Minnesota's Balmy Winter, 1997-1998
|Twin Cities Data||The winter of 1997-1998 was one of the warmest on
record. Winter is often defined by climatologists as the
months of December, January, and February
("meteorological winter"). Minnesota
experienced unusually mild temperatures in each of these
months. The state-wide average temperature for December,
1997 was 23.6 degrees F, which is 10.8 degrees above
normal. January's average temperature was a mild 14.0,
above the norm by 7.1 degrees. The month of February was extraordinarily warm, averaging
28.0 degrees, exceeding the normal by 14.9 degrees. The
temperature for the 1997-1998 meteorological winter
(December - February) averaged 21.9 statewide, which
makes places this Winter second only to 1877-1878. The Winter of
1877-1878 is far and away the warmest Minnesota winter of
the post-settlement era.
The warmest December -
February temperatures in Minnesota's state-wide record
An asterisk (*) indicates an El Niņo winter. Note that six of the seven warmest winters in Minnesota's recorded history occurred during El Niņo episodes.
The state-wide averages offered from the 1800's come from a very small sampling of climate stations. However, spatial averages derived from these stations in later years show a consistent relationship between the smaller sample and the state-wide dataset.
The 1997-1998 data offered are preliminary and subject to change. However, it is reasonable to expect the final data summary to indicate that the winter of 1997-1998 will rank with the warmest winters in Minnesota's recorded history. Because of biases introduced by instrument type, observation technique, number of available climate stations, and other factors; it is reasonable to assume that the winters ranked second through third are in a virtual tie for Minnesota's second warmest winter on record.
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Last modified: March 2, 1998