FROM: Bob Weisman, Earth Sciences

DATE: 2 April 1999

SUBJECT: March continues mild and dry trend
	 March 1999 St. Cloud weather summary

        March 1999 in St. Cloud continued the trend of mild and dry months.
The average temperature of 31.7 degrees was more than 4 degrees above normal.
This figure made March 1999 the mildest March since 1990. While no record
highs were set, the 71 degree high on March 30 was the first 70+ degree
high reached since 1987, when the highs on both March 6 and 7 broke the
70 degree mark (71 on the 6th, 73 on the 7th--both daily record temperatures).
The low temperature of 49 degrees on March 31, 1999 did set a daily record
for a mild low temperature. Also, there were no sub-zero lows set in March
1999, so the 1998-1999 cold season continues to be tied for the 5th lowest
number of days with a low of 0 or colder (see table below).
         Precipitation continued to be sparse in St. Cloud. The March 1999
melted total of 0.94 inch was almost half an inch below normal. There were
only 5 days with measurable precipitation in March 1999, making only 7 days
with measurable precipitation since February 1. This has put the annual
precipitation deficit for 1999 at nearly an inch. More importantly, ground
water levels are in need of a recharge since the fall 1998 rainfall was
more than 1.5 inches below normal (Sept-Nov rainfall: 4.67 in; Sept-Nov
normal rainfall: 6.29 in). Most of the snowfall does not recharge the soil
since the ground is frozen, so the spring rainfall now is very important.
Hopefully, some thunderstorms over the next 24 hours will help to ease
this situation.
         Most of the precipitation during March 1999 in St. Cloud was locked
up in snowfall, and the bulk of that fell during the storm of March 8-9. This
storm produced 9.8 inches of snow in St. Cloud, set a daily snowfall record 
for March 8,  and was the biggest March snowfall in 14 years. Other records 
fell statewide, including the largest Twin Cities snowfall since the Halloween
blizzard. Many more details about this storm appear below. The total St. Cloud
March snowfall was 10.5 inches, less than an inch above normal. The
1998-1999 seasonal snowfall now has reached 35.6 inches. If this total
holds through April and May, it will be the lowest St. Cloud seasonal snowfall
in 9 years. The seasonal snowfall for 1989-1990 was 32.5 inches.

MARCH 1999 STATISTICS           MAR 1999        NORMAL
Average High                     42.2           37.6
Average Low                      21.1           17.6
Average Temp                     31.7           27.6
Warmest high temperature          71 on the 30th
Coldest high temperature          28 on the 4th,6th,8th
Mildest low temperature           49 on the 31st (record, see below)
Coldest low temperature            2 on the 12th
Daily record temperatures:
   Record Warm Lows:              49 on the 31st (old record: 44 in 1918)

MELTED PRECIP (in)                .94            1.41
Most in 24 hours                  .48 on the 8th

SNOWFALL (in)                    10.5             9.8
Most in 24 hours                  7.5 on the 8th (record; see below)
Seasonal Snowfall (Oct-Mar)      35.6            43.1
Daily record snowfall:            7.5 on the 8th (old record: 2.8 in in 1982)

1998-1999    0.0  3.4  2.8 18.4  0.5 10.5             35.6
NORMAL       0.5  6.8  8.9 10.1  7.0  9.8  2.3  0.1   45.5


	      16  1997-1998 
	      17  1986-1987     
	      22  1918-1919
	      22  1941-1942
	      29  1908-1909
	      29  1990-1991
              29  1998-1999 <--- TIED FOR 5TH FEWEST ON RECORD
	      30  1931-1932
	      30  1982-1983
	      31  1937-1938
	      31  1943-1944
	      31  1957-1958

