<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> January 2003 Saint Cloud Weather Summary
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This Month's Daily Statistics


DATE: 1 February 2003


SUBJECT: Snow Drought Continues in Minnesota

               January 2003 St. Cloud weather summary


   The snow drought continued in January in central Minnesota. According to the statistics taken at Saint Cloud State University, the January snowfall was only 3.1 inches, seven inches below normal. The small January snowfall was the lowest January total since 1990, when only 0.1 inch fell.

    The combined snowfall total from November through January of this winter has only been 5.2 inches, the 4th lowest total on record. Normally, these three months produce 25.8 inches of snow in Saint Cloud. However, we did get 6.4 inches of snow in October, so the seasonal snowfall through the end of January is 11.6 inches. This ranks as the 18th lowest total on record. Normally, Saint Cloud should have received 26.3 inches of snow through the end of January.

    Since most of the possible precipitation this time of year is snow, the low snowfall totals produced very low melted precipitation totals. In January, only 0.17 inch fell, so January 2003 ranks as the 9th driest January on record. As was the case in the Twin Cities, Saint Cloud’s November through January precipitation is the lowest on record. Only 0.50 inch has fallen since November 1. The normal amount for the three-month period is 3.13 inches.

    You probably won’t believe that January 2003 in Saint Cloud was warmer than normal, but it was. According to the temperature data from the Saint Cloud Municipal Airport, the average temperature was 12.5°F, more than three and a half degrees above normal. Why? You may have forgotten the first 9 days of the month when there were two record-setting highs in the 50’s and 4 other days with a high above freezing. During January 1-9, the average high in Saint Cloud was 35.1°F and the average low was 18.6°F. These temperatures would have been normal weather for 10-14 March, not early January. The rest of the month was colder than normal. From January 10 on, the average high was 16.2°F and the average low was –2.9°F. These conditions were about 2°F colder than normal, but weren’t cold enough to offset the warm start.

   The cold weather did not set any records, but was uncomfortable since the past two years have been so mild. The low temperature of –16°F on January 23 was the coldest low temperature since February 21, 2001 (low of –24°F). The high temperature of 2°F on January 22 was the coldest high temperature since February 10, 2001 (high of 2°F). Still, this reflects how warm the winter of 2001-2002 was, rather than any extreme cold this year. To put this in perspective, there were 16 days with below zero lows this January. In all of last winter, there were only 12 days with a low below zero. The high temperature hasn’t been below zero since December 24, 2000. This is the longest period without a below zero high in Saint Cloud history. There have only been 12 calendar years without a below zero high, including 2001 and 2002. The nearly two year streak without a low of at least –20 is nearing record length as well. 2002 was only the 8th year on record without a low of at least –20. So the weather felt cold mainly because of our recent mild winters, not because the cold was so extreme.


SUMMARY FOR JANUARY 2003               JAN 2003         NORMAL
Average high temperature (°F)           21.7            18.6
Average low temperature (°F)             3.3            -1.2
Average temperature (°F)                12.5             8.7
Warmest high for this month (°F)         54 on the 8th (broke record;
                                                         see below)       
Coldest high for this month (°F)          2 on the 22nd
Mildest low for this month (°F)          29 on the 7th
Coldest low for this month (°F)         -16 on the 23rd
Record temperatures (°F):
Daily record warm high:                   51 on the 7th (old record: 42 in 1949,1963,1990)
                                          54 on the 8th (old record: 49 in 2002)
Daily record warm mean:                   40 on the 7th (old record: 36 in 1963)
                                          41 on the 8th (old record: 35 in 2002)
Daily record mild low:                    27 on the 8th (tied record set in 1914,1948,1992)
Earliest January 50-degree high           51 on the 7th (old record: 50 on Jan. 19, 1900)
January                                   0.17           0.74
Greatest in 24 hours                       .08 on the 31st                                                    
January                                    3.1           10.1
Greatest in 24 hours                       0.8 on the 31st 
Season (2002-2003)                        11.6           26.3
                ST. CLOUD SNOWFALL(IN)
2002-2003  6.4  0.4  1.7  3.1                       11.6
NORMAL     0.5  6.8  8.9 10.1  7.0  9.8  2.3  0.1   45.5
     ST. CLOUD PRECIP--JANUARY   (112 YEARS; AVG =  0.75 IN; SDEV =  0.56 IN)
         WETTEST                           DRIEST
      2.75 IN  1897                      0.00 IN  1898
      2.52 IN  1969                      0.02 IN  1942
      2.39 IN  1975                      0.06 IN  1990
      2.16 IN  1916                      0.07 IN  1931
      2.12 IN  1950                      0.07 IN  1961
      1.99 IN  1967                      0.09 IN  1974
      1.88 IN  1922                      0.14 IN  1924
      1.85 IN  1917                      0.15 IN  1948
      1.72 IN  1997                      0.17 IN  2003
      1.61 IN  1920                      0.18 IN  1964
Lowest Precipitation Totals – November through January 
Season      Snowfall(in)                Season      Melted Precipitation(in)
=========   ============                =========   ========================
1899-1900       2.8                     2002-2003            0.50                         
1939-1940       3.8                     1914-1915            0.61
1958-1959       4.1                     1980-1981            0.86
2002-2003       5.2                     1897-1898            0.88
1923-1924       5.6                     1923-1924            0.88
1901-1902       6.0                     1941-1942            0.89
1960-1961       7.0                     1904-1905            0.97
1941-1942       8.1                     1917-1918            0.97
1913-1914       8.6                     1962-1963            1.00
1980-1981       9.2                     1901-1902            1.03
Average        25.8                     Average              3.13

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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: 5-February-2003
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