<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> March 2008 Saint Cloud Weather Summary
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March 21-22 wet snow
March 31 wet snow

Saint Cloud Weather Summary for March 2007

In Minnesota, Winter Ends In April? May?

Cabin fever has a firm grip on central Minnesota after a colder than normal winter, but March 2008 reminded us in the St. Cloud area that March has plenty of winter weather as well. March 2008 was both a colder than normal month and a snowier than normal month.

First, the snowfall. According to the statistics from the St. Cloud Reformatory, 17.8 inches of snow fell during March 2008. That total was more than double the normal March snowfall of 8.5 inches. This made made March 2008 the 7th snowiest March in the 109 years of St. Cloud snowfall records and the snowiest March since 2002, when 19.8 inches fell. The bulk of the snow fell during the last two weeks of March in three wet snowstorms: 5.3 inches fell on March 17-18, 5.8 inches fell on March 21-22, and 5.0 inches fell on March 31. The last snowstorm broke the March 31 record for daily snowfall, the old record being 4.6 inches set in 1998.

This snow also pushed our seasonal 2007-2008 snowfall to 41.3 inches, now only 3.2 inches short of the normal 44.5 inches. The 2007-2008 snowfall is now higher than the snowfall total during 4 of the 5 past seasons. (see St. Cloud Snowfall 1995-2008)

While cabin fever still runs amok, note that snow after April 1 is far from an usual event St. Cloud. The normal April snowfall is 2.6 inches. There are normally a little over 2 days with measurable snow in April and one day with at least an inch of snow. April St. Cloud records also show only two days during the month on which there has never been measurable snowfall. In fact, in April 2002, there were 15.3 inches of snow in three 5-inch-plus snowstorms. All three of those storms set records for daily April snowfall on the 1st, 21st, and the 27th. These storms made April 2002 the second snowiest April in St. Cloud records. The latest snowfall ever in St. Cloud is not in April; it was May 19, 1972, when 3.2 inches fell. And, on May 1, 2005, St. Cloud had 0.1 inch of measurable snow. In the current active weather pattern, I can't rule out the possibility of another storm producing at least some wet snow.

March 2008 temperatures were below normal all month after a particularly cold start. The average March 2008 temperature, according to the statistics at the St. Cloud Regional Airport, was 24.6°F, 3.8°F below normal. So, March 2008 ranks among the coldest third of St. Cloud Marches (45th of 128). To say that we aren't used to a cold March would be an understatement since March 2008 was at least three degrees colder than every March since 2002, and nearly 10 degrees colder than March 2007. The first nine days of March were marked by an arctic outbreak leftover from February. There were 5 lows of zero or colder, including -18°F on March 7th, a temperature that would have broken a record low had occurred any other day of that week. There were 3 highs in the teens and a high of only 6°F on March 7, three degrees short of the record cold high. The average temperature for March 1-9 was 10.2°F, typical of late January. There were 6 lows of zero or colder, bringing the 2007-2008 total to 49 days. Only three of the past 11 cold seasons have had at least the normal number of sub-zero lows.

While temperatures warmed during the rest of the month, normal to above normal weather was mostly caused by having mild low temperatures rather than warm highs. There were only 8 days with a high of at least 40°F, only one of which had a high at least 50°F.

It's natural to expect that, with all of the wet snow, March liquid precipitation in St. Cloud would be above normal. However, March 2008 precipitation totaled 1.47 inches, .03 inch below normal. While other parts of central and southern Minnesota received three-quarters of an inch to an inch in the three wet snowstorms, only the March 21-22 storm produced at least half an inch of precipitation in St. Cloud. Since the ground still was frozen for most of the month, this precipitation had little effect on the ground water. However, finally melting the snow pack after 119 consecutive days of snow cover (December 2-March 29) did allow that moisture to raise the levels of lakes and rivers.

