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"). Duluth experienced unusually mild temperatures in each of these months. The average temperature for December, 1997 was 22.4 degrees F, which is 9.6 degrees above normal. January's average temperature was a mild 15.7, above the norm by 8.7 degrees. The month of February was extraordinarily warm, averaging 28.4 degrees, exceeding the normal by 16.5 degrees. The temperature for the 1997-1998 meteorological winter (December - February) averaged 22.2 degrees, making this Winter the warmest of the modern record, and the second warmest of the overall record.
The warmest December - February temperatures in the Duluth record are:
The 1997-1998 data offered above 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 Duluth history. An up-to-date daily summary of Duluth climate data is available from this Web site. The 19th century data were gathered in what is now the modern-day downtown area. Modern data are gathered at the Duluth International Airport. Those familiar with the area recognize that the influence of Lake Superior can lead towards winter temperatures that are warmer near the lake. Even after acknowledging these differences, the winter of 1877-1878 still stands out as Duluth's warmest in the post-settlement era.
Return to the "Minnesota's Balmy Winter" Page
Last modified: March 2, 1998