Historic Snow Storm - Southeast Minnesota: May 1-3, 2013

Northfield, MN - May 2, 2013
Northfield, MN - May 2, 2013
Photo credit: Emily Spoden

 

Over one foot of snow fell on southeast Minnesota on May 1 through May 3. The storm snarled roads, closed or delayed schools, and downed power lines. Daily and monthly snowfall records were set in numerous locations, and the event will go into the record books as producing the largest 24-hour snowfall total ever observed in Minnesota during May.

Heavy May snow was reported in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. In Minnesota, the heaviest of the snowfall totals topped 14 inches in Steele, Dodge, Olmsted, Goodhue, and Wabasha counties. Snowfall totals in excess of eight inches were reported in Faribault, Freeborn, Mower, Waseca, Rice, Dakota, Washington, and Winona counties.

While May snowfalls are not uncommon in northern Minnesota, they are rare in southern Minnesota. A quick scan of all historical Minnesota May daily snowfall totals greater than or equal to 3.0 inches indicates that May 1938 may have been the last time any southern Minnesota observer reported snowfall totals of similar magnitude.

Minnesota's previous record statewide daily May snowfall total was 12.0 inches. This threshold was reached twice: May 8, 1938 in Windom (Cottonwood County) and May 3, 1954 near Leonard (Clearwater County). The Minnesota State Climatology Office will now regard the May 2, 2013 snowfall measurement made in Dodge Center as the largest official 24-hour May snowfall total ever recorded in Minnesota. The Dodge Center snowfall observation made at 7:00 AM CDT on May 2 was 15.4 inches. More snow fell after observation time, adding up to a storm total of 17.2 inches.

A CoCoRaHS observer near Ellendale in Steele County measured 17.3 inches of snow and this establishes a new Minnesota State Record for a three-day snowfall in May. Ellendale's May monthly total also was 17.3 inches and this falls just short of Minnesota's all-time monthly May snowfall record of 17.8 inches set in Virginia (St. Louis County) in 1954.

Our delayed spring may have provided an unlikely benefit. During a typical spring, leaves on southeast Minnesota trees are fairly well developed by this time. The additional leaf area would have captured more snow, creating more strain on branches, and perhaps amplifying the impact of downed limbs on power lines.

National Weather Service Products

National Weather Service Snow Reports

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
945 AM CDT WED JUN 5 2013

...1-DAY...2-DAY AND 3-DAY MAY SNOWFALL RECORDS SET IN MINNESOTA...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND THE MINNESOTA STATE CLIMATOLOGY
OFFICE JUST RECENTLY CONFIRMED THAT THE SNOWFALL MEASURED AT DODGE
CENTER MINNESOTA /DODGE COUNTY/ IN EARLY MAY OF 2013 ESTABLISHED A
1-DAY AND 2-DAY MAY SNOWFALL RECORD. THEY ALSO CONFIRMED THAT THE
COCORAHS OBSERVER NEAR ELLENDALE /0.3 MILES SOUTHWEST OF ELLENDALE/
IN STEELE COUNTY ESTABLISHED THE 3-DAY MAY SNOWFALL RECORD DURING
THIS SAME SNOW STORM.

ON MAY 2ND...THE DODGE CENTER COOPERATIVE OBSERVER RECORDED 15.4
INCHES OF SNOW. THIS ESTABLISHES A NEW MINNESOTA STATE RECORD FOR
1-DAY MAY SNOWFALL. THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS 12 INCHES AT WINDOM
/MAY 8 1938/ AND LEONARD /MAY 3 1954/.

FROM MAY 2ND INTO MAY 3RD...THE DODGE CENTER COOPERATIVE OBSERVER
RECORDED 17.2 INCHES OF SNOW.  THIS ESTABLISHES A NEW MINNESOTA
STATE RECORD FOR 2-DAY MAY SNOWFALL. THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS
12 INCHES AT WINDOM /MAY 8 1938/ AND LEONARD /MAY 3 1954/.

FROM MAY 2ND INTO MAY 4TH...THE ELLENDALE COCORAHS OBSERVER RECORDED
17.3 INCHES OF SNOW.  THIS ESTABLISHES A NEW MINNESOTA STATE RECORD
FOR 3-DAY MAY SNOWFALL. THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS 12 INCHES AT WINDOM
/MAY 8 1938/ AND LEONARD /MAY 3 1954/.

