TO: University Communications
FROM: Bob Weisman, Earth Sciences
DATE: 2 April 2001
SUBJECT: The “endless winter” rolls on
March 2001 St. Cloud weather summary
Saint Cloud’s first real winter in the past 4 seasons continued with
cold and dry conditions during March 2001. The average March 2001 temperature
at the Saint Cloud Regional Airport was 23.6 degrees, exactly 4 degrees below
normal. March 2001 also had exactly the same average temperature as March 1996, the last time Saint Cloud had a March this cold. March 2001 marked the third of the past 4 months that had significantly below normal temperatures.
On the other hand, Saint Cloud got a break on snowfall during March 2001.
Only 6.6 inches of new snow fell during March 2001, more than 3 inches below normal. Almost all of the snowfall occurred during the storm of March 12 and 13, accounting for 5.8 of the 6.6 inches during the month. The 2.9 inches of snowfall on the 12th set a new daily snowfall record, breaking the old record of 2.3 inches on March 12, 1954. The seasonal snowfall now stands at 56.6 inches, more than 11 inches above normal. The last cold seasons with snowfall this high were 1995-96 (58.9 inches) and 1996-97 (62.8 inches).
The mid-March snowfall was a disappointment in that Saint Cloud had melted 6 of the 23 inches on the ground in late February before getting it back. However, only 0.8 inches fell the rest of the month. The dry but cool conditions allowed the snowpack to melt slowly, diminishing to 10 inches by March 31. Many bare spots have been revealed in the city on the sunny sides of streets and near areas that were plowed. Still, the 10 inches on the ground is within the highest 20% for snow depth at the end of March.
Melted precipitation in Saint Cloud amounted to only 0.77 inches, slightly more than half of normal. More than 40% of the monthly precipitation was dropped during the last day of the month as a rain changing to wet snow event dropped 0.34 inch of liquid, but only produced 0.6 inches of snow.
The cool, dry conditions were caused partially by a continuation of the pattern similar to most of the winter: a steering wind from the Yukon Territories, allowing what was left of the arctic air to visit Minnesota during the month. When milder flow patterns took hold, again Saint Cloud was held back by the deep snow cover which produced fog and chilled the layers of the atmosphere nearest the ground. Still, the stronger March sun allowed snowmelt to take place, even when high temperatures were below freezing.
MARCH 2001 STATISTICS MAR 2001 NORMAL
Average High 33.0 37.6
Average Low 14.2 17.6
Average Temp 23.6 27.6
Warmest high temperature 44 on the 14th
Coldest high temperature 18 on the 24th and 25th
Mildest low temperature 28 on the 19th
Coldest low temperature -1 on the 11th
MELTED PRECIP (in) 0.77 1.41
Most in 24 hours 0.34 on the 31st
SNOWFALL (in) 6.6 9.8
Most in 24 hours 2.9 on the 12th and 13th
Daily record snowfall: 2.9 on the 12th (old record: 2.3 inches
Seasonal Snowfall (Oct-Mar) 56.6 43.1
ST. CLOUD SNOWFALL(IN)
OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR MAY TOTAL
1999-2000 0.0 1.1 4.5 10.8 8.4 T 3.3 0.0 28.1
2000-2001 0.0 10.6 16.2 5.4 17.8 6.6 56.6
NORMAL 0.5 6.8 8.9 10.1 7.0 9.8 2.3 0.1 45.5
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