Sunday, March 18, 2012

Minnesota's Monster March: International Falls Smashes Heat Record by Double Digits for 3rd Consecutive Day, All-Time Monthly Record

March 20, 9 AM CDT Update: The daily climate report from the National Weather Service confirms the record high minimum temperature at International Falls of 60°, and the Minnesota State Climatology Office reports that this is a new record for the entire month of March, breaking the previous record set 2 days earlier by 8°.

The monthly average temperature to date is now 15.1° above average and 1.3° above the previous record warmest March.

March 19, Midnight CDT Update: Some light showers lowered the midnight temperature to 62°, so it's likely that the incredible event of a new daily high minimum equaling the old daily high maximum in a climate history of over a century will be confirmed.

March 19, 7 PM CDT Update: The daily high was 78°, an incredible 42° above average. If the low holds until midnight, the day will be a mind-boggling 44° above average. The month to date through yesterday was 11.9° above average, but today alone will add about 1.5° to the entire month.

March 19, 4 PM CDT Update: Here's an indication just how crazy warm it is in northern Minnesota: Before today, the warmest it had ever been on March 19 in International Falls was 60° in 1918. That day also set the record for highest minimum on the date of 41°. However, today's morning low of 60° is warm enough to tie that record high. If it holds, it will break the old high minimum record by 19°. Meanwhile, the afternoon temperature has reached at least 77°, which is 17° above the old record high. This is also the third consecutive day with a high temperature above the pre-2012 March monthly high.

Original post:
As an outpost on the Canadian border near the northernmost point of the contiguous 48 states, International Falls, Minnesota jealously guards its reputation as "Icebox of the Nation"™. That reputation is seriously in jeopardy this spring as longstanding temperature records have been spectacularly demolished. With a climate history dating back 142 117 years to 1870 1895, it should be difficult to break daily temperature records by more than a degree or two. Instead, International Falls has broken high temperature records by double digits for the last 3 consecutive days. Yesterday's high of 77° absolutely crushed the old record of 55° in 1968 by a mind-boggling 22°. That was enough to soar past the previous March monthly high of 73° in 1963 by an equally astonishing 4°. Today's high of 79° surpassed that record by another 2°, far exceeding the previous record for the date of 66° in 1918. In the past 9 days, International Falls has set 6 new daily heat records by multiple degrees and tied one record.

As the charts from the Minnesota State Climatology Office show, the persistent heat has virtually wiped out the snow cover in the state over the last 2 weeks.

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