January 1998 Saint Cloud Weather Summary

This Month's Daily Statistics

SUBJECT: Winter snows arrives, but mild weather continues
Saint Cloud January 1998 weather summary

The snow that was missing in December returned to Saint Cloud
in January 1998. The total snowfall for the month was 16.8 inches, more
than 6 1/2 inches above normal. There were 13 days during the month with
measurable snowfall, including 6 consecutive days between January 11 and
January 16, the longest such streak since Saint Cloud received measurable
snowfall on 8 consecutive days on January 4-11, 1994. However, the snow
of January 1998 came in relatively small doses with no more than 2.4
inches on any one day.

The trend of mild weather during an El Nino winter also continued
in Saint Cloud during January 1998 as the temperature averaged more than
seven degrees above normal. Much of this difference was felt in the low
temperatures which averaged more than 10 1/2 degrees above normal. There
were only 9 days this past month with the low temperature of zero and
below compared to the January average of 17.6 days. There was one period
of bitter winter weather in St. Cloud during January 10-13, conveniently
scheduled while I was at a conference in Arizona, which averaged about 12
degrees below normal (average high: 2; average low: -14). On the other hand,
the last 11 days of the month had a higher average temperature (23) than the
normal high temperature for that period (20). However, an even milder January
did occur in 1990 with an average temperature of 22.0 degrees, the second
warmest January in Saint Cloud history.

The heavy snowfall in January 1998 is not unexpected, since January,
not March, is the month of heaviest snowfall, according to the updated
30-year-normals. As mentioned last year at this time, January was expected
to pull ahead of March as the 51.7 inch snowfall of March 1965 was no longer
included in the 30-year averages. This brings the 30-year records in line
with the overall St. Cloud records (97 years), which also shows January as
the snowiest month and March in second place. The new 30-year records also
show a slight increase in annual snowfall in St. Cloud with the new normal
being 45.5 inches, as opposed to the previous 30-year statistics showing
an annual total of 44.8 inches. (see statistics and an account of March 1965

SUMMARY FOR JANUARY 1998               JAN 1998         NORMAL
Average high temperature ( F)            22.5            18.5
Average low temperature ( F)              8.4            -2.4
Average temperature ( F)                 15.5             8.1
Warmest high for this month ( F)          40 on the 1st and 2nd
Coldest high for this month ( F)          -4 on the 10th
Mildest low for this month ( F)           24 on the 31st
Coldest low for this month ( F)           -24 on the 13th

Record temperatures ( F):                none
January                                   0.84           0.74
Greatest in 24 hours                       .12 on the 14th and 16th

January                                   16.8           10.1
Greatest in 24 hours                       2.4 on the 11th
Season (1997-1998)                        32.1           26.3

                          OCT  NOV  DEC  JAN  FEB  MAR  APR  MAY   TOT
30-YEAR AVG (1967-1996)   0.5  6.8  8.9 10.1  7.0  9.8  2.3  0.1  45.5
ST CLOUD HISTORY (99 YRS) 0.6  6.3  7.3  9.1  7.1  8.3  2.6  0.2  41.6
March, 1965         The total snowfall for the month of March, 1965, 
		    was 51.7 inches, which by far was the greatest
		    snowfall since records began in 1895.  The snowfall
		    for March of 1965 was almost double the amount of
		    the previous record which was 28.1 inches in 1951.
		    There were three big snow storms in March, 1965, one
		    occurring at the beginning of the month dropping
		    21.7 inches and the other occurring on St. Patrick's
		    Day when 17.1 inches of snow fell.  The third storm
		    occurred ten days after the St. Patrick's Day Storm
		    on the 27th and 28th, dumping 9.2 inches of snow.
		    The storms only allowed a week or so to dig out
		    and really not enough time to remove all the snow
		    before the next storm hit and as a result the high
		    snowplow banks were very quickly filled in.  This
		    halted all traffic, closed schools, businesses and
		    industrial plants. By the end of the month there were
		    35 inches of snow on the ground.  It was also the
		    coldest March on record with an average monthly
		    temperature of 15.7 degrees F. which was 10 degrees
		    below normal. Record lows for the dates were set
		    on the 19th, 20th, 21st, 23rd, 24th, and 25th.
March 17, 1965      The St. Patrick's Day Storm, began with light
		    snow at 7 pm on the 16th of March.  By midnight
		    2.5 inches of snow was recorded.  The snow became
		    heavy at 6:20 am and accumulated at the rate of
		    1 inch per hour until 1 pm.  This was the heaviest
		    period of snowfall, but it continued to snow and 
		    by midnight 13 inches of snow had fallen on the
		    17th plus the 2.5 inches on the 16th, and it
		    continued to snow, with an additional 1.6 inches on
		    the 18th when it ended around 6 pm. The total
		    snowfall for the storm was 17.1 inches.  The
		    wind was the biggest factor contributing to the
		    severity of the storm.  By 5 am on the 17th the wind
		    was out of the east at 17 gusting to 24 MPH, then
		    shortly after noon the wind changed to the north
		    at 18 gusting to 24 MPH, and by 5 pm it was north
		    at 27 gusting to 46 MPH and remained northwest
		    at 20-35 MPH throuhout the 18th.  Temperatures
		    were in the 20s in the early morning of the 17th
		    but dropped to 10 at midnight and 1 above on
		    the morning of the 18th.

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