FROM: Bob Weisman, Earth Sciences St. Cloud State University

DATE: 1 May 2001

SUBJECT: Is the ark done yet? Record April Rainfall in Saint Cloud

                   St. Cloud April 2001 Weather Summary

 Saint Cloud made up for two consecutive dry growing seasons by enduring the rainiest April in the 109 years of Saint Cloud records. According to the statistics at the Saint Cloud Airport, there were 8.42 inches of rainfall in April, nearly three-and-a-half times the normal rainfall and exceeding the previous record of 8.31 inches set in April 1928. April 2001 was the rainiest month in Saint Cloud since June 1990 when 10.52 inches fell. April 2001 also ranks as the 15th rainiest month on record in Saint Cloud. Believe or not, the Saint Cloud State University rain gauge was even more active in April, recording 8.81 inches of rainfall in April.

 More than half of the rain fell during a series of three consecutive storms on April 19 through 23. The rainfall for this period totaled 4.89 inches, including 3.52 inches during April 22. On that Sunday, Saint Cloud set a record for daily rainfall in April by more than an inch. In addition, this was the first daily rainfall exceeding 3 inches ever recorded outside of the months of June through September. April 22 also marked the heaviest daily rainfall total since September 8, 1985. Of course, the April 22 rainfall set a daily record, the third April day of 2001 to see a new rainfall record set, and ranked as the 8th heaviest daily rainfall in Saint Cloud history (see details on records below).
 The combination of the heavy rains and the unusually high snowpack, which rapidly completed its melting during the first heavy rain period of April 5-7, led to major river flooding on the Sauk and Mississippi Rivers, especially in the Little Rock Lake area. The further rainfall over saturated ground led to overland flooding of many areas in central Minnesota.
 Temperatures for April 2001 averaged a degree warmer than normal in Saint Cloud. The month began very chilly with near record lows on the first and second and nearly a record cold high on the 16th. However, this was balanced by a warm spell during the last week, including a new record mild low and a record high average temperature tied on the 29th. Overall, the daily range of temperature (the difference between the average high and the average low) was three degrees below normal, a characteristic which would be expected during an extremely rainy month when there is a lot of clouds and lingering moisture on the ground.
 Only a trace of snow was recorded in April 2001. Assuming no May snowfall, although snow has been reported on occasion in Saint Cloud during May, Saint Cloud will finish the cold season with 56.6 inches of snow, 11 inches higher than normal.

MONTHLY STATISTICS              APR 2001        NORMAL

Average high temp                              54.5                 55.0
Average low temp                               34.4                 32.0
Overall average                                   44.5                 43.5
Warmest high temperature                   84 on the 29th
Coolest high temperature                     34 on the 16th
Mildest low temperature                      60 on the 29th (broke daily record; see below)
Coldest low temperature                      25 on the 18th

Records set:

Daily record warm low:                       60 on the 29th (old record: 59 in 1934)
Daily record warm mean:                    72 on the 29th (tied old record set in 1934)
Total melted precip (in)                       8.42**             2.36
Most in 24 hours                                  3.52 on the 22nd (set records; see below)
**Most ever in April; 15th rainiest month in Saint Cloud reporting history
Records set:
Highest daily rainfall total in April:   3.52 on the 22nd (old record: 2.47 on April 26, 1984)
Record daily rainfall:                         1.10 on the 7th  (old record: 0.68 in 1919)
                                                           1.30 on the 13th (old record: 0.70 in 1896)
                                                           3.52 on the 22nd (old record: 1.08 in 1985)

SNOWFALL (in)   Trace              Trace

Most in 24 hours                                 Trace on the 16th
Seasonal snowfall (Oct-Apr)               56.6                45.6

     ST. CLOUD PRECIP--APRIL     (109 YEARS; AVG =  2.24 IN; SDEV =  1.44 IN)

         WETTEST                           DRIEST

   ** 8.42 IN  2001 **                   0.05 IN  1987

      6.31 IN  1896                      0.08 IN  1926
      5.74 IN  1893                      0.21 IN  1907
      5.55 IN  1986                      0.25 IN  1934
      5.31 IN  1954                      0.32 IN  1898
      4.93 IN  1894                      0.34 IN  1959
      4.68 IN  1991                      0.46 IN  1933
      4.51 IN  1968                      0.48 IN  1980
      4.40 IN  1947                      0.59 IN  1930
      4.16 IN  1984                      0.67 IN  1996



4.80 2 July 1903
4.57 3 August 1956
4.50 6 July 1897
4.12 19 August 1935
3.90     24 August 1895
3.62 8 September 1985
3.59    27 August 1960
3.52    22 April 2001

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Last modified: May 1, 2001