<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> April 2008 Saint Cloud Weather Summary
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Late Season Snow Records

Saint Cloud Weather Summary for April 2008

Sometimes April Is a Winter Month

 How soon we forget how many years that April turns out to be a winter-like month. But, that's certainly the way April 2008 in Saint Cloud happened. And, the Saint Cloud area didn't get directly hit by the worst of it.

The gory April numbers show an average temperature of 41.0°F, 2.6°F colder than normal, and 10.9 inches of snow, 8.3 inches more than normal. The chilly temperatures made April 2008 the coldest April since 1996. This is especially in contrast to last spring, which tied for the 8th mildest spring in St. Cloud records. The high amount of April snow ranks as the 4th highest April snowfall since 1903.

The snows came in two major events: the first storm on April 10-11 dropped 8.6 inches of snow in St. Cloud and dumped as much as 14.6 inches in Madison and a foot of snow in Little Falls. This snow was accompanied by winds of up to 62 MPH in Duluth and 87 MPH just 3,000 feet above the ground during the upper-air observation at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. The second storm on April 25-26 produced up to 18 inches of snow in Pelican Rapids and 8 inches in the Alexandria area. This second storm set several records for the largest snowfall this late in the season from eastern South Dakota to the Red River Valley, west central and north central Minnesota. St. Cloud only received a glancing blow from the snow with 2.3 inches, but the total precipitation from heavy rain and the west snow amounted to 1.20 inches at the St. Cloud Airport and nearly an inch and a half at SCSU. The second storm did produce a daily record snowfall for St. Cloud on April 26. Even though only 1.5 inches fell, there had never been previous measurable snowfall in St. Cloud on April 26 until this storm. The combination of clouds, snow, and cold from each storm produced a pair of 35°F highs, one on the 11th during the first storm and one on the 26th during the second storm. That cold high temperature on the 26th tied a record for the coldest high for the date. Three days after the first storm, clear skies and calm winds over deep snow cover produced a low temperature of 15°F on April 14th, tying the record cold low that was set in 1935.

Then, there was the third April storm that we missed. On April 5-7, more than 20 inches fell in a line from Bemidji through the Iron Range range with Virginia reporting 32 inches of snow. Saint Cloud was missed by most of the rain and only had a few stray snowflakes from this storm.

While I'm in the process of trying to fill in the holes for snowfall records before 1903, Pete Boulay of the State Climatology Office did note a late season blizzard that clobbered Saint Cloud. On April 19-21, 1893, St. Cloud picked up 30 inches of snow, 24 inches of which fell on a single day. Note that all of the other rankings are stated as "since 1903."

The April snowfall pushed St. Cloud to above normal seasonal snowfall, after being below normal for most of the season. The 2007-2008 seasonal snowfall is now 52.2 inches, nearly 5 inches above the normal amount of 47.4 inches. Since 1996-1997, there have been only two cold seasons with more snowfall than we have had in 2007-2008: 2000-2001 with 56.6 inches and 2001-2002 with 64.0 inches.

The heavy snowfall in March (three storms producing at least 5 inches from March 17 on) and April has led to some odd notable snow statistics. Overall, it was the oddest snow year with well below normal snowfall from December through February, but a persistent snow cover for 119 consecutive days. The combined March-April snowfall in 2008 totaled 28.7 inches, the 5th highest spring (March-May) snowfall since 1903. The highest total spring snowfall was set in 1965, thanks to St. Cloud's snowiest month on record (51.7 inches in March 1965) and is still part of the snowiest season in St. Cloud records (87.9 inches). Many of the years in the top ten, including 1917 and 1985 had all of their snow in March.

In 2007-2008, there has been more snow since March 1 (28.7 inches) than there was before March 1 (23.5 inches). So, 55.0% of our seasonal snowfall has fallen from March 1 on. That's the 8th highest percentage of spring snowfall. There have been only 10 seasons in which half or more of the snowfall has occurred after March 1. Only three of these season (1964-1965, 2001-2002, and 2007-2008) had above normal snowfall in the year (it's much easier to get a higher percentage when there is less total snow).

And, 2008 is only third year in which at least 10 inches of snow fell in both March and April. The only other years this has happened were 2002 and 1950. Overall, the seasonal snowfall in 2007-2008 looks a lot like 2001-2002. Temperature-wise, however, 2001-2002 ranks as the warmest winter in St. Cloud records, but then, the spring of 2002 ended up being the fourth coldest spring in St. Cloud history. While we have been chilly so far this spring, we'd have to have a May as far below normal as April to crack one of the 10 coldest springs.

All of the snow plus some heavy rain in the big storms did produce above normal precipitation. The April total precipitation was 2.94 inches, 0.81 inches above normal.

