April 2015 Saint Cloud Weather Summary

Warming Up Nicely, But Dryness Lingers

April 2015 Saint Cloud, MN, Weather Summary

The trends of March continued through April in most of Minnesota, including St. Cloud.

Rainfall Shortage Continues

April was the wettest of any month since last November and accounted for more than 60 percent of the total precipitation this year (2.64 inches). Still, the April rainfall of 1.64 inches was 0.93 inch short of the April average. The key to what rain St. Cloud did get was occasionally visits of from moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. That helped to produce 0.66 inch on April 12 and 0.48 inch on April 14. The April 12 rain was the first 2015 daily precipitation of at least a quarter inch. That's the latest occurrence for the first quarter-inch precipitation in St. Cloud records. The previous record was April 14, set in 1912 and 1961.

The 2.64 inches in January through April is less than half of the 5.36 inch average.

The 2 days with a quarter-inch through the end of April this year is the fewest since the dry spring of 1987. Those dry springs played a major role in the severity of the 1986-1989 drought, the last major drought in Minnesota and most of the Central US.

St. Cloud actually just missed getting at least near average rain of 2-4 inches and the well-above normal rainfall in southeastern Minnesota (see April 2015 national rainfall from National Weather Service). There were a few days in which substantial rain fell in thunderstorms, but they were confined to east central and southeastern Minnesota.

The dry weather led to a delaying greening of the plants and a heightened fire danger. Although the greening of plants has occurred, there still is high or very high fire danger frequently on warm days in western and central Minnesota. This will continue to be the case over the weekend.

Exactly 1 inch of the precipitation fell in the form of snow in St. Cloud, 1.9 inches less than average. That is a huge contrast to the late season snow in the past two winters. The snowiest and 4th snowiest Aprils have occurred in the past two years. And, the last two winters had the 2nd highest and 8th highest February-April snow totals. This February through April, however, ended up with only 8.5 inches of snow, the lowest total since 1987 (1.9 inches). The average February through April snowfall is 18.0 inches.

And the snow just kept coming on two years ago. The first three days of May in 2013 featured a record-breaking snowstorm in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

This week's US Drought Monitor shows the development of severe drought in northwestern Minnesota, including most of the Red River Valley, Lake Itasca, the Red Lakes, and Bemidji. This counts the effect of the low snowfall year. Snowfall doesn't usually recharge ground water, and we had a very wet 2014 ( 4th wettest in St. Cloud records), but the lack of snow and subsequent rains have led to very low streamflow in the northern two-thirds of Minnesota, as noted by both the M innesota Department of Natural Resources and the US Geological Survey.

April Continues Warm Trend in Fits and Starts

A warmer than average March led to a warm April. The average St. Cloud temperature, according to the statistics taken at the St. Cloud Regional Airport, was 46.3°F, 1.8°F above average. However, the warmth was concentrated in three warm periods.

On April 1, St. Cloud came within 1 degree of a record warm high (76) and did set a record for warm average temperature. The following day had a high of 64 degrees. Then, the following week (April 3-9) only had 2 highs reaching 50 degrees. Between April 11 and April 18, the high temperature broke 70 degrees 4 times and another record average temperature was tied on April 12 (high of 77 degrees, the warmest of the month). Between April 19 and April 24, the temperature was nevers warmer than 54 degrees with 5 days failing to reach 50 degrees. Then, the final 6 days of April all had highs of at least 60 degrees.

The dryness did result in some awfully cool low temperatures, even days that had warm afternoons. 6 of the 15 days with a low of at least freezing had highs of 60 degrees or higher. That included three days with at least a 40 degree difference between the high and low (April 11, 14,and 27). A frost was recorded on April 29 with a hard freeze on the 27th. So, until we get substantial rain, it's still too early to put in those delicate plants.