THOSE OF US IN THE CLIMATE COMMUNITY ARE EXCEEDINGLY GRATEFUL FOR
THEIR DILIGENCE IN MEASURING SNOWFALL DURING THIS HISTORIC MAY SNOW
STORM.

BOYNE/MARGRAF/SPODEN


PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI
142 PM CDT THU MAY 2 2013

...LATEST SNOWFALL REPORTS...

LOCATION                       AMOUNT    TIME/DATE       LAT/LON              

MINNESOTA

...DODGE...
DODGE CENTER                   15.4 IN   0700 AM 05/02   44.03N/92.87W        
KASSON                         14.5 IN   0837 AM 05/02   44.03N/92.75W        
BLOOMING PRAIRIE               14.0 IN   0950 AM 05/02   43.86N/92.97W        
PINE ISLAND 5WSW               13.0 IN   1020 AM 05/02   44.18N/92.75W        
CLAREMONT                      13.0 IN   0106 PM 05/02   44.04N/93.00W        

...FILLMORE...
1 ENE SPRING VALLEY            8.0 IN    1224 PM 05/02   43.69N/92.37W        
PETERSON 1S                    5.0 IN    0101 PM 05/02   43.78N/91.82W        
SPRING VALLEY                  5.0 IN    0756 AM 05/02   43.69N/92.39W        
PRESTON                        4.0 IN    0800 AM 05/02   43.67N/92.07W        
PRESTON 1SSE                   3.6 IN    0820 AM 05/02   43.66N/92.08W        
LANESBORO                      3.5 IN    1101 AM 05/02   43.72N/91.97W        
HIGHLAND                       2.0 IN    1019 AM 05/02   43.69N/91.89W        

...MOWER...
BROWNSDALE                     10.0 IN   0856 AM 05/02   43.74N/92.87W        
AUSTIN 2SW                     10.0 IN   0855 AM 05/02   43.64N/93.05W        
ADAMS 2S                       8.5 IN    1022 AM 05/02   43.56N/92.71W        

...OLMSTED...
2 NW ROCHESTER                 15.5 IN   0957 AM 05/02   44.03N/92.50W        
2 N ORONOCO                    14.0 IN   0953 AM 05/02   44.19N/92.54W        
ROCHESTER 1NW                  12.3 IN   1155 AM 05/02   44.02N/92.49W        
ORONOCO                        11.5 IN   1026 AM 05/02   44.16N/92.54W        
EYOTA                          11.5 IN   1111 AM 05/02   43.99N/92.23W        
4 WSW RINGE                    11.3 IN   1000 AM 05/02   44.10N/92.47W        
DOUGLAS 2N                     10.0 IN   0928 AM 05/02   44.16N/92.57W        
3 NE SALEM CORNERS             9.8 IN    0820 AM 05/02   44.01N/92.56W        
1 SE ROCHESTER                 9.5 IN    0931 AM 05/02   44.00N/92.46W        
PINE ISLAND 2S                 9.0 IN    0929 AM 05/02   44.19N/92.65W        
ROCHESTER BELTLINE             5.2 IN    1256 PM 05/02   44.01N/92.47W        

...WABASHA...
OAK CENTER                     15.0 IN   1145 AM 05/02   44.35N/92.40W        
READS LANDING 1W               12.5 IN   1040 AM 05/02   44.40N/92.17W        
HAMMOND 1S                     10.0 IN   1144 AM 05/02   44.21N/92.37W        
PLAINVIEW                      10.0 IN   1135 AM 05/02   44.16N/92.17W        
KELLOGG 4S                     9.0 IN    1143 AM 05/02   44.24N/91.99W        
LAKE CITY                      6.0 IN    0800 AM 05/02   44.44N/92.28W        
WABASHA 5S                     5.2 IN    1235 PM 05/02   44.32N/92.05W        

...WINONA...
ST CHARLES 3N                  11.5 IN   0104 PM 05/02   44.02N/92.07W        
4 SW ELBA                      10.0 IN   1100 AM 05/02   44.04N/92.06W        
LEWISTON                       8.0 IN    0117 PM 05/02   43.99N/91.87W        
WINONA                         3.5 IN    1127 AM 05/02   44.05N/91.66W        
GOODVIEW                       2.0 IN    0933 AM 05/02   44.07N/91.71W
DRESBACH                       0.1 IN    1200 PM 05/02        


...STORM TOTALS FOR SNOWFALL EVENT WEDNESDAY THROUGH FRIDAY...

