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Recent Snows and Preliminary Climate Summary for February

Biggest snows of the month (Feb 21-23):

Storms over February 21-23 brought significant snowfalls to many parts of Minnesota. Many areas of the state reported storm total snowfalls of 5 to 12 inches, with Browns Valley (Traverse County) reporting 14.5 inches. Other locations reporting large total snowfalls from the storm included 20 inches at Park Point in Duluth and 18 inches at Little Falls.

High winds that accompanied the storm produced blizzard conditions in northwestern Minnesota counties on Monday (Feb 21), marking the 11th time the National Weather Service has issued blizzard warning for that part of the state this snow season. More details about this storm can be found at the Minnesota State Climatology Office web site.

Within the Minnesota statewide climate network some stations reported new daily snowfall records, including:

For February 22
8.2 inches at Wright (Carlton County)
7.8 inches at Brimson (St Louis County)
7.0 inches at Two Harbors (Lake County)
6.3 inches at Isle (Aitkin County)
6.0 inches at Brainerd (Crow Wind County) and at Aitkin (Aitkin County)
5.6 inches at Browns Valley (Traverse County)
5.2 inches at Long Prairie (Todd County)

For the morning of February 23
6.1 inches at Mora (Kanabec County)
6.0 inches at Floodwood (St Louis County)
5.0 inches at Red Wing (Goodhue County)

This storm added significantly to the monthly total snowfall reports from around the state, as well as the seasonal totals. Many portions of the north shore along Lake Superior (St Louis, Lake, and Cook Counties) now report totals of 20 inches or more of snowfall for February; and Ely reports over 30 inches. Many observers in northeastern Minnesota now report over 80 inches of snowfall for the 2021-2022 snow season, with reports of over 120 inches near Grand Marais.

Preliminary Climate Summary for February 2022:

Colder than normal describes this February. Most climate stations report a mean monthly temperature that is 5 to 11 degrees F below normal. Extremes for the month ranged from 52°F at Worthington (Nobles County) on the 20th to -45°F at Seagull Lake (Cook County) on the 24th. Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the 48 contiguous states on eleven dates during the month, with many stations reporting lows in the minus 30s to minus 40s F.

It was a wetter than normal February with about twice the normal amount of precipitation. Many observers reported over 15 inches of snowfall for the month, and the liquid content of that snow varied from 1 to 2 inches. By the end of the month many climate stations in the northern third of the state were reporting 2 to 3 feet of snow cover.

It was a windy month as well, with several days of wind gusts above 30 mph. Here is a list of the number of such days for selected climate stations:

MSP 15 days
St Cloud 11 days
Redwood Falls 18 days
Rochester 14 days
Duluth 10 days
International Falls 7 days
Brainerd 11 days
Hibbing 8 days
Moorhead 19 days

In addition, there were wind gusts over 60 mph at several locations.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

NOAA this week features a primer on atmospheric rivers (the movement of large masses of atmospheric water vapor) and their impact on major storm events in the USA. More recent research and use of satellite imagery has revealed much about their behavior.

According to the Guardian 8 to 16 inches of rain fell over portions of Queensland and New South Wales in Australia on Tuesday this week bringing widespread flash flooding. Many schools were closed and a number of dammed water catchments were filled to capacity. The Bureau of Meteorology warns that more heavy rains may be expected in the coming days.

A recent paper in Geophysical Research Letters documents the change in autumn fire weather seen in recent years along the Pacific coastline (California and Oregon). The authors note that “present-day anthropogenic climate change has slightly decreased the prevalence of strong offshore downslope winds, [But] it has increased the likelihood of extreme fire weather indices by 40% in areas where recent autumn wind-driven fires have occurred in northern California and Oregon. The increase was primarily through increased autumn fuel aridity and warmer temperatures during dry wind events”

MPR listener question:

With the 11th blizzard warning of the season for the Red River Valley this week, does that set a new record for blizzard warnings? And doesn’t the Red River Valley reported the highest frequency of blizzards anywhere in the USA?


No on the first question. To the best of my knowledge there were 14 blizzards in the Red River Valley during the snow season of 1996-1997. So 11 is still short of that, but we will see what March and April weather brings.

Concerning the climatology of blizzards within the USA, a paper published by the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology a few years ago (authors Coleman and Schwartz) documented that the Red River Valley does have the highest frequency of blizzards anywhere in the USA, especially the easternmost counties of ND, and the northwestern-most counties of MN.

Twin Cities Almanac for February 25th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 32 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 17 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for February 25th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 58 degrees F in 1976; lowest daily maximum temperature of 2 degrees F in 1934; lowest daily minimum temperature of -23 degrees F in 1967; highest daily minimum temperature of 42 degrees F in 2000; record precipitation of 0.63 inches in 1944. Record snowfall is 4.1 inches also in 1994.

Average dew point for February 25th is 15°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 39°F in 1999; and the minimum dew point on this date is -29 degrees F in 1981.

All-time state records for February 25th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 66 degrees F at Beardsley (Big Stone County) in 1958. The state record low temperature for this date is -50 degrees F at Leech Lake (Cass County) in 1897. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.28 inches at Cass Lake (Cass County) in 1930. Record snowfall is 19.0 inches at Wolf Ridge ELC (Lake County) in 2001.

Past Weather Features:

February 25, 1934 brought Arctic Cold with subzero temperatures in all sections of the state except Winnebago (where is was 1°F). Morning temperatures generally ranged from -10°F to -45°F across the state, and the afternoon high temperature at Red Lake Falls was only -10°F.

The warmest February 25th was in 1958 when most of Minnesota reported afternoon high temperatures in the 50s and 60s F. It was sunny and breezy with little snow on the ground, as the winter snow cover had all melted earlier in the month.

February 24-25, 2001 saw a large winter storm cross the state bringing significant snowfalls to most places. Between 8 and 18 inches of snowfall blanketed much of the state, with Lutsen reporting over 23 inches. Heavy snow pack that winter helped to produce some Spring snow melt flooding on many rivers and streams in April.


A warming trend over the weekend will see temperature rise to near normal levels for this time of year and continue through much of next week. Saturday will be windy, with some blowing snow in some areas of the state. The week ahead appears to be mostly dry, with a chance for snow again by Thursday.

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