<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> February 2009 and Winter 2008-2009 Saint Cloud Weather Summary
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Normally Cold February Ends Coldest Winter Since 2000-2001

Saint Cloud Weather Summary for February 2009 and Winter 2008-2009

Because of three major cold surges during the month, February 2009 in St. Cloud seemed to be yet another well below normal month. However, the average Saint Cloud February temperature was 16.3°F, 0.3°F above normal. The reason for the milder February statistics is that we had a "February thaw," a milder period between February 5 and February 18. The average temperature for that mid-February period was 17.9°F, three degrees warmer than normal. More importantly, the average high of February 5-18 was 32.1°F, with 7 of the 14 days having a high above freezing. Temnperatures remained above freezing all day on February 9 and 10, so both the record warm low and the record warm average temperature for February 10 were broken. This served in a great contrast to the highs of January 2009, with only one high above freezing on January 31. There were also no lows of zero or colder during that period. In fact, the one precipitation event in the first half of February (on the 9th and 10th) was all rain. The rain and warm temperatures knocked the snowpack down from a foot at the beginning of February to 5 inches by February 18.

The rest of February was a continuation of the cold winter conditions. The average temperature of February 1-4, 19-28 averaged 9.3°F (high 19.7°F, low -1.2°F), more than eight and a half degrees colder than the middle portion of February and even slightly colder than normal temperatures during the coldest part of January. We added 9 days with a low of at least 0°F or colder, bringing the cold season total through the end of February to 48 days. The coldest temperature was February 4 with a low of -20°F, the twelfth day so far this winter with a low that cold. That ties several years for the 11th most days with lows of at least -20°F and the most since the winter of 1995-1996.

While we are close to the beginning of astronomic spring (6:44 CDT AM on March 20), meteorological winter (December 1-February 28; the three coldest months) ended up with the coldest statistics since 2000-2001. The average 2008-2009 temperature was 9.4°F, the 24th coldest out of 126 winters in St. Cloud records. This statistic made Winter 2008-2009 the coldest since 2000-2001. It was actually colder than the more extreme winter of 1995-1996 (9.9°F, 28th), which featured the last -40°F low in St. Cloud records.

Will Spring Bring Relief?

Will we get any relief from these persistent cold conditions? Not so far in March. There have been 6 more days with a low of at least 0°F, running the cold season total to 54. There have only been 4 cold seasons, including 2008-2009, that have had at least 50 days with zero or colder lows since 1986-1987. What happens as we go on? Judging by previous cold seasons, we're in for a cold or near normal spring. Of the 23 winters that were colder than 2008-2009, 12 had meteorological springs (March 1-May 31) that were colder than normal by at least a degree, 3 were warmer than normal, and 8 were within a degree of normal. On the other hand, one factor that has kept us colder than normal has been the persistent deep snow cover. We have now had 98 consecutive days with a snow cover of at least an inch. However, the warm weather from March 13 into next week is likely to melt nearly all of the snow cover from Saint Cloud southward. Chasing the snow cover out of here will really help potential warming since snow cover: 1) reflects a lot of the incoming sunshine back to space, and 2) uses up energy to melt the snow cover. Unfortunately, this warm-up is coming at a speed that could make all of the worst predictions of river flooding come true. Part of the problem is the deep snow cover over the Red River, Upper Mississippi, and Upper Minnesota River valleys. Also, the frost depth is much deeper than normal due to our cold winter. And, the ice on area rivers and lakes is thicker than normal, so that raises the likelihood of ice jams.

The outlook for the Red River Valley looks to be OK through early next week, as long as those 50's and 60's stay away from the area. But, there is a 50-50 chance for record flooding along the Red River (worse than 1997 and 2001) .

On and Off Snowfall

The odd distribution of snow continued in February 2009 in St. Cloud. The monthly snowfall was 8.5 inches, about an inch and a quarter above normal. However, there was no measurable snowfall for the first 17 days of February. Then, there were two significant snowstorms, 3.8 inches on February 20-21 and 4.1 inches on February 26. That last snowstorm dropped around a foot of snow in the Red River Valley and north central Minnesota, right where it was least needed.

For the cold season so far, St. Cloud has picked up 43.4 inches, 3.5 inches above normal. However, it has fallen sporadically. St. Cloud got 28.8 inches between Dec. 4 and January 14 (normal amount: 12.9 inches), then only 0.8 inch from January 15 through February 17 (normal: 10.4 inches), and then 12.5 inches from February 18 through March 10 (normal amount: 5.3 inches). The heavy snow period of the early winter included 23.0 inches in the month of December, the 4th snowiest December in St. Cloud record.

The February total precipitation was 0.80 inch, about a quarter inch higher than normal. Half of this precipitation fell in the form of rain on February 9-10.

