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Near record warmth, followed by widespread, welcome rains

Near record warmth, followed by widespread, welcome rains:

Last weekend was by far the best weather of the year so far, with warm temperatures, bright, sunny skies, and comfortable humidity. Temperatures rose above forecasted highs on Saturday (April 13), and though a few degrees cooler on Sunday, temperatures remained quite comfortable for outdoor activities. A few long-term climate stations reported new record daily high temperatures over the weekend. Some of these included:

89°F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County)
88°F at Milan (Chippewa County)
87°F at Winnebago (Faribault County)
85°F at Litchfield (Meeker County)
83°F at Wheaton (Traverse County)
76°F at Cass Lake (Cass County)

Following the warm weekend, a large area of low pressure brought showers and thunderstorms to most of the state over Tuesday and Wednesday, providing good, soaking rains to many areas that needed it. Rainfall amounts in the north were generally less than an inch, but many observers in central and southern Minnesota reported rainfall between 1 and 2 inches. Some long-term climate stations even reported new daily record rainfall amounts. Some examples:

Redwood Falls (Redwood County) 2.23 inches
St Peter (Nicollet County) 2.02 inches
Kimball (Stearns County) and Artichoke Lake (Big Stone County) 1.80 inches
Milan (Chippewa County) 1.68 inches
Spring Valley (Fillmore County) 1.66 inches
Long Prairie (Todd County) 1.62 inches
Waseca (Waseca County) 1.44 inches
La Crescent Dam (Winona County) 1.42 inches
MSP (Hennepin County) 1,.33 inches
Morris (Stevens County) 1,32 inches

Though not evident in the current Drought Map for Minnesota that still shows 44 percent of the state in Moderate to Severe Drought (because of cut-off dates used in the analysis) the significant rains of April 16-17 will undoubtedly help mitigate the drought situation and assist soil moisture replenishment before farmers begin spring planting. Speaking of planting, it appears that temperatures will rebound after this weekend to above normal levels for the remainder of the month, but there will also be more frequent chances for rain as well. So farmers will have to work in their crop seeding between rainy periods.

Winds continued to blow with above normal intensity over the past week. Many climate stations have reported over 10 days so far this month with wind gusts over 30 mph, and some days with 40 mph and 50 mph gusts. Some examples:

MSP 15 days
St James (Brown County) 15 days
Rochester (Olmsted County) 13 days
Windom (Cottonwood County) 13 days
Redwood Falls (Redwood County) 12 days
Mankato (Blue Earth County) 11 days

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The BBC reported this week that northern portions of the United Arab Emirates, including the Dubai International Airport were inundated on Wednesday (April 17) by record-setting rains. Some areas reported over 9 inches of rain, causing widespread flash flooding. The Dubai Airport reported 290 flight cancellations and over 400 flight delays. Average total rainfall in Dubai is only about 0.30 inches, while average annual rainfall is 3.81 inches.

A recent article in the journal Nature documents estimates of the economic impact of continued climate change impacts through the year 2050 based on trends of the most recent 40 years. The authors conclude that “even if CO2 emissions were to be drastically cut down starting today, the world economy is already committed to an income reduction of 19 % until 2050 due to climate change.” The potential loss to the global economy far outweighs the cost of mitigating climate change now.

In this week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin there is an article about the National Interagency Fire Center outlook for the coming wildfire season in the USA. Because of a dry winter and lack of snow cover, the spring wildfire season in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin is expected to be busy. The authors mention that fire managers have already responded to 165 fires in Minnesota, and 342 wildfires have already burned in Wisconsin.

MPR listener question:

It appears that the 2023-2024 snow season is behind us. We wondered was there any place in Minnesota that got near normal snowfall? If not, where were the greatest amounts?


Virtually every climate observer I can find in Minnesota has reported below normal snowfall for the 2023-2024 season. In fact, record low amounts for some locations (Winnebago in Faribault County only reported 8.1 inches for the season). The only areas of the state to receive more than 50 inches this season are northwest of Two Harbors (Lake County), near International Falls in Koochiching County, and at Cook (in central St Louis County). Their totals were still well below normal, most of the snow coming in January and March.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 19th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 58 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 39 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 19th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 87 degrees F in 1985; lowest daily maximum temperature of 35 degrees F in 1928; lowest daily minimum temperature of 19 degrees F in 1928; highest daily minimum temperature of 67 degrees F in 1985, and record precipitation of 1.28 inches in 1871. There was a record 1.2 inches of snowfall in 1982.

Average dew point for April 19th is 35°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 19th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 95 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County), Lamberton (Redwood County), and Springfield (Brown County) in 1985. The state record low temperature for this date is -3 degrees F at Tower (St Louis County) in 1897. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.87 inches at New Richland (Waseca County) in 1916. The state snowfall record is 25.0 inches at Isabella (Lake County) in 2013.

Past Weather:

With several inches of snow still on the ground in northern Minnesota, many citizens awoke to record-setting low temperatures on April 19, 1928. Seventeen counties reported morning lows in the single digits, and it was 0°F at Fosston (Polk County). In many other communities lows were in the teens. The afternoon high temperature was only 26°F at Wadena.

The warmest April 19th occurred in 1985 when much of the southern half of Minnesota saw afternoon temperatures of 80°F or higher. Observers in 20 counties reported high temperatures in the 90s F.

A late season snowstorm brought heavy snows to most of Minnesota over April 18-19 if 2013. Many climate stations reported from 9 to 18 inches of snow. Portions of St Louis and Lake counties reported over 20 inches of snow. Many daily snowfall records were set around the state.


The weekend will start cooler than normal and breezy, but with mostly sunny skies. There will be chance for frost each night. Temperatures will warm Sunday and Monday, but with increased cloudiness and a chance for showers. Then generally above normal temperatures next week, but with periodic chances for showers and thunderstorms.

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