Historical Memorial Day Holiday Weekend Weather in Minnesota

On Memorial Day, we recognize and honor military personnel who lost their lives in service to our country. Observed in northern states on May 30th from the 1860s through 1970, and nationally since 1971 on the final Monday in May, the weekend also is recognized as the unofficial start to summer. Minnesotans enjoy outdoor recreation, and so the weather of the extended Memorial Day weekend can be vitally important. 

Memorial Day can occur as early as May 25 and as late as May 31. In the 49 years since its federal designation  (1971-2019), this holiday has had just about every kind of weather, from washouts, to clear skies, to heat waves, to snow flurries, to severe thunderstorms.

At Minnesota's five first-order climate stations, Memorial Day temperatures since 1971 ranged from a lowest reading of 29 F at International Falls, to a highest reading of 100 F in the Twin Cities. Although the day remains dry 60-70% of the time, rainfall totals have been as high as 3.33 inches in Rochester. Incidentally, the hottest and wettest conditions at any of these five stations (since 1971) were observed in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

 

Climate extremes summary for Memorial Day since 1971 at five stations in Minnesota.
Station

Highest

Temperature (F)

Lowest

Temperature (F)

Most

Precipitation (in.)

Duluth85 (2014)30 (1992)1.48 (2006)

International Falls

89 (2006)29 (1993)1.93 (1978)
Rochester 95 (2006, 2018)38 (1984)3.33 (2019)
St. Cloud96 (2018)38 (1992,1993)1.28 (2011)
Twin Cities100 (2018)39 (1993)1.83 (2018)

 

If we include the weekend leading up to Memorial Day, we see even more variability, because the additional days improve the odds of even more weather extremes. One climatological oddity of the record for all Friday-through-Monday Memorial Day weekends in the Twin Cities since 1971, is that is that Memorial Day is often the nicest, or at least the driest day of the weekend. That day has seen measurable precipitation (0.01" or greater) only 33% of the time. By contrast, 45% of Saturdays and Sundays during Memorial Day weekend have recorded measurable precipitation.

Following are some climatological statistics for Memorial Day weekend in the Twin Cities since 1971.

Twin Cities Memorial Day Weekend Weather (1971 - 2019, 49 years)
Memorial Day Weekend
                                    Fri.  Sat.  Sun.  Mon.
Mean Maximum Temperature (F)       72.0  72.1  72.4  73.5
High Maximum Temperature (F)         96    94    97   100
(year)                             1978  2018  2006  2018

Low Maximum Temperature (F)          49    54    53    49
(year)                             1987  1996  1995  1992

Mean Minimum Temperature (F)       52.6  53.4  54.4  53.4
Low Minimum Temperature (F)          39    36    39    39
(year)                             1979  1974  1992  1993

Greatest Rainfall                  1.56  2.17  1.10  1.83
(year)                             1975  1978  1975  2019

% of days with measurable rain      42%   45%   45%   33%
% of days with any rain             59%   51%   63%   47%
(measurable or trace)
Last modified: May 22, 2020
 

 

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