

Widespread warmth prevailed on February 27, 2000, especially across southern and western counties where many afternoon temperatures climbed into the 50s F. Both Luverne and Winnebago reported 60°F under bright sunshine.


Mostly sunny over the weekend with above normal temperatures. Some areas will see afternoon highs in the 40s F. Temperatures will drop back a little bit on Monday but generally remain near normal or a bit above normal next week, with little chance for precipitation until late Wednesday or Thursday.

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