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Preliminary Climate Summary for April 2022

Preliminary Climate Summary for April 2022:

Wet and cool are the most appropriate terms for the climate of April. Most climate observers report a mean monthly temperature that is 6 to 8 degrees F below normal. Over two-thirds of the days delivered colder than normal temperatures. April of 2022 will end up among the top ten coldest in history on a statewide basis, joining 2013 and 2018 in that category.

Within the state climate network over 30 stations reported setting at least one new daily minimum temperature record during April, while over 60 stations reported setting at least one new cold daily maximum temperature record, including a high temperature of just 20°F at International Falls on the 15th. Extremes for the month ranged from 81°F at Granite Falls (Yellow Medicine County) on the 23rd to -5°F at Seagull Lake and Gunflint Lake on the 1st and 2nd of the month.

Except for southwestern Minnesota, all regions of the state reported above normal precipitation for the month, most especially in northwestern and north-central counties. Northwestern Minnesota is reporting the wettest April in history (back to 1895) with average precipitation over 5 inches, while north-central Minnesota counties report average precipitation for April of nearly 4.5 inches, the 2nd highest in history. Extremes for the month range from well over 7 inches of precipitation in sections of northern Minnesota to just under 1.50 inches in far southwestern sections of the state. April of 2022 will rank among the ten wettest in state history on a statewide basis. Most climate observers reported well over 3 inches for the month, while portions of Koochiching, Beltrami, and Red Lake Counties reported over 7 inches, and many areas along the north shore of Lake Superior had over 6 inches. Over 35 climate observers reported at least one day with a new daily precipitation record, including 3.05 inches at Grand Meadow (Mower County) on the 13th.

Many areas of northern Minnesota also reported 8 to 20 inches of snowfall during the month. Climate observers in Beltrami, Otter Tail, St Louis, Lake, and Cook Counties reported over 20 inches of snowfall. At Wolf Ridge ELC in Lake County measurable snowfall occurred on 13 days this month, totaling over 26 inches. Across the state there were over 30 daily snowfall records reported during April.

Combined snowmelt and rainfall events produced more flooding along portions of the Red River Valley in northwestern Minnesota. The abundant precipitation this month has eliminated all remaining Moderate Drought areas in the state, for the first time in over two years. There are a few abnormally dry areas in Minnesota, especially in far southwestern counties, but they are not dry enough designate any form of drought. Furthermore, according to the USGS and the Minnesota DNR many northern Minnesota streams and rivers are running at high volume flow or flood flow as the month concludes.

April was similar to the earlier three months of 2022 bringing stronger winds to the area. Many climate stations reported 13 to 20 days with wind gusts over 30 mph and some days brought gusts over 50 mph. Mower and Fillmore Counties reported tornadoes on the evening of April 12th, while Polk County (near Crookston) reported a brief tornado on the evening of April 23rd. There were also several reports of hail during the month.

Overall, the first four months of the year 2022 falls among the 15 coldest such periods for the state back to 1895 and among the 20 wettest such periods.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The BBC reported this week on another early Heat Wave that has brought misery to 15 states in India. Afternoon temperatures have soared from 105°F to 111°F and do not cool off much at night because of higher dew points. But many experts say India is now recording more intense, frequent heatwaves that are also longer in duration. For some scientists the link is clear to climate change as well.

A recent paper from University of Oklahoma scientists published in Communications Earth and Environment finds that continued climate change trends will lead to a higher frequency of flash floods and more intense flash floods for some parts of the US geography. Using high resolution climate models the researchers found that both the Southwestern states and the Central States of the USA will become flash flood hot spots.

This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin features an article about the collapse of ice shelves in Antarctica and the role that storms known as “atmospheric rivers” may play in accelerating the process. These storms hold vast amounts of moisture and heat and deliver extreme rain, snow, whipping winds, and unusually warm temperatures, causing melting and fracturing on the ice below.

MPR listener question:

I live in Mankato, and this is clearly the coldest start to Spring since 2018. I am wondering how widespread the current “cold spring” phenomenon is. Is it only in MN, upper mid-West, all US?


Since March 1st average temperatures across the Upper Midwest, west of the Great Lakes have been 3 to 5 degrees cooler than normal. It can generally be stated that IA, SD, ND, MN, and WI are experiencing a cold March-April period, probably among the 25 coldest in history back to 1895. This is true for Manitoba as well. But outside this region as you go east across the Great Lakes, south to the Southern Plains States, and west towards Colorado the temperature trend as been somewhat cooler than normal, but not near the magnitude that we have experienced. So Spring is advancing very gradually across our region, not just in Minnesota. According to the USDA only a small acreage of oats has been planted in Minnesota so far, and very little else. In Iowa, nearly half of the oat crop has been planted, but little else.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 29th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 63 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 43 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 29th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 92 degrees F in 1952; lowest daily maximum temperature of 35 degrees F in 1909; lowest daily minimum temperature of 22 degrees F in 1958; highest daily minimum temperature of 61 degrees F in 1952; record precipitation of 1.30 inches in 1993. Record snowfall is 6.6 inches in 1984.

Average dew point for April 29th is 37°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 66°F in 1970; and the minimum dew point on this date is 7 degrees F in 1958.

All-time state records for April 29th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 93 degrees F at New Ulm (Brown County) and Pipestone in 1910, and also at Wheaton (Traverse County) in 1934. The state record low temperature for this date is 3 degrees F at Babbitt (St Louis County) in 1958. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.25 inches at Orr (St Louis County) in 1940. Record snowfall is 14.0 inches at Windom (Cottonwood County) in 1956.

Past Weather Features:

April 29, 1934 brought a taste of mid-summer with most state communities reporting afternoon high temperatures in the 80s F. Many portions of west-central Minnesota saw afternoon temperatures in the 90s F. Only areas along the north shore of Lake Superior were cool with afternoon temperatures in the 50s and 60s F.

April 29, 1956 brought a Spring snow storm to southern Minnesota where many climate observers measured 4 to 8 inches of heavy, wet snowfall. St James (Watonwan County) reported 11 inches and Windom (Cottonwood County) reported 14 inches, both still records for the date.

April 29, 1958 was the coldest in history. Most Minnesota climate stations reported morning lows in the single digits or teens. For many communities in northern Minnesota the temperature remained below freezing all day.


Rainy weekend coming up, especially on Saturday, with below normal temperatures. It will be breezy as well. Skies will become partly cloudy during the day on Sunday. Drier on Monday, then chances for rain showers Tuesday through Thursday across southern sections of the state, while generally drier in the north. Temperatures will continue cooler than normal, with a bit of a warm up closer to normal for this time of year by next weekend.

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