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Climate Summary for March of 2022

"It is good to be back to the crazy weather of Minnesota after being gone for nearly two weeks in order to close out my deceased father-in-laws home in Florida so that it could be sold this month. Nice weather, but not a vacation, more of an ordeal. So good to write about the weather again."  MS

Climate Summary for March of 2022:

For the most part this March will be remembered for cold, wind, cloudiness, and mixed precipitation. Most observers in the state climate network reported a mean monthly temperature that ranged from 1 to 4 degrees cooler than normal, with the exception of the southern third of the state where some climate stations reported a mean monthly temperature that was slightly above normal (plus 0.5 to 1.5°F). Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the 48 contiguous states on five days during the month. Extreme temperatures ranged from 76°F at Zumbrota on the 22nd (a record high for that community) to -29°F at Tower and Kabetogama on the 12th. Within the state climate observation network there were 10 new daily high maximum temperature records set and 17 new daily low minimum temperature records set.

Most climate stations in Minnesota reported less than normal precipitation totals for the month of March with totals ranging from 0.50 inches to 1.50 inches. There were some areas (mostly in the eastern half of the state) that reported over 2.00 inches of precipitation for the month. Grand Portage, along the north shore of Lake Superior reported 3.34 inches. Within the state climate network there were reports of at least 19 new daily precipitation records set during March, including 1.06 inches at International Falls on the 22nd. Most areas of the state reported 3 to 8 inches of snowfall for the month, but a few places in the north-central and northeastern Minnesota reported over 15 inches. Grand Portage and Hovland (Cook County) reported over 23 inches for the month.

Like January and February, the wind speeds of March were strong with many days bringing gusts over 30 mph. With the passage of a strong low-pressure system on the 25th there were widespread reports of wind gusts over 50 mph. Listed below are the number of days with wind gusts over 30 mph, along with the maximum measured wind gust for selected climate stations:

MSP 17 days, max wind gust 51mph
St Cloud 11 days, max wind gust 53mph
Redwood Falls 16 days, max wind gust 56mph
Rochester 16 days, max wind gust 55mph
Duluth 13 days, max wind gust 46mph
International Falls 8 days, max wind gust 45mph
Brainerd 7 days, max wind gust 47mph
Hibbing 10 days, max wind gust 49mph
Moorhead 14 days, max wind gust 48mph

Finally, the oscillating freeze/thaw cycles during March were helpful in mitigating the volume of flow on the Red River of the North where flood warnings were in effect, but it was not as bad as it could have been with a sudden and prolonged thaw period.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Over Thursday, March 30 the NOAA Storm Prediction Center reported that 36 tornado reports had been filed across the southeastern states from east Texas to the Florida panhandle. There were widespread reports of damage and the National Weather Service was dispatching crews to survey the areas over this coming weekend. The Weather Underground web site contained some update reports on these storms.

Recent research from the University of Michigan documents how the loss of sea ice in the Artic Ocean has changed the composition of some aerosols released into the atmosphere. This has implications for the types of clouds that are formed in the Artic and may be used to predict or better model the changes in cloud patterns that might go along with continued climate change in the higher latitudes. This work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The BBC reported this week that Northern Ireland recorded its sunniest March in history (at least back to 1919 when measurements started). Thanks to the dominance of frequent high-pressure systems which brought few clouds to the nation during March. Average temperatures were also several degrees warmer than normal.

This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin features an interesting article about tall tower measurements being used in the Amazon Forest of Brazil to measure the composition of atmospheric dusts blown in from Africa. The nutrients contained in theses dusts are a contributor to the ecological production of the forest. They may be disrupted by future climate change as portions of Africa become wetter.

MPR listener question:

With much of northern Minnesota reporting Severe Drought last year, we were wondering if above normal snowfall has helped to alleviate drought in that part of the state this winter?


Yes, certainly in some areas the abundant snowfall has helped. Warroad has reported over 70 inches of snowfall so far and International Falls has reported 76 inches, both well above normal. Some areas of northeastern Minnesota have reported over 100 inches of snowfall so far, which will be good for restoring flow into rivers and streams. Long-term, I am sure these areas would benefit even further from a wetter than normal Spring, which most NOAA outlook models do not favor for Minnesota.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 1st:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 50 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 31 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 1st:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 84 degrees F in 2015; lowest daily maximum temperature of 22 degrees F in 1896; lowest daily minimum temperature of 9 degrees F in 1975; highest daily minimum temperature of 51 degrees F in 1999; record precipitation of 0.54 inches in 1967. Record snowfall is 4.6 inches also in 2002.

Average dew point for April 1st is 28°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 61°F in 1903; and the minimum dew point on this date is -2 degrees F in 1975.

All-time state records for April 1st:

The state record high temperature for this date is 85 degrees F at Winona (Winona County) in 1986. The state record low temperature for this date is -21degrees F at Thorhult (Beltrami County) in 1975. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.52 inches at Beaver Bay (Lake County) in 2009. Record snowfall is 18.0 inches at Frazee (Becker County) in 2009.

.Past Weather Features:

An April Fools Winter Storm over March 31 to April 1 in 1896 certainly dimmed the hopes for gardeners anxious for signs of Spring. Many areas of the state reported between 10 and 15 inches of snowfall. The area around St Cloud reported over 20 inches.

Signs of Spring were abundant on April 1, 1963 when afternoon temperatures across the state reached into the 60s and 70s F. Across southwestern Minnesota temperatures ranged from 80°F to 84°F, and for many overnight lows remained mild in the low to mid 50s F.

The coldest April Fools Day in Minnesota was April 1, 1975 when over half of Minnesota reported subzero morning temperatures. The afternoon high temperature at Detroit Lakes (Becker County) only reached 13°F as if it were mid-January.


More sun and closer to normal temperatures over the weekend, but with some chances for rain or snow by Sunday, especially in the southern half of the state. Chance of rain and or snow again Tuesday through Thursday of next week as temperatures remain a few degrees cooler than normal. More of a warm-up due the second full week of the month.

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