January Snowfall: Below average

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Forecast models hinting at our next chance for snow next Monday February 1st.

They’ve been counting snow by the flake instead of the inch in St. Cloud this January.

Our climatologically snowiest month of the year has come up short of expectations for much of southern Minnesota. So far St. Cloud has measured only 0.9″ of snowfall this month. With little more snow expected before the clock runs out on January Sunday, this looks like the 5th lowest January snow total on record for St. Cloud.

In the Twin Cities we’ve measured 3.1″ so far this month. Our January average is 13.5″ which gives us a deficit of about 10″. By contrast Duluth has banked 14.7″ so far this month. That’s still 2.7″ below average.

This season shows an interesting lack of snow in central Minnesota surrounded by heavier snows in the north and south. Here’s a look at some area cities, snowfall and departure from average this season to date.

International Falls: 41.7″ (-0.2″)

Duluth: 52.9″ (+3.7″)

Grand Forks: 39.5″ (+14.2″)

St. Cloud: 21.6″ (-6.0″)

Twin Cities: 26.8″ (-5.7″)

Sioux Falls: 39.7″ (+17.4″)

Rochester: 39.1″ (+8.7″)

La Crosse: 30.3″ (+4.8″)

Our next shot at snowfall appears to be next Monday. An early look hints at the possibility of a 2″ to 4″ swath through much of Minnesota.

February: A bit milder?

The medium range forecast models are hinting at a slight moderating trend next week, followed by what could be a bigger warm up next weekend. Signs point to a lack of arctic air from late next week that may possibly last into Valentine’s Day. Temperatures could return to readings several degrees above average by next weekend, the 6th & 7th of February.


CPC 8-14 day outlook hints at above average temperatures as we move into February.

So far we’ve felt 15 sub zero mornings in the metro this winter season. We may add 2 more by Saturday before temperature begin to moderate next week. That’s 17 days, and the winter average is 30 days of sub zero air in the metro. It’s looking more and more like we won’t get there this year.

If we can get to mid February without any sub-zero air, the increased solar output, higher sun angle and rapidly increasing daylight make it less likely to sustain any arctic plunges that may come our way. My experience is that we usually see one or two more sub zero mornings in late February or early March, but I believe the worst of winter cold may be on the wane after this weekend.

Hang in there!


  • Two big storms, one in late December, the other last weekend pretty much sums up the whole Winter so far in Duluth. Around 24″ of snow fell with the Christmas storm, while the late January one dropped around 14″. We haven’t had much outside of those two big systems. Seems like we’ve had 1 week the last two months with above average precip/snowfall, the other 3 weeks produce hardly anything measurable. Weird!

    BTW: Downtown Duluth saw much less snow with both systems, so I’m certain the Downtown area has seen well under 52″ of snow so far this Winter.