 

February 2009 Statistics

Temperatures (°F)
Feb 2009
Normal
Average High Temperature (°F)
25.9
25.7
Average Low Temperature (°F)
6.8
6.4
Mean Temperature for February (°F)
16.3
16.0
February Extremes
Temperature(°F)
Date
Warmest High Temperature for Feb 2009 (°F)
43
Feb. 9th
Coldest High Temperature for Feb 2009 (°F)
4
Feb. 3rd
Warmest Low Temperature for Feb 2009 (°F)
33 (set record, see below)
Feb. 10th
Coldest Low Temperature for Feb 2009 (°F)
-20
Feb. 4th
Record Temperatures in February 2009
Temperature(°F)
Date
Old Record
Daily Record Warm Average
38°F
February 10th
37°F set in 1999
Daily Record Warm Low
33°F
February 10th
32°F set in 1999
Temperature Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
February 2009 Days with High Temperatures <= 32°F
19
February 2009 Days with High Temperatures <= 0°F
0
0.8
February 2009 Days with High Temperatures <= -10°F
0
0.5
February 2009 Days with Low Temperatures <= 32°F
27
27.8
February 2009 Days with Low Temperatures <= 0°F
9
12.2
February 2009 Days with Low Temperatures <= -20°F
1
2.9
February 2009 Days with Low Temperatures <= -30°F
0
0.4
Liquid Equivalent Precipitation (in)
Feb 2009
Normal
February 2009 Saint Cloud Airport Melted Precipitation (in)
0.80
0.59
February Extremes
Precipitation (in)
Date
Most Daily Precipitation in February 2009
0.21 inch
Feb. 9th
Record Precipitation in February 2009
Precipitation (in)
Date
Old Record
No records set
Precipitation Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
February 2009 Days with Measurable (>= 0.01 inch) Precipitation
6
5.7
February 2009 Days with >= 0.10 inch Precipitation
4
2.1
February 2009 Days with >= 0.25 inch Precipitation
0
0.8
February 2009 Days with >= 0.50 inch Precipitation
0
0.3
February 2009 Days with >= 1.00 inch Precipitation
0
0.0
Snowfall (in)
Feb. 2009
Normal
February 2009 Saint Cloud Airport Snowfall (in)
8.5
7.2
Snowfall Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
February 2009 Days with Measurable (>= 0.1 inch) Snowfall
4
8.7
February 2009 Days with >= 1.0 inch Snowfall
2
3.7
February 2009 Days with >= 2.0 inch Snowfall
2
1.7
February 2009 Days with >= 5.0 inch Snowfall
0
0.3
February Extremes
Snowfall (in)
Date
Most Daily Snowfall (in) in February 2009
4.1
February 26th
Record Snowfall (in) in February 2009
Snowfall (in)
Date
Old Record
No Snowfall Records Set

Winter (Dec 1-Feb 28) 2008-2009 Statistics

Temperatures (°F)
Winter 2008-2009
Normal
Average High Temperature (°F)
20.3
22.5
Average Low Temperature (°F)
-1.5
3.6
Mean Temperature for Winter (°F)
9.4**
13.2

**26th coldest winter in St. Cloud Records

Coldest winter since 2000-2001: 8.7°F

Temperature Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
Cold Season 2008-2009 (through Mar. 13)
Days with High Temperatures <= 32°F
90

Cold Season 2008-2009
Days with High Temperatures <= 0°F

5
4.3

Cold Season 2008-2009
Days with High Temperatures <= -10°F

None since January 29, 2004

0
0.6

Cold Season 2008-2009 (through Mar. 13)
Days with Low Temperatures <= 32°F

133
170.4

Cold Season 2008-2009 (through Mar. 13)
Days with Low Temperatures <= 0°F

Fourth Cold Season Since 1986-1987 with at least 50 days

54
42.7

Cold Season 2008-2009
Days with Low Temperatures <= -20°F

Tied for 11th most
12
5.4

Cold Season 2008-2009
Days with Low Temperatures <= -30°F

First since January 30, 2004; -36 F coldest day since February 2, 1996 (-40 F)

1
0.6
Liquid Equivalent Precipitation (in)
Winter 2008-2009
Normal
Saint Cloud Airport Winter Melted Precipitation (in)
2.92
2.18
Precipitation Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
Winter 2008-2009
Days with Measurable (>= 0.01 inch) Precipitation
22
19.4
Winter 2008-2009
Days with >= 0.10 inch Precipitation
10
6.5
Winter 2008-2009
Days with >= 0.25 inch Precipitation
4
2.3
Winter 2008-2009
Days with >= 0.50 inch Precipitation
0
0.6
Winter 2008-2009
Days with >= 1.00 inch Precipitation
0
0.0
Snowfall (in)
Winter 2008-2009
Normal
Winter 2008-2009 Snowfall (in)
38.1
26.3
December 4, 2008-January 14, 2009 Snowfall (in)
28.8
12.9
January 14, 2009-February 17, 2009 Snowfall (in)
0.8
10.4
February 18, 2008-March 10, 2009 Snowfall (in)
12.5
5.3
Seasonal Snowfall (in) for Cold Season 2008-2009 (October 1, 2008-March 13, 2009)
43.4
39.7

Saint Cloud Cold Season Snowfall 2004-2009

Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar April May June Total
2004-2005
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.2
2.0
15.0
8.9
1.0
0.1
0.0
27.2
2005-2006
0.0
0.0
0.0
4.6
15.1
3.8
3.7
6.2
0.0
0.0
0.0
33.4
2006-2007
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.3
2.4
2.0
13.8
8.2
5.1
0.0
0.0
31.8
2007-2008
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.5
13.9
1.8
7.3
17.8
10.9
0.0
0.0
52.2
2008-2009
0.0
0.0
0.0
1.3
23.0
6.6
8.5
       
39.4
30-Year-Normals
(1971-2000)
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.6
8.9
7.8
11.5
6.7
8.5
2.6
0.1
0.0
45.8
Historic Averages
(1899-2005)
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.7
6.2
7.2
9.1
7.2
8.3
2.6
0.1
0.0
41.6



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Last updated: Friday 01-Jan-2010 11:01 AM
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