Last Four Winters Have Done Just About Everything

As noted above, the differences between this cold season and the last two seasons are striking. However, three years ago was one of the mildest cold seasons on record. The October-April temperature in 2011-2012 was 35.3 degrees, the warmest ever recorded and 8 and 12 degrees warmer than the following two years. 2013-2014 was the fifth coldest October-April. Those cold years also featured the 4th and 5th snowiest cold seasons in St. Cloud history. Three years ago, the first 50-degree high of the year came on January 5, a record. While the warm-up wasn't quite as fast this year, March featured the first days of 50, 60, and 70 degrees. And, the first couple of May days could easily be the first 80-degree day of the year.

More details below:

St. Cloud Winter Spring Statistics 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015
Average October-April Temperature 35.3 25.9 21.9 28.4
Lows of freezing or colder (days) 151 191 173 159
Lows of zero or colder (days) 10 43 63 39
Highs of freezing or colder (days) 49 87 103 88
Highs of zero or colder (days) 0 2 15 2
Lows of -20 or colder (days) 0 0 14 1
Snowfall (inches) 27.4 78.5 75.5 31.1
Days with at least one inch of snow on the ground 63 141 131 105
Consecutive days with at least 1 inch on ground 33 121 127 35
Days with at least an inch of snowfall 10 17 21 6
First 50-degree high Jan 5 Apr 26 Mar 30 Mar 9
First 60-degree high Mar 11 Apr 26 Apr 6 Mar 10
First 70-degree high Mar 14 Apr 27 Apr 9 March 15


April 2015 Statistics

Snowfall (in)
Old Record
Temperatures (°F)
April 2015
Average High Temperature (°F)
Average Low Temperature (°F)
Mean Temperature for April (°F)
April Extremes
Warmest High Temperature for April 2015 (°F)
April 23
Coldest High Temperature for April 2015 (°F)
April 21
Warmest Low Temperature for April 2015 (°F)
April 12
Coldest Low Temperature for April 2015 (°F)


April 3
Record Temperatures in April 2015
Old Record
Daily Record Warm Average
April 1
59°F in 2010
65°F (tie)
April 12
tied with 1941
Temperature Thresholds
Number of Days
April 2015 Days with High Temperatures =>90°F
April 2015 Days with High Temperatures <= 32°F

Cold-season 2014-2015 Days with High Temperatures <= 32°F

April 2015 Days with Low Temperatures <= 32°F

Cold-season 2014-2015 Days with Low Temperatures <= 32°F

Liquid Equivalent Precipitation (in)
April 2015
April 2015 Rainfall (in)
April Extremes
Precipitation (in)
Most Daily Precipitation in April 2015
April 12
Record Precipitation in April 2015
Rainfall (in)
Old Record

No records set

Precipitation Thresholds
Number of Days
April 2015 Days with Measurable (>= 0.01 inch) Precipitation
April 2015 Days with >= 0.10 inch Precipitation
April 2015 Days with >= 0.25 inch Precipitation
April 2015 Days with >= 0.50 inch Precipitation
April 2015 Days with >= 1.00 inch Precipitation
Complete list of Saint Cloud April Records
Link to 10 Wettest/Driest Aprils
Snowfall (in)
April 2015
April 2015 Snowfall (in)
Record Snowfall in April 2015
No records set
Snowfall Thresholds
Number of Days
April 2015 Days with Measurable (>= 0.1 inch) Snowfall
2014-2015 Cold Season Total Days with Measurable (>= 0.1 inch) Snowfall

April 2015 Days with >= 1.0 inch Snowfall

2014-2015 Cold Season Total Days with >= 1.0 inch Snowfall
April 2015 Days with >= 2.0 inch Snowfall
2014-2015 Cold Season Total Days with >= 2.0 inch Snowfall
April 2015 Days with >= 5.0 inch Snowfall
2014-2015 Cold Season Total Days with >= 5.0 inch Snowfall



Historic temperature data provided courtesy of the Saint Cloud National Weather Service Office, and NOAA/NWS
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