<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> February 2013 and Winter 2013 St. Cloud Weather Summary
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10 Snowiest Februaries

The Reality of Winter Returns

February 2013 and Winter 2012-2013 Saint Cloud, MN, Weather Summary

Note: This is a summary of meteorological winter, which is defined as the three coldest months of the year (1 December through 28 February). Astronomical winter ends on the spring equinox, which will be on March 20 this year. That's the day when we get back to 12 hours of daylight. Also, note that the cold season can be used to refer to the part of the year when Minnesota can get snow (typically Oct-Apr, but can be longer) or the heating season (July 1-June 30).

A Snowiest February, But Not High in the Extreme Ranks

Febuary 2013 resetablished the snowpack after a January relatively light on snow. There was a total of 16.8 inches in February, making it 9th snowiest February among the 106 Februaries in St. Cloud records. The month began like gangbusters with measurable snowfall for seven straight days from January 31 through February 6. That ties four other streaks with seven straight days of snow, the most recent coming in January 1975. The only longer streak was 8 days, set in January 4-11, 1994.

Then, there were a pair of shovelable snowstorms before the middle of the month: 6.7 inches on February 10 and 3.5 inches on Feburary 13. At that point, with half the month to got, it seemed like it would be relatively easy to reach the record for snowiest February (21.6 inches in 1971). However, the active storm track that set up for most of the month, with storms pushing from the Southern Rockies into the Plains states, then headed northeastward, began to drift too far to the south to hit Minnesota. So, places like Kansas and Missouri got clobbered while St. Cloud only picked up 1.7 inches from the 14th through the end of the month.

There were 12 days of measurable snowfall in February 2013, tied with 1928-1929 for the second most February days with measurable snowfall. The record for February was 15 days, set in 1978-1979. The most days with measurable snow for any month was 19 days, set in December 1950.

There were three days that either broke or tied the record for daily snowfall. The 6.7 inches on February 10 and the 3.5 inches on February 13 both broke records and the 1.3 inch on February 22 tied the record, set in 1979. This makes 5 days with daily record snowfall so far this winter with December 9 (11.0 inches, new December record) and March 5 (4.0 inches) the other record-breakers.

For the cold season so far, St. Cloud picked up 46.3 inches of snow, including the snowstorm of March 4-5, which set the daily record for March 5 and also produced more snow (8.8 inches) than the average for the entire month of March (8.1 inches). That's slightly above the full-season average of 46.1 inches with still the rest of March and April to go. It's about 19 inches more than last winter's total and greater than the total for the entire season for 6 winters since 2002-2003.

The liquid contained in that snow totaled 1.33 inches in February, nearly three-quarters of an inch above the average February precipitation (0.59 inch). This ranks as the 17th wettest February out of 129 Februaries on record. More than half of the liquid (0.70 inch) fell on February 10, setting a daily record and making that snowfall unusually wet and heavy. The winter total precipitation has been 3.28 inches, 1.10 inches above average and the 13th highest Dec-Feb total in St. Cloud records.

Temperature-wise, February 2013 was colder than normal, and that was unusual for recent months. February's average temperature of 14.8°F was 2.2°F colder than the average. It was the only month of this meteorological winter (December 1-February 28) that was colder than average and only the second month since June 2011 that has been colder than average. For the entire winter, the temperature was 15.3°F, a half-degree warmer than normal.

There were 12 days with a low of at least zero, which is right on the average for the month. To date (as of March 7), there have been 40 days with a low of zero or colder, which is just short of the average number of 42.7, and a far cry from last winter, when St. Cloud had the fewest number of sub-zero lows (10 days).

The high temperature on February 1 was zero, so that was the second day this winter with a high of zero or colder. The average number of days for the winter is 4.3, but St. Cloud hasn't had more than 2 in a winter since 2008-2009.

On the other hand, February 1 had a low temperature of -18°F, which tied January 1 and 22 for the coldest temperatures of the winter so far. This is the second consecutive winter without a -20°F low. Since there hasn't been a March day with a -20°F low since 1965 and only 5 all-time, this is likely to be the first time without a -20°F for back-to-back winters in St. Cloud records, which date back to 1893-1894. The -18°F as the coldest low of the season would tie 1900-1901 as the 5th mildest cold low on record. Last winter, the coldest low was -17°F, which tied for 3rd. There have only been 7 winters in which -20°F was never reached, two of them in the past 2 years.

