SUBJECT: The Winter of 2001-2002 Continues During Spring St. Cloud April 2002 Weather Summary  

FROM: Bob Weisman

Earth Sciences, St. Cloud State University

After just about having spring weather during the winter, April 2002 continued the trend of winter weather during the spring. According to the statistics from the Saint Cloud Municipal Airport, 15.3 inches of snow fell during the past month, 13 inches above normal. This made April 2002 the second snowiest April in the 95 years of Saint Cloud snowfall records. This total narrowly missed the all-time April record of 15.6 inches, set in April 1928. Three snowstorms, on the 1st, 21st, and 27th, each produced at least 5 inches of wet snow. Each one set a daily snowfall record. The heaviest snowfall, on April 1st, was the largest April snowstorm in 8 years.

The heavy April snowfall has already made the spring of 2002 (March 1-May 31) the third snowiest spring in Saint Cloud records. The March-April total of 35.1 inches is the heaviest amount since 1965. That spring included the heaviest snow month in Saint Cloud history when 51.7 inches fell. Much like this year, the 1964-1965 snow season had below normal snowfall until March, but still holds the record for the most snow with 87.9 inches.

This Aprilís snow has pushed the 2001-2002 cold season snowfall total to 64.0 inches, the most snow since the 64.9 inches of 1993-1994. The 2001-2002 snowfall is now 18.5 inches above normal, the 11th snowiest year of the 95 years in Saint Cloud records.

However, these snowfalls did not set records for the latest heavy snowfall in Saint Cloud. Only 8 years ago, on April 28, 1994, Saint Cloud picked up 6.5 inches of snow. This was the biggest April snowfall in Saint Cloud history. There has been two other April snowstorms that produced at least inches, including the 6.2 inches have been recorded on April 25, 1950.

What was the latest snowfall ever on Saint Cloud? There has been measurable snowfall historically on every April date except for the 24th and the 26th. Saint Cloud has picked up measurable snowfall on May 2-5, including 0.3 inches on May 5, 1991. The record for the latest measurable snowfall was set on May 19, 1971 when 3.2 inches. This is why the normal snowfall for May in Saint Cloud is 0.1 inches, not zero.

Why all of the April snow? It takes nearly perfect timing to produce an April snowfall: some of the last of the cold air from northern Canada dropping down into the Plains states, followed immediately by a strong storm. Even so, the typical April Plains storm will only produce a band about 50-100 miles wide in which there is significant snow accumulation since surface temperatures are usually near or above freezing. So, in a typical April snowfall, the snow begins to melt almost immediately after the snowfall rate decreases.

Otherwise, April was a cool and wet month, but not as cool as you might think. The average April temperature was 42.0 degrees, a little more than 1 1/2 degrees cooler than normal. The extremely cold weather of the first five days (highs no higher than 37 with two days in the 20ís) was balanced out by extremely warm temperatures during the 12th through the 18th with two highs in the 80ís, including the 84 degree high on April 15, which set a record for that date. The heavy April snow was accompanied by several days of rain showers, producing a total April precipitation of 3.37 inches, about 1 1/4 inches above normal. Rain was punctuated by thunderstorms on a couple of days, and included hail in the early morning hours of the 18th. The rainy conditions did help to offset the very dry conditions of last summer and fall, but did not approach the monsoon of last year. April 2001 produced 8.42 inches, the heaviest April precipitation on record by more than 2 inches.

Despite all of the winter-like conditions this April, there are some conditions that wonít be approached, so we have set two more records for warm conditions during a cold season. We wonít get below zero again, so 2001-2002 will set the record for the fewest below zero lows on record. There were only 12 such days this past winter, beating the previous record of 16 set in 1997-1998. The coldest temperature this past winter was -9 (hit on January 18, March 1, March 3). Previously, Saint Cloud had never had a winter without having at least one day with a low of -13 degrees or colder. We just have to keep remembering that when the snow flies.


