January 1999 Saint Cloud Weather Summary

This Month's Daily Statistics

DATE: 2 February 1999

SUBJECT: A tale of two months..again
January 1999 St. Cloud weather summary

The long-threatened teeth of winter arrived weatherwise in St.
Cloud during late December and continued into January (at least the first part
of it). The average temperature for the first 14 days of January were
more than 12 degrees below normal and included 11 consecutive days of
lows in the minus double digits. This streak of consecutive days with lows
of -10 or colder was the 11th longest in St. Cloud history and the longest
since the severe cold wave of 1996 (Jan. 18- Feb. 6).

The January-February 1996 cold wave which hit Minnesota
included 20 consecutive days of sub-zero lows (4th longest on record),
15 consecutive days of lows at or below -10 (tied for second longest on
record), and 6 consecutive days with lows of -30 or colder (longest on record
for colder than -30, tied for 5th longest streak for lows of -20 or colder).
It also included Feb. 2, 1996, the day with the coldest average temperature
in St. Cloud history (high: -20..coldest high on record, low: -40) and
the day on which the record cold temperature for Minnesota was set at
Tower (-60).

However, the pattern of cold broke down for the second half of January
1996. Between the 15th and the 31st, the temperatures averaged more than 10
degrees above normal (see table below).

The final breakdown? Temperatures for the month of January ended
up within 0.3 degrees of normal. The reason for the sudden shift? We
began the month with a strong high over Alaska, allowing air from the
North Pole to be pumped through western Canada and into Minnesota. When
the high in Alaska finally broke down during the middle of the month,
the jet stream resumed a westerly from the Pacific coast allowing milder
and drier conditions to dominate. The pattern continues at this time, but
there is incredibly cold air in Alaska right now (lows have been between
-50 and -71 over the weekend), ready to pounce if the pattern changes once

January 1999 continued the trend of heavy snowfall. A total of
18.4 inches fell in St. Cloud, the 10th highest total in 97 years of records
(see table below). This is the fourth January in the 1990's which has placed
in the top ten snowfalls for January. From 1990 through 1999, St. Cloud
has received an average of 13.0 inches in January, easily the highest snowfall
month on average during the decade.

The January 1999 snow did fall in quite small packages. The
highest snowfall total on any calendar day was the 2.5 inches received
on the 12th and 13th. Despite having 80% more snow than normal, St. Cloud
actually missed several major snowfalls. Many of these hit the Minneapolis/
St. Paul area as the International Airport recorded 33.1 inches for the month.
The high January snowfall in St. Cloud brings the seasonal snowfall to
24.6 inches, less than 2 inches below normal for the season.

SUMMARY FOR JANUARY 1999               JAN 1999         NORMAL
Average high temperature ( F)          17.7             18.5
Average low temperature ( F)           -0.9             -2.4
Average temperature ( F)               8.4              8.1
Warmest high for this month ( F)       37 on the 17th       
Coldest high for this month ( F)       -5 on the 4th
Mildest low for this month ( F)        23 on the 23rd, 27th
Coldest low for this month ( F)        -25 on the 9th

Record temperatures (F):               none
Average high temperature (F)       5.3        28.0          18.5
Average low  temperature (F)       -13.9      9.7           -2.4
Average temperature (F)            -4.3       18.9           8.1
January                            0.84       0.74
Greatest in 24 hours               .15 on the 11th 

January                            18.4       10.1
Greatest in 24 hours               3.1 on the 2nd
Season (1997-1998)                 24.6       26.3

ST. CLOUD SNOWFALL--JANUARY (97 YEARS: AVG = 9.2 IN) SNOWIEST DRIEST 29.9 IN 1974-1975 0.1 IN 1989-1990 26.1 IN 1966-1967 0.3 IN 1941-1942 24.2 IN 1915-1916 0.4 IN 1973-1974 22.9 IN 1968-1969 0.8 IN 1943-1944 21.9 IN 1995-1996 1.4 IN 1923-1924 19.9 IN 1993-1994 1.6 IN 1930-1931 19.7 IN 1919-1920 1.9 IN 1963-1964 19.3 IN 1996-1997 2.0 IN 1902-1903 18.7 IN 1916-1917 2.0 IN 1958-1959
18.4 IN 1998-1999 2.2 IN 1947-1948

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