Winter Storm: December 20-21, 2008

A potent winter storm brought snow and cold across Minnesota in a west to east fashion on Saturday, December 20. The main accumulating snow event lasted about 12 hours, with blowing and drifting snow lasting until December 21. This storm dropped a wide swath of snow across much of Minnesota, with many places reporting 2 to 5 inches of snow. Visibility was reduced to about a half a mile in falling snow, with visibilities lower in open terrain. The highest snowfall reported was 7.6 inches at Preston in Fillmore County. Fairmont in Martin County and Red Wing in Goodhue County both reported 7 inches. The total amount at the Twin Cities International Airport was 3.6 inches. Maplewood had 4.8 inches. This is the third snow event in a row in the Twin Cities where the snow was comprised of mostly relatively small flakes.

A sharp cold front associated with this storm swept across the state during the day on Saturday. This front reached the Twin Cities between 3 and 4 in the afternoon. The temperature dropped 11 degrees in an hour from 20 degrees at 3pm to 9 degrees at 4pm and the winds switched from calm at 3pm to westerly at 17mph with gusts to 26mph an hour later. There was also a small burst of heavier snow with this frontal passage, dropping visibilities briefly to a half mile. By midnight the temperature was -10 at the Twin Cities International Airport.

Some blowing and drifting snow, along with bitterly cold windchills dominated the state on Sunday, December 22. Much of Minnesota now has a significant snow cover, much deeper than historical averages for the third week of December.

Below are Public Information Statements on the storm from the National Weather Service. The La Crosse National Weather Service has a story on this winter storm.


PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
349 PM CST SUN DEC 21 2008

...STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL FROM SATURDAYS WINTER STORM...

SNOW REPORTS LISTED BY AMOUNT

INCHES  LOCATION                 ST  COUNTY           TIME
------  -----------------------  --  --------------   -------
 7.00   FAIRMONT                 MN  MARTIN           0707 AM
 7.00   RED WING                 MN  GOODHUE          0658 AM
 6.80   2 SE NEW ULM             MN  BROWN            0800 AM
 6.40   WOODBURY                 MN  WASHINGTON       0900 AM
 6.40   CHASKA                   MN  CARVER           0800 AM
 6.10   LESTER PRAIRIE           MN  MCLEOD           0900 AM
 6.00   MELROSE                  MN  STEARNS          0816 AM
 6.00   BALDWIN                  WI  ST. CROIX        0739 AM
 6.00   4 E ELLSWORTH            WI  PIERCE           0708 AM
 6.00   MORGAN                   MN  REDWOOD          0658 AM
 6.00   LITTLE FALLS             MN  MORRISON         0658 AM
 5.50   7 NNW OGILVIE            MN  KANABEC          1250 PM
 5.50   REDWOOD FALLS            MN  REDWOOD          0800 AM
 5.50   WACONIA                  MN  CARVER           0739 AM
 5.50   MANKATO                  MN  BLUE EARTH       0708 AM
 5.40   HAMBURG                  MN  CARVER           0800 AM
 5.30   LONG PRAIRIE             MN  TODD             0658 AM
 5.00   DURAND                   WI  PEPIN            0100 PM
 5.00   BROWNTON                 MN  MCLEOD           1100 AM
 5.00   4 E OWATONNA             MN  STEELE           0816 AM
 5.00   1 SSE COLD SPRING        MN  STEARNS          0800 AM
 4.80   HAMMOND                  WI  ST. CROIX        0800 AM
 4.80   2 S RICE LAKE            WI  BARRON           0708 AM
 4.80   3 SW EAU CLAIRE          WI  EAU CLAIRE       0658 AM
 4.80   CONNORSVILLE             WI  DUNN             0640 AM
 4.70   STANLEY                  WI  CHIPPEWA         0837 AM
 4.70   CHANHASSEN               MN  CARVER           0658 AM
 4.70   NEW HOPE                 MN  HENNEPIN         0658 AM
 4.50   CAMBRIDGE                MN  ISANTI           0853 AM
 4.50   ST CLOUD                 MN  STEARNS          0658 AM
 4.40   EAU CLAIRE               WI  EAU CLAIRE       0658 AM
 4.30   3 N KIMBALL              MN  STEARNS          0658 AM
 4.20   1 ESE MILROY             MN  REDWOOD          0816 AM
 4.10   RICE                     MN  BENTON           0739 AM
 4.00   HAUGEN                   WI  BARRON           1121 AM
 4.00   CLEAR LAKE               WI  POLK             1000 AM
 4.00   CHIPPEWA FALLS           WI  CHIPPEWA         0837 AM
 4.00   LAKE ELMO                MN  WASHINGTON       0800 AM
 4.00   ZUMBROTA                 MN  GOODHUE          0800 AM
 4.00   MILACA                   MN  MILLE LACS       0800 AM
 4.00   WILLMAR                  MN  KANDIYOHI        0739 AM
 4.00   3 NW LAKE ELMO           MN  WASHINGTON       0739 AM
 4.00   1 SSE COLD SPRING        MN  STEARNS          0739 AM
 4.00   5 NE FOREST LAKE         MN  CHISAGO          0708 AM
 4.00   6 WNW RICE LAKE          WI  BARRON           0633 AM
 3.80   RIDGELAND                WI  DUNN             1226 PM
 3.80   JIM FALLS                WI  CHIPPEWA         0739 AM
 3.60   MINNEAPOLIS              MN  HENNEPIN         0658 AM
 3.50   WINNEBAGO                MN  FARIBAULT        0816 AM
 3.50   2 E JORDAN               MN  SCOTT            0800 AM
 3.20   ROBERTS                  WI  ST. CROIX        0800 AM
 3.00   NEW LONDON               MN  KANDIYOHI        0800 AM
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI
140 PM CST SUN DEC 21 2008

