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Warm, Wet Start to January

Warm, Wet Start to January:

Through the first 5 days of January average temperatures around the state are running 8 to 12 degrees F above normal. Many Minnesota climate stations reported daily high temperatures this week in the 30s F, and in the southeast portion of the state Minnesota City (Winona County) and Preston (Fillmore County) reported highs of 44°F and 45°F, respectively. Coupled with the warm temperatures were very high dew points for this time of year, stretching into the upper 20s to low 30s F, indicating a great deal of water vapor.

Late Monday (January 2nd) to late Thursday (January 5th another slow-moving weather system brought abundant precipitation and snowfall to many areas of Minnesota. Total amounts of precipitation ranged from 0.50 inches to 1.50 inches at many climate stations, while many snowfall totals ranged from 5 inches to 15 inches. In some cases new daily precipitation or snowfall records were established at some of Minnesota’s oldest climate stations, including:

January 3rd:
Rochester 1.12 inches precipitation
Collegeville 0.86 inches precipitation
Winnebago 0.52 inches of precipitation
Windom 0.45 inches of precipitation
Pipestone 0.47 inches precipitation and 8.0 inches of snow

January 4th
Redwood Falls 1.39 inches precipitation
Hastings 1.05 inches precipitation and 7 inches of snow
Red Wing 0.93 inches precipitation
Theilman 0.82 inches precipitation
MSP 0.61 inches precipitation and 8.8 inches of snow
Lamberton 0.59 inches precipitation and 10.2 inches of snow

January 5th
Pipestone 0.50 inches precipitation
Wright 0.47 inches of precipitation
Pine River 5.0 inches of snow

The DNR State Climatology Office documented the storm this week with a comprehensive analysis of its characteristics and which areas received the most precipitation and snow.

The abundant snow this week, combined with a snowier than normal December left much of the state looking at snow depths ranging from 8 to 18 inches. A few areas of northeastern Minnesota show snow depths over 24 inches according to the DNR State Climatology Office Weekly Maps.

Weather Potpourri:

This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin features an interesting article about using nature-based structures to help mitigate the risk of coastal damage brought by tropical storms and hurricanes. More use of berms and dunes along coastlines is one example. More detailed data collection from flooding and storm surge events can be better utilized by engineers to design structural features that mitigate damage potential as well.

The BBC reported that record high January temperatures were common throughout Europe the first week of January. All-time national high temperature records were set for early January in the Netherlands, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Poland, Denmark and Belarus. It was 66°F in Warsaw, Poland. Just days earlier, the UK, Ireland, France and Spain declared 2022 their hottest year on record.

The Weather Underground reported on the series of strong storms that have crossed California recently dropping near-record setting rains and snows. Many areas have reported 6 to 10 inches of rainfall over the past 10 days, and yet more is expected. Snow cover in the Sierra Nevada Mountains has really seen significant increases as well.

MPR listener question:

With all the snow this week, we were wondering what is the greatest measured snow depth for the month of January in the Twin Cities?


If the 14-15 inches of snow depth in the Twin Cities measured this week seems like a lot, imagine January 23, 1982. The measured snow depth was 38 inches, while the drifts and snowplow piles around the Twin Cities exceeded 6 feet.

Twin Cities Almanac for January 6th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 24 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 10 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for January 6th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 49 degrees F in 1900; lowest daily maximum temperature of -14 degrees F in 1909; lowest daily minimum temperature of -27 degrees F in 1912; highest daily minimum temperature of 37 degrees F in 2012; record precipitation of 0.40 inches in 1967. Record snowfall is 5.2 inches in 1932.

Average dew point for January 6th is 6°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 35°F in 2008; and the minimum dew point on this date is -34 degrees F in 1942.

All-time state records for January 6th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 62 degrees F at Marshall (Lyon County) in 2012. The state record low temperature for this date is -55 degrees F at International Falls (Koochiching County) in 1909. The state record precipitation for this date is 1.85 inches at Orwell Dam (Otter Tail County) in 1997. Record snowfall is 19.0 inches at Hinckley (Pine County) in 1997.

Past Weather:

This Saturday, January 7th, marks the 150th anniversary of one of the state's most lethal blizzards. The New Ulm observer called it the "most violent snow storm" he had ever witnessed, as within seconds visibility was reduced to less than 20 yards by snowfall and winds of 45 mph. The storm raged from the 7th to the 10th of January. Wind chill conditions, though unmeasured back then, were very dangerous, and with the absence of any visibility farmers strung ropes between home and barn so they wouldn't become lost going to tend their animals. Still, 70 people lost their lives and hundreds of livestock perished as well. This 3-day blizzard was one of the longest lived of the 19th Century in Minnesota, leaving drifts over 10 feet high that blocked trains for days.

January 6 of 1912 was the coldest in state history with subzero temperature readings everywhere in the state. Many areas of central and northern Minnesota reported morning low temperatures of -40°F or colder, and it was -50°F in a few spots. The warmest afternoon temperature in the state was -2°F at Collegeville.

January 6 of 2012 was the warmest in state history with most places reporting daily highs in the 40s and 50s F. Marshall, Browns Valley, Madison, and Canby all reached 60°F or greater. The low temperature at Canby was a balmy 40°F.


Starting out cooler than normal over the weekend, but sunny skies. Temperatures will warm up to above normal from Monday through Thursday next week with a chance for snow later in the week.

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Unknown said…
Mark, over the three day snow event I received 14.8" of snow and 1.77" melted at my New Hope station.Truly a very wet snow.
Steve Reckers