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Preliminary Climate Summary for April

Preliminary Climate Summary for April:

Cool, wet, and windy are the terms that apply to April’s climate in Minnesota. Despite some 70°F and 80°F weather that occurred during the second week of the month, most climate stations report a mean monthly temperature that is 1 to 7 degrees F below normal. In many areas of the state over 20 days registered cooler than normal temperatures. Extremes for the month were 90°F at several southern climate stations on the 12th and 13th to just -9°F at Seagull Lake (Cook County) on April 7th. During the second week of the month over 70 daily high maximum temperature records were tied or broken within the state climate station network. Conversely, over 60 daily cold daily maximum temperature records, and over a dozen daily cold minimum temperature records were tied or broken. Minnesota reported the lowest temperature in the 48 contiguous states just once during the month.

Wetter than normal conditions dominated most of the state during the month, with fairly widespread spring snow melt flooding on many major and minor watersheds. Most climate stations reported from 2 to 4 inches of precipitation for the month, and many reported 4 to 5 inches. Observers in Mille Lacs, McLeod, Anoka, Fillmore and Chisago Counties reported over 6 inches of precipitation for the month. Over 40 daily precipitation records were set or tied within the state climate stations network, mostly on April 1st, and April 20th. Much of the precipitation also fell as snow, with many climate stations reporting over 10 inches of snowfall for the month. Several northern Minnesota communities reported over 20 inches. Hovland in Cook County reported 32 inches, and the last weekend of the month was set to deliver even more snowfall there. With the additional April snowfalls, many northeastern Minnesota climate stations surpassed 120 inches for the snow season, with many records set.

Wind was another extraordinary feature of climate during April, as most climate stations reported wind gusts over 30 mph on half or more of the days. In addition, extreme winds over 50 mph were reported from several locations, evergreen trees already laden with heavy snow were damaged by the strong winds.

As a result of the cold, wet, and windy conditions, little progress was made by Minnesota farmers in planting crops. The silver lining back story for a late planting season is that the surplus moisture this spring has helped replenish soil moisture reserves for the cropping season this year, erasing the threat of carry-over drought.

Wind Direction Influence on Temperature and Humidity:

This has been studied for a number of geographic areas, especially around large inland lakes and various ocean coastal climates. It has particular application to the north shore area of Lake Superior in Minnesota. Residents there commonly associate temperature and humidity with wind direction. The most common perceptions are:

NE and E winds mean cool, humid weather
S and SE winds mean warm, humid weather
SW, W winds mean warm, dry weather
NW and N winds mean cool, dry weather

These perceptions of weather associated with specific wind directions are mostly accurate for places like Duluth, Two Harbors, Grand Marais, but can vary depending on the season, presence or absence of widespread snow cover, amount of ice cover on Lake Superior, and extent of regional drought conditions.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The BBC Weather Center describes the blistering Heat Wave in Spain this week. The Cordoba Airport in southern Spain reached 102°F on Thursday, which is the highest temperature ever reported for April in that country. Many areas of Spain, Morocco, and Algeria have seen day after day in the 90s F, and when combined with drier than normal conditions this has raised the risk of wildfires.

Minnesota is not the only area experiencing spring snow melt flooding this week. The Weather Underground reports that portions of Yosemite National Park will be closed this weekend due to expected spring snow melt flooding. As a result of 15 feet of snow melting in many parts of the park, rivers will be running dangerous high. Daytime high temperatures in the 50s F will promote more rapid melting this weekend.

MPR listener question:

(From Paul Douglas at the Star Tribune) Are Minnesota springs trending cooler and wetter than normal lately, with perhaps more snow? It certainly seems so.


Indeed, though the long-term trend in mean spring temperature is still upward in Minnesota since 1895, more recently since 2012 it has been downward, more so for the March-April combination than for March through May. The springs of 2013, 2014, 2018, and 2022 are among the coldest of the past 50 years. Since 2012 we have also seen 8 wetter than normal springs, six of which have brought above normal snowfall, including record snowfalls in the springs of 2013 and 2018. The overall wetter than normal springs continues a long-term trend that started to amplify in the 1990s. I might further add that these patterns are true for our neighboring states of Wisconsin and North Dakota as well. There has been a body of research linking the loss of permafrost and ice cover in high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere to fluctuations in the polar jet stream. There is certainly great potential for this to affect the high degree of variability in our spring weather, as in warmer warm periods, colder cold periods, wetter wet periods, and drier dry periods.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 28th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 62 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 43 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 28th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 91 degrees F in 2004; lowest daily maximum temperature of 34 degrees F in 1907; lowest daily minimum temperature of 26 degrees F in 1965; highest daily minimum temperature of 61 degrees F in 1970; record precipitation of 1.21 inches in 1888. Record snowfall is 4.5 inches also in 1994.

Average dew point for April 28th is 36°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 65°F in 1970; and the minimum dew point on this date is 12 degrees F in 1980.

All-time state records for April 28th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 95 degrees F at Lynd (Lyon County) in 1910. The state record low temperature for this date is -2 degrees F at St Vincent (Kittson County) in 1892. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.58 inches at Red Wing (Goodhue County) in 1975. Record snowfall is 11.0 inches at Stillwater (Washington County) in 1907.

Past Weather:

With many portions of the state still reporting several inches of snow cover, overnight temperatures went down into the single digits and teens on April 28, 1907. In some areas the daytime high temperature only reached the 20s F.

Back in 1910, April 28th brought instant summer with temperatures topping 90°F in 8 southern Minnesota counties. Much of the rest of the state saw temperatures in the 80s F under sunny skies and dry conditions. The overnight low at Albert Lea only went down to 58°F.

A late season winter storm brought significant snow to many parts of Minnesota on April 28, 1994. Many communities in southern and central portions of the state reported 3 to 6 inches, while up north observers reported 8 to 12 inches. Late as it was, it was the biggest snow storm of the month.


Much cooler than normal over the weekend with off and on rain showers in the south and rain/snow mix in the north. It will dry out on Monday and temperatures will start to rebound reaching above normal levels by Wednesday and Thursday next week.

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