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Old 07-13-2007, 05:18 PM
 
3,542 posts, read 5,021,128 times
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Default Info on Minnesota climate and past winters/snowfall

I have seen many questions regarding Minnesota climate...here is a much of info regarding the climate of MN and many cities within the state...I mainly focused on snowfall as I have seen some posts regarding winters just aren't what they were in the past. That is not necessarily true.... I hope the below info helps...

Dan
Meteorologist in Grand Forks ND


This will serve all your climate needs for various communities in Minnesota:
Summaries and Publications

http://home.att.net/~minn_climo/mspsnow.gif
Graph showing seasonal snowfall for Minneapolis-St Paul since 1880....shows interesting trends...a snowy period mid 70s thru late 80s/early 90s...then a variable amounts from late 90s thru current with some years abv avg and others below. Overall from 1970 to 2005 more years have had above normal snowfall for MSP than below.....while 1920 thru 1950 saw more years with below normal values.

What two or three years does doesnt make a trend....oiverall data supports that we are in a snowy period for Minnesota as a whole...with significant variations from winter to winter since the late 90s. The worst periods for snow back to back were the winters in the mid 80s it appeared.
Recall the winter of 1996-97 for western Minnesota and eastern North Dakota was the worst ever with the highest snowfall ever in Fargo at 117 inches. 8 named blizzards for Grand Forks.


Worst winter storms in Minnesota history:

Nov 10, 1835 Severe storms caused 19 shipwrecks on Great Lakes,
254 sailors died

Feb 13-15, 1866, arguably one of the worst blizzards in Minnesota
history, lasted 3 days, drifts to 20 ft buried barns in western
counties, struck at nite so deaths were reduced.

Nov 8, 1870 first winter storm warning was issued by the U.S. Army
Signal Corps

Mar 14-16, 1870 blizzard struck northern Iowa and SW Minnesota with
up to 16 inches of snowfall. First use of the term "blizzard" (from
boxing, meaning volley of punches) by the Esterville, IA Vindacator
newspaper. The term blizzard was not used by the U.S. Signal Corps
Weather Service until 1876.

Jan 7-10, 1873 started as a mild day, people active outside, then
blizzard struck, drastic temperature drop, 70 deaths, hundreds
of cattle lost, trains stuck for days in high drifts.

October 16, 1880, earliest blizzard in Minnesota, struck SW and WC
counties. Huge drifts exceeding 20 ft in the Canby area last until
the next spring

Jan 12-13, 1888 started as a mild day, children in school, people
working outside. Abrupt cold wave struck with blinding snow,
temperature fell to -37 degrees F. Children sent home early from
school, but many died. Deaths totaled 200 in perhaps Minnesota's
worst blizzard. Predated one of the east coast's worst blizzards
which struck two months later in March.

Mar 8-9, 1892 one of Duluth's worst blizzards. 70 mph winds,
blinding snow piled drifts over 20 ft high, blocking second
story windows in some buildings.

Jan 31, 1893 blizzard at Park Rapids, MN temperature drop of 40
degrees F in less than 5 hours.

Nov 26, 1896 famous Thanksgiving Day storm, rain and thunderstorms
in southern Minnesota, snow and blizzard in ND and central and northern
MN counties. People caught traveling for the holiday. Severe cold wave
as Pokegama Dam went down to -45 degree F.

Nov 27-28, 1905 another blizzard at Duluth with 60 mph winds. Sank
ships in Lake Superior.

Nov 9-11, 1913, one of the worst November storms ever on the Great
Lakes. Blizzard in northern MN, 62 mph winds at Duluth, three ships
lost on Lake Superior.

Oct 19-20, 1916 one of the earliest blizzards, with up to 15 inches
of snow in western counties, and a 50 degrees F temperature drop.

Jan 16, 1921 blizzard conditions in northern counties with 59 mph
winds and blowing soil in southern Minnesota counties.

Feb 21-23, 1922 an ice storm followed by a blizzard.

Feb 12-14, 1923 Black dust blizzard occurred blowing in dirty snow
from ND

Nov 11-12, 1933 dust storm in southern and central counties, visibility
near zero, blizzard in NW counties.

Nov 11, 1940 Armistice Day Blizzard, mild day to start, hunting season
in full swing, 17 inches of snow MSP, 27 inches at Collegeville,
duck hunters unprepared and exposed on Mississppi River islands, 49
deaths, plus 59 sailors lost on Great Lakes. Slow moving system
which intensified.

