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Record Warmth Then April Showers

Record Warmth Then April Showers:

Following a warm and sunny Easter Weekend, temperatures on Monday, April 5th bounced up even higher surpassing 80°F at over 60 locations and setting new daily record highs for the date at 44 long term climate stations in Minnesota. The high temperature of 88°F reported at Granite Falls and Redwood Falls tied the all-time state record high set at Madison (Lac Qui Parle County) in 1991. For many communities the temperatures on April 5th marked the warmest such readings for so early in the spring. A more comprehensive look at the record-setting day was reported by the Minnesota State Climatology Office website.

The record warmth also ushered in some very humid air from the south. Dewpoints rose into the 50s and 60s F for the first time this year. MSP set a new record dew point on April 7th with a reading of 61°F (old record was 54°F in 2001). MSP also set a new record dew point on April 8th with a reading of 59°F (old record was 58°F back in 1903).

The influx of warmth and humid air brought the first significant rains of April which blanketed the state, some areas getting thunderstorms as well. Several communities in the state reported 1-2 inches of rainfall over April 6-8, while climate stations in Stearns, Chippewa, Todd, Swift, Mille Lacs, Otter Tail, Traverse, Big Stone, Douglas, and Lac Qui Parle Counties reported over 2 inches. A few long-term climate stations reported new record daily rainfall amounts for April 7th, including:
Collegeville 2.55”
Milaca 1.96”
Cambridge 1.56”
Jordan 1.45”
Dawson 1.33”
Mora 1.01”
Brainerd 0.99” 

Then on April 8th more daily record rainfalls were reported, including:
Otter Tail 2.32”
New York Mills 2.00”
Pokegama Dam 1.80”
Alexandria 1.66”
Long Prairie 1.54”
Lake Winnie 1.50”
Kabetogama 1.46”
Leech Lake 1.40”
Gunflint Lake 1.28”
Marshall 1.25”
Walker 1.23”

Browns Valley had a record rainfall for April 9th of 0.75 inches as well. Some of these rains are significant enough to relieve some of the drought conditions reported from western and northern Minnesota counties at the end of March. Yet more precipitation is expected for Friday of this week, as well as for next Monday and Tuesday, before a drier spell of weather settles in. So far April is running about 9 to 12 degrees F warmer than normal and wetter than normal in most areas.

Earth Day Presentation:

As part of the Detroit Lakes Community Conversations Program I will be speaking on Earth Day (April 22) this month at 7pm during a Zoom session about climate change in northwestern Minnesota. If you have an interest in this program you can register (it is free) with the Holmes Theater under Upcoming Shows and Events.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

NOAA featured a new web site this week called Data Snapshot that allows users to examine mapped temperature and precipitation patterns across the nation, as well as probabilities for for severe weather on any given day of the year based on climatology. It is a good tool to examine how the spatial distribution of climate changes with the months and seasons of the year.

Tropical Cyclone Seroja was churning off the northwest coast of Australia this week and is expected to bring rainfall and high winds to a area north of Perth by Sunday. Wind gusts have been as high as 90 mph and sea wave heights have been over 20 feet.

The USDA-ARS reported in a study of western states this week that dry periods are becoming longer and more erratic in nature. Annual rainfall has decreased by about four inches over the most recent five decades, with rain falling in fewer, but larger storms, along with longer dry intervals between. The longest dry period of each year has increased from 20 to 32 days. Geophysical Research Letters reports on this.

This week’s AGU-EOS bulletin features an article about the trends and interactions of heat waves, drought, and wildfire risk in the western states. One of their conclusions is that “the combined impacts of droughts, heat waves, and wildfires are substantial and are outpacing mitigation and adaptation efforts.”

MPR listener question:

I live in Richfield, MN. That 61°F dew point on Wednesday, April 7th made it feel like mid-summer to me. I was sweating profusely working in the garden. How often does the dew point reach the 60s F during the month of April?


Examining the Twin Cities climate record for the past 120 years, there are only 19 years when the dew point reached 60°F or higher during the month of April. So that is just an annual frequency of 16 percent, about once every 6 years. I might add that the vast majority of such April dew points have occurred in the second half of the month. The highest measured April dew point was 67°F on the 22nd in 1925.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 9th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 55 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 34 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 9th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 81 degrees F in 1930; lowest daily maximum temperature of 29 degrees F in 1973; lowest daily minimum temperature of 15 degrees F in 1997; highest daily minimum temperature of 53 degrees F in 2017; record precipitation of 0.75 inches in 1919. Record snowfall is 5.5 inches in 1894.

Average dew point for April 9th is 27°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 58°F in 1945; and the minimum dew point on this date is -1 degrees F in 2007.

All-time state records for April 9th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 91 degrees F at Redwood Falls (Redwood County) in 1977. The state record low temperature for this date is -19 degrees F at Sawbill Camp (Cook County) in 1939. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.19 inches at Breckenridge (Wilkin County) in 1878. Record snowfall is 27.5 inches at Tower (St Louis County) in 2008.

Past Weather Features:

It rained 5 days in a row, April 7-11, 1878 bringing 1.5 to 3.5 inches of rain to many parts of the state. Many roads and trails were so muddy, pioneer settlers could not travel for days.

Many parts of the state felt a return to winter on April 9, 1894 when 5 to 10 inches of snowfall occurred across much of the state. Around the Duluth area over a foot of snow was measured.

The warmest April 9th was in 1977 when most areas of the state saw afternoon temperatures in the 70s and 80s F. Redwood Falls hit 91°F.

Very cold temperatures prevailed across the state on April 9, 1989. Most communities reported morning lows in the single digits to teens. The daytime high temperature at Bemidji only reached 19°F.


Partly to mostly sunny skies over the weekend with temperatures a few degrees warmer than normal. Increasing clouds Sunday night with a chance for showers. Chance for showers continues through early Tuesday with cooler than normal temperatures. Some frosty mornings next week as well.

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