SUBJECT: Warmest Winter and Four-Month Cold Season in Saint Cloud History 2002 February and 2001-2002 Winter St. Cloud Weather Summary  

FROM: Bob Weisman

Earth Sciences, St. Cloud State University

For the fourth consecutive month, the average temperature from the Saint Cloud Municipal Airport was more than nine and a half degrees above normal. The average February 2002 temperature was 25.2 degrees, nearly 11 degrees above normal. This makes February 2002 the seventh warmest February in the 121 years of Saint Cloud records. Four of the 10 warmest Februaries have occurred in the past 10 years.

Letís not forget about the precipitation. The melted February precipitation totaled 1.29 inches. The total snowfall for February was 10.3 inches. So, the 2001-2002 seasonal snowfall has reached 28.9 inches, within three and a half inches of normal.

Many records for fewest cold extremes have fallen or are on the verge of falling. During February 2002, there were only 2 days with a low below zero. This ties February 1954 for the fourth fewest number of below zero days in February. Including this morningís low, which happened on March 1, Saint Cloud has now recorded only 7 days with a low below zero. Therefore, we are on track to break the record for the fewest number of below zero lows in a cold season. The old record is 16, set during the 1997-1998 cold season. Also, the coldest low of the season so far has been -9, set on January 18. In every previous year in Saint Cloud history, the coldest low temperature of the season has been -13 degrees or colder. The winter of 1930-1931 holds the previous record for warmest extreme minimum of the season with that -13 low happening on consecutive days: November 30 and December 1. If we donít get colder than -13 this weekend, the odds of making it through the winter without a temperature of at least -13 would substantially increase.

The February warmth continued the trend that began four months with Saint Cloudís warmest November ever. That has been followed by the 13th warmest December on record and the fourth warmest January on record. So, for the meteorological winter (December 1 through the end of February), Saint Cloud had an average temperature of 23.4 degrees, the warmest winter in the 121 years of Saint Cloud weather records. This winter beat the previous record set in 1881-1882 by 0.2 degrees.

In addition, when the record warm November 2001 is added, the four-month average temperature for November 1 through February 28 was 28.0 degrees. This is the warmest four-month average in Saint Cloud history by 2.8 degrees. The old record was during the cold season of 1930-1931 when the average temperature was 25.2 degrees. Note that two other recent years, 1997-1998 (5th) and 1999-2000 (6th), are also in the top ten.

The first question most people ask about these statistics usually is: what does this mean about the weather in the future? To investigate the possibilities, I applied the "analog" forecast method; that is, I looked at the cold seasons that had, before this year, the eleven warmest November-February temperatures.

For March, seven of the previous 11 warmest Nov-Feb years had an average temperature more than 1 degree above normal with four of those years having a temperature more than 3 degrees above normal. Only one of the 11 years had a temperature below normal: March 1932, which was the 11th coldest March on record. A similar trend was found in April with 7 of the 11 years having above normal temperatures. The other four years had an average April temperature within a degree of normal. In May, there was more of a spread. So, it does seem likely that milder than normal conditions will continue for the next two months. For the overall spring, 10 of the 11 years had average temperatures of normal or higher with only one year (1932) having a cold spring.

Surprisingly to me, the following meteorological summer (June through August) also showed the same trend. Only one of the eleven years with the previous warmest November-February temperatures had a below average summer temperature. Four summers had a near-normal average temperature and six of the summers were warmer than normal. Two of these following summers, 1931(7th) and 1987(3rd), were among the ten hottest summers on record. So, it appears likely that the upcoming summer will either have normal or above normal temperatures.