Mar 14-15, 1941 terrible blizzard in western counties, 85 mph winds
at Grand Forks, 75 mph winds at Duluth, 32 deaths
(footnote: terrible blizzards of the winter of 40-41 prompted the
Weather Service to refine the forecast regional responsibilities;
Minnesota formerly under the jurisdiction of Chicago office acquired
responsibilities to dictate own forecast and procedures.)

Dec 5-8, 1950 blizzard in northern MN delivered 25.2 inches of snow
to Duluth.

Nov 17-18, 1958, blizzard with 60 mph winds, 33 men died with the
sinking of the Carl D. Bradley on Lake Michigan.

Nov 28, 1960 severe storm and blizzard, dubbed a no'eastern hammered
the Lake Superior shoreline, producing 20 to 40 ft waves which destroyed
shoreline property. Three feet of water flood the streets of Grand
Marais, MN. Winds gusted to 73 mph and Duluth recorded over 1 ft of
snowfall. Thousands of chords of pulpwood washed into Lake Superior.

Mar 1-4, 1966 smaller scale blizzard with 37 inches of snow near
International Falls.

Jan 16, 1967 a shortlived, fast-moving blizzard resulted in 7 deaths
statewide, some from snow shoveling.

Dec/Jan 1968-69 one of the stormiest winters with six separate blizzard
warnings in the state and total snowfalls ranging from 30 to 50 inches
in northern counties from the six storms.

Jan 24, 1972 fierce blizzard in SW, MN with 72 mph winds at Worthington,
up to 10 inches of snow, schools closed but buses stranded, many sought
shelter in farm homes.
Dec 31, 1972 New Year's Eve blizzard halted many celebrations and activities.

Jan 10-12, 1975 perhaps one of the worst blizzards and strongest storms.
Closed most roads in the state, some for 11 days, 20 ft drifts. One to two
feet of snow, train stuck at Willmar, 15,000 head of livestock lost. Many
low barometric pressure records set (28.55 at Duluth), winds to 80 mph,
storm intensified over the state, 14 people died in blizzard, and 21 more
from heart attacks.
Mar 23-24, and Mar 26-29, 1975 blizzards in northern MN. 100 mph winds,
20 ft waves on Lake Superior damaged shoreline properties, zero visibility
near Duluth, which received 1 ft of snow from each storm.
Nov 10-11, 1975, a severe winter storm with 71 mph winds created 12 to 15
ft waves on Lake Superior, sank the Edmund Fitzgerald. Storm intensified
as it moved over the area.

Nov 19, 1981, heavy snow with near blizzard conditions. Over a foot of wet
snow caused the inflated fabric of the Metrodome to collapse and rip.

Feb 4, 1984 blizzard in southern MN with severe wind to 80 mph caused a
wall of white, even though snowfall totals were only a few inches. Severe
windchills. Many stranded in vehicles or fish houses, sixteen died.

Mar 3-4, 1985 blizzard with 6 to 24 inches of snowfall. Duluth reported
winds to 90 mph, and huge multi-story drifts. Schools in International
Falls closed.

Nov 16, 1988 near blizzard conditions in northern counties with 11 inches
of snow in International Falls.
Nov 26, 1988 blizzard struck again over most of the state this time. Winds
reached 63 mph at Windom, snow drifts up to 7 ft high. Snowfalls up to
14 inches in east central MN.

Jan 6-8, 1989 one of the worst ever blizzards in the Red River Valley
delivered up to 26 inches of snow. Roads closed, 50 mph winds. Set up
flooding.

Oct 31-Nov 3, 1991 Halloween Blizzard. Over 28 inches at MSP, nearly 37
inches at Duluth. Nasty windchill conditions, deep snow drifts harsh
on wildlife, many roads closed for days. Perhaps one of the largest and
longest lasting blizzards in state history.

Feb 28-Mar 2, 2007 blizzard brings over 20 inches of snow and winds
exceeding 50 mph to the Duluth area. More information can be found at:
http://climate.umn.edu/doc/historica...2007_02_28.txt.
The blizzard came on the heels of another major winter storm that plodded
through the Upper Midwest and dropped over two feet of snow on southeastern
Minnesota from February 23 through February 26. The Duluth area received
over 12 inches of snow in this first event.

