<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> December 2013 Saint Cloud Weather Summary
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St. Cloud 2013 Year at a Glance

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    (December 2013 Summary)




  1. 2nd Snowiest Calendar Year
  2. Snowiest April
  3. 2nd Snowiest Feb-Apr
  4. April 9-12 Snowstorm
  5. April 18-19 Snowstorm

Persistently Snowy and Cold December, But It Has Been Worse (2000)

The constant flow of arctic air masses into the Northern Plains produced a combination of one of St. Cloud's 10 coldest, wettest, snowiest, and most frequently snowy Decembers, but set few cold records.

Tied for 7th Coldest December (Estimated)

The St. Cloud December average temperature was 6.4°F, ranking in 7th place among the coldest Decembers in St. Cloud records. This would be 9.7°F colder than average, but still more than two and a half degrees short of December 2000, the third coldest on record. The coldest December remains 1983, which had a below zero average temperature and was three and a half degrees colder than the runner-up.

There were 6 days with a high of 0°F or colder, 2 more than the average for the entire winter, more than any December since that bitterly cold 1983 (7 days). This is also more than any complete cold season since 1996-1997 and we could past that year and the year before with the expected cold temperatures the rest of the week. This is after not having a sub-zero high between January 23, 2011 and January 21 of this year.

There were 18 days with a low of 0°F or colder in December 2013, the most December sub-zero lows since December 2008 (19 days). However, the temperature dipped below -20°F on December 24 (low of -25°F). That was the first low of -20°F or colder since February 10, 2011. The last 7 days of the month ended up with 4 lows of -20 or colder, the most in December since 2008, and nearly the average for the entire cold season (5.4 days).

The -25°F low was the coldest low seen since January 21, 2011, when the low was -29°F. St. Cloud hasn't seen a -30°F or colder low since January 16, 2009 (-36°F, the second of back-to-back lows in the minus 30s) and has been without a -40°F or colder low since February 2, 1996, the day of the cold record for the state of Minnesota (-60°F in Tower).

The reason for the recent absence of really cold temperatures? Our streak of milder than average winters that has dominated the late 1990's into the 2000's. Even though last winter, 2006-2007, and 2007-2008 were colder than the average, the last 15 winters have averaged the mildest of any in St. Cloud weather history. So, even though we aren't setting any records, it is colder than it has been in recent years.

7th Snowiest With Most Frequent Snowfall

It was no accident that the arctic air plunges began right after the first major snowfall of the year on December 3-4. That snow cover causes most of the sun's energy to be reflected to space, instead of heating up the air near the ground. That snow pack continued to deepen for most of the month, producing a December total snowfall of 20.4 inches, nearly ten inches above average and the 7th snowiest December on record, just behind 2010. The snow mostly came in small packages with 19 days of measurable snowfall. That ties December 1950, not only for the December record, but the month for the most frequent snowfall in St. Cloud records. January 1975 had the next most frequent snowfall with 18 days.

Longest Streak of Snowy Days in St. Cloud Records

The 19 days of measurable snow produced a streak of 8 straight days with measurable snowfall on December 19-26. The only other time in St. Cloud records when there were 8 straight days of snow was January 4-11, 1994.

6th Wettest December

Adding the melted equivalent from the snowfall and a little bit of rain from early in the month, St. Cloud has totaled 1.77 inches of meltwater. That total ranks as the 6th wettest December in St. Cloud records. The wettest December was 2010 when 2.56 inches fell. Amazingly, December 2010 "only" ranks as the 6th snowiest December (21.0 inches), since it was mild enough for a large part of it to fall as rain.

Prolonged Cold Not A Record Either

St. Cloud may be on a streak of consecutive days without an above zero high, since the temperature hasn't been higher than zero since 3 AM on Sunday morning. This string could stretch out until Thursday or Friday giving us as many as 4 straight days with a high of zero or colder. St. Cloud's record for consecutive days below zero is 8 days from January 28 through February 4, 1899. This streak was followed by a 6-day streak beginning on February 6, so 14 of the 15 days in late January and early February of 1899 had sub-zero temperatures. The last 5-day streak of below zero temperatures was January 30 through February 3, 1996. There were 4 day streaks in 1997 (Jan. 25-28) and 2005 (Jan. 14-17).

Earlier in the month, St. Cloud had a streak of 8 straight days with a low of zero or colder (December 5-12). This is far short of the record, however. There were 37 consecutive days with a low of zero or colder from January 17 through February 22 of 1936. More recently, there were 20 straight days with a low of at least zero from January 18 through February 6 of 1996, including 6 straight mornings with a low of -30°F or colder from January 30 through February 4.


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