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FEBRUARY 2001 STATISTICS        FEB 2002        NORMAL
TEMPERATURE (oF)
Average High                    35.0                 24.8
Average Low                     15.4                  3.8
Average Temp                    25.2*                14.3
Warmest high temperature        53 on the 23rd
Coldest high temperature        16 on the 27th
Mildest low temperature         34 on the 18th
Coldest low temperature         -5 on the 4th, 27th
*7th warmest February on record (see below)

MELTED PRECIP (in)              1.29                  0.63
Most in 24 hours                0.47 in on the 19th 

SNOWFALL (in)                   10.3                   7.0
Most in 24 hours                 5.0 on the 24th (set record; see below)                                                    
Seasonal Snowfall (Oct-Feb)     28.9                  33.3
Daily record snowfall:           5.0 in on the 24th (old record: 4.8 in 2001)
                                  
WINTER (DEC-FEB) STATISTICS    WINTER             NORMAL
                               2001-2002     
Average High Temp (oF)         32.2                22.5
Average Low Temp  (oF)         14.6                 3.6
Average Temperature (oF)       23.4**              13.1
Total Melted Precip(in)        .84                 2.18
Snowfall (in)                   16.6               26.0
**Warmest winter in Saint Cloud history (see below)

		 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                  28.9
NORMAL     0.5  6.8  8.9 10.1  7.0  9.8  2.3  0.1   45.5



ST. CLOUD TEMPS--FEBRUARY  (122 YEARS; AVG = 14.0 F)
        WARMEST                          COLDEST

     29.6 F  1998                     -4.4 F  1936
     28.9 F  1987                      3.7 F  1904
     27.2 F  1954                      4.3 F  1887
     27.0 F  1931                      4.3 F  1917
     26.4 F  1882                      4.6 F  1989
     25.7 F  1984                      4.9 F  1885
     25.2 F  2002                      5.1 F  1979
     25.0 F  1999                      5.4 F  1967
     24.6 F  1992                      5.6 F  1899
     24.2 F  1915                      5.6 F  1923

 ST. CLOUD PRECIP--FEBRUARY  (111 YEARS; AVG =  0.70 IN) 

         WETTEST                           DRIEST

      2.94 IN  1922                      0.00 IN  1894
      2.76 IN  1951                      0.00 IN  1921
      2.22 IN  1919                     TRACE     1901
      1.79 IN  2002                     TRACE     1902
      1.78 IN  1898                      0.04 IN  1964
      1.67 IN  1979                      0.05 IN  1934
      1.61 IN  1953                      0.07 IN  1999
      1.58 IN  1955                      0.09 IN  1960
      1.53 IN  1971                      0.10 IN  1912
      1.46 IN  2001                      0.12 IN  1987



ST. CLOUD TEMPS--FEWEST LOW TEMPERATURES OF 0 DEG OR LOWER
       			
    FEBRUARY (AVG = 12.3)           COLD SEASON (AVG = 43) 

     0       1987                     7  2001-2002 
     0       1998                    16  1997-1998 
     1       1999                    17  1986-1987
     2       1954                    22  1918-1919
     2       2002                    22  1941-1942
     3       1926                    29  1908-1909
     3       1935                    29  1990-1991
     4       1930                    29  1998-1999 
     4       1938                    30  1931-1932         
     4       1984                    30  1982-1983
     4       1992                    31  1937-1938
     5       (5 YEARS)               31  1943-1944
                                     31  1957-1958

     ST. CLOUD TEMPS--WINTER    (121 YEARS; AVG = 13.1 F) 
        WARMEST                          COLDEST

     23.4 F  2001-2002                 1.4 F  1935-1936
     23.2 F  1881-1882                 1.7 F  1886-1887
     23.0 F  1997-1998                 3.9 F  1978-1979
     22.7 F  1930-1931                 4.2 F  1884-1885
     22.2 F  1986-1987                 5.5 F  1887-1888
     21.5 F  1920-1921                 6.2 F  1916-1917
     20.0 F  1918-1919                 7.7 F  1981-1982
     19.9 F  1982-1983                 7.8 F  1977-1978
     19.3 F  1943-1944                 7.9 F  1917-1918
     19.3 F  1989-1990                 7.9 F  1964-1965

SAINT CLOUD AVERAGE TEMPERATURES (NOV 1 THROUGH FEB 28/29)

		WARMEST ON RECORD (1881-2002)

		28.0	2001-2002
		25.2	1981-1982
		24.6	1881-1882
		23.8	1918-1919
		23.7	1997-1998
		23.3	1999-2000
		23.10	1931-1932
		22.98	1913-1914
		22.95	1920-1921
		22.93	1907-1908




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Last modified: February 1, 2002