       The March 8-9 snowfall was the largest March snowfall in 14 years. The
total snowfall was 9.8 inches at the St. Cloud Airport.
       There hasn't been a storm producing this much snowfall in St. Cloud
during the past 26 months. The last major snowfall this large in central
Minnesota was January 4-5, 1997, which produced 11.6 inches in St. Cloud
with even higher totals to the west (for example: 27 inches in Wheaton, 
21 inches in Alexandria). The last time there was this much snow in March
was in 1985 when the storm of March 3-4 produced more than 17 inches of
snow in St. Cloud.
        This particular storm, which dumped snow from Nebraska to Indiana
and is doing it right now in the Mid-Atlantic states, was unusual in that
the track of the storm (eastern Colorado to southern Missouri) was a good
one for producing heavy snow in Iowa, but usually doesn't produce a lot
of snow further to the north. However, this system also contained an
inverted trough, a subject of currently funded National Science Foundation
research at St. Cloud State University. Weisman, three current and former
SCSU students, and colleagues from the regional National Weather Service offices
have been studying this forecast problem for the past two years. A workshop on
the findings was held last November in Sioux Falls, leading to improved
techniques in the forecasting of such systems. While this particular storm
did not quite fit the mold, the forecasts in the area were relatively close,
showing that these techniques are, at least, a partial success.

St. Cloud:
Most snowfall on March 8: 7.5 inches (old record: 2.8 inches in 1982)
Highest single day snowfall since January 4, 1997 (8.5 inches)
Largest storm total snowfall (9.8 inches) since January 4-5, 1997
                                                           (11.6 inches)
Largest March single day snowfall and storm total snowfall since
        March 3-4, 1985 (8.7 inches on 3/3/85; 9.0 inches on 3/4/85)

Minneapolis/St. Paul Int'l: largest single storm snowfall since the
                            Halloween blizzard (10/31-11/2/1991)
Most snowfall on March 8: 12.5 inches
Most melted precipitation on March 8: 0.95 inches melted

Other accumulations:
Bloomington: 16-17 inches
Minneapolis/St. Paul Int'l: 16 inches
Forest Lake: 15 inches
Fridley, Golden Valley, New Prague, Spring Lake Park, 
          Waconia, SW Minneapolis: 14 inches
Chanhassen, North Branch, Savage: 13 inches
Stillwater: 12.5 inches
Henderson: 12-14 inches
Princeton: 12 inches
Elk River: 12 inches
Chicago, IL: 12 inches
Cokato: 11.2 inches
Lafayette, St. Peter, Wabasha, Zimmerman: 11 inches
Des Moines, IA: 11 inches
Mason City, IA: 11 inches
Ottumwa, IA: 11 inches
Hutchinson: 10-12 inches
Brainerd, Buffalo, Cambridge, Foley, New Ulm, Rice, Waseca: 10 inches
Granite Falls: 10 inches
St. Cloud Airport: 9.8 inches
Albert Lea: 9.5 inches
Eden Valley, Faribault, Red Wing, Willmar: 9 inches
Lamberton, New London: 9 inches
St. Cloud State University: 9.5 inches
Sioux Falls, SD: 9.3 inches
Mankato: 8-10 inches
Fairmont: 8-9 inches
Blue Earth: 8.5 inches
Little Falls, Long Prairie, Melrose, Montevideo, Stewart, Vesta: 8 inches
Redwood Falls: 7 inches
Alexandria: 6-8 inches
Glenwood, Onamia: 6 inches
Moline, IL: 6 inches
International Falls: 5 inches
Milwaukee, WI: 5 inches
Madison, WI: 5 inches

Bob Weisman, Meteorology Professor	SUPERVISOR: Shirley (age 7)
Earth Sciences Department		PHONE: (320) 255-3247 (V)
MS 48                                          (800) 627-3529 (TTY via
Saint Cloud State University                        Minnesota Relay Service)
720 4th Avenue South			FAX:   (320) 255-4262
Saint Cloud, Minnesota 56301-4498  	EMAIL: scsweisman@tigger.


- Return to the Climate Journal
Last modified: April 9, 1999