THANK YOU TO OUR COOP AND COCORAHS OBSERVERS...TRAINED SPOTTERS...
OUR PARTNERS...AND THE PUBLIC FOR THESE SNOWFALL REPORTS.

THE TOTALS BELOW ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE FINAL AMOUNT FOR EACH
LOCATION....

SNOW REPORTS LISTED BY AMOUNT

 INCHES  LOCATION                 ST  COUNTY           TIME
 ------  -----------------------  --  --------------   -------
 18.00   BLOOMING PRAIRIE         MN  STEELE           1145 AM
 17.70   3 NE STOCKHOLM           WI  PEPIN            0800 AM
 17.50   GOODHUE                  MN  GOODHUE          0945 AM
 17.00   RICE LAKE                WI  BARRON           0130 PM
 16.00   1 NE CAMERON             WI  BARRON           1200 PM
 16.00   MENOMONIE                WI  DUNN             0916 AM
 16.00   6 WSW ELLSWORTH          WI  PIERCE           0800 PM
 15.80   SW ELLENDALE             MN  STEELE           0700 AM
 15.50   2 E OWATONNA             MN  STEELE           0730 AM
 14.30   2 SE CHETEK              WI  BARRON           0700 AM
 14.00   3 NW SPRING VALLEY       WI  ST. CROIX        1010 AM
 13.50   4 SE RED WING            MN  GOODHUE          0800 AM
 13.50   PINE ISLAND              MN  GOODHUE          1130 AM
 13.50   4 NW ARKANSAW            WI  PEPIN            0800 AM
 13.50   E OWATONNA               MN  STEELE           0630 AM
 13.40   4 E NERSTRAND            MN  GOODHUE          0800 AM
 13.40   1 NE ELK MOUND           WI  DUNN             0700 AM
 12.90   2 WNW LADYSMITH          WI  RUSK             0700 AM
 12.00   BALDWIN                  WI  ST. CROIX        0700 AM
 11.40   JIM FALLS                WI  CHIPPEWA         0700 AM
 11.00   1 SSW RIVER FALLS        WI  PIERCE           0730 AM
 10.90   HAMMOND                  WI  ST. CROIX        0700 AM
 10.20   CANNON FALLS             MN  GOODHUE          0813 AM
 10.00   ALBERT LEA               MN  FREEBORN         0529 AM
 10.00   WELLS                    MN  FARIBAULT        0800 AM
 10.00   OWATONNA                 MN  STEELE           0800 AM
  9.90   ZUMBROTA                 MN  GOODHUE          0700 AM
  9.40   WASECA                   MN  WASECA           0800 AM
  9.30   BLOOMER                  WI  CHIPPEWA         0800 AM
  9.30   EAU CLAIRE               WI  EAU CLAIRE       0700 AM
  8.80   ROBERTS                  WI  ST. CROIX        0700 AM
  8.50   CHIPPEWA FALLS           WI  CHIPPEWA         0800 AM
  8.00   2 SE COTTAGE GROVE       MN  WASHINGTON       0510 AM
  7.80   NW PRESCOTT              WI  PIERCE           0800 AM
  7.80   HASTINGS                 MN  DAKOTA           1130 AM
  7.50   AUGUSTA                  WI  EAU CLAIRE       0800 AM
  6.80   NORTHFIELD               MN  RICE             0830 AM
  6.10   7 ESE ST CROIX FALLS     WI  POLK             0730 AM
  6.00   4 W CORNELL              WI  CHIPPEWA         0800 AM
  5.40   6 ESE DRESSER            WI  POLK             0800 AM
  4.00   1 NNW SPRINGFIELD        MN  BROWN            0700 AM
  4.00   3 SE LAKE ELMO           MN  WASHINGTON       0700 AM
  3.90   BLUE EARTH               MN  FARIBAULT        0800 AM
  3.30   1 N WOODBURY             MN  WASHINGTON       0700 AM
  2.20   ROSEMOUNT                MN  DAKOTA           0800 AM
  2.00   SHERBURN                 MN  MARTIN           0730 AM
Last modified: April 27, 2015
Pete Boulay, DNR Climatologist

 

For more information contact: climate@umn.edu