<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> January 2011 Saint Cloud Weather Summary
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Cold and Snowy Again, But Not Spectacularly Cold and Snowy

 For the second straight month, January 2011 in St. Cloud was a month of frequent snow, which didn't amount to a huge amount. According to the statistics from the St. Cloud Reformatory, there were 15.6 inches of snow in St. Cloud in January 2011. That was more than 5 inches more than the normal amount of 10.5 inches. However, until a snowstorm on January 30-31, St. Cloud never got more than 2 inches on any day. There was measurable snow on 16 days during the month, but 13 of them produced less than 2 inches. Since the first snowfall of this cold season on November 13, there has been measurable snow on 32 of the 79 days, including 28 of the 62 days in December and January combined. In a normal cold season, there are 24 days from October 1 through the end of January.

The total snowfall for January was 15.6 inches, which ranks as the 18th highest snowfall in the 112 cold seasons in St. Cloud records. However, snowy Januaries have been rare over the past several years. There hadn't been a January with this much snowfall since 1999. In fact, the last 5 Januaries combined only produced 15.1 inches total, no January with more than 6.6 inches. This is in great contrast to the 1990's, which averaged 15.1 inches per January. Four of those Januaries were among the 10 whitest Januaries in St. Cloud records.

To this point in the cold season (since our first snowfall on November 13), St. Cloud has had a total of 40.2 inches, more than 11 inches more than the average of 28.8 inches through the end of January. That's the 12th highest seasonal snowfall through the end of January of the 112 snow seasons in St. Cloud records. The most seasonal snowfall through the end of January is 54.2 inches, set in 1936-1937. That year ended up with the second highest snowfall in St. Cloud records. However, several of the snowiest winters through January, including 1964-1965 (highest of all time with 87.9 inches) did not have very high snowfall totals through the end of January. In fact, three of St. Cloud's 4 snowiest winters had less snow than this season through January and picked up more than half of their snow in the last three months of the snow season.

Cold, But Not Cold Enough to Set Records

Much as was the case in December, January appeared to be a much colder than normal month, but ended up only slightly colder than normal. The average temperature at the St. Cloud Regional Airport was 7.6°F, only 1.1°F colder than normal. The first 23 days of the month included 18 days which were colder than normal. High temperatures only cracked 20 degrees on three days, while the low was below zero on 17 of the 23 days. This included two days with a high of only zero or colder and the two lows colder than -20°F, including the -29 low on January 21. That -29 low was the coldest we've seen in St. Cloud since January 16, 2009, when the low was -36. However, the last 8 days of the month produced a thaw with two highs in above freezing and all lows above zero.

On the average, the past 15 winters in St. Cloud have been among the mildest winters over the past 110 years. The two zero or colder highs this season makes a total of 32 days in the past 15 years (an average of 2.1 days per season). The two lows of -20 or colder so far this season mean that there have been only 50 such days since 1996-1997. Nearly a quarter of the -20 lows happened in 2008-2009. That's an average of 3.3 days per cold season, again well below the long-term average of 5.4 days.

Snow Contained Enough Moisture to Be Above Normal

As was the case last January, the liquid precipitation in January was above average. Unlike last January (the 5th lowest January snowfall), most of it fell as snow. 0.96 inches of melted precipitation fell during January 2011 in St. Cloud, 0.20 inch above normal. Combined with the wettest December on record, there has been 3.52 inches of precipitation in the past two months. That already ties for 7th place in the 10 highest winter (December through February) liquid precipitation totals. Half an inch of liquid in February would push 2010-2011 to the 4th wettest winter.

Deep Snow Cover Produces Spring Flooding Threat

Above normal precipitation was not good news to the potential snowmelt situation across the Dakotas and Minnesota this spring. Snow depth across the region is over 10 inches with a wide swath of 20 inch plus snow depths. There's more than 5 inches of liquid water in much of the area marked by 20 inches of snow on the ground. Given that the ground underneath the snow and frost is abnormally wet, thanks to a wet late summer and fall, and many of the ingredients for major spring flooding are in place. Because of that, most rivers in the area are projected to flood during this spring with major flooding likely in most of the Red River Valley, Lower Minnesota River, and Mississippi downstream of its junction with the Minnesota River. In the St. Cloud area, there's about a 3 in 4 chance of at least minor flooding along the Sauk River in St. Cloud and Sartell and along the Mississippi River in St. Cloud.

Note that flood insurance is not included in most people's home insurance. You can purchase federal flood insurance, but it must be purchased at least 30 days before any flooding.

Minnesota Severe Cold Outbreak This Time in 1996

One of the coldest outbreaks of the last 60 years happened on January 30-February 4, 1996. During all 6 mornings of this streak, the low temperature in St. Cloud was no higher than -30. Five of those six days during that period still stand as record cold lows for late January and early February, including the -40 on Feb. 2, 1996. On that day, Tower set the record low for the state of Minnesota with a temperature of -60. Feb. 2 is arguably the coldest day of the 20th century in St. Cloud, since the high was -20, tied for the cold record high on record. The temperature did not reach zero on Jan. 30 through Feb. 4 and was part of a 20-day streak when the temperature dropped below zero each morning. Now, that's cold!

