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Cold settles in for a short stay

Cold settles in for a short stay:

Since giving a preliminary January climate summary last Friday, colder than normal weather has dominated the state. Over the last four days of the month at least 16 Minnesota climate stations reported a minimum temperature reading of -30°F or colder. Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the 48 contiguous states on January 27 (-25°F at Baudette), January 28 (-30°F at International Falls), January 29 (-39°F at Ash Lake), and even February 1st (-34°F at Kabetogama). The reading of -39°F at Ash Lake (St Louis County) was the coldest temperature reported in Minnesota since February of last year. Kabetogama set a record low reading on January 29th with -36°F and Cook (St Louis County) reported a record cold maximum temperature that day of -10°F. To finish off the week, on Friday, February 3rd International Falls reported -36°F, coldest in the 48 contiguous states, and Grand Marais Airport reported a Wind Chill of -49°F.

Despite the cold finish to the month, January still ended up warmer than normal by several degrees. Overall, on a statewide basis it was the 12th warmest January in state history. The month also ended up being the 19th wettest in state history, with over 25 climate stations reporting 20 or more inches of snowfall.

After severe cold Wind Chills (-30 to -50°F) around the state Thursday night and Friday, a significant warm-up is expected to start this weekend and last for about two weeks into mid- February. Many days will bring high temperatures above the freezing mark, and perhaps a few places may see 40°F.

Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership Award Winners:

This past Saturday, January 28, I had the pleasure of giving out five awards for outstanding efforts in climate change adaptation work. These awards are under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership Program. The award winners were:

Individual Award Winner: Mindy Granley….” As the first Sustainability Officer for the City of Duluth, Mindy Granley has taken bold action to advance climate change adaptation and set the highest
standards of excellence in her work.”

Organization Adaptation Award Winner: Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed District (represented by Mike Kinney and Jackie Anderson)….” Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed District prepares for future climatic changes by prioritizing this topic in its 10-yr (2022-2031) comprehensive watershed management plan, which includes a coordinated floodplain vulnerability assessment and greenway corridor planning effort, as well as implementing projects to increase floodplain storage and provide multiple environmental and social benefits."

Collaborative Adaptation Award Winner- Minnesota Resilience & Adaptation Action Team (represented by Sharon Stephens and Dana Vanderbosch from the MPCA)…..”as part of the Minnesota Climate Action Framework announced last September, the Resilience and Adaptation Action Plan includes how Minnesota can achieve climate-smart communities; healthy community green spaces and water resources; and resilient buildings, infrastructure and businesses.”

Creative Climate Communications Award Winner: Change Narrative, LLC (represented by Jothsna Harris its’ founder)… "Change Narrative is committed to shifting dominant and damaging narratives in mainstream climate lifting up centering stories that are typically excluded from critical discussions and decision-making on climate change, including Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and others that experience a disproportionate burden of the impacts.”

Climate Justice Award Winner: Michael Chaney founder of Project Sweetie Pie…..” Project Sweetie Pie is a local nonprofit organization founded in 2010 that engages stakeholders in grass roots initiatives to address issues of structural racism and equity, advocates community-led green restorative development, and coordinates youth-led/youth-fed green initiatives and other gardening and urban farming operations.”

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin features an article about how researchers from Columbia have installed acoustic sensors in the Caribbean Sea to measure wave heights and ocean currents. These data will allow forecasters to better predict how wind gusts and waves affect the archipelago during tropical storms, which may become more frequent in a future climate.

The Weather Underground reported on the ice storms that swept across many southern states this week, causing many traffic accidents, downed trees, and widespread power outages. In Texas power outages affected over 300,000 residents. The storm moved off towards the northeast toward the end of the week, but was expected to bring dangerously cold wind chills to the northeast over Friday and Saturday.

The University of Hamburg reported this week that meeting the Paris agreement to limit global temperature change to 1.5°F will be impeded significantly by ongoing society changes and the war in Ukraine. As reported by Science Daily, the Hamburg study considers the impacts of COVID-19s and the war in Ukraine which are producing economic reconstruction programs that require the use of fossil fuels. In addition, how efforts to safeguard Europe’s power supply and other international efforts to become independent of Russian gas may impact the phasing out of fossil fuels remains unclear.

MPR listener question:

With all the ice and snow in the Twin Cities area this winter it has been difficult for walking. We were wondering how often do we get a 50°F day in February?


For the Twin Cities climate record back to 1873 (150 years) there have been 40 Februarys that brought at least one day of 50°F or greater temperatures. In all cases there was no snow on the ground, because that works against heating the air temperature that high. There have been five years when February brought 6 days of 50°F weather, most recently 2017. On February 21, 2017 the high temperature was 62°F.

Twin Cities Almanac for February 3rd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 25 degrees F (plus or minus 15 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 9 degrees F (plus or minus 15 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for February 3rd:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 51 degrees F in 1934; lowest daily maximum temperature of -13 degrees F in 1989; lowest daily minimum temperature of -27 degrees F in 1886; highest daily minimum temperature of 35 degrees F in 1991; record precipitation of 0.42 inches in 1943. Record snowfall is 3.3 inches in 1976.

Average dew point for February 3rd is 3°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 34°F in 2005; and the minimum dew point on this date is -37 degrees F in 1923.

All-time state records for February 3rd:

The state record high temperature for this date is 65 degrees F at Browns Valley (Traverse County) in 1991. The state record low temperature for this date is -52 degrees F at Itasca State Park (Clearwater County) in 1996. The state record precipitation for this date is 1.50 inches at Red Lake (Beltrami County) in 2000. Record snowfall is 12.0 inches also at Caledonia (Houston County) in 1983.

Past Weather:

A slow-moving winter storm brought 8 to 16 inches of snowfall to many parts of the state over February 2-3 in 1983. Over 18 inches of snow was reported from Winona County and many schools were closed, or dismissed students early.

The warmest February 3rd in Minnesota history was in 1991 when most areas of the state enjoyed afternoon temperatures in 40s and 50s F. Climate stations in Traverse County reached 60°F or higher. In many areas overnight low temperatures remained about freezing as well.

February 3 of 1996 brought a large Arctic Air Mass to Minnesota which set many record low temperatures. All areas of the state reported subzero morning low temperatures, mostly -20°F or colder. In northern Minnesota, climate stations in Koochiching, Clearwater, and Itasca Counties reported a minimum temperature of -50°F or colder. The daily high temperature at Red Lake Falls only reached a reading of -28°F.


Warming up to above normal temperatures over the weekend and remaining warmer than normal for all of next week. There will be some chance for rain in the south and snow in the norther later on Monday, and again later next week.

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