Having a colder than normal March also means that most lakes are ice covered at this point. The average date of ice out on central Minnesota's larger lakes is not until mid-April, according to the lake ice-out dates from the State Climatology Office and DNR Waters. Also, the ground thaw is proceeding slowly, as can be seen from the sub-pavement frost depth from Otsego of 45 inches, taken by MnDOT, or other stations.

March 21-22 wet snow
March 31 wet snow

March 2008 Statistics

Temperatures (°F)
Mar 2008
Normal
Average High Temperature (°F)
33.9
37.6
Average Low Temperature (°F)
15.3
19.1
Mean Temperature for March (°F)
24.6
28.4
 
March Extremes
Temperature(°F)
Date
Warmest High Temperature for March 2008 (°F)
50
March 11th
Coldest High Temperature for March 2008 (°F)
6
March 7th
Warmest Low Temperature for March 2008 (°F)
50 (tied record, see below)
March 25th
Coldest Low Temperature for March 2008 (°F)

33

March 30th
Record Temperatures in March 2008
Temperature(°F)
Date
Old Record
No records set
Temperature Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
March 2008 Days with High Temperatures <= 32°F
11
March 2008 Days with High Temperatures <= 0°F
0
0.0

Cold-season 2007-2008 Days with High Temperatures <= 0°F

3
4.3
March 2008 Days with High Temperatures <= -10°F
0
0.0

Cold-season 2007-2008 Days with High Temperatures <= -10°F

0
0.6
March 2008 Days with Low Temperatures <= 32°F
30
28.0

Cold-season 2007-2008 Days with Low Temperatures <= 32°F

160
151.9
March 2008 Days with Low Temperatures <= 0°F
6
3.5

Cold-season 2007-2008 Days with Low Temperatures <= 0°F

49
42.7
March 2008 Days with Low Temperatures <= -20°F
0
0.0

Cold-season 2007-2008 Days with Low Temperatures <= -20°F

3
5.4
March 2008 Days with Low Temperatures <= -30°F
0
0.0

Cold-season 2007-2008 Days with Low Temperatures <= -30°F

0
0.6
Liquid Equivalent Precipitation (in)
March 2008
Normal
March 2008 Melted Precipitation (in)
1.47
1.50
March Extremes
Precipitation (in)
Date
Most Daily Precipitation in March 2008
0.36
March 21st
Daily Precipitation Records
Amount (inches)
Date
Old Record
No Daily Precipitation Records Set
Precipitation Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
March 2008 Days with Measurable (>= 0.01 inch) Precipitation
11
7.1
March 2008 Days with >= 0.10 inch Precipitation
5
3.3
March 2008 Days with >= 0.25 inch Precipitation
2
1.8
March 2008 Days with >= 0.50 inch Precipitation
0
0.7
March 2008 Days with >= 1.00 inch Precipitation
0
0.1
Snowfall (in)
March 2007
Normal
March 2008 Saint Cloud Airport Snowfall (in)
17.8**
8.5
2007-2008 Seasonal Snowfall (1 Oct 2007 - 31 Mar 2008)
41.3
45.8

**7th Snowiest March in St. Cloud history
Ten Snowiest Marches 1899-2008

St. Cloud Snowfall 1995-2008
Snowfall Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
March 2008 Days with Measurable (>= 0.1 inch) Snowfall
9
5.3
March 2008 Days with >= 1.0 inch Snowfall
4
2.8
March 2008 Days with >= 2.0 inch Snowfall
4
1.5
March 2008 Days with >= 5.0 inch Snowfall
1
0.1
March Extremes
Snowfall (in)
Date
Most Daily Snowfall (in) in March 2008
5.0 (set daily snowfall record; see below)
March 31
Daily Snowfall Records
Amount (inches)
Date
Old Record
Record Daily Snowfall (in)
5.0 inches
March 31
4.6 inches in 1996
March 21-22 wet snow
March 31 wet snow

Last Updated: April 2, 2008

Send comments to: Bob Weisman