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

Winter Weather in January? A Novel Idea

January 2004 Saint Cloud Weather Summary

   For the first time in 8 years, January in Saint Cloud was typical of a winter month. The average temperature, according to the Saint Cloud Regional Airport statistics, was 7.3°F. This was 1.4°F colder than normal, marking the first time since January 1996 that Saint Cloud had a normal or colder than normal January. (January monthly temperature of the past 15 years). Of course, this does not mean that January 2004 was a severely cold month; it means that the past 7 Januaries were unusually mild. Because of the recent mild winters, several "returning-to-reality" milestones were set. On January 5, Saint Cloud had its first zero-or-colder high temperature since December 24, 2000. (Highs of zero or colder) On January 29, Saint Cloud had its first high temperature at or below -10°F since December 25, 1996. (Highs of -10°F or colder) And, when the temperature bottomed out at -31°F on January 30th, it was the first time the temperature dropped to -30°F or below since December 26, 1996. (Lows of -30°F or colder) Does the long time between these cold readings prove that this was an extraordinarily cold month? No, it mainly reinforces the fact that six of the past seven winters have been mild.

   Winter didn't arrive right away in January 2004. During the first 17 days of January, the average temperature was 14.3°F (High 22.3°F; Low 6.3°F), more than five and a half degrees above normal. We also had nearly no snow cover as there was only 0.5 inches of snowfall. However, during the last two weeks of January, Saint Cloud experienced three surges of arctic air. Before the last one, the snowstorm of January 25-27 added a deep snow cover (8.4 inches of snow in Saint Cloud), allowing temperatures to get even colder in the last week of the month. The average temperature of January 18-31 was -1.5°F (high 6.9°F; low -9.8°F), more than ten degrees below normal. Those two weeks also produced storms that produced 11.2 inches of snow, including the January 25-27 storm that dumped more than 27 inches on Duluth and 18-20 inches in Staples. (January 2004 daily statistics)

   Total snowfall for January 2004, as measured at the Saint Cloud State University observing site, was 11.7 inches. Despite the slow start, this total was 0.7 inches above normal. The snow was drier than usual, since the water content was only 0.42 inches, about a third of an inch below normal. The dryness of the snow was produced by the cold air over central Minnesota. The ground temperature was only in the single digits or teens during most of the snowfall, allowing fully-formed snow crystals. Thus, it often took only .03-.05 inches of liquid (rather than the usual .05-.10 inch of water) to produce an inch of snow. The snowstorm of January 25-27 did break one snowfall record for January 26, the only record broken in January.(Saint Cloud daily records for January) The 2003-2004 seasonal snowfall now totals 32.1 inches. This total, slightly more than the entire 2002-2003 total of 32.0 inches) is more than three inches above normal for this point of the winter. (2003-2004 and historic seasonal snowfall).

    What will February bring? In the short term, the coldest of the cold air in North America was drained out of northern Alaska and the Yukon, so we won't be as cold as last week. However, the large increase in snow cover (see current snow depth from National Hydrologic Service Center) over Minnesota and to the south will make warming up to normal or above normal temperatures difficult. On top of that, the long-range forecast shows that new arctic air will get into Alaska this week and it may be headed this way by the middle of next week. So, I hope you like winter, because it's going to stay a while.

January 2004 Statistics

Temperatures (°F)
January 2004
Normal
January Average High Temperature (°F)
15.6
18.6
January Average Low Temperature (°F)
-1.0
-1.2
Mean Temperature for January (°F)
7.3
8.7
January Extremes
Temperature(°F)
Date
Warmest High Temperature for January 2004 (°F)
35
January 2nd
Coldest High Temperature for January 2004 (°F)
-11*
January 29th
Warmest Low Temperature for January 2004 (°F)
19
January 10th and 11th
Coldest Low Temperature for January 2004 (°F)
-31**
January 30th
Record Temperatures in January 2004
Temperature(°F)
Date
Old Record
No temperature records set
+First high temperature of 0°F or colder since December 24, 2000 (-1°F)
*First high temperature of -10°F or colder since December 25, 1996
(-12°F)
**First low temperature of -30°F since December 26, 1996 (-34°F)
Temperature Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
January 2004 Days with High Temperatures <= 32°F
29
January 2004 Days with High Temperatures <= 0°F
3+
2.6
January 2004 Days with High Temperatures <= -10°F
1
0.5
January 2004 Days with Low Temperatures <= 32°F
31
30.9
January 2004 Days with Low Temperatures <= 0°F
15
15.9
January 2004 Days with Low Temperatures <= -20°F
4
2.9
January 2004 Days with Low Temperatures <= -30°F
1
0.4
Precipitation (in)
January 2004
Normal
January Precipitation (in)
0.42
0.76
Precipitation Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
January 2004 Days with Measurable (>= 0.01 inch) Precipitation
5
7.1
January 2004 Days with >= 0.10 inch Precipitation
2
2.4
January 2004 Days with >= 0.25 inch Precipitation
0
0.8
January 2004 Days with >= 0.50 inch Precipitation
0
0.2
January 2004 Days with >= 1.00 inch Precipitation
0
0.0
January Extremes
Precipitation (in)
Date
Most Daily Precipitation in January 2004
0.19
January 26th
Record Precipitation in January 2004
Precipitation (in)
Date
Old Record
No Precipitation Records Set
Snowfall (in)
January 2004
Normal
January 2004 Snowfall (in)
11.7
11.0
2003-2004 Seasonal Snowfall (1 Oct 2003 - 31 Jan 2004)
32.1
27.3
January Extremes
Snowfall (in)
Date
Most Daily Snowfall in January 2004
5.6
January 26th
(Broke Record; See Below)
Record Snowfall in January 2004
Snowfall (in)
Date
Old Record
Daily Snowfall
5.6
January 26th
2.8 in 1958
 


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Last updated: 1-March-2004
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