Skip to main content

Preliminary Climate Summary for January 2023

Preliminary Climate Summary for January 2023:

With just four days left in the month, I can still offer a perspective on the climate summary for January. Despite the colder than normal temperatures expected for the last few days of the month, most climate stations in Minnesota will report an average monthly temperature that is 3 to 7°F warmer than normal. Over two-thirds of the days in the month brought warmer than normal temperatures, with the warmest coming over the first two days of the month. Preston (Fillmore County) reported a 45°F high temperatures on the 1st. Seagull Lake (Cook County) reported a minimum temperature of -23°F on January 6th which is the coldest temperature for the month so far, but there may be colder readings in northern Minnesota over the last few days of the month. Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the nation twice during the month.

Most climate observers reported a wetter than normal January, with the exception of climate stations in the northwestern and far north-central area of the state where precipitation was less than normal. Some areas reported over 2 inches of precipitation and a few places like Winnebago (Faribault County) and New Prague (Le Sueur County) reported over 3 inches. Several climate stations set at least one new daily precipitation record during the month. Among those receiving record precipitation the January 4th were:
MSP Airport 0.61 inches
Rochester 1.12 inches
Lake Wilson 1.19 inches
Redwood Falls 1.39 inches

Snowfall was also above normal in many places around the state, with over 130 climate stations reporting at least 15 inches of snowfall. Eighteen climate stations, including the Twin Cities reported over 20 inches of snowfall. On January 4th during blizzard conditions many highways in Southwestern Minnesota counties were closed and Lake Wilson (Murray County) reported a record 17 inches of snow, while Lamberton (Redwood County) reported a record 10.2 inches of snow.

With above normal snowfall in January, the seasonal snowfall totals in northeastern Minnesota are on a near-record setting pace. Places in Carlton, St Louis, Lake, and Cook Counties have received over 80 inches of snowfall for the season so far, with the months of February, March and April to go.

One more climate feature of note was that January was very cloudy, dominated by almost constant low cloud cover and many days brought fog, some days ice fog which produced hoar frost. Glimpses of the sun were rare and citizens grew grumpy about the grey days. Climate stations reported only 2 or 3 completely sunny days.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

This week NOAA scientists discuss possible climate change implications for the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and what may happen to tropical ocean climate patterns that influence the weather across North America. There are still many unknowns, but scientists caution that historical patterns and associated weather which are currently used as forecast tools may no longer work as well as climate change continues to accelerate.

The Weather Underground reports that the nationwide tornado count in January exceeded 100 storms for only the third time ever. NOAA-Storm Prediction Center statistics kept since 1950 show that in only two other Januarys, 1999 and 2017 has the monthly USA tornado count exceeded 100. The article also points out that this January has been one of the warmest ever for many southeastern states, where most of the tornadoes have occurred.

From the Science Daily web site: “The need for technology that can capture, remove and repurpose carbon dioxide grows stronger with every CO2 molecule that reaches Earth's atmosphere. To meet that need, scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have cleared a new milestone in their efforts to make carbon capture more affordable and widespread. They have created a new system that efficiently captures CO2 -- the least costly to date -- and converts it into one of the world's most widely used chemicals: methanol.”

MPR listener question:

Can you please elaborate more on the question of reduced windiness this January vs last January? It has been very noticeable from the standpoint of our daily walks with the dog.


Yes indeed. Here is a comparison for several climate stations showing the number of days with wind gusts over 30 mph, last January vs this January:

                                         Jan 2022               Jan 2023

MSP                                  14 days                  4 days

St Cloud                            11 days                  1 day

Rochester                          16 days                  5 days

Duluth                               13 days                  6 days

International Falls               8 days                  1 day

Moorhead                          22 days                  7 days

Redwood Falls                  17 days                   5 days

Brainerd                            10 days                   4 days

Twin Cities Almanac for January 27th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 24 degrees F (plus or minus 14 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 27th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 47 degrees F in 1934; lowest daily maximum temperature of -10 degrees F in 1915; lowest daily minimum temperature of -23 degrees F in 1950; highest daily minimum temperature of 35 degrees F in 1944; record precipitation of 0.49 inches in 2013. Record snowfall is 3.8 inches in 1916.

Average dew point for January 27th is 1°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 35°F in 1944; and the minimum dew point on this date is -32 degrees F in 1966.

All-time state records for January 27th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 61 degrees F at Lakefield (Jackson County) in 2002. The state record low temperature for this date is -54 degrees F at Pokegama Dam (Itasca County) in 1904. The state record precipitation for this date is 1.55 inches at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1944. Record snowfall is 18.0 inches also at Hokah (Houston County) in 1996.

Past Weather:

An Arctic Air Mass took up residents in Minnesota on January 27, 1915 bringing subzero temperatures to all areas of the state. At least a dozen climate stations across central and northern Minnesota reported a morning low temperature of -40°F. The afternoon high temperature at Little Fork only managed to reach -22°F.

A slow-moving winter storm brought 8 to 15 inches of snow to many parts of the state over January 27-29 of 1996. Blizzard conditions prevailed in southeastern Minnesota where Interstate 90 and other highways had to be closed down for hours.

January 27, 2002 brought a respite from winter. Under sunny skies many areas of the state saw afternoon temperatures climb into the 40s and 50s F. In Murray, Nobles, Rock, Jackson and Faribault Counties the thermometer reached 60°F, rare territory for January.


Some areas of the state will still see some snow showers on Saturday (mostly in southern sections), but then the rest of the weekend will be dry but sharply colder. Cold and dry weather will be the rule for most of next week with many subzero overnight temperature readings.

Print Friendly and PDF