 

    January 2011 Statistics

Temperatures (°F)
January 2011
Normal
January Average High Temperature (°F)
15.5
18.6
January Average Low Temperature (°F)
-0.4
-1.2
Mean Temperature for January (°F)
7.6
8.7
  10 Coldest Januaries in Saint Cloud

January Extremes

Temperature(°F)
Date
Warmest High Temperature for January 2011 (°F)
34
January 28,29
Coldest High Temperature for January 2011 (°F)
-1
January 21
Warmest Low Temperature for January 2011 (°F)

20

January 28
Coldest Low Temperature for January 2011 (°F)
-29*
January 21
Record Temperatures in January 2011
Temperature(°F)
Date
Old Record
No Record Temperatures Set
*Coldest Low Temperature since January 16, 2009 -36 F)    
Temperature Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
January 2011 Days with High Temperatures <= 32°F
29
23.5
January 2011 Days with High Temperatures <= 0°F
2
2.6
Cold-Season 2010-2011 Days with High Temperatures <= 0°F
2
4.3
January 2011 Days with High Temperatures <= -10°F
0
0.5
January 2011 Days with Low Temperatures <= 32°F
31
30.9
January 2011 Days with Low Temperatures <= 0°F
17
15.9
Cold-Season 2010-2011 Days with Low Temperatures <= 0°F
25
42.7
January 2011 Days with Low Temperatures <= -20°F
2
2.9
Cold-Season 2010-2011Days with Low Temperatures <= -20°F
2
5.4
January 2011 Days with Low Temperatures <= -30°F
0
0.4
Precipitation (in)
January 2011
Normal
January 2011 Precipitation (in)
0.96
0.76
  Top 10 Driest Januaries
Precipitation Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
January 2011 Days with Measurable (>= 0.01 inch) Precipitation
15
7.1
January 2011 Days with >= 0.10 inch Precipitation
4
2.4
January 2011 Days with >= 0.25 inch Precipitation
1
0.8
January 2011 Days with >= 0.50 inch Precipitation
0
0.2
January 2011 Days with >= 1.00 inch Precipitation
0
0.0
January Extremes
Precipitation (in)
Date
Most Daily Precipitation in January 2011
0.25 inch
January 31
Record Precipitation in January 2011
Precipitation (in)
Date
Old Record
No Precipitation Records Set
Snowfall (in)
January 2011
Normal
January 2011 Saint Cloud Reformatory Snowfall (in)
15.6#
10.5
2010-2011 Seasonal Saint Cloud Reformatory Snowfall (1 Oct 2010 - 31 Jan 2011)
40.2
28.8
Snowfall Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
January 2011 Days with Measurable (>= 0.1 inch) Snowfall
16
8.7
Cold-Season 2010-2011 Days with Measurable Snowfall 32 23.7
January 2011 Days with >= 1.0 inch Snowfall
7
3.7
Cold-Season 2010-2011 Days with >= 1.0 inch Snowfall 15 9.5
January 2011 Days with >= 2.0 inch Snowfall
3
1.7
January 2011 Days with >= 5.0 inch Snowfall
0
0.3
January Extremes
Snowfall (in)
Date
Most Daily Snowfall in January 2011
3.8
January 31
Record Snowfall in January 2011
Snowfall (in)
Date
Old Record
No Snowfall Records Set

#18th highest January snowfall; most since 1999

10 Brownest Januaries

 

Most St. Cloud Cold Season Snowfall (1899-2011): September through January

Average: 23.3 Inches (112 years)

Rank: Oct-Jan
Cold Season
Oct-Jan Snowfall (in)
Total Seasonal Snowfall (in)
Season Rank (out of 112)
1
1936-1937
54.2
84.5
2
2
1968-1969
54.0
66.9
6 (tie)
3
1996-1997
47.8
62.8
14
4
1983-1984
46.7
63.6
12
5
1927-1928
45.3
69.6
5
6
1995-1996
43.4
58.9
18
7
1993-1994
42.7
64.9
10
8
1966-1967
41.1
57.1
21
9
1992-1993
40.7
59.7
16
10
1985-1986
40.4
58.6
20
11
1978-1979
40.3
66.9
6 (tie)
12(tie)
1974-1975
40.2
65.4
8
12(tie)
2010-2011
40.2
         
15
1988-1989
39.9
65.2
9
20
1950-1951
35.7
82.0
3
32(tie)
1916-1917
30.3
75.5
4
60(tie)
1964-1965
19.0
87.9
1

 



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Last updated: Tuesday 01-Feb-2011 11:52 AM
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