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Preliminary Climate Summary for April 2021

Preliminary Climate Summary for April 2021:

The mean monthly temperature for April turned out to be very close to normal in most places. The number of days that brought above normal temperatures were equal to the number of days that brought below normal temperatures in most places. Extremes ranged from 88°F on the 5th at Redwood Falls, Granite Falls, and Lamberton to a low of zero degrees F at Cotton (St Louis County) on the 2nd.

The first week of the month brought some record-setting warm days as 63 climate stations reported tying or setting daily maximum temperature records. Several locations reported a daytime high in the 80s F. In addition, 71 climate stations reported tying or setting records for warm overnight low temperatures, including an extremely warm overnight low of 57°F at Austin on the 7th. Conversely, Long Prairie set a new daily record cold maximum temperature reading on April 14th with an afternoon high of only 30°F.

Precipitation for April was above normal in most places except for far northwestern counties, and some south-central and southeastern counties. Across the state’s climate station network 51 daily precipitation records were set or tied, including 2.55 inches at Collegeville on April 7th and 2.32 inches at Ottertail on April 8th.

Over 25 long term climate stations reported more than 4 inches of precipitation for the month.
Portions of Grant, Stearns, and Swift Counties received over 5 inches of precipitation. Areas of moderate to severe drought in northern and western counties shrunk significantly during the month according to the US Drought Monitor. Conversely in southeastern Minnesota, Zumbrota, Winona, and Rochester reported less than 1 inch of precipitation for the month, while Grand Meadow (0.68”) and Waseca (0.62”) reported their 4th driest April, and Caledonia (0.62”) reported its 3rd driest April in history. In southeastern Minnesota areas of Moderate Drought emerged in eight counties according to the US Drought Monitor.

Snow was generally sparse, but a few north-central and northeastern Minnesota communities reported 3 to 5 inches of snowfall for the month.

Sunshine was somewhat scarce during April, as many days brought cloudy skies and rain. Solar radiation measurements at the University of Minnesota St Paul Campus Observatory for April were the 8th lowest since 1963.

On average April is the windiest month in Minnesota and did not disappoint in that regard. For many areas of the state wind gusts exceeded 30 mph on half the days of the month. The wind combined with some dry days to allow many Minnesota farmers to do field work and plant crops. Significant progress was made on planting oats, barley, spring wheat, potatoes, sugarbeets, and corn.

Weekly Weather Potpourii:

The BBC reports that this April was the frostiest in at least 60 years across the United Kingdom. In many places there were 13 mornings with frost, making it difficult to start the gardening season.

The Weather Channel reported this week that the California Coastal Commission is proposing a “managed retreat” from residential properties along Stinson Beach, which is north up the coast from the Golden Gate Bridge near San Francisco. Property owners may have to move their homes to new locations or abandon them as a result of continuing sea level rise brought about by climate change.

The journal Nature recently published a paper that was a comprehensive analysis of glacial retreat across the Earth. The scientists used satellite data and elevation loss measures to exam the loss of glacial ice over the past several decades. They found that the annual loss of glacial ice has greatly accelerated in recent decades and needs to me studied in more detail to exam potential effects on regional hydrology.

This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin highlights recent work that finds many USA cities may be under reporting their CO2 emissions as they strive to set targets to reduce them in the future and help mitigate the pace of climate change. The study concludes that “inaccurate self-reporting could undercut efforts to uphold pledges to reduce emissions.”

MPR listener question:

We live in Caledonia, MN (Houston County) and have seen a very dry April, only 5 days have brought rain with a total of about 0.60 inches. Some of us neighbors were wondering if this is the driest April in our climate record? Thought you might know. Do you?


Indeed, Caledonia climate records go back to 1892. The driest April was in 1905 with just 0.48 inches (only 4 days brought rain). Second driest was 1959 with 0.59 inches (7 days brought rain). So, 2021 ranks as the 3rd driest, and the driest April since the year 2000. Hope you get more rain in May.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 30th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 65 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 44 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 30th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 91 degrees F in 1952; lowest daily maximum temperature of 31 degrees F in 1909; lowest daily minimum temperature of 24 degrees F in 1903; highest daily minimum temperature of 66 degrees F in 1934; record precipitation of 1.53 inches in 1954. Record snowfall is 3.1 inches in 1984.

Average dew point for April 30th is 37°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 63°F in 1942; and the minimum dew point on this date is 8 degrees F in 1918.

All-time state records for April 30th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 96 degrees F at Maple Plain (Hennepin County) in 1934. The state record low temperature for this date is 6 degrees F at Fort Ripley (Crow Wing County) in 1877. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.33 inches at New London (Kandiyohi County) in 1936. Record snowfall is 13.7 inches at Fosston (Polk County) in 1945.

Past Weather Features:

Perhaps the warmest April 30th in state history was in 1934. Many southern and central communities reported daytime highs in the 90s F. Much of the rest of the state saw afternoon highs in the 80s F. The nighttime temperature in Minneapolis dropped to a warm 66°F.

A slow-moving low pressure system brought some of the heaviest rains of 1936 over April 30th. Parts of central Minnesota received 1.5 to 3 inches of rainfall which was much needed for crops in the Dust Bowl Era of the 1930s.

Very cold morning in much of Minnesota on April 30, 1958. Morning lows in the teens and twenties were widespread across central and northern Minnesota. Afternoon high temperatures only reached the low to mid 40s F in many areas.

A late season winter storm brought 6 to 12 inches of snowfall to many parts of the state over April 29-30, 1984. It did not last long as temperatures warmed into the 50s and 60s F to start the month of May.


Sunny and warm on Saturday with afternoon temperatures well above normal. Increasing cloudiness on Sunday with a chance for showers and thunderstorms. Cooler on Monday and Tuesday then warming a bit for Wednesday through Friday of next week with a chance for showers later on Wednesday and early on Thursday. Temperatures will generally be cooler than normal.

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