<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> January 2009 Saint Cloud Weather Summary
Saint Cloud State University logo Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department
Saint Cloud Forecasts
National Weather Service logoNWS SCSU Big C logo SCSU/Weisman
SCSU Home
SCSU NWA Chapter
Weisman Home
Climate
Weather
Making a Forecast
Alumni
Research
Courses
Handbook
Eighth Northern Plains Winter Storm Conference: Coming October 28-29, 2013 in Saint Cloud!


Lows of -20°F or colder Lows of -30°F or colder
Historic January Thaws (from the Minnesota State Climatology Office)
Minnesota Extreme Temperatures (from the Minnesota State Climatology Office)
 

Coldest January in 13 Years, But That's Because It's Mostly Been Warm

   It was a bitterly cold January 2009 and the St. Cloud average temperature reflected that. According to statistics taken at the St. Cloud Regional Airport, the January 2009 average temperature was 3.3°F, -5.5°F colder than normal. That's the coldest January average temperature we've seen since January 1996. However, it only ranks as the 25th coldest January out of 129 Januaries on record. It would have required an average temperature below zero to crack the 10 Coldest Januaries in Saint Cloud.

Six days cost January 2009 a shot at one of the 10 coldest Januaries. A return to seasonable January temperatures took place during January 17-22. During that period, temperatures did not drop below zero and highs were at least 19°F each day. The other warm day was the last day of the month. The high temperature climbed to 45°F on the 31st, one degree short of the record high. That was also only the first day of the month with an above freezing temperature. Without that day, St. Cloud would have had its first January since 1979 without at least one day with a high above freezing. The other 24 days of January averaged -0.4°F, cold enough to crack the 10 Coldest Januaries in Saint Cloud if it had lasted the whole month.

January 2009 had the most number of benchmark cold temperatures in several years. There were 4 days with a high of 0°F or colder, the most since 2005. So far this winter, there have been 5 days with such cold highs, the most since 1996-1997. There were 20 days with a low of 0°F or colder, the most in January since January 1996 (22). There were 6 days with a low of at least -20°F, including 4 straight days during January 13-16. That's the most January -20°F lows since 1996. The 11 days with a low of at least -20°F so far this winter is the most since...you guessed it...1996. On the night of January 15-16, temperatures dropped to -30°F by midnight and to -36°F on the morning of January 16, setting a new record cold low for the date. That counts as two -30°F lows, the first in St. Cloud since January 30, 2004 and the most -30 lows since.....1996. That low of -36°F was the coldest low seen in St. Cloud since February 2, 1996. That was the coldest day in St. Cloud records with a high of -20°F (coldest high in St. Cloud records) and a low of -40°F. Tower, Minnesota, also set a record cold low for the state of Minnesota on that day with a low of -60°F.

The reason that it has been so long since January has been this cold is not so much the extreme cold of January 2009, but our recent streak of mild winters. From 1998 through 2008, only one of the Januaries (2004) has been considerably colder than normal. In fact, two of those Januaries rank among the 10 warmest Januaries in St. Cloud records. Still, this means that few people who have moved to Minnesota during the past decade have experienced such cold weather before.

The persistent cold of January 2009 was reminiscent of December 2000 in St. Cloud. Like this past month, there were 20 days with a low of 0 or colder in December 2000. The average December 2000 temperature (3.8°F) was within half a degree as this past month, but that month ranks as the 3rd coldest December in St. Cloud records.

The colder weather was also accompanied by drier conditions. After the 4th snowiest December, snow tapered off by mid-January. Another 5.8 inches fell by January 14, running the total between December 4 and January 14 to 33.8 inches. However, during the last 17 days of January, only 0.8 inches of snow fell as the deep cold pushed all the way to the Gulf Coast, keeping significant moisture out of any storm that came along. For the month, St. Cloud had 6.6 inches of snow, nearly 4 inches less than normal. For the season, St. Cloud has picked up 30.9 inches, 2.1 inches above normal. That snow contained only 0.54 inch of liquid water, 0.22 inch below normal.

The key to the cold was the flow of air out of north central Canada for most of the month, continuing to push arctic air masses southward. Despite having below normal snowfall, the deep snow cover that was a foot or more all month, helped keep these cold air masses cold by reflecting most of the sun's rays back to space. The only warm-ups came when the Canadian Arctic Coast ran out of the cold air, so the temperature had nowhere to go but up. Only during the last few days of the month did the persistent upper-air flow change to a more west-to-east pattern, allowing milder air pulled down the east slopes of the Rockies to occasionally make it into Minnesota. It appears that this milder pattern will hold its own during the first 10 days of February, alternating arctic cold with some above normal temperatures at times.

