Skip to main content

Climate Summary for February

Climate Summary for February:

A remarkable warm February this year brought only 2-3 days with colder than normal temperatures. The vast majority of days brought warmer than normal temperatures and on some days record-setting temperatures. Within the state climate station network, there were 221 daily high maximum temperature records set or tied, including many days with highs in the 50s and 60s F. A few stations even hit the 70°F mark. In addition to setting so many high daily maximum records, a number of days brought record-setting warm nights, with 208 daily warm minimum temperature records set or tied during the month. Contrary to our national reputation, Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the 48 contiguous states only once during February, and that was on the last day of the month, February 29th with -22°F reported from International Falls.

Overall, most Minnesota climate stations reported a mean monthly temperature that was from 12°F to 14°F above normal. This is rare territory statistically speaking, and over 20 long term climate stations so far have reported their warmest month of February in history, including MSP, St Cloud, Milan, Rochester, and Redwood Falls. International Falls was on track for its warmest February until back-to-back nighttime temperatures of -20°F and -22°F ended the month, offsetting much of the accumulated, record-setting warmth. They still ranked as the 3rd warmest February in history, It remains to be seen how the statewide ranking for February temperature historically comes out.

Moisture-wise, most areas of the state reported less than normal precipitation for the month of February. The statewide average precipitation in February was 0.55 inches, but a number of places reported over an inch, while Big Falls (Koochiching County) and Lake Wilson (Murray County) reported over 2 inches. In terms of monthly snowfall, International Falls and Warroad reported over 8 inches, while most of the rest of the state reported less than 5 inches. Valentine’ day brought record daily snowfalls to MSP (6.9”), Hastings Dam (5.2”), and Milan (5.0”). Then February 26th brought record snowfalls to Baudette (6.0”) and Warroad (5.0”). But, with persistent warm temperatures and many days bringing sunny skies, little snow cover persisted during the month.

Wrapping up meteorological winter (Dec-Feb):

With the very warm February to go along with the warmest December in state history, as well as a warmer than normal January, the meteorological winter (Dec-Feb) will go down as the warmest in state history without question, surpassing the old record set in the winter of 1997-1998 by roughly 2.0°F. MSP even surpassed the Pioneer Era record warm winter of 1877-1878. So far, over 65 long-term climate stations have officially reported 2023-2024 as their warmest winter in history.

Many communities reported a record number of days with temperatures of 50°F or higher during this winter, including MSP with 18 days. In addition, even northern Minnesota communities reported a record number of days with temperatures above the freezing mark (32°F), including International Falls which reported 40 such days this winter.

Winter moisture started with a record-setting wet month of December, wettest in history. Most of the precipitation came as rain. This was followed by a drier than normal January and February. Overall, most places in Minnesota have received above average precipitation since December 1st, but thanks entirely to the record-setting wetness of December.

The warm pattern so entrenched in the winter season is expected to persist throughout the spring season as well, according to most of the NOAA outlook models. Models give no clear indication of whether to expect a wetter or drier than normal spring season in Minnesota.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The BBC features an interesting article about the loss of ice in Antarctica as viewed from satellite imagery since the 1970s. New analyses has revealed in acceleration in ice loss over recent decades.

According to the Weather Underground, this week’s wildfire in the Texas panhandle has grown to the largest in state history. The Smokehouse Creek Fire has burned over 1700 square miles. Many structures have been damaged or destroyed by the fire. Part of the Texas panhandle was in Severe Drought going into this winter.

MPR listener question:

In recent weeks you reported about near-record setting low amounts of seasonal snowfall for some parts of Minnesota. Now that we have come to the end of February, can you update for us?


Sure can. Looking at total snowfall from October 1 of 2023 through February 29 of 2024, I find the following record-setting low amounts:

5.6 inches at Austin (Mower County)
11.0 inches at Itasca State Park (Clearwater County)
4.8 inches at Wheaton (Traverse County)

In addition, I find that the following locations have recorded their 3rd ranked lowest snow season so far:

Gunflint Lake (Cook County) with 21.7 inches
Duluth (St Louis County) with 18.7 inches
Albert Lea (Freeborn County) with 7.8 inches
Brainerd (Crow Wing County) with 10.9 inches
Park Rapids (Hubbard County) with 8.5 inches
Collegeville (Stearns County) with 9.8 inches

BTW, the Twin Cities at 14.3 inches so far ranks as the 7th lowest snow season, while Rochester at 11.9 inches ranks as the 6th lowest historically.

Twin Cities Almanac for March 1st:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 34 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 18 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for March 1st:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 59 degrees F in 1990; lowest daily maximum temperature of 0 degrees F in 1962; lowest daily minimum temperature of -32 degrees F in 1962; highest daily minimum temperature of 38 degrees F in 2004; record precipitation of 1.62 inches in 1965. There was a record 9.0 inches of snowfall in 2007.

Average dew point for March 1st is 14°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 45°F in 2000; and the minimum dew point on this date is -23 degrees F in 1967.

All-time state records for March 1st:

The state record high temperature for this date is 76 degrees F at Ashby (Grant County) in 1907. The state record low temperature for this date is -47 degrees F at Bigfork (Itasca County) in 1962. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.50 inches at Jordan (Scott County) in 2007. The state snowfall record is 18.8 inches at Collegeville (Stearns County) in 1965.

Past Weather:

The coldest ever March 1st was in 1962. That morning most residents of Minnesota awoke to temperatures ranging from -20°F to -40°F, as cold high pressure settled in over abundant snow pack across the state. The afternoon high temperature at Hallock (Kittson County) only reached minus 14°F.

A major winter storm brought heavy snows to Minnesota over March 1-3 of 1965. Many parts of central and northern Minnesota measured 10 to 20 inches of snow from this storm. Over 2 feet of snow fell in parts of Renville and Stearns Counties. There were widespread school closures.

The warmest ever March 1st was in 1992, when many areas of the state saw afternoon high temperatures in the 50s and 60s F. Milan in Chippewa County saw 70°F and with the absence of snow cover, some farmers were seen doing tillage in their fields.


Continuing to warm up well above normal on Saturday and Sunday. Increasing cloudiness late in the day Sunday, with a chance for rain or snow into Monday. Then, cooler (still above normal) and drier for Tuesday and Wednesday, with a chance for showers again by Thursday.
Print Friendly and PDF