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Preliminary Climate Summary for January 2022

Preliminary Climate Summary for January 2022:

Most climate stations will report a mean monthly temperature that is 3 to 7 degrees F colder than normal this month, marking this the coldest January in the state since 2014. Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the 48 contiguous states 8 times during the month, with many readings of -30°F or colder. Extremes for the month ranged from -44°F at Baudette (Lake of the Woods County) on the 1st and at Warren (Marshall County) on the 3rd, to a maximum temperature of 48°F at Albert Lea (Freeborn County) on the 13th. Within the statewide climate observation network there were 45 daily record low minimum temperatures tied or broken and 48 daily cold maximum temperature records tied or broken, including a high temperature of only -20°F at Red Lake Falls on the 2nd. Several Wind Chill Advisories were issued by the National Weather Service during the month, and some areas reported Wind Chill Values from the -40s to low -50s F.

Most areas of the state reported less than normal snowfall. Total snowfall for the month ranged from over 25 inches in some parts of northeastern Minnesota, including Grand Marais, to under 5 inches in some southeastern counties. There were 24 daily snowfall records tied or broken in the Minnesota Climate Observation network, including 7 to 8 inches at Lamberton and Milan over January 14-15. Snow depths around the state generally ranged from 4 to 18 inches, but some areas in the northeast reported over two feet of snow depth.

It was a windy month as well, with many areas reporting 10 or more days of wind gusts over 30 mph, and some days with gusts over 40 mph. Only three or four days brought light winds.

Large Daily Temperature Fluctuations Persist:

As discussed in an earlier WeatherTalk Blog, some of the very wide swings in daily temperature during this month continued this week on January 26th (Wednesday), as many climate observers reported over a 50 degrees F range in daily temperature. Here are some examples:

Redwood Falls Max Temp 37°F and Min Temp -20°F     (57°F range)

Milan Max Temp 36°F and Min Temp -21°F     (57°F range)

St Cloud Max Temp 34°F and Min Temp -23°F     (57°F range)

Hibbing Max Temp 24°F and Min Temp -36°F     (60°F range)

These reports show a remarkable daily temperature range that is over twice the normal in the month of January.

The 2022 Minnesota Climate Adaptation Awards Event featuring Dr. Katharine Hayhoe:

The date and time for this event is January 31, 2022, 3:00-4:30 p.m.

Discover and learn from the inspiring stories of adaptation right here in Minnesota. Special guest Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, Chief Scientist for the Nature Conservancy, will join to help celebrate adaptation leadership across Minnesota.

The Minnesota Climate Adaptation Awards, presented by the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership (MCAP) since 2014, celebrate exceptional achievements in leadership, education, research, policies and practices that improve resilience or climate justice through the development, advancement or implementation of climate adaptation strategies. This virtual event is free and open to the public.

You can learn more and register to participate in the virtual session by going to the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership web site.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Earlier in the week Tropical Cyclone Ana brought strong winds and heavy rains to parts of Madagascar, Malawi, and Mozambique. Thousands of people were displaced from their homes due to flooding and over 80 deaths were blamed on the storm according to Reuters.

Researchers at Durham University in the UK have found an old documentation of ball lightning in the text of a 750-year-old from the chronicles of Gervase in Canterbury written by a monk. It is believed to be the first observation of ball lightning documented in that country according to the BBC. This is a rare, and unexplained atmospheric phenomenon still occasionally reported. 

Recent research from Stanford University finds that gas stoves release a good deal of methane (a potent greenhouse gas) through leaks and incomplete combustion. They estimate that methane leaking from stoves inside U.S. homes has the same climate impact as about 500,000 gasoline-powered cars and the stoves can expose people to respiratory disease-triggering pollutants. This study is posted in a recent issue of the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

2021 was one of the seven warmest years on record, despite average global temperatures being temporarily cooled by successive La NiƱa events at either end of the year according to a report the World Meteorological Organization. Further details are reported by the UK Met Office.

MPR listener question:

I have been told that February is the driest month in Minnesota. Is that true and if so, why?


It is not universally true in Minnesota that February is the driest month, but it is true for the majority of climate stations, including the Twin Cities. Average February precipitation typically ranges from only 0.40 inches to 0.90 inches. As to why, there are probably a number of reasons. A simple answer is that February is the shortest month of the year by two or three days, so it is logical it would exhibit less precipitation as a historical average. But it is more than that. February is characterized by the dominance of cold, dry arctic air masses which contain little precipitable water. High pressure cells which bring fair weather, with clear skies are also more frequent in Minnesota during February.

Twin Cities Almanac for January 28th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 24 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 8 degrees F (plus or minus 15 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for January 28th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 47 degrees F in 1892; lowest daily maximum temperature of -15 degrees F in 1966; lowest daily minimum temperature of -29 degrees F in 1873; highest daily minimum temperature of 34 degrees F in 1892; record precipitation of 0.56 inches in 1909. Record snowfall is 4.0 inches also in 1912.

Average dew point for January 28th is 4°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 37°F in 1914; and the minimum dew point on this date is -38 degrees F in 1966.

All-time state records for January 28th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 63 degrees F at Chaska (Carver County) in 1946. The state record low temperature for this date is -50 degrees F at Baudette (Lake of the Woods County) in 1966. The state record precipitation for this date is 1.55 inches at Bird Island (Renville County) in 1909. Record snowfall is 12.0 inches at Caledonia (Houston County) in 1949.

Past Weather Features:

A winter storm brought 8 to 12 inches of snow to much of southern Minnesota over January 28-29, 1909. For many locations it was the only significant snowfall of the entire month.

With little or no snow on the ground January 28, 1931 delivered very warm temperatures to Minnesota. At least 14 climate stations in southern counties reported afternoon temperatures of 50°F or greater. Only a small number of climate stations remained below freezing all day, mostly in northwestern counties.

Probably the coldest January 28th in state history was in 1966 when over 20 communities reported morning low temperatures of -40°F or colder. Every climate station in the state also reported a daytime high temperature that was subzero, including a high of -30°F at Karlstad (Kittson County).


Sunny and warmer on Saturday (above normal temperatures), then cooler on Sunday. Milder temperatures again on Monday and Tuesday, with temperatures falling later in the day on Tuesday. Then cooler than normal for the balance of next week. Mostly dry throughout the period with little or no snow expected.

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