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April Climate Update

April Climate Update:

Significant variations in temperature continue across the state. During the first week of the month many northern communities reported subzero temperatures in the early morning hours, including -9°F at Seagull Lake (Cook County) on the 7th, while during the second week of the month Granite Falls, Windom, Winona, Austin, Hastings Dam, and Mankato reported 90°F.

The third week of April has been dominated by precipitation, with many areas of the state reporting between and 1 and 2 inches of precipitation since last Saturday (April 15). Observers in 20 Minnesota counties have reported over 2 inches of precipitation this week.

In fact, April 17-18 brought snow to many parts of eastern Minnesota, and in some cases record-setting amounts:

On April 17th Brainerd reported a record 5 inches, Preston a record 6 inches, La Crescent a record 6.5 inches, and Hokah a record 11.0 inches; then on April 18th Gunflint Lake reported a record 7.0 inches. Then, thunderstorms on April 19 and 20 brought record amounts of rainfall to some other climate stations. Redwood Falls reported a record 1.52 inches on April 19th, and on April 20th both Lamberton with 1.70 inches and Delano with 2.20 inches reported record rainfalls.

With the precipitation from this week, many areas of the state now report over 3 inches for the month. In addition, over 10 inches of snowfall has been reported at some locations this month, adding to near-record-setting or record-setting seasonal snowfall totals. Duluth now reports a record 139 inches for the 2022-2023 snow season. Others reporting record seasonal snowfall totals include:
147.8 inches at Two Harbors 7NW
153.1 inches at Wolf Ridge
98.8 inches at Floodwood
93.7 inches at Milaca
89.3 inches at Brainerd

Yet more snow may be reported for Saturday, April 22, but after that it looks very much like the snow season will be coming to an end.

April winds have continued to blow as well. The latest counts on days with high wind gusts include the following:
MSP 18 days with wind gusts of 30 mph or greater, 8 days with 40 mph or greater
Duluth 11 day with wind gusts of 30 mph or greater, 8 days with 40 mph or greater
Brainerd 15 days with wind gusts of 30 mph or greater, 5 days with40 mph or greater
Rochester 15 days with wind gusts 0f 30 mph or greater, 10 day with 40 mph or greater
Redwood Falls, 15 days with wind gusts of 30 mph or greater, 5 days with 40 mph or greater

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The United Kingdom Meteorological Office web site features an article about a new international study that documents how “flash droughts” are becoming more frequent in many parts of the world. This study was initiated following the flash drought of 2012 in the central USA (including Minnesota) which took place over a very short period of time and caused a great deal of crop loss. This new study suggests that flash droughts (rapid onset of drought) will become more common with climate change in areas such as North and East Asia, as well as Europe.

Jonathan Erdman of the Weather Underground writes an interesting article about the extreme weather that has occurred on Earth Day (April 22) over the past several decades, including the peak of the Red River Valley flood in 1997 when the Red River between ND and MN reached over 16 miles wide. He also talks about rare Tropical Storm Ana that occurred over April 21-23, 2003 in the Atlantic Ocean., way early for the Tropical Storm Season.

Science Daily reports this week that “the seven worst years for polar ice sheets melting and losing ice have occurred during the past decade, according to new research, with 2019 being the worst year on record. The seven worst years for polar ice sheets melting and losing ice have occurred during the past decade, according to new research, with 2019 being the worst year on record. The melting ice sheets now account for a quarter of all sea level rise….”

MPR listener question:

We were astonished to see some reports of 10 to 11 inches of snowfall in southeastern Minnesota earlier this week (La Crescent and Hokah). What is the latest in the spring season that Minnesota has recorded double digit daily snowfall?


St Cloud recorded 12 inches of snowfall on May 17, 1890, the highest such figure anywhere in Minnesota so late in the spring. Recall too the Dodge Center in southeastern Minnesota reported 15.4 inches of snowfall on May 2, 2013.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 21st:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 59 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 40 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 21st:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 95 degrees F in 1980; lowest daily maximum temperature of 34 degrees F in 1893; lowest daily minimum temperature of 22 degrees F in 1966; highest daily minimum temperature of 59 degrees F in 1926; record precipitation of 0.74 inches in 1912. Record snowfall is 6.6 inches also in 2002.

Average dew point for April 21st is 34°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 60°F in 1952; and the minimum dew point on this date is 11 degrees F in 1984.

All-time state records for April 21st:

The state record high temperature for this date is 100 degrees F at Ada (Norman County) in 1980. The state record low temperature for this date is -14 degrees F at Embarrass (St Louis County) in 2013. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.49 inches at Warroad (Roseau County) in 1974. Record snowfall is 15.0 inches also at Lynd (Lyon County) in 1893.

Past Weather:

A late season winter storm brought snow to Minnesota over April 21-22, 1893. The storm brought a mixture of rain, sleet, and snow, but many observers reported heavy snowfall. Fairmont reported 12 inches and Lynd (Lyon County) reported 15 inches.

A very cold morning on April 21, 1945 brought temperatures in the teens and twenties to most Minnesota communities. It was in the single digits up north, with a reading of 0°F at Hallock (Kittson County), where the afternoon high temperature only reached 36°F.

One of the nicest Easter Sundays in Minnesota history occurred on April 21, 1946. Under glorious sunny skies, most communities enjoyed temperatures in the 70s and 80s F that day with light winds. The winter ice cover had left Lake Minnetonka on April 1st that year, and many citizens were on their boats or in their canoes for Easter Sunday outings.

The warmest April 21st in state history was in 1980 when much of the state basked in 90°F weather. Duluth Harbor recorded a high temperature of just 47°F, while observers in Norman, Clay, Wilkin, and Lac Qui Parle Counties recorded an afternoon high temperature of 100°F, the earliest date ever for such a reading!


A cool and breezy weekend coming up with chances for snow on Saturday, as daytime high temperatures remain in the 30s and 40s F. More sunshine and dry on Sunday, but still cool. Cooler than normal temperatures will dominate the weather through the first half of next week, Gradual warming of temperatures back closer to normal will occur towards the end of next week.

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Unknown said…
Do you think the Mississippi River have a second crest?