...MINIMUM WIND CHILLS IN THE PAST 24 HOURS...

STATION                   COUNTY              TIME WIND CHILL

GRAND MEADOW - KIMT       MOWER             715 AM    -47 F
CENTURY HIGH SCHOOL AWS   OLMSTED           344 AM    -43 F
MONONA HS AWS             CLAYTON           614 AM    -43 F
WEST UNION AWS            FAYETTE           814 AM    -41 F
WEST CONCORD - KIMT       DODGE             635 AM    -41 F
ROCHESTER ASOS            OLMSTED           554 AM    -40 F
PRESTON KIMT              FILLMORE          234 AM    -40 F
FENNIMORE ELEMENTARY AWS  GRANT             830 AM    -39 F
MOUNT STERLING 1S RWIS    CRAWFORD          508 AM    -39 F
NEW HAMPTON RWIS          CHICKASAW         502 AM    -39 F
CANTON RWIS               FILLMORE          344 AM    -39 F
DODGE CENTER AWOS         DODGE            1235 AM    -39 F
KELLOGG RWIS              WABASHA           224 AM    -39 F
ROCHESTER KELLOGG - KIMT  OLMSTED           635 AM    -39 F
DECORAH 2SE RWIS          WINNESHIEK        205 AM    -38 F
AUSTIN AWOS               MOWER             155 AM    -38 F
ARCADIA HILL RWIS         TREMPEALEAU       509 AM    -38 F
CRESCO KIMT               HOWARD            755 AM    -38 F
NEW HAMPTON AWS           CHICKASAW         729 AM    -38 F
WILLOW CREEK - KIMT       OLMSTED           814 AM    -38 F
NWS LA CROSSE             LA CROSSE         634 AM    -37 F
FRIENDSHIP AWS            ADAMS             714 AM    -37 F
JOHN ADAMS - KIMT         OLMSTED           535 AM    -37 F
WSU CAMPUS AWS            WINONA            529 AM    -37 F
VOLK FIELD                JUNEAU            733 AM    -37 F
RICHLAND CENTER AWS       RICHLAND          814 AM    -37 F
PRESTON AWOS              FILLMORE          559 AM    -37 F
DIAMOND LAKE RAWS         TAYLOR            714 AM    -36 F
LOYAL SCHOOL AWS          CLARK             859 AM    -36 F
STANLEY 1 SE RWIS         CHIPPEWA          823 AM    -36 F
OELWEIN AWOS              FAYETTE           455 AM    -35 F
SOUTH WINNESHIEK SCHOOL   WINNESHIEK        729 AM    -35 F
CHARLES CITY AWOS         FLOYD             115 AM    -35 F
ALMA AWS                  BUFFALO           744 AM    -35 F
MEDFORD AWOS              TAYLOR            715 AM    -35 F
PLAINFIELD AWS            CHICKASAW         659 AM    -34 F
OSAGE - KIMT              MITCHELL         1255 AM    -34 F
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN AWOS     CRAWFORD          755 AM    -34 F
WISC DELLS AWOS           SAUK              915 AM    -34 F
LA CROSSE ASOS            LA CROSSE         353 AM    -34 F
BUFFALO LUTHERAN AWS      BUFFALO           359 AM    -34 F
NECEDAH RAWS              JUNEAU            948 AM    -34 F
BLACK RIVER FALLS RWIS    JACKSON           808 AM    -33 F
I-90 AT I-94 RWIS         JUNEAU            805 AM    -33 F
TOMAH 4N RWIS             MONROE            706 AM    -33 F
5W TOMAH RWIS             MONROE            708 AM    -32 F
CRESTWOOD AWS             HOWARD            427 AM    -32 F
MAUSTON APRS              JUNEAU            748 AM    -31 F
DECORAH AWOS              WINNESHIEK        615 AM    -31 F
WINONA AWOS               WINONA            354 AM    -31 F
EASTERN ALLAMAKEE SCHOOL  ALLAMAKEE         114 AM    -30 F
PLAINVIEW AWS             WABASHA           529 AM    -30 F
SPARTA AWOS               MONROE            455 AM    -30 F
DICKEYVILLE RWIS          GRANT             902 AM    -30 F
ALBERT LEA - KIMT         FREEBORN          415 AM    -29 F
BLACK RIVER FALLS RAWS    JACKSON           415 AM    -29 F
CALEDONIA RWIS            HOUSTON           516 AM    -29 F
MCGREGOR MS AWS           CLAYTON           544 AM    -28 F
LA CROSSE 1S APRS         LA CROSSE         726 AM    -28 F
BOSCOBEL ASOS             GRANT             848 AM    -27 F
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN RWIS     CRAWFORD          207 AM    -27 F
RICEVILLE - KIMT          HOWARD            916 AM    -26 F
3N LA CRESCENT APRS       HOUSTON           749 AM    -25 F


