<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> April 2004 Saint Cloud Weather Summary
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This Month's Daily Statistics

Saint Cloud Weather Summary for April 2004

Another Dry Growing Season Month

     With the snow gone and the ground thawing, the main weather-related problem was recovery from the dry spell from the second half of last year. April 2004 in Saint Cloud did not help this process. The total precipitation recorded at the Saint Cloud Municipal Airport last month was 1.29 inches, 0.84 inch below normal. When added to the precipitation deficit from last year, Saint Cloud is now about six and three-quarter inches short in rainfall since July 15, 2003 (See total precipitation deficit since July 15.) The result has been a worsening of the dry conditions, especially from Saint Cloud area westward. Last week's Drought Monitor from the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska shows most of western and central Minnesota rated as being in severe drought conditions. This is one category worse than the dry spell status was at the start of the month. The weekly Minnesota growing season precipitation map from the Minnesota State Climatologists Working Group shows that the worst conditions run from the Red River Valley through Bemidji and Grand Rapids. However, nearly the whole state except for the Long Prairie Area, the Saint Croix River Valley, and areas near Lake of the Woods either had below normal or normal rainfall during April (this report should be updated later today here). The frequent combination of dry ground with warm and windy days has made grass and brush fires a constant problem. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources did remove the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area from burning restrictions last Friday, but burning restrictions remain in place for 34 counties, mostly in northern and central Minnesota, including all counties but Kandiyohi and Meeker Counties in the Saint Cloud area. There has yet to be sufficient greening in these areas to ease the restrictions.

     April's dry conditions led to dramatic temperature swings in Saint Cloud. The average high temperature in Saint Cloud was 60.1°F, nearly six degrees above normal. However, the average low temperature was only 31.9°F, slightly below normal.Overall, April ended up with an average temperature of 46.0°F, 2.4°F above normal. The large daily range between high and low temperatures can also be blamed on the dry conditions. Water vapor, the gas form of water, in the atmosphere is a greenhouse gas that absorbs some of the sun's incoming energy during the day and absorbs a lot of the ground's radiation headed for space at night. Without much of that water vapor in the air, central Minnesota frequently had large daily temperature ranges, the difference between the daily high and low temperatures. There were 12 days during April with at least a 30°F spread between high and low temperatures. Three of these days had a daily temperature range of at least 40°F. The large daily temperature range was during the mini-summer preview last Wednesday when Saint Cloud hit 92°F. This heat broke a record high for the day by 6°F and was only the third April day with a high of at least 90°F since Saint Cloud daily temperature records began in 1897. Still, the dry air allowed a low temperature of 45°F that day, producing a daily temperature range of 47°F. The huge spread between high and low temperature is more typical of spring weather in desert climates than typical weather in the Central US. In fact, Saint Cloud in April had a larger average daily temperature range (28.2°F) than the normal April temperature range in Death Valley National Monument (normal high: 88.1°F; normal low: 61.7°F; normal daily temperature range: 26.4°F). If this weather continues, we could have many warm days, but still have a late date of last frost.

    For only the second time in the past 17 years, Saint Cloud did not have measurable snowfall in April 2004. Only a trace of snow was recorded in a few flurries on April 9th. The average April snowfall is 2.6 inches. Unless Saint Cloud gets measurable snow in May for only the sixth time since records began, we will finish the cold season of 2003-2004 with 50.3 inches of snow, 3.5 inches above normal.

    The long-range forecast for this week shows Minnesota on the border between cool Canadian air and much warmer air. This at least will yield the potential for welcome rainfall, but many of these systems have not provided all of the needed relief because the best moisture has been shunted off to the south and east of Saint Cloud. As for forecasts beyond the next week, I don't believe them, so I don't think you should either.

April 2004 Statistics

Temperatures (°F)
April 2004
Normal
Average High Temperature (°F)
60.1
54.9
Average Low Temperature (°F)
31.9
32.2
Mean Temperature for April (°F)
46.0
43.6
April Extremes
Temperature(°F)
Date
Warmest High Temperature for April 2004 (°F)
92 * (broke record; see below)
April 28th
Coldest High Temperature for April 2004 (°F)
41
April 9th, 10th, 11th
Warmest Low Temperature for April 2004 (°F)
45
April 28th
Coldest Low Temperature for April 2004 (°F)

19

April 11th
Record Temperatures in April 2004
Temperature(°F)
Date
Old Record
Daily Record Warm High
92*
April 28
86 in 1934
Daily Record Warm Mean Temperature
69
April 28
68 in 1934
*Third April day with a 90°F+ high in Saint Cloud history (1897-2004); first since 1980
Temperature Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
April 2004 Days with High Temperatures =>90°F
1*
0.04
April 2004 Days with High Temperatures <= 32°F
0
April 2004 Days with Low Temperatures <= 32°F
15
15.7

Cold-season 2003-2004 Days with Low Temperatures <= 32°F

170
170.4
Liquid Equivalent Precipitation (in)
April 2004
Normal
April 2004 Melted Precipitation (in)
1.29
2.13

Total Non-Winter Precipitation July 15, 2003 - April 30, 2004 (in)

(Does not include December 1, 2003- March 31, 2004)

7.73
14.51
April Extremes
Precipitation (in)
Date
Most Daily Precipitation in April 2004
0.51
April 20th
Precipitation Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
April 2004 Days with Measurable (>= 0.01 inch) Precipitation
7
8.4
April 2004 Days with >= 0.10 inch Precipitation
4
4.9
April 2004 Days with >= 0.25 inch Precipitation
2
3.1
April 2004 Days with >= 0.50 inch Precipitation
1
1.5
April 2004 Days with >= 1.00 inch Precipitation
0
0.2
Snowfall (in)
April 2004
Normal
April 2004 Snowfall (in)
Trace
2.6
Seasonal Snowfall (in) for Cold Season 2003-2004
50.3
46.8
April Extremes
Snowfall (in)
Date
Most Daily Snowfall (in) in April 2004
Trace
April 9th

Saint Cloud Precipitation Shortfall since July 15, 2003

Month
Precipitation (in)
Normal Precipitation (in)
Precipitation Shortfall (in)
July (15-31), 2003
0.66
1.75
-1.09
August 2003
0.69
3.93
-3.24
September 2003
3.94
2.93
+1.01

October 2003

1.10
2.24
-1.14
November 2003
1.05
1.54
-0.49
April 2004
1.29
2.13
-0.84
Total
July 15, 2003 - April 30, 2004
7.73
14.51
-6.78


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All climate data provided courtesy of NOAA/NWS
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and Minnesota Climatology Working Group, including the Minnesota State Climatologist's Office, University of Minnesota-Saint Paul Campus.

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Last updated: 3-May-2004
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