Lows of -20°F or colder Lows of -30°F or colder
Historic January Thaws (from the Minnesota State Climatology Office)
Minnesota Extreme Temperatures (from the Minnesota State Climatology Office)
 

    January 2009 Statistics

Temperatures (°F)
January 2009
Normal
January Average High Temperature (°F)
14.5
18.6
January Average Low Temperature (°F)
-7.9
-1.2
Mean Temperature for January (°F)
3.3
8.7
  10 Coldest Januaries in Saint Cloud

January Extremes

Temperature(°F)
Date
Warmest High Temperature for January 2009 (°F)
45
January 31
Coldest High Temperature for January 2009 (°F)
-7
January 13
Warmest Low Temperature for January 2009 (°F)

14

January 31
Coldest Low Temperature for January 2009 (°F)
-36** (set record, see below)
January 24th
Record Temperatures in January 2009
Temperature(°F)
Date
Old Record
Daily Record Cold Low
-36
January 16
-31 in 1977
**Coldest low temperature since February 2, 1996 (-40); date of record Minnesota cold low (-60) ;
First -30 or colder low since January 30, 2004
Temperature Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
January 2009 Days with High Temperatures <= 32°F
30
23.5
January 2009 Days with High Temperatures <= 0°F
4
2.6
Cold-Season 2008-2009 Days with High Temperatures <= 0°F
5+
4.3
January 2009 Days with High Temperatures <= -10°F
0
0.5
January 2009 Days with Low Temperatures <= 32°F
31
30.9
January 2009 Days with Low Temperatures <= 0°F
20
15.9
Cold-Season 2008-2009 Days with Low Temperatures <= 0°F
39
42.7
January 2009 Days with Low Temperatures <= -20°F
6
2.9
Cold-Season 2008-2009 Days with Low Temperatures <= -20°F
11++
5.4
January 2009 Days with Low Temperatures <= -30°F
2+++
0.4
+Most 0 or colder highs since 2004-2005 (5)
++Most -20 or colder lows since 1995-1996
+++Most -30 or colder lows since 1995-1996
Precipitation (in)
January 2009
Normal
January 2009 Precipitation (in)
0.54
0.76
**Tied for 10th driest January in Saint Cloud records Top 10 Driest Januaries
Precipitation Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
January 2009 Days with Measurable (>= 0.01 inch) Precipitation
7
7.1
January 2009 Days with >= 0.10 inch Precipitation
2
2.4
January 2009 Days with >= 0.25 inch Precipitation
1
0.8
January 2009 Days with >= 0.50 inch Precipitation
0
0.2
January 2009 Days with >= 1.00 inch Precipitation
0
0.0
January Extremes
Precipitation (in)
Date
Most Daily Precipitation in January 2009
0.25 inch
January 3
Record Precipitation in January 2009
Precipitation (in)
Date
Old Record
No precipitation records set
Snowfall (in)
January 2009
Normal
January 2009 Saint Cloud Reformatory Snowfall (in)
6.6
10.5
December 4, 2008-January 14, 2009 Snowfall
28.8
17.8
2008-2009 Seasonal Saint Cloud Reformatory Snowfall (1 Oct 2008 - 31 Jan 2009)
30.9
28.8
Snowfall Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
January 2009 Days with Measurable (>= 0.1 inch) Snowfall
10
8.7
January 2009 Days with >= 1.0 inch Snowfall
2
3.7
January 2009 Days with >= 2.0 inch Snowfall
1
1.7
January 2009 Days with >= 5.0 inch Snowfall
0
0.3
January Extremes
Snowfall (in)
Date
Most Daily Snowfall in January 2009
2.4
January 3
Record Snowfall in January 2009
Snowfall (in)
Date
Old Record
No Snowfall Records Set

&7th lowest January snowfall total

10 Brownest Januaries

Lows of -20°F or colder Lows of -30°F or colder
Historic January Thaws (from the Minnesota State Climatology Office)
Minnesota Extreme Temperatures (from the Minnesota State Climatology Office)
 


Return to top of page
All climate data provided courtesy of NOAA/NWS
National Weather Service logoNOAA logo
and Minnesota Climatology Working Group, including the Minnesota State Climatologist's Office, University of Minnesota-Saint Paul Campus.

Interested in an undergraduate degree in meteorology?


Send comments to: raweisman@stcloudstate.edu
Last updated: Friday 01-Jan-2010 9:36 AM
Background courtesy of aaa-backgrounds.com