Why did we get so much snow in February? The steering winds over North America shifted often to a pattern in which West Coast storms moved southeastward into the Southern Rockies, then redeveloped over the Plains states. From there on, they steered towards the northeast. These storms often have access to deep moisture, since the location east of the Rockies gets Gulf of Mexico air into the storm more quickly than on a more northern track. When St. Cloud was hit by these storms, the track was far enough north dump snow. When these storms moved more west-to-east, places like Wichita and Kansas City got pounded. Wichita, in one week, got 21 inches of snow, exceeding their highest snowfall total for any month.

Since drought dominated the weather news for the second half of the growing season (see latest US Drought Monitor and Minnesota State Climatology Office Drought Report). The snow pack over Minnesota is now over 20 inches in the southwest, west central, and northern portions of the state (16 inches in St. Cloud). The amount of water within that snow pack is over 4 inches where the snow is deepest and 3.2 inches as of yesterday's measurement at SCSU. This will be good news for area streams and lakes, since the snowmelt will runoff into these areas. However, the ground is still frozen underneath, so the snowpack won't help to ease the ground water shortfall, which is crucial for supply. We will need plenty of spring rainfall to get the ground water levels back up.

On the other hand, there probably is enough water locked in the snowpack to increase the risk of spring river flooding. The last forecast, made February 17, indicated about the average chance of flooding. However, the water equivalent was in the 2-4 inch range with a small area of 5 inches in the Upper Minnesota River Valley. This report was scheduled to be updated yesterday, but it has been delayed while more reports of the deeper snowpack come in. It is possible that the recent snows will result in an upgrade of flood potential, especially in the Red and Minnesota River Valleys.

The active weather pattern is forecast to continue through the weekend with the next West Coast storm moving into the Plains by Friday and bringing more significant precipitation to most of Minnesota over the weekend. Unfortunately, it looks like this system will be lacking cold air, so much of the precipitation will fall as rain, and a good deal of it could take the form of sleet and freezing rain. Parts of northern Minnesota with the deepest snow right now could pick up another 4-8 inches, this time a heavy, wet snow, on top of it.

 

 

10 Snowiest Februaries

February 2013 Statistics

Temperatures (°F)
Feb 2013
Normal
Average High Temperature (°F)
24.5
26.8
Average Low Temperature (°F)
5.1
7.2
Mean Temperature for February (°F)
14.8
17.0
*9th Warmest February in St. Cloud Records  
February Extremes
Temperature(°F)
Date
Warmest High Temperature for Feb 2013 (°F)
40
Feb. 27
Coldest High Temperature for Feb 2013 (°F)
0
Feb. 11
Warmest Low Temperature for Feb 2013 (°F)
30
Feb. 29
Coldest Low Temperature for Feb 2013 (°F)
-2
Feb. 11
Record Temperatures in February 2013
Temperature(°F)
Date
Old Record
No Temperature Records Set
Temperature Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
February 2013 Days with High Temperatures <= 32°F
22
20.0
February 2013 Days with High Temperatures <= 0°F
0
0.8
February 2013 Days with High Temperatures <= -10°F
0
0.5
February 2013 Days with Low Temperatures <= 32°F
28
27.8
February 2013 Days with Low Temperatures <= 0°F
12
12.2
February 2013 Days with Low Temperatures <= -20°F
0
2.9
February 2013 Days with Low Temperatures <= -30°F
0
0.4
Liquid Equivalent Precipitation (in)
Feb 2013
Normal
February 2013 Saint Cloud Airport Melted Precipitation (in)
1.33
0.59
February Extremes
Precipitation (in)
Date
Most Daily Precipitation in February 2013
0.70 inch (set record; see below)
Feb. 10
Record Precipitation in February 2013
Precipitation (in)
Date
Old Record
Daily Record Precipitation
0.70
Feb. 10
0.65 in 1898
Precipitation Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
February 2013 Days with Measurable (>= 0.01 inch) Precipitation
8
5.7
February 2013 Days with >= 0.10 inch Precipitation
3
2.1
February 2013 Days with >= 0.25 inch Precipitation
2
0.8
February 2013 Days with >= 0.50 inch Precipitation
1
0.3
February 2013 Days with >= 1.00 inch Precipitation
0
0.0
Snowfall (in)
Feb. 2013
Normal
February 2013 Saint Cloud Airport Snowfall (in)
16.8*
7.2
Snowfall Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
February 2013 Days with Measurable (>= 0.1 inch) Snowfall
12
5.7
February 2013 Days with >= 1.0 inch Snowfall
5
2.6
February 2013 Days with >= 2.0 inch Snowfall
3
1.4
February 2013 Days with >= 5.0 inch Snowfall
1
0.2
February Extremes
Snowfall (in)
Date
Most Daily Snowfall (in) in February 2013
6.7 (set record; see below)
February 10
Record Snowfall (in) in February 2013
Snowfall (in)
Date
Old Record
Daily Record Snowfall
6.7
February 10
3.6 inches in 1953
 
