A large and intense storm system brought a combination of thunderstorms, rain, sleet, snow, and strong gusty winds to Minnesota from Saturday April 14 into Monday April 17, 2023.
A series of small low-pressure areas in the Northern Plains to the west and southwest of Minnesota on Friday, passed eastward and eventually formed a potent area of low pressure over Wisconsin. The passing of these systems ended what had been an exceptional mid-April heat wave, with temperatures falling from the 80s F in some areas on Friday, into the 30s, and eventually 20s across most of Minnesota on Sunday.
Rain and thunderstorms formed in waves of scattered activity across southern and central Minnesota on Friday and Friday night, producing over an inch of rain in parts of Wright and Meeker counties by Saturday morning. A larger and more widespread area of precipitation pushed from south to north across the state late Saturday and into Sunday, with moderate rain turning to sleet and snow in many areas of central and northern Minnesota. Final waves of heavy snow associated with the strengthening Wisconsin system developed later on Sunday, pinwheeling westward out of Wisconsin and Lake Superior into the far southeastern and northeastern parts of Minnesota, with the snow ending either overnight or on Monday.
Precipitation totals from the storm were generally between a quarter of an inch and one inch, generally east of an arc connecting International Falls, Alexandria, Marshall, and Worthington. The highest totals were reported in central, southeastern, and northeastern Minnesota. The National Weather Service Cooperative observer at Milaca reported 3.14 inches, and CoCoRaHS observers from east of Mille Lacs, to the west of St. Cloud, reported around 1.5 to two inches of precipitation. The Cooperative observer at Wright (Carlton County), and at Ely reported 1.85 and 1.81 inches or rain, respectively.
Snow was heaviest in extreme southeastern Minnesota, where accumulations of 6-12 inches were common. The Hokah Cooperative observer reported 11.0 inches, with 7 inches at Winona, 6.5 inches at La Crescent, and 6.0 inches at Mabel and Preston.
Similar amounts were also recorded in central, northern, and northeastern Minnesota, where Gunflint Lake had 10.5 inches, the Brainerd area had 8.0 inches, with 6 to 7.5 inches reported around Milaca, Ely, and Collegeville. Outside the heaviest snows, accumulations of 2-6 inches were common across western, central, and east-central Minnesota--generally to the north and west of the Twin Cities.
Updated April 19, 2023