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Needed Precipitation

Needed Precipitation:

Some of the most abundant and efficient precipitation of the year so far occurred this week bringing 0.5 to 1.5 inches to many areas of the state. A few climate stations reported new record daily rainfall amounts on either March 24 or March 25 this week, including:
0.90 inches at Hastings
0.92 inches at Albert Lea
0.99 inches at Faribault
1.30 inches at Jordan
0.86 inches at Lamberton
1.27 inches at U of M St Paul Campus
0.83 inches at Owatonna

Much of the soil, already thawed out from winter was able to absorb all of the rain that occurred. Some areas of the state have seen just half of normal precipitation fall so far this year. Only about 10 percent of the climate reporting stations in Minnesota have recorded two or more inches of precipitation so far this month, while some have reported less than a quarter of an inch. The Drought Monitor continues to show all of Minnesota to be drier than normal, with portions of the north and west in moderate drought.

Rainfall observers needed:

The Minnesota State Climatology Office in the Department of Natural Resources needs volunteer rainfall monitors for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS).

Volunteers perform rainfall monitoring activities at home and submit their reports online. The data are used to verify rain totals after big events, monitor drought conditions and inform projections about flood risk, make precipitation maps more accurate, and provide needed guidance on Minnesota’s changing climate.

“This is a great educational activity for families with kids,” said State Climatologist Luigi Romolo, “and a rewarding hobby for anyone interested in weather or climate.”

To participate, rainfall monitors must purchase or provide a standard 4-inch diameter rain gauge (available at discount through CoCoRaHS) and have internet access to submit reports. CoCoRaHS provides online training on how to observe weather trends and how to submit precipitation and weather event reports.

To sign up to become a CoCoRaHS rain observer or for more information, visit the link listed below or contact Luigi Romolo at (link sends email). The website includes lesson plans for STEM students and instructional videos for all participants. 

CoCoRaHS web site

Sundial Rhymes:

Now that the sun is climbing so high in the sky and people are spending more time outside, I thought it might be a good time to reflect on the ancient practice of telling time by the sun.

Sundials are perhaps one of the oldest instruments known. Many are quite ornate and used in gardens or public parks. There are several which have appropriately inscribed rhymes. Some of these include:

Serene I stand among the flowers;

And only count life's sunny hours.

When the hour is bright and clear,

You'll find the time recorded here.

Set me right and use me well;

And I the time to you will tell.

Of shade and sunshine for each hour,

See here a measure made.

Then wonder not if life consists,

Of sunshine and of shade.

Anyone know of others?

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

This week NOAA features an interesting article by Tom Di Liberto that gives an analysis of how well the Climate Prediction Center did with their winter season outlook (Dec-Feb) for 2020-2021. It appears that the verification results were mixed…….some success and some failure. For Minnesota, the precipitation forecast for above normal values across most of the state did not verify. In fact much of the state saw less than normal precipitation. For the temperature outlook which favored below normal values in northwestern Minnesota, the actual temperatures there were warmer than normal.

On the web site, Alison Stevens reports on some research to determine which geographic areas of the world might see the greatest change in snowpack as the climate continues to change. Coastal (low elevation) and southern regions are more vulnerable than northern interior regions in general.

The BBC reported this week on the flooding rains that have occurred along the east coast of Australia. This enormous area has seen tremendous quantities of rainfall over the past week, up to 36 inches in places.

MPR listener question:

What is the most precipitation ever received in Minnesota during the month of March?


Three climate stations have reported over 7 inches of precipitation during the month of March:
Pigeon River Bridge (Cook County) 7.89” in 1942
Madison (Lac Qui Parle County) 7.25” in 1977
New Ulm (Brown County) 7.111” in 1899

Collegeville (Stearns County) reported 66.4” of snow in March of 1965.

Twin Cities Almanac for March 26th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 47 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 28 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for March 26th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 81 degrees F in 2007; lowest daily maximum temperature of 12 degrees F in 1996; lowest daily minimum temperature of -10 degrees F in 1996; highest daily minimum temperature of 50 degrees F in 2007; record precipitation of 1.02 inches in 1921. Record snowfall is 8.5 inches in 1936.

Average dew point for March 26th is 25°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 59°F in 1991; and the minimum dew point on this date is -21 degrees F in 1996.

All-time state records for March 26th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 84 degrees F at Winnebago (Faribault County) in 1907. The state record low temperature for this date is -31 degrees F at Fosston (Polk County) in 1996. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.50 inches at Beardsley (Big Stone County) in 1902. Record snowfall is 13.0 inches at Redwood Falls (Redwood County) in 1936.

Past Weather Features:

The warmest March 26th in state history was in 1907. Under sunny skies with strong south winds afternoon temperatures soared into the 80s F in Brown, Waseca, Blue Earth, Rice, Mower, Freeborn, and Faribault Counties. The summer-like heat was not uniform across the state as Hallock in the northern Red River Valley recorded a high temperature of only 30°F that day.

March 26-27, 1936 brought a winter storm to many parts of the state. Across southern Minnesota 5-10 inches of snow fell. Redwood Falls measured over a foot of snow and some ice as well.

March 26, 1996 was the coldest in state history. Nearly all communities in the state reported subzero temperatures in the morning, with readings in the minus 20s F in many northern areas. The high temperature at St Cloud Airport only reached 6°F.


Chance of rain or snow showers around the state early Saturday, perhaps even some mixed precipitation and freezing rain in northern areas. Partly cloudy by Saturday evening. Drier and warmer on Sunday and Monday with temperatures climbing into the 50s and 60s F. Some areas may even see 70°F temperatures on Monday. Then cooler for the balance of next week, but also drier, with a warm up towards next weekend.

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