3.5
February 13
3.4 inches in 1991
 
1.3 (tie)
February 22
tied record set in 1979

*9th Snowiest February in St. Cloud Records

Link to 10 Snowiest Februaries

10 Snowiest Februaries

Winter (Dec 1-Feb 28) 2012-2013 Statistics

Temperatures (°F)
Winter 2012-2013
Normal
Average High Temperature (°F)
24.6
24.2
Average Low Temperature (°F)
6.0
5.3
Mean Temperature for Winter (°F)
15.3
14.8
 
Winter Extremes
Temperature
Date
Warmest High Temperature for Winter 2012-2013 (°F)
53
Dec 3, 2012
Coldest High Temperature for Winter 2012-2013 (°F)
-6
Jan 21, 2013
Warmest Low Temperature for Winter 2012-2013 (°F)
38
Dec 31, 2012
Coldest Low Temperature for Winter 2012-2013 (°F)
-18@
Jan 1, Jan 22, Feb 1, 2013

@Tied for 5th mildest extreme cold season low

Coldest Temperatures of the Season
Temperature Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal

Cold Season 2012-2013
Days with High Temperatures <= 32°F

#Tied for fewest through Feb.

68
87.6

Cold Season 2012-2013
Days with High Temperatures <= 0°F

1
4.3

Cold Season 2012-2013
Days with High Temperatures <= -10°F

None since January 29, 2004

0
0.6

Cold Season 2012-2013
Days with Low Temperatures <= 32°F

131
170.4

Cold Season 2012-2013
Days with Low Temperatures <= 0°F

37
42.7

Cold Season 2012-2013
Days with Low Temperatures <= -20°F

None since February 10, 2011

First consecutive cold seasons without -20°F low on record

0
5.4

Cold Season 2012-2013
Days with Low Temperatures <= -30°F

0
0.6
Liquid Equivalent Precipitation (in)
Winter 2012-2013
Normal
Saint Cloud Airport Winter Melted Precipitation (in)
3.28
2.18
Precipitation Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
Winter 2012-2013
Days with Measurable (>= 0.01 inch) Precipitation
24
19.4
Winter 2012-2013
Days with >= 0.10 inch Precipitation
7
6.5
Winter 2012-2013
Days with >= 0.25 inch Precipitation
4
2.3
Winter 2012-2013
Days with >= 0.50 inch Precipitation
3
0.6
Winter 2012-2013
Days with >= 1.00 inch Precipitation
0
0.0

 

Snowfall (in)
Winter 2012-2013
Normal
Winter 2012-2013 Snowfall (in)
34.3
25.5
Seasonal Snowfall (in) for Cold Season 2012-2013 (October 1, 2012-March 5, 2013)
44.9
35.9
     
Snowfall Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
Cold-Season 2012-2013 Days with Measurable Snowfall
37
24.8
Cold-Season 2012-2013 Days with >= 1.0 inch Snowfall
8
10.6
Cold-Season 2012-2013 Days with >= 2.0 inch Snowfall
5
5.5
Cold-Season 2012-2013 Days with >= 5.0 inch Snowfall
2
1.0
10 Snowiest Februaries

 

St. Cloud Mildest Extreme Low of the Cold Season

Rank
Winter

Coldest Low Temperature of Season (°F)

1
2001-2002
-9
2
1982-1983
-16
3 (tie)
2005-2006
-17
3 (tie)
2011-2012
-17
5 (tie)
1900-1901
-18
5 (tie)
2012-2013
-18
7
1897-1898
-19
8 (tie)
1956-1957
-20
8 (tie)
1986-1987
-20
10
1931-1932
-21
7 tied with -22, including 2006-2007
   
2007-2008
-24
2008-2009
-36
2009-2010
-27
2010-2011
-29
Consecutive Days With Measurable Snowfall
Rank Consecutive Days Dates Total Snowfall (in)
1
8
January 4-11, 1994
8.9
2 (tie)
7
December 2-8, 1950
11.9
2 (tie)
7
December 22-28, 1969 
8.3 
2 (tie)
7
 January 5-11, 1975
16.4 
2 (tie)
7
 January 31-February 6, 2013
 5.0

 

10 Snowiest Februaries

 



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Last updated: March 8, 2013
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