There's something about February
(excerpted from Mark Seeley's "Weather Talk")

Of all the recent climate trends evident in monthly statistics for Minnesota, perhaps the most striking is for February. Eight of the past eleven Februarys have seen temperatures well above normal on a statewide basis. The past three consecutive Februarys rank in the ten warmest historically. Over a dozen February high temperature and dewpoint records were broken in the Twin Cities area alone in the past three years. The most recent February produced new dewpoint records in the 50s F statewide, something not seen in any of the historical records.

This trend has been economically beneficial from the standpoint of reduced residential and commercial heating costs, snowplowing costs, and overwinter construction delays. However, it has certainly produced some negative consequences as well including: a higher incidence of fog-related traffic accidents and transportation delays; problems for grain storage facilities in holding grain at constant temperature and moiture conditions; a shortening of the ice fishing season; shortening, cancellation, or postponement of a number of outdoor festivals (St Paul's Winter Carnival among others) skiing and dog sledding events; and an abbreviated season for snowmobiling.

It is not yet clear if this trend will continue, (it may be related to El Nino/La Nina Cycles, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, Global Climate Change, or all of the above), but it is certainly unprecedented in the historical climate records of Minnesota.

Listed below are the average temperatures recorded during February 2000 and their relative historical rank among the warmest....

Location, Temp (F), Rank

Twin Cities, 28.1, 5th
Duluth, 21.4, 6th
Intern. Falls, 18.9, 8th
St Cloud, 22.3, 13th
Rochester, 26.3, 7th
Alexandria, 22.3, 8th
Hibbing, 19.0, 6th
Moorhead, 22.8, 8th
Waseca, 27.2, 6th
Morris, 22.4, 12th
Lamberton, 28.0, 3rd
Park Rapids, 20.7, 10th
Browns Valley, 23.1, 10th
Redwood Falls, 27.9, 7th
La Crosse, WI, 30.6, 6th
Fargo, ND, 21.1, 9th
Grand Forks, 23.5, 5th
Sioux Falls, 33.5, 1st


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Last modified: March 3, 2000