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Snow on the Fishing Opener Followed by Multiple Frosts

Snow on the Fishing Opener Followed by Multiple Frosts:

For the Fishing Opener, Saturday, May 9th, Mother Nature brought a last gasp dose of snow to portions of Becker, Otter Tail, Aitkin, Cass, Wadena, Crow Wing, Cook, Beltrami, and Morrison Counties where typical reports included 1-2 inches of snow. Some of the snow was intense enough to actually stop fishermen and send them back to the docks.

Since talking about the dry, clean atmospheric conditions across the state last Friday, over 90 percent of the state landscape has seen at least one frost. In many areas of the state overnight lows have dropped into the 20s F and even the teens. Brimson (St Louis County) reported just 14°F on the morning of May 12th while Preston (Fillmore County) reported just 18°F on the morning of May 10th (Mother’s Day), tying the coldest May temperature ever measured there.

Some areas of western Minnesota and the Red River Valley have seen 7 or 8 mornings so far this month with freezing temperatures. Many of the lowest readings occurred earlier the week over May 10-12, when 45 of Minnesota’s long-term climate stations reported setting new daily low temperature records, including 18°F at International Falls (the Nation’s Ice Box).

From early Extension reports it appears that some alfalfa fields were damaged by the frosts and as a result may see low first-cut yields. Damage reports on emerged corn and soybean fields were rare, and there may have been damage to some apple orchards. Thankfully it looks like the last serious episode of frosts for most of the state is behind us now.

Following the frost on Tuesday morning (May 12) extremely dry air prevailed across the state with afternoon relative humidity readings in the teens and twenties and record low dew points. The Twin Cities tied the record low dew point of 10°F for May 12th, while some other areas of the state saw dew points in single digits.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Typhoon Vongfong, first of the season in the Western Pacific Ocean Basin struck the Philippines on Thursday this week forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of citizens who were on lockdown for the pandemic. Some areas received over 8 inches of rainfall, while peak wind gusts reached over 100 mph. There was also high surf ahead of the storm. The storm was expected to graze Taiwan as it headed back out to sea over the weekend.

Also, a tropical disturbance developed near the Florida Straits late this week and is expected to strengthen into a Tropical Storm (Arthur) that would be the first of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. If so, this storm would bring rain and high winds to the Florida Keys, southeastern Florida coastal communities and the Bahamas.

The BBC reports this week that for the first time in 37 years carbon dioxide emissions from India have declined. They dropped 15 percent during the month of March and 30 percent in April. Much of this was due to the pandemic lockdown, but also demand for coal-based electricity has dropped as more renewable energy sources have been deployed.

MPR listener question:

Here in Rochester, MN last Saturday we had a morning frost at 27°F, but then the sun came out and the wind turned around and came out of the south pushing the temperature up to 66°F in the afternoon, a rise of 39 degrees F…..Wow! That was unexpected. But we are wondering what is the record for a daily temperature rise in Rochester?


Good question….for the month of May the temperature rise you saw last Saturday (May 9) of 39°F was not a record. The daily record rise in temperature during the month of May at Rochester is from the Dust Bowl Era of the 1930s and it happened twice: May 23, 1931 after a morning low of 25°F the temperature rose 45 degrees to 70°F by 4:30pm; also on May 25, 1934 after a morning low of 29°F, the temperature rose 45 degrees to a high of 74°F. Dry air is needed for May frost, and also for those kinds of temperature rises.

Twin Cities Almanac for May 15th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 69 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 49 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 15th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 94 degrees F in 2001; lowest daily maximum temperature of 39 degree F in 1907; lowest daily minimum temperature of 31 degrees F in 1980; highest daily minimum temperature of 70 degrees F in 2001; record precipitation of 1.95 inches in 1911. Record snowfall is 0.8 inches in 1907.

Average dew point for May 15th is 42°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 70°F in 1998; and the minimum dew point on this date is 20°F in 2011.

All-time state records for May 15th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 103 degrees F at Winnebago (Faribault County) in 2013. The state record low temperature for this date is 16 degrees F at St Vincent (Kittson County) in 1888. The state record precipitation for this date is 4.20 inches at New Longdon (Kandiyohi County) in 1911. Record snowfall for this date is 8.0 inches at Mount Iron (St Louis County) also in 1907.

Past Weather Features:

Bitter cold prevailed across Minnesota on May 15, 1888. Temperatures fell into the teens in the far northwest and into the 20s F across much of the rest of northern Minnesota, with 30s F in the south. Duluth saw a daytime high temperature of only 42°F.

Winter revisited the state on May 15, 1907 with temperatures in the 30s F and measurable snowfalls in many areas. Much of western and central Minnesota saw 2-5 inches of snowfall, while the headwaters area of the Mississippi River reported over 6 inches.

The warmest May 15 came in 2013 when most of the state saw daytime temperatures range between 85°F and 95°F. In portions of Martin, McLeod, Freeborn, Watonwan, Faribault, Waseca, and Mower Counties the temperature reached or exceeded 100°F.


Cloudy weekend coming up with cooler than normal temperatures. There will be a chance for showers on Saturday and into early Sunday, with the heavier amounts in southern and eastern portions of the state. Drier and warmer than normal for Monday through Wednesday of next week, then a chance for showers again by Thursday. Temperatures may run warmer than normal for the rest of the month.

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