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Brief Visit of Spring Weather

Brief Visit of Spring Weather:

Over April 6-7 this week, spring emerged briefly with temperatures reaching the 60s F across much of the southern half of Minnesota and over 20 climate stations, including the Twin Cities, reported an afternoon high temperature of 70°F or greater. For the Twin Cities April 7th brought the first 70°F day since last October 9th. Dew points climbed into the 50s F as well, with the Twin Cities tying the all-time high dewpoint record for April 7th of 54°F. The higher dew points and instability in the atmospheric triggered some thunderstorms from Duluth to Rochester. A few areas got some snow, but most observers reported rain, with amounts from a few tenths to over 1 inch.

A cold front brought a dramatic drop in temperatures on April 8th, and some sleet, rain, and snow. Some areas of the northeast reported measurable snowfalls with 3 inches at Chisholm, and nearly 5 inches at Grand Marais. Daytime temperatures fell by 20 to 30 degrees F, and even felt colder because of the winds, which gusted from 30 to 45 mph. This brought Wind Chill Values ranging from just 10°F to 25°F, as people who were out went back to wearing mid-winter clothing.

Though temperatures so far this month have average 2 to 4 degrees warmer than normal across the state, most of the outlook models suggest that cooler than normal temperatures will dominate this weekend and through the 3rd week of the month. It appears it will be drier than normal as well.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Science Daily reports that a new study from the Earth Institute at Columbia University finds that robin migration is kicking off earlier by about five days each decade. The study is also the first to reveal the environmental conditions along the migration route that help the birds keep up with the changing seasons. Bird migration of several species is expected to continue coming earlier with each passing decade.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) COMETProgram provides a wide variety of educational materials for the atmospheric and climate sciences. This week they published the online version of the National Weather Service Fire Weather Program, which for years has been a great service to the USFS and land managers, especially in western states.

MPR listener question:

I have heard you speak many times about the huge temperature extremes in Minnesota. What have been the temperature extremes so far this month, and what are the record extremes historically for April?


So far in April of 2020, the temperature extremes for Minnesota have been 74°F at Sherburn (Martin County) in southern Minnesota on April 7th, and -10°F at Goodridge (Marshall County) of the Red River Valley in northwestern Minnesota. The historical extremes are 101°F at Hawley (Clay County) on April 22, 1980, and -22°F at Karlstad (Kittson County) on April 6, 1979.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 10th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 55 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 35 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 10th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 88 degrees F in 1977; lowest daily maximum temperature of 33 degree F in 1997; lowest daily minimum temperature of 18 degrees F in 1962; highest daily minimum temperature of 57 degrees F in 2005; record precipitation of 1.33 inches in 1883. Record snowfall is 6.0 inches in 1891.

Average dew point for April 10th is 29°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 61°F in 2011; and the minimum dew point on this date is 3°F in 1959.

All-time state records for April 10th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 92 degrees F at Browns Valley (Traverse County) in 1977. The state record low temperature for this date is -8 degrees F at Brimson (St Louis County) in 1989. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.14 inches at Harmony (Fillmore County) in 2013. Record snowfall for this date is 14.0 inches at Lynd (Lyon County) also in 1913.

Words of the Week: lamb storm, lamb-showers, or lamb-blasts:

Our April snow showers, not uncommon to northern Minnesota, do not have a colloquial name associated with them. But, they certainly do in England and Scotland. These terms are used to refer to nuisance storms which produce a light falling of snow in the spring when new lambs are born, most often during March or early April. More severe snowstorms or squalls during lambing can be lethal to the newborn lambs, so the U.K. Meteorological Office provides special forecasts to sheep producers during the spring season to help them avoid or at least anticipate any weather-related difficulties.

Past Weather Features:

By far the warmest April 10 in state history was in 1977 when most of the state reported afternoon highs in the 80s F. Portions of Traverse and Lac Qui Parle Counties reached the 90s F. The cold spot in the state was an afternoon high of just 43°F at Two Harbors.

The coldest April 10 on a statewide basis was in 1989. Most climate stations reported morning lows in the single digits and teens F, but the northeastern counties (St Louis, Lake, and Cook) reported subzero lows. The daytime high temperature at Hallock only reached 25°F.


A very unsettled weekend coming up, with cooler than normal temperatures and chances for rain or snow showers starting later on Saturday. Breezy as well, especially Sunday and Mondahy. Continued chance for mixed precipitation on Monday, then generally dry for the balance of next week, but with temperatures that are cooler than normal.

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