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Minnesota Weather and Climate Headlines from 2022

Minnesota Weather and Climate Headlines from 2022:

The two key climate words for Minnesota in 2022 are windy and drought. Both were prevalent during the year and impacted many citizens.

In terms of both average wind speeds, as well as frequency of wind gusts over 30 mph, 2022 brought the highest numbers across Minnesota in over four decades. There were many days that brought damaging winds (over 50 mph). There is no simple explanation for this, and I am sure this anomaly in our weather will be studied in years to come.

After one of the wettest combinations of April and May in state history, there were no signs of drought present in Minnesota during June of 2022, but by the second week of November over 50 percent of the state was in Moderate Drought and over 20 percent in Severe or Extreme Drought. Some of the worst drought was in areas of the Twin Cities and in south-central and southwestern counties, where rainfall deficiencies for the year ranged from minus 10 to minus 15 inches. Despite the mid to late summer drought onset, most Minnesota crops produced better than expected yields.

Other notable features of Minnesota weather during 2022:

-Northern Minnesota recorded the 2nd wettest April-May period in history and combined with abundant snowmelt runoff, the Rainy River Basis experienced historic Spring flooding. Parts of Voyageurs National Park were closed for a period of time.

-May was a very unusual month in terms of Severe Weather. There were 44 reports of tornadoes, over 330 reports of large hail (3/4 inch diameter or larger), and 340 reports of damaging winds. The insurance industry was greatly impacted by this, with thousands of claims to resolve.

-Yet another warmer than normal summer in Minnesota saw a number of Heat Advisories issued by the National Weather Service. The highest Heat Index Value reported came on August 2nd at Hutchinson (McLeod County) where it felt like 115°F.

-One of the driest ever months of October brought high fire danger and some Red Flag Warnings by the National Weather Service. Many climate observers reported less than a half inch of precipitation for the month. Both St Peter and Litchfield reported zero precipitation.

-November 2nd brought record-setting heat to many parts of the state with over 140 climate stations reporting afternoon temperatures in the 70s F. Both Granite Falls and Theilman reported highs of 79°F.

-December brought abundant snowfalls (over 40 inches to many northeastern Minnesota communities), and many Blizzard Warnings. The second half of the month also brought Wind Chill Advisories with many readings ranging from -30°F to -45°F.

-Lastly, the year 2022 were be recorded overall as a cooler than normal year for Minnesota, as well as drier than normal in most places. Exceptions to the dry pattern occurred in north-central and northeastern counties which were much wetter than normal. International Falls reported its wettest year in history with 35.47 inches of precipitation, as did Wolf Ridge ELC with 43.29 inches.

Preliminary Climate Summary for December 2022:

Average monthly temperatures for December at most Minnesota climate stations were 2 to 4°F below normal. There were wide swings in temperature during the month from several degrees above normal to several degrees below normal. Few new daily record temperatures were set within the climate network, but a handful of record cold maximum and minimum temperatures were set over December 22 and 23, including a reading of -25°F at Gunflint Lake for a morning low on December 22nd. Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the nation (48 contiguous states) 4 times during the month. Extremes for the month ranged from 46°F at Rushford (Fillmore County) on the 3rd to -35°F at Warren (Marshall County) on the 21st.

December was wetter than normal in most places. Many climate observers reported over 2 inches of precipitation for the month. In fact, the average from all climate stations for the state will be very close to 2 inches, making this December one of the wettest 3 in state history. Over 40 new daily precipitation records were set during the month with the state climate network, including 1.60 inches at Brimson (St Louis County) on December 15th. Snow was obviously abundant as well, with many places reporting from 20 to 40 inches of snowfall. Over 30 new daily snowfall records were set within the climate network.

Windy days were common during December. Most climate stations reported between 10 and 15 days brought wind gusts over 30 mph. Some areas reported wind gusts over 50 mph. The National Weather Service had to issue numerous Blizzard Warnings during the month.

Weather Potpourri:

Some notable 2022 Weather and Climate Extremes across the USA included:

-a very wet June combined with winter snowmelt runoff to produce record flood crests on the Yellowstone River. Many portions of the National Park had to be closed for weeks.

