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Warm Start to 2021

Warm Start to 2021:

The persistent warmth which started in November and carried on in December is continuing into the year 2021. For the first full week of the year temperatures have average 8 to 17 degrees F above normal across the state, with the largest deviations in northern Minnesota. International Falls has seen daily deviations as high as 26°F above normal. The largest daily deviation from normal temperatures occurred on January 4th. In fact, some daily record temperature values were set that day within the state climate network. New daytime maximum temperature records were reported from several locations, including:
45°F at Cass Lake
40°F at Kabetogama
39°F at Hibbing
38°F at International Falls

Forecasts for next week also suggest some warmer than normal temperatures will prevail, so we may see a few more records fall.

Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership Conference (MCAP)

The Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership (MCAP) has announced that the Annual Statewide Conference will take place via Zoom on January 20, 2021 from 9:00 am to 12:15pm. This conference which is all about sharing climate adaptation research, knowledge, and practice is always a highlight of the year for me. I will be presenting the awards again this year. If you are interested in registering please check out the information on the web site.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The UK Met Office reported the coldest temperatures of the winter season occurred this week across the United Kingdom, especially so in Scotland over January 6th and 7th. Overnight temperatures fell into the teens F, and near Garve in the Highlands of Scotland it dropped to just 10°F.

Recent research published in the journal Nature suggests that the westerlies which operate in the Earths midlatitudes and carry weather disturbances from west to east across the oceans and landscapes will continue to migrate poleward as the climate warms. This is in agreement with past climate records reconstructed from studying the deposition of dust layers.

In this week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin there is an interesting article about the weather of rocks. By listening over years for telltale sounds of cracking inside boulders, researchers found that higher temperatures and moister air corresponded to higher rates of fracture growth in the rocks. This suggests that global warming could lead to increased mechanical rock weathering.

MPR listener question:

From a climate perspective when do the January temperatures tend to bottom out and then start getting warmer. Is it mid-month?


The answer varies depending on state geography. For the Twin Cities the climate record shows that January temperatures (and typically coldest of the year) bottom out between January 8 and January 22 when the mean daily temperature is 15°F. So that is a two-week interval, then the average daily temperature begins to rise. Further north at International Falls, average daily January temperature bottoms out from the 4th to the 24th (a period of three weeks) with an average reading of just 4°F, while at Rochester in southern Minnesota, the January average temperature bottoms out from the 11th to the 21st (10 days) with an average of 15°F. The longevity of the period when average daily January temperature bottoms out across Minnesota is highly regulated by the persistence of snow cover.

Twin Cities Almanac for January 8th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 23 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 8 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for January 8th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 54 degrees F in 2003; lowest daily maximum temperature of -7 degrees F in 1887; lowest daily minimum temperature of -30 degrees F in 1875; highest daily minimum temperature of 36 degrees F in 1880; record precipitation of 0.33 inches in 1875. Record snowfall is 2.5 inches in 1909.

Average dew point for January 8th is 5°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 36°F in 2002; and the minimum dew point on this date is -33 degrees F in 1977.

All-time state records for January 8tht:

The state record high temperature for this date is 60 degrees F at Fairmont (Martin County) and Winnebago (Faribault County) in 2003. The state record low temperature for this date is -48 degrees F at Moorhead (Clay County) in 1887. The state record precipitation for this date is 1.14 inches at Tamarac Refuge (Becker County) in 1989. Record snowfall is 17.0 inches at Isabella (Lake County) in 1969.

Past Weather Features:

An Arctic air mass combined with ample snow cover brought record cold temperatures to the state on January 8, 1887. Morning lows ranged from the minus twenties to minus forties. It was -25°F in Albert Lea and -48°F at Moorhead. In fact, the daytime high temperature at Moorhead only reached -21°F.

A strong winter storm rolled across northern Minnesota over January 8-9, 1969 depositing heavy snow. Snowfalls ranged from 8-15 inches in many areas, but Isabella in the highlands above Lake Superior reported 27 inches of snowfall.

A taste of spring came to Minnesota on January 8, 2003 when warm southerly winds and sunny skies brought afternoon temperatures up to the 50s across much of Minnesota. Fairmont and Winnebago hit 60 degrees F, over 30 degrees above normal.


A continuous mix of fog, clouds, and some sunny skies for the next six days with little chance for snow. Temperatures will generally be warmer than normal, and especially so next Wednesday through Friday.

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