KEY TO OBSERVATION TYPES
AWS - SENSORS FROM AWS INCORPORATED. OFTEN LOCATED AT SCHOOLS.
RWIS - ROAD WEATHER INFORMATION SYSTEMS. LOCATED ON MAJOR ROADS AND BRIDGES.
RAWS - FIRE WEATHER OBSERVATIONS. OFTEN LOCATED IN FORESTS.
ASOS/AWOS - AVIATION WEATHER OBSERVATIONS. LOCATED AT AIRPORTS.

OBSERVATIONS ARE COLLECTED FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES WITH VARYING EQUIPMENT
AND EXPOSURE.  NOT ALL DATA LISTED IS CONSIDERED OFFICIAL.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI
1040 AM CST SUN DEC 21 2008

...RECENT REPORTED SNOWFALL TOTALS...

LOCATION                   SNOWFALL    TIME     LAT/LON



SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA

...DODGE COUNTY...
DODGE CENTER               5.5         0700 AM  44.04N 92.88W 
...FILLMORE COUNTY...
PRESTON                    7.6         0700 AM  43.67N 92.07W 
LANESBORO                  5.3         0700 AM  43.72N 91.97W 
PETERSON 1S                4.0         0639 AM  43.78N 91.82W

...HOUSTON COUNTY...
CALEDONIA 6S               5.0         0700 AM  43.55N 91.51W 
CALEDONIA                  4.6         0700 AM  43.63N 91.50W 
...MOWER COUNTY...
GRAND MEADOW               6.3         0700 AM  43.71N 92.56W 
...OLMSTED COUNTY...
ROCHESTER AP 2NE           7.0         0700 AM  43.93N 92.48W 
ELGIN 2SSW                 4.9         0700 AM  44.10N 92.27W 
...WABASHA COUNTY...
THEILMAN 1SSW              5.9         0700 AM  44.28N 92.19W 
ZUMBRO FALLS               5.1         0700 AM  44.29N 92.42W 
WABASHA                    3.0         0700 AM  44.39N 92.05W 
...WINONA COUNTY...
WINONA 4S                  4.5         0833 AM  44.01N 91.66W
WINONA DAM 5A              3.0         0700 AM  44.09N 91.67W 


PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI
139 PM CST SUN DEC 21 2008

...DECEMBER 2008 NOW TOP 5 FOR MOST SNOW...

SO FAR DECEMBER 2008 RANKS IN THE TOP 10 SNOWIEST DECEMBERS ON RECORD AT ROCHESTER MINNESOTA AND 
LA CROSSE WISCONSIN. THROUGH DECEMBER 20TH...ROCHESTER HAS RECEIVED 24.9 INCHES OF SNOW IN 
DECEMBER WHICH RANKS 3RD. LA CROSSE HAS RECEIVED 25.2 INCHES OF SNOW IN DECEMBER WHICH RANKS 
5TH. BELOW IS THE TOP 10 SNOWIEST DECEMBER ON RECORD AT BOTH ROCHESTER MINNESOTA AND LA CROSSE WISCONSIN.

ROCHESTER MINNESOTA:

RANK  VALUE  YEAR

 1    35.3  2000
 2    30.6  1969
 3    24.9  2008
 4    21.4  1950
 5    20.8  1990
 6    20.7  1968
 7    19.6  1996
 8    18.8  1977
 9    18.3  1961
            1940

LA CROSSE WISCONSIN:

RANK  VALUE   YEAR
 1    30.4   1990
 2    26.6   1968
 3    25.5   2000
             1927
 5    25.2   2008
 6    24.2   2007
 7    21.9   1911
 8    19.8   1969
 9    19.5   1950
10    18.8   1977

Last modified: January 10, 2017
For more information contact: climate@umn.edu