-July brought unprecedented record-setting flash flooding: first to the St Louis area where up to 13 inches of rain fell in 24 hours flooding many communities and overwhelming the storm sewer runoff system; then 10 inch plus rains inundated eastern Kentucky, destroying homes and damaging infrastructure for many communities. Category 4 Hurricane Ian pounded Florida on September 28th with 80-120 mph winds, storm surge, and rainfall amounts up to 18 inches. Both insured and infrastructure damages were estimated to be well over $100 billion. A Christmas time winter storm brought blizzard conditions and dangerous severe cold to much of the eastern half of the USA and was blamed for dozens of deaths and thousands of commercial flight cancellations.

According to the United Kingdom Met Office the year 2022 will be the warmest year ever for the country, with every month of the year except December recording above normal temperatures. Recall too, that in July, London recorded an all-time high temperature of 104°F. The BBC noted that the heat was persistent in nearly every month of the year, with most days warmer than normal.

MPR listener question:

We were wondering when was the coldest New Year’s Day in Minnesota? We are betting that is an old date.


Indeed, according to the state climate database the coldest New Year’s Day was -46°F at St Vincent (Kittson County) way back in 1885. In the Modern Era, the coldest reading on New Year’s Day is -45°F at Embarrass (St Louis County) in 2018. The coldest ever in the Twin Cities was -30°F back in 1974.

Twin Cities Almanac for December 30th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 25 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 11 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for December 30th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 51 degrees F in 2004; lowest daily maximum temperature of -6 degrees F in 1976; lowest daily minimum temperature of -20 degrees F in 1973; highest daily minimum temperature of 34 degrees F in 2006; record precipitation of 0.39 inches in 1884. Record snowfall is 4.0 inches in 1906.

Average dew point for December 30th is 12°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 36°F in 1982; and the minimum dew point on this date is -37 degrees F in 1983.

All-time state records for December 30th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 59 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1999. The state record low temperature for this date is -47 degrees F at Warroad (Roseau County) in 1910. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.00 inches at Pigeon River (Cook County) in 1936. Record snowfall is 14.2 inches at Mankato (Blue Earth County) in 1887.

Past Weather:

Pioneer Era weather data show that blizzard-like conditions prevailed around the Twin Cities over December 27-30 in 1852. Nighttime temperatures ranged between -20°F and -28°F. Many settlers remained indoors, but enjoyed journeys to visit friends and family on New Years riding horse drawn sleighs over the 3 feet of snow cover.

By far the coldest December 30th was in 1910. Many climate stations reported subzero readings, including minus 40s in Roseau and Koochiching Counties. At International Falls the daily high only reached -4°F.

A large winter storm brought a mixture of rain, sleet, and snow to Minnesota over December 29-31 in 1972. Many areas received 1 to 2 inches of precipitation. Some north-central and northeastern counties reported 12 to 18 inches of snow with some roads closed. No schools were in session, as all were still on holiday recess.

The warmest December 30th in state history was in 1999 when most Minnesota communities reported daytime highs in the 40s and 50s F. Sunny skies prevailed across the state with a south wind and many citizens went out for a walk in the afternoon.


Continued mild temperatures and generally dry weather over the weekend. Increasing cloudiness on Monday with a chance for snow/rain mix Monday and snow on Tuesday. Should b drier again by Wednesday but will cooler temperatures the remainder of the week.

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Lotsajim said…
Mark, 2022gave us an unusual variety. of weather. I really have enjoyed your detailed reporting throughout the year. With the posibity of enhanced climate change I suspect the year to come will provide you (and us) with some very interesting statistics. Happy new year. Jim
Julie Weisenhorn, Extension horticulture educator said…
Hi Mark - We encourage gardeners and landscape managers to water as long into the fall as possible. I understand that dry soil is colder than moist soil, and frost can penetrate deeper into dry soil and thus can lead to plant root injury. So how much warmer is moist soil than dry soil? Does our insulting snow cover also help hold in soil moisture and warmth? Thanks for the great blog!