Harsh winters:
1995-96: Dec 8, 1995 blizzard in WC MN
Jan 10 blizzard in WC MN
Jan 17-18 blizzard in SW MN
Jan 26-29, 1996 blizzard in southern and western counties
Feb 10-11, 1996 blizzard in northern counties, Governor closed schools
Mar 23-25, 1996 blizzard in northern and central counties, Hwy 10 closed

1996-97: Nov 16-17, 1996 Blizzard in NW and WC
Dec 17-19, 1997 Blizzard in western and southern counties
Dec 20-21, 1997 Blizzard in NW
Dec 23, 1997 Blizzard in WC
Dec 31, 1997 New Year's Eve Blizzard in NW
Jan 4-5, 1997 Blizzard in western counties
Jan 9-10, 1997 Blizzard in western and southern counties
Jan 15-16, 1997 Blizzard in western counties
Jan 21-22, 1997 Blizzard in western counties
Mar 4, 1997 Blizzard in WC
Apr 5-6, 1997 Blizzard in western counties during flood fight
Total seasonal snowfall at Fargo-Moorhead 117 inches, set up worst flooding
ever.
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Old 07-14-2007, 05:14 AM
 
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This might explain why we think that we have so much less snow now, we grew up in the 70's and 80's. I remember some of those blizzards. I also remember in the early 80's having two 20+" snow falls just a couple days apart. It was a great time in MN in the 70's with all that snow!
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Old 04-03-2009, 08:08 PM
 
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i<m looking for the answer for what days did minnesota have snow fall a little as a trace
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Old 04-04-2009, 09:20 AM
 
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I know St Cloud just broke the all time record for precipitation in the month of March.
The old record was set in the 1800's.

Regarding snowstorms, I'm surprised the St Patrick's Day storm in 1965 wasn't listed.

27 inches fell and my scrapbook has headlines------"400 cars stalled on hwy10 near Rice "-

I remember that one quite well !

Nobody where I worked was able to go home (if they lived outside St Cloud) for 3 days due to roads plugged .
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Columbus OH
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Great info. Thanks for posting!
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Old 04-08-2009, 08:13 AM
 
Location: International Falls MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
This might explain why we think that we have so much less snow now, we grew up in the 70's and 80's. I remember some of those blizzards. I also remember in the early 80's having two 20+" snow falls just a couple days apart. It was a great time in MN in the 70's with all that snow!
You might have less down south but we have had record snow this year. All time record 125 inches so far this season & possibly another month left, man I hope not!
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Old 10-09-2009, 05:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
This might explain why we think that we have so much less snow now, we grew up in the 70's and 80's. I remember some of those blizzards. I also remember in the early 80's having two 20+" snow falls just a couple days apart. It was a great time in MN in the 70's with all that snow!
I remember pretty much every storm from the 70's, 80's and early 90's. I only remember the Blizzard of 1975 because it occured on my birthday, no party that year.

I clearly remember the one from early March of 1985, because we had been on a ski trip, up in Ironwood Michigan. On that day, we were driving from there back to Willmar Minnesota, where my dad lived at the time. Since there wasn't much warning, we drove right into that SOB. My dad was driving a station wagon, I think we could have gotten home faster if he had rented a wheel barrel and pushed all of us. It took 6 hours to get from cloud to willmar, about 55 or 60 miles. He gets the coal burner all the way home (safe and sound) which was a miracle. Then, the car slid backwards down the driveway into a tree! lmao We left pretty early, so it really didn't get bad until we were in north central minnesota, just north of cloud.

Halloween Blizzard was bad as it got brutally cold afterwards, broke several daily low (and high) temp records, roads were impassible for days. My brother drove through that coming from walker to the cities, having to floor his car just to bust through snow drifts. Not suprisingly, that one took the weather guys off guard.

Should be a mention of the Jan of 1982 storms we had. Back to back, 18+ inch snows within a couple days. I think most schools had to close for at least two days.

Minneapolis AP has only had 3 or 4 snows over 20 inches. Duluth has had a lot more.
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Old 10-10-2009, 06:17 AM
 
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What I am lookling at right now, I can't ever recall happening in my lifetime ( 64 years old)

We have a thick covering of snow still on the ground from early last night, a temp of 19 ( 12 wind chill) and the trees still have green leaves on them.

I have seen early snowfalls before that blanketed the ground, but never when all the leaves are still on the trees and the majority haven't even turned color yet.

( central Minnesota )
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Old 10-10-2009, 06:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
What I am lookling at right now, I can't ever recall happening in my lifetime ( 64 years old)

We have a thick covering of snow still on the ground from early last night, a temp of 19 ( 12 wind chill) and the trees still have green leaves on them.

I have seen early snowfalls before that blanketed the ground, but never when all the leaves are still on the trees and the majority haven't even turned color yet.

( central Minnesota )
How much snow did you get? We got a light dusting in the southern suburbs. They are saying that west central and central MN can expect "several" inches of snow tomorrow .
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Old 10-10-2009, 07:12 AM
 
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There is no grass visible on the lawn whatsoever and it needed to be mowed .

We were waiting for the ground to firm up first after all that rain.

Strange to see everything blanketed in snow and those huge cottonwood trees full of deep green leaves.
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