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Brief April Update

Brief April Update:

With cooler than normal temperatures earlier this week, some areas of the state reported measurable snowfalls, the first time this month. Portions of Beltrami, Koochiching, Kittson, Becker, and Itasca Counties reported 1-2 inches of snowfall. It was short-lived as temperatures warmed up towards the end of the week.

More moisture is expected over the weekend and next week to close out the month of April, so I will not provide a climate summary for the month until next Friday. It appears that the month will be wetter than normal for most areas of the state, helping to alleviate the drought situation, which should continue to improve. Of further note it looks like the first two weeks of May will be warmer and wetter than normal over much of the state. Good news for farmers who got their fields planted this week.

Winds have continued to be strong this month, with a remarkable number of days bringing wind gusts of 30 mph or greater. The Twin Cities have seen 22 such days so far this month.

A Look Back at Unexpected Extremes of Weather and Climate in Minnesota since 1978:

Recently I participated along with MCAP Director Dr. Heidi Roop in a Virtual Update on Climate Change Evidence in Minnesota and our response to it. This was hosted by Congresswoman Betty McCollum, If you are interested in viewing this conversation you can find it online at youtube.

Among topics discussed, I was asked to remark on the most remarkable climate observations that I have witnessed in my nearly 50 years of work in meteorology and climatology. I shared a small number of these observations but would like to offer an expanded list here. This list includes both weather observations and climate episodes that I never thought I would witness in Minnesota:

- Two flash floods in Rochester in 1978 provoked by 6 inches thunderstorm rainfall (Jul, Sep)

- A 100°F reading at Ada, MN on April 21, 1980, along with zero precipitation for the month

- 10 inches of rain in six hours in the Twin Cities on July 23, 1987

- 44 days of 90 F temperatures or greater in the summer of 1988 for the Twin Cities

- coldest summer of the 20th Century in 1992, due to Mt Pinatubo eruption in 1991

- frost on the summer solstice in 1992

- -60°F at Tower on February 2, 1996

- Itasca State Park devastated by a derecho in July of 1995

- 14 declared blizzard in the snow season of 1996-1997

- 16 mi wide Red River near East Grand Forks in April of 1997 due to spring snowmelt flooding

- BWCA devastated by derecho in July of 1999

- 15.10 inches of rain in 24 hr at Hokah, MN on August 19, 2007

- 48 tornadoes in one day across Minnesota on June 17, 2010 (113 for the year)

- low pressure of 28.21 inches at Bigfork on October 26, 2010, 27 ft waves on Lake Superior

- an 84°F dewpoint and Heat Index of 130°F at Moorhead on July 19, 2011

- 121 mph straight line wind at Donaldson, MN, September 1, 2011

- simultaneous declarations of drought and flood disasters in 12 MN counties in summer of 2012

- 55.6 inches of snow at Island Lake near Duluth for April of 2013

- 17.2 inches of snow at Dodge Center, May 1-2, 2013

- simultaneous tornado and blizzard warmings for SW MN on March 31, 2014

- 60.21 inches of precipitation at Harmony for the year 2018

- statewide average precipitation over 35 inches in 2019 (wettest year ever)

- over 25 Air Quality Alerts for Minnesota in 2023

- over a billion dollars in damages from hail on August 11, 2023

- Heat Index Values of 120°F to 122°F in the Twin Cities area on August 22, 2023

- the warmest and wettest December in state history in 2023

- mildest winter in state history in 2023-2024

Rest assured that there were more surprises than listed here, but there is not room enough for all of them in this short blog. Perhaps you too recall some total weather and climate surprises in your own Minnesota experience. With climate change we will undoubtedly continue to be surprised by our weather and climate extremes.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

In this week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin there is an article about scientists collaborating to study the implications of climate change and warming of deep soil temperatures, which have huge impact on the microorganisms that inhabit the soil environment. This article reminds me that Dr. John Baker and Dr. Donald Baker of the University of Minnesota Department of Soil, Water, and Climate were some of the first researchers to publish a study of long-term ground heat flux and heat storage back in 2002 in the journal Climatic Change.

Earlier this week the BBC reported that the southeastern China province of Guangdong was inundated with 100-year rainfalls that swelled rivers to all-time flood crests. Over 1 million residents lost power, and approximately 110,000 had to be evacuated from threatened homes.

A recent article from researchers at Imperial College in London reveals that for large corporations the simple goal of reducing emissions of GHG to help meet the Paris Agreement is an insufficient effort. More corporate attention to innovation and market regulation strategies would enhance efforts to meet the Paris Agreement. The article can be found in Science.

MPR listener question:

We are long-time listeners to MPR and know that you have spoken about the windy month of April each of the last three years by mentioning the number of days with wind gusts of 30 mph or greater, usually for the Twin Cities. Can you give us some context? What are the average number of days with gust of 30 mph or greater in April.


Good question. For the first 20 years of this century, the average number of days in April with wind gusts of 30 mph or greater has been 12 days. More recently in 2022 it was 24 days, in 2023 it was 26 days, and so far this April it is 22 days. This is a steep increase and I hope my colleagues in atmospheric science might be able to figure out an explanation for it.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 26th:

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 42 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 26th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 85 degrees F in 1970; lowest daily maximum temperature of 32 degrees F in 1950; lowest daily minimum temperature of 26 degrees F in 1950; highest daily minimum temperature of 60 degrees F in 1990, and record precipitation of 1.46 inches in 2011. There was a record 3.0 inches of snowfall in 1893.

Average dew point for April 26th is 36°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 62°F in 1957; and the minimum dew point on this date is 6 degrees F in 1988.

All-time state records for April 26th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 94 degrees F at Marshall (Lyon County) in 1962. The state record low temperature for this date is 8 degrees F at Embarrass (St Louis County) in 2002. The state record precipitation for this date is 6.90 inches at Morris (Stevens County) in 1954. The state snowfall record is 16.0 inches at Pelican Rapids (Otter Tail County) in 2008.

Past Weather:

A late season snowstorm brought record-setting snows to much of central and northern Minnesota on April 26 of 1893. Many observers reported from 3 to 10 inches, while a few places measured over a foot of snow. Crops that had been planted were under snow for two days.

The warmest April 26 in state history was in 1962 when most places saw an afternoon temperature of 80°F or higher. Eleven counties reported high temperature of 90°F or greater. After a morning low of 43°F the temperature rose to 90°F by afternoon at Campbell (Wilkin County).

Record-setting morning low temperatures prevailed across Minnesota on April 26 of 2002. Most observers reported temperatures in the teens and twenties. In portions of St Louis County and the Red River Valley temperatures were in the single digits. Gunflint Lake reported an afternoon high temperature of only 29°F.


Cloudy and breezy over the weekend and into next week, with rain. There will be daily chances for showers and thunderstorms. Temperatures will generally remain above normal. Significant rainfall may accumulation for a number of sections of the state to end the month of April on an emphatic wet note. Warm and wet pattern will continue into early May.
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