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March Warmth

March Warmth:

The biggest weather headline this week occurred when March 3rd (Sunday) brought record-setting high temperatures to at least 60 Minnesota communities. Many observers reported afternoon highs in the 60s and 70s F. Some of the records included:

78°F at Theilman (Wabasha County) new statewide record for the date
75°F at Wells (Faribault County), Waseca (Waseca County), Austin (Mower County), and Hastings Dam (Dakota County)
74°F at MSP, Jordan (Scott County), Albert Lea (Freeborn County), Zumbrota (Goodhue County)
73°F at Caledonia (Houston County), Winnebago (Faribault County), Preston (Fillmore County)
72°F at Rochester, Grand Meadow (Mower County), Dodge Center (Dodge County)
71°F at Fairmont (Martin County), La Crescent (Winona County)
70°F at St Cloud and Elk River (Sherburne County)
65°F at Lamberton (Redwood County)

These were the warmest temperatures ever for so early in March.

Following the record warmth, very dry air arrived on Tuesday, March 5th as afternoon dew points were in the single digits and relative humidity ranged from just 15 to 18 percent in many areas of the state. In the dry air, daily temperatures reached the 50s F in many parts of the state after morning lows in the teens. The same wide swings in air temperature occurred on Wednesday, with afternoon highs in the 50s F and relative humidity ranging from just 15 to 20 percent. Redwood Falls reached 60°F with a relative humidity of just 21 percent. With wind gusts over 30 mph and dry air prevailing, the National Weather Service issued Red Flag Warnings for parts of Minnesota on both days.

Elsewhere this week, in northwestern and north-central Minnesota minor weather disturbances brought 1 to 3 inches of snowfall to places like Fergus Falls, Moorhead, Detroit Lakes, Park Rapids and Baudette.

All of the NOAA models continue to indicate that March will bring warmer than normal temperatures to Minnesota, as over 50 percent of the landscape remains in at least Moderate Drought. Drought area is likely to expand unless we start to get above normal rainfall this spring.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The BBC reported this week that England and Wales recorded their warmest February in history. The United Kingdom as a whole recorded its 2nd warmest February in history. Four of the UK’s ten warmest Februarys have come in the last 6 years. The UK Met Office also reported that many areas reported a wetter than normal month of February, with some areas receiving 2.5 times normal rainfall.

For book lovers, the BBC Weather Watchers posted a fun quiz this week about the descriptive use of weather in class literature. It is fun to take the quiz and see how well versed you might be in class literature.

The Weather Underground reported this week that according to the European Centre For Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) the Earth recorded its warmest February last month. This followed the warmest year on record, 2023. Many parts of North America also recorded their warmest meteorological winter (Dec-Feb).

MPR listener question:

From a Twin Cities resident: How far south would we have to live to have the meteorological winter we just experienced be an “average” winter? What zone would that be, and when would the average last spring frost occur?


The Twin Cities recorded a meteorological winter (Dec-Feb) in 2023-2024 that was totally record-setting in temperature, with a mean value of nearly 30°F (29.9°F), about 10-11°F about normal. This is equivalent to a normal winter at St Joseph, Missouri, about 425 miles south of the Twin Cities. According to the most recent USDA Plant Hardiness Zones, St Joseph, MO is zone 6a (annual extreme minimum temperature between -5°F and -10°F) for gardening and landscaping purposes. The average last spring frost date for St Joseph, MO is April 15th. (for the Twin Cities it is April 23).

Twin Cities Almanac for March 8th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 38 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 22 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for March 8th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 70 degrees F in 2016; lowest daily maximum temperature of 10 degrees F in 1932; lowest daily minimum temperature of -8 degrees F in 1877; highest daily minimum temperature of 47 degrees F in 1878 record precipitation of 0.94 inches in 1999. There was a record 12.5 inches of snowfall also in 1999.

Average dew point for March 8th is 15°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 57°F in 2000; and the minimum dew point on this date is -17 degrees F in 1967.

All-time state records for March 8th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 84 degrees F at Amboy (Blue Earth County) in 2000. The state record low temperature for this date is -38 degrees F at McIntosh (Polk County) in 1908. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.22 inches at Breckenridge (Wilkin County) in 1878. The state snowfall record is 14.5 inches at Spring Grove (Houston County) in 1961.

Past Weather:

Arctic air gripped the state on March 8 of 1943. Most places reported subzero morning low temperatures with minus 20s and minus 30s F. The daytime high temperature only reached 4°F at Detroit Lakes.

One of the snowiest periods ever in March occurred over the 4th through the 10th in 1961. Many areas reported from 1 foot to 2 feet of snowfall, with drifts up to 10 feet high. There were school closures on multiple days.

The warmest March 8th was in 1980 when dozens of communities reported afternoon high temperatures in the 70s F. The temperature surpassed 80°F in five southern Minnesota counties, and Winona reported a warm overnight low temperature of 60°F.


Sunny over the weekend with temperatures on the rise. Well above normal temperatures by Monday through Wednesday of next week. Slight chance for rain later on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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