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Warm Climate This January

Warm Climate This January:

It looks like this January may end up among the 5 warmest in state history based on statewide climate data so far. Through two-thirds of the month temperatures are running from 8 to 17 degrees F above normal. The last ten days of the month will not all be warmer than normal, but a mixture of above and below normal values. This will mean that the average temperature for January in Minnesota may not be as cold as December was. Nevertheless, we can anticipate a period of three consecutive months with monthly mean temperatures above normal.

The persistence of warmer than normal temperatures has been so strong that the November through January period may end up among the 5 warmest historically as well. It is somewhat unusual to have this persistent warmth during a La Nina period (cold surface waters) in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. This is somewhat like what happened with Minnesota November through January temperatures being warmer than normal during the La Nina episodes of 2005-2006 and 2011-2012. Perhaps it is time to reconsider the historical correlation between La Nina episodes and colder than normal winters in Minnesota.

The new NOAA Climate Prediction Center outlooks suggest that February through April may continue to see warmer than normal temperatures mostly prevail across Minnesota. The CPC outlook also favors most of Minnesota to see wetter than normal conditions prevail.

MCAP Conference Award Winners:

The Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership (MCAP) statewide conference took place on January 20th this week as a virtual Zoom event. I was privileged to announce the awards and I am happy to offer a respectful salute to the winners: Dr. Meredith Cornett, Science Director the MN, ND, SD Chapter of the Nature Conservancy for her dedicated work and leadership in examining climate change impacts on our forests and designating areas that are most likely to retain their biological diversity, and others where it will be possible to maintain Minnesota’s boreal forests; The Sustainability and Resilience Task Force of the City of Rochester that developed an action plan to adapt the city infrastructure to climate change using more renewable energy, sustainable practices, and prioritizing equitable benefits across city demographics; The South Washington County Watershed District which initiated several flood risk reduction projects that also incorporated habitat restoration and expansion of green infrastructure. Congratulations to all of these award winners and role models for us all.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System has launched a redesigned U.S. Drought Portal to better serve stakeholders, decision makers, the media, and the public. The new site features updated drought conditions and also drought forecasts to show areas where drought might emerge, amplify, and diminish. The web site will be useful for cities to plan for water supplies for the coming 2021 growing season.

The BBC Weather Centre reported this week that storm Christoph brought over a month’s worth of rain to portions of the United Kingdom. Flooding impacted North Wales and parts of northern England, while portions of Scotland saw heavy snow and even blizzard conditions.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center was tracking Cyclone Eloise, currently between Madagascar and Mozambique. It is expected to bring heavy rainfall and high winds to Mozambique early this weekend.

MPR listener question:

Which parts of Minnesota have seen the most snowfall so far this winter?


Much of northeastern Minnesota reports over 40 inches so far, while some observers around Duluth have reported over 50 inches. On the other hand portions of western Minnesota and extreme southeastern Minnesota have reported less than 10 inches so far.

Twin Cities Almanac for January 22nd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 24 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 7 degrees F (plus or minus 15 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for January 22nd:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 51 degrees F in 1942; lowest daily maximum temperature of -17 degrees F in 1936; lowest daily minimum temperature of -34 degrees F in 1936; highest daily minimum temperature of 36 degrees F in 1900; record precipitation of 0.89 inches in 1982. Record snowfall is 17.2 inches also in 1982.

Average dew point for January 22nd is 5°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 38°F in 1967; and the minimum dew point on this date is -38 degrees F in 1963.

All-time state records for January 22nd:

The state record high temperature for this date is 59 degrees F at Lynd (Lyon County) in 1900. The state record low temperature for this date is -51 degrees F at Itasca State Park (Clearwater County) in 1922. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.53 inches at Austin (Mower County) in 1973. Record snowfall is 22.0 inches at Lynd (Lyon County) in 1917.

Past Weather Features:

The state was in the grip of Arctic Cold on January 22, 1936 with morning low temperatures ranging from -20°F to -46°F. The afternoon high temperature only made it to -29°F at Moorhead.

January 22, 1942 brought an early taste of spring with afternoon temperatures reaching into the 50s F across much of Minnesota. Some city workers were seen taking their lunch outside to catch some sunshine and warmth.

Monday, January 18 to Sunday, January 24 or 1982 was the snowiest week in Twin Cities history. The National Weather Service at MSP Airport reported 39.5 inches of snowfall that week. On Wednesday, January 20th 17.1 inches of snow fell, setting a new daily record, then on Friday, January 22nd another 17.2 inches of snow fell, setting a record for that date as well. Schools were close on both Wednesday and Friday of that week, and citizens had to use their roof snow rakes to scrap the heavy snow off garages and homes.


Cloudy skies with near seasonal temperatures and snow on Saturday in most areas. Then partly sunny on Sunday. Dry and colder on Monday and Tuesday, then a bit of a warming trend for Wednesday through Friday of next week.

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