MONTHLY STATISTICS              APR 2002        NORMAL
TEMPERATURE (oF)
Average high temp                51.9                 54.9
Average low temp                 32.0                 32.2
Overall average                  42.0                 43.6
Warmest high temperature                   84 on the 15th (broke daily record; see below)
Coolest high temperature                     27 on the 26th and 27th
Mildest low temperature                      59 on the 16th 
Coldest low temperature                      13 on the 5th

Records set:
Daily record warm high:                      84 on the 15th (old record: 83 in 1913)

PRECIPITATION (in)
Total melted precip 			3.37                2.36
Most in 24 hours                                 1.14 on the 10th 

SNOWFALL (in)			 15.3*                2.3
Most in 24 hours                                    5.3 on the 1st (set record; see below)
Seasonal snowfall (Oct-Apr)               64.0                45.4
*2nd snowiest April on record (see table below)
Records set:
Record daily snowfall:                           5.3 on the 1st (old record: 0.8 in 1971)
					   5.0 on the 21st (old record: 3.5 in 1972)
                                                               5.0 on the 27th (old record: 3.0 in 1971)

		 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    T  0.0   56.6
2001-2002  0.5 11.8  2.8  3.5 10.3 19.8 15.3        64.0
NORMAL     0.5  6.8  8.9 10.1  7.0  9.8  2.3  0.1   45.5

     ST. CLOUD SNOWFALL--APRIL     (103 YEARS; AVG =   2.7 IN; SDEV =   3.3 IN)

             SNOWIEST                           DRIEST

      15.6 IN  1927-1928                  0.0 IN  1899-1900
      15.3 IN  2001-2002                  0.0 IN  1900-1901
      11.1 IN  1949-1950                  0.0 IN  1905-1906
      10.0 IN  1908-1909                  0.0 IN  1914-1915
       9.4 IN  1952-1953                  0.0 IN  1917-1918
       9.4 IN  1990-1991                  0.0 IN  1929-1930
       8.7 IN  1960-1961                  0.0 IN  1933-1934
       7.2 IN  1971-1972                  0.0 IN  1937-1938
       7.2 IN  1992-1993                  0.0 IN  1985-1986
       7.0 IN  1936-1937                  16 TIED AT TRACE



     ST. CLOUD SNOWFALL--SPRING    (102 YEARS; AVG =  10.9 IN; SDEV =   8.1 IN)

             SNOWIEST                           DRIEST

      57.8 IN  1964-1965                  0.0 IN  1902-1903
      36.0 IN  1916-1917                  0.0 IN  1901-1902
      35.1 IN  2001-2002                  0.2 IN  1920-1921
      30.7 IN  1950-1951                  0.3 IN  1972-1973
      22.8 IN  1984-1985                  0.4 IN  1986-1987
      22.2 IN  1907-1908                  0.7 IN  1967-1968
      22.1 IN  1963-1964                  1.0 IN  1918-1919
      21.8 IN  1949-1950                  1.3 IN  1958-1959
      20.1 IN  1974-1975                  1.5 IN  1911-1912
      19.8 IN  1994-1995                  1.9 IN  1980-1981




     ANNUAL ST. CLOUD SNOWFALL ( 95 YEARS; AVG =  41.6 IN; SDEV =  17.3 IN)

             SNOWIEST                           DRIEST

      87.9 IN  1964-1965                  6.0 IN  1901-1902
      84.5 IN  1936-1937                 14.1 IN  1958-1959
      82.0 IN  1950-1951                 16.1 IN  1967-1968
      75.5 IN  1916-1917                 16.5 IN  1980-1981
      69.6 IN  1927-1928                 16.7 IN  1986-1987
      66.9 IN  1968-1969                 19.0 IN  1902-1903
      66.9 IN  1978-1979                 20.0 IN  1904-1905
      65.4 IN  1974-1975                 20.5 IN  1899-1900
      65.2 IN  1988-1989                 20.6 IN  1914-1915
      64.9 IN  1993-1994                 22.9 IN  1912-1913
      64.0 IN  2001-2002 Ŗ 11th snowiest cold season on record

 

     ST. CLOUD TEMPS--FEWEST LOW TEMPERATURES OF 0 DEG OR LOWER
       
			COLD SEASON (NORMAL = 43 days)

              12  2001-2002  Through April 30
              16  1997-1998 
              17  1986-1987     
              22  1918-1919
              22  1941-1942
              29  1908-1909
              29  1990-1991
              29  1998-1999
              30  1931-1932
              30  1982-1983
              31  1937-1938
              31  1943-1944
              31  1957-1958




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Last modified: May 2, 2002