The cold and snow has produced a late season for thawing in Minnesota lakes. April 2008 ended with ice cover still on Lake Mille Lacs and all of the large northern lakes tracked by the State Climatology Office. This year's lake ice thaw is running as the slowest since at least 1996. 1950 was notable for having ice covered lakes during the fishing opener as far south as Osakis and Detroit Lakes. The latest ice-out date of the 51 years recorded for Lake Mille Lacs was May 7, 1965. There's a lot of melting to do in the next week to keep that record intact.

Does it look like there will be any changes in the pattern of slow-moving storms with snow on the northwestern fringe. We will be experiencing yet another of these storms the first three days of May. We could see quite a bit of rain from this storm and northeastern Minnesota could get some measurable wet snow on the 2nd and 3rd, but the big walloping from wet snow will be in the Black Hills. Beyond this late week, it does look like the overall weather pattern could change to more straight west-to-east flow, which means that storms next week shouldn't as wet and that it would be much harder to get enough cold air into these storms to produce snow. Without these slow-moving storms causing cloudy days and wet snow, temperatures should be much more seasonable, but let's see if this weather pattern change actually happens.

It is not unprecented, although it is rare, for May snowfall in St. Cloud. The last year we had measurable snowfall was 2005 when 0.1 inches fell on the 1st. The latest measurable snowfall was 0.2 inch on May 23, 1925. The latest 1-inch snowfall was May 19, 1971 when 3.2 inches fell.

Late Season Snow Records

April 2008 Statistics

Temperatures (°F)
April 2008
Normal
Average High Temperature (°F)
51.7
54.9
Average Low Temperature (°F)
30.2
32.2
Mean Temperature for April (°F)
41.0
43.6
April Extremes
Temperature(°F)
Date
Warmest High Temperature for April 2008 (°F)
75
April 21st, 23rd
Coldest High Temperature for April 2008 (°F)
35 (tied record daily cold high; see below)
April 11th,26th
Warmest Low Temperature for April 2008 (°F)
43
April 24th
Coldest Low Temperature for April 2008 (°F)

15

April 14th
Record Temperatures in April 2008
Temperature(°F)
Date
Old Record
Daily Record Cold High
35 (tie)
April 26
Tied Record set in 1950
Daily Record Cold Low
15 (tie)
April 14
Tied Record set in 1935
Temperature Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
April 2008 Days with High Temperatures =>90°F
0
0.04
April 2008 Days with High Temperatures <= 32°F
0
April 2008 Days with Low Temperatures <= 32°F
20
15.7

Cold-season 2007-2008 Days with Low Temperatures <= 32°F

180
170.4
Liquid Equivalent Precipitation (in)
April 2008
Normal
April 2008 Melted Precipitation (in)
2.94
2.13
April Extremes
Precipitation (in)
Date
Most Daily Precipitation in April 2008
0.87
April 25th
Record Precipitation in April 2008
Rainfall (in)
Date
Old Record
No Precipitation Records Set
Precipitation Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
April 2008 Days with Measurable (>= 0.01 inch) Precipitation
7
8.4
April 2008 Days with >= 0.10 inch Precipitation
7
4.9
April 2008 Days with >= 0.25 inch Precipitation
5
3.1
April 2008 Days with >= 0.50 inch Precipitation
2
1.5
April 2008 Days with >= 1.00 inch Precipitation
0
0.2
Snowfall (in)
April 2007
Normal
April 2008 Snowfall (in)
10.9**
2.6
52.
46.8
Record Snowfall in April 2008
Snowfall (in)
Date
Old Record
Daily Record Snowfall
1.5 inch
April 26
Trace in 1950
**4th Snowiest April since 1903
Late Season Snow Records

St. Cloud Late Season Snowfall Statistics (1904-2008)

Highest March-May Snowfall
Largest Percentage of Seasonal Snowfall During Spring
(white indicates above normal seasonal snowfall)
Largest March-April Snowfall (minimum: 10 inches in each month)
Rank
Year
Snowfall (inches)
Rank
Season Spring Percentage of Total Snowfall
Rank
Year
Snowfall (inches)
1
1965
57.8
1
1964-1965 65.8%
(57.8 of 87.9)
1
2002
35.1
2
1917
36.0
2
1963-1964 64.6%
(22.1 of 34.2)
2
2008
28.7
3
2002
35.1
3
1907-1908 63.4%
(22.2 of 35.0)
3
1950
21.8
4
1951
30.7
4
1923-1924 60.3%
(14.1 of 23.4)
No other years recorded
5
2008
28.7
5
1939-1940 56.4%
(14.5 of 25.7)
6
1985
22.8
6
1941-1942 55.3%
(14.7 of 26.6)
7
1908
22.2
7
1960-1961 55.2%
(14.3 of 25.9)
8
1964
22.1
8
2007-2008 55.0%
(28.7 of 52.2)
9
1950
21.8
9
2001-2002 54.8%
(35.1 of 64.0)
10
1975
20.1
10
1984-1985 50.0%
(22.8 of 45.6)
Normal
11.2 inches
Normal
23.6%
(11.2 of 47.5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late Season Snow Records


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Last updated: Thursday May 1, 2008 1:11 PM
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