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Some Record Snowfalls on December 23-24

Some Record Snowfalls on December 23-24:

After a long warm and dry period that started in November, Minnesota was hit by a strong storm system that delivered very high winds, blizzard conditions, along with rain, sleet, and snow across most areas of the state over December 23-24. Blizzard conditions prevented effective snow plowing in many areas of the state as the howling winds would quickly blow in snow from cleared roads. Hundreds of vehicle accidents were reported and in some areas motorists had to leave their vehicles and seek temporary shelter. Many areas of the state clocked wind gusts from 50 to 70 mph and reported damage to holiday light and ornament displays.

The storm produced widespread snowfall amounts from 4 to 6 inches, with peak amounts reaching 9 to 10 inches. Some of Minnesota’s long term climate station reported new record daily snowfall amounts, including:
8.7” at MSP
9.5” at Two Harbors
8.0” at Owatonna
7.2” at Ely
7.0” at Babbitt
5.0” at Gunflint Lake

In addition, the high water content of the snow produced some daily precipitation record values as well, including:
1.24 inches at Hastings Dam
0.88” at Faribault
0.75” at Jordan
0.62” at Zumbrota
0.66” at Red Wing

The storm system ushered in the coldest air of the season so far. Many areas saw temperatures drop 40 to 50 degrees between the 23rd and the 24th. At Canby (Yellow Medicine County) the temperature dropped from a high of 57°F on December 23rd, to a low of -5°F the morning of the 24th. Wind chill values ranged through the minus 20sF and even some -30s F. International Falls dropped to -20°F on the morning of the 24th, the coldest reading in the state so far this season.

The Minnesota State Climatology Office web site provides a good summary description of the storm.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

AGU_EOS reports this week on a satellite-aided forecasting system for dust storms in the desert southwest of the USA developed by Daniel Tong of George Mason University. Tong and his team are trying to get everything right by using near-real-time satellite imagery. The satellite images can pick out surface conditions that breed dust storms so that forecasting models can incorporate data on active dust sources. This holds great potential to assist National Weather Service Forecasters in issuing timely warnings to motorists.

The International Falls, MN temperature of -20 degrees F on Christmas Eve morning was the lowest temperature reported in the USA that day, and the first time this month that Minnesota has reported the nation’s lowest temperature.

MPR listener question:

The snowstorm this week made us wonder what is the largest 24 hour snowfall to ever occur during the month of December in Minnesota?


The largest reported snowfall in 24 hours for the month of December came from Duluth on December 8, 1950 when they measured 23.2 inches. They ended up receiving 44.3 inches of snowfall that month.

Twin Cities Almanac for December 26th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 25 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 9 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for December 26th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 52 degrees F in 2011; lowest daily maximum temperature of -9 degrees F in 1934; lowest daily minimum temperature of -27 degrees F in 1996; highest daily minimum temperature of 38 degrees F in 1959; record precipitation of 0.60 inches in 1880. Record snowfall is 5.1 inches also in 1988.

Average dew point for December 26th is 10°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 48°F in 1936; and the minimum dew point on this date is -28 degrees F in 1996.

All-time state records for December 26th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 57 degrees F at Fairmont (Martin County) in 1936. The state record low temperature for this date is -50 degrees F at Big Falls (Koochiching County) in 1933. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.50 inches at Marshall (Lyon County) in 1988. Record snowfall is 15.0 inches at Bricelyn (Faribault County) in 1945.

Past Weather Features:

Arctic air gripped Minnesota on December 26, 1933 when subzero temperatures were reported from all areas of the state, with values ranging from -9°F at Winona to -50°F at Big Falls. /The high temperature at Roseau and Babbitt only reached a reading of -18°F.

December of 1936 was the warmest in state history with high temperatures ranging from 35 degrees F to 55 degrees F across much of the state. In portions of southeastern Minnesota overnight temperatures remained in the 40s F.


Moderating near-normal temperatures over the weekend with increasing cloudiness and a chance for snow. Colder on Monday, then another chance for snow on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. Temperatures will hover either side of normal.

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