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April Living Up to Its Reputation for Wind

April Living Up to Its Reputation for Wind:

Climatology shows that April is on average the windiest month of the year in Minnesota. It is a transition month that sees more frequent large changes in atmospheric pressure.

Through the first 5 days of April, winds were very strong across the region. At some Minnesota climate stations the daily weather brought wind gusts over 30 mph each day. Here is a list of climate stations showing how many days they reported wind gusts greater than 30 mph, along with a measure of the maximum wind gust through the first 5 days of the month:
Brainerd 5 days, max gust 43mph
Redwood Falls 4 days, max gust 47mph
Mankato 4 days, max gust 43mph
Rochester 4 days, max gust 45mph
Moorhead 4 days, max gust 40mph
MSP 4 days, max gust 50mph

At Duluth, they reported a maximum wind gust of 70mph on April 4th, and 60mph on April 5th.

Forecast models suggest winds will continue to be moderate to strong, but from the south, ushering in warmer air for much of the coming week.

Brief summary points for climate of March 2023:

Cold, mean monthly temperatures ranged from 5°F to 10°F colder than normal around the state.

Extreme temperatures ranged from 54°F at several locations on March 21st to -24°F at Seagull Lake on March 2nd.

Within the state climate network, 26 low daily minimum temperature records were set or tied and 57 low daily maximum temperature records were set or tied, a number of them occurring on St Patrick’s Day.

Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the 48 contiguous states 7 times during March.

Wet, most climate stations reported a wetter than normal month,

Within the state climate network, 39 new daily precipitation records were reported, including 1.41 inches at MSP and 2.15 inches at Rochester on March 31st. Also 55 new daily snowfall records were reported, including 15.4 inches at Brainerd on March 13th.

Many climate stations reported 2.50 to 4.00 inches of precipitation for the month, while many north shore communities along Lake Superior reported over 30 inches of snowfall for the month.

It was a windy March as well, with Rochester, Brainerd, Moorhead, Duluth, Redwood Falls, and MSP all reporting 12 or more days with wind gusts over 30 mph. MSP reported 18 such days.

Seasonal Snow Update: With the updated snowfall reports there are now over 70 climate stations in the state network that have reported over 85 inches of snowfall for the 2022-2023 snow season. In addition, 24 climate stations have reported 100 inches or more, topped by 157.6 inches near Finland in Lake County. Duluth with 131.4 inches of snowfall so far for the season is closing in on record territory (135.4 inches in 1995-1996) for seasonal snowfall as are a number of other climate stations in northeastern Minnesota.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The United Kingdom Met Office reported that England, Wales, and Northern Ireland reported one of the wettest Marches in history with many areas getting 2 to 3 times normal precipitation. Areas of Wales received over 8 inches of precipitation. Several areas also reported a significant lack of sunshine during March, one of the dullest in history with many days dominated by cloudy skies.

The Weather Channel reported on the severe weather outbreaks across the nation this week. An EF-3 tornado (140 mph winds) ripped through portions of Delaware and was determined to be the largest tornado in state history with a vortex diameter of half a mile. It left a wide damage path and killed one person.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) the summer season may be lengthening in Australia. Normally December through February are the hottest months, but this year March was unusually warm, breaking some records in some areas. Citizens took advantage by doing more outdoor activities and enjoyed the summery weather.

MPR listener question:

Is there any concern this cold/snowy pattern will extend late into spring (May or even beyond)?


No, not at this point. Most outlook models are favoring warmer temperatures as we move into spring. The greater concern is associated with moving into a pattern of more frequent rainfalls which will accelerate the flooding potential for some rivers, and delay farmers from getting field work and spring planting done later this month.

MPR listener question:

The Twin Cities has had 89.7 inches of snow this season, which is now the third snowiest season on record. But weirdly, we also had a lot of RAIN, especially in February. If all the rain we received had come in the form of snow, what would our snow total be at this point?


Tricky question. This can only be estimated by a range of values, not precisely. The Twin Cities received only 0.4 inches of snow in October of 2022 (a dry month). Then 13.0 inches of snow fell in November of 2022, but 7 days brought rain only. Across December through March there were 7 days that brought rain only, while the rest of the precipitation came as snow.

We know that the snow total rests at 89.7 inches since October (first snowfall) of last fall. Total precipitation (liquid) since November 1st has been 11.77 inches. We can use that as a basis to estimate the potential snowfall. 11.77 inches of precipitation can be converted to estimates of snowfall by using snow to water ratios ranging from 8:1 to 12:1 for the warmer climate of the Twin Cities (up north we might have to use ratios of 12:1 or even 20:1 in the colder climates). Using these ratios, the estimates for 11.77 inches of precipitation converted to snowfall range from 94.2 inches to 141.2 inches, remarkable amounts indeed!

Twin Cities Almanac for April 7th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 53 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 34 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 7th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 83 degrees F in 1991; lowest daily maximum temperature of 25 degrees F in 1936; lowest daily minimum temperature of 6 degrees F in 1936; highest daily minimum temperature of 54 degrees F in 1991; record precipitation of 1.72 inches in 1919. Record snowfall is 8.9 inches in 1923.

Average dew point for April 7th is 27°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 54°F in 2001; and the minimum dew point on this date is 0 degrees F in 1936.

All-time state records for April 7th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 91 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1991. The state record low temperature for this date is -16 degrees F at Tower (St Louis County) in 1982. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.52 inches at Blue Earth (Faribault County) in 2006. Record snowfall is 24.0 inches also at Tower (St Louis County) in 2008.

Past Weather:

The coldest April 7th was in 1936 when most areas of the state reported morning low temperatures in the single digits, either above or below zero F. Roseau reported a morning low of -14°F and an afternoon high temperature of only 17°F.

The warmest April 7th was in 1991 when most climate stations reported afternoon high temperatures in the 70s and 80s F. It reached 90°F at Winona and 91°F at Canby. As far north as Kettle Falls in Voyageurs National Park the afternoon high reached 80°F.

A massive storm system brought hail, high winds, and heavy rains to Minnesota over April 6-7 of 2001. Many areas reported wind gusts from 50 to 75 mph, and several counties reported hail from three quarter inch diameter to one inch diameter. Heaviest rains were in central and northern areas of the state where many observers reported 2 to 3 inches. The heavy precipitation aggravated river flooding which was already underway from snowmelt runoff.

A late season winter storm brought heavy snowfall to southern Minnesota on April 7, 2003. Fairmont, Blue Earth, and Winnebago observers reported a foot of snow, while Albert Lea reported 13 inches. Going north the snowfall amounts rapidly tapered off as Owatonna reported only 2 inches.


Above normal temperatures and sunny skies will prevail for the early portions of the weekend. There will be many areas that see daytime temperatures in the 50s and 60s F. Increasing cloudiness on Sunday with a chance for rain in southern areas, but dry in the north. Monday through Thursday of next week looks to be mostly sunny with above normal temperatures each day. Some areas of the state will see their first 70°F temperatures of the year. Rain showers may return by next weekend.

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