Here are candidates for the top five weather events of 2014 from the Minnesota State Climatology Office. The runaway favorite for the biggest Minnesota weather story for 2014 was the memorable "polar vortex" winter of 2013-14. Votes were tallied from a sample of weather enthusiasts in Minnesota. Below are the top five, and honorable mentions.
For folks nostalgic about the winter of 2013-14 did not have to wait long. November 2014 featured the coldest high temperature (10 degrees) for a Thanksgiving Day in the Twin Cities since 1930 when the high was 7. The -4 degrees on November 27 was the coldest temperature so early in a winter season since -4 on November 27, 1997.
2014 is poised to be the coolest year in Minnesota since 1996. This is despite the fact that the globe as a whole will have the warmest year on record.
With the prolonged winter cold, very little snow melted during the winter of 2013-14. By the third week of February, much of eastern Minnesota had the deepest snow cover not seen in years. On February 21, 2014 the snow depth at the Twin Cities International Airport was 24 inches, which was the deepest snow cover in the Twin Cities since January 26, 1982. One positive aspect of the deep winter snow meant that there were plenty of opportunities for winter recreation.
June 2014 was the wettest June and the wettest month of the modern record for Minnesota. The state-averaged monthly rainfall total for June was 8.03 inches. Redwood Falls and Glencoe had 14.24 inches. The Twin Cities saw 11.36 inches, which fell just short of the June record of 11.67 inches from 1874. The impacts were flooded roads, farm fields, soggy basements and construction delays. One side benefit to the wet June was once the summer began to turn dry, plants were able to tap deep soil moisture from the June rains.
There were many note-worthy parts of the winter of 2013-14. There were 53 nights of at or below zero temperatures in the Twin Cities. This tied for 5th place for the number of times the mercury dipped at or below zero in the Twin Cities for winters going back to 1872-73. International Falls had 92 at or below zero readings, tied 1977-78 as the most ever. Another measure was the extremely cold wind chill temperatures. The coldest wind chill temperature was -48 at the Twin Cities on January 6th and for the state it was -63 degrees at the Grand Marais Airport. The winter of 2013-14 will be one to compare to for many years to come.
Honorable Mention #1
The warmest day of the summer in the Twin Cities was on July 21, with 92 degrees. The last time there was a summer with a cooler maximum temperature was 1993 when the hottest maximum temperature was 89 degrees. Both Duluth and Rochester did not see 90 degrees in 2014. The warmest temperature statewide was 96 degrees at Hutchinson on July 22, and this was also the coolest statewide temperature since 1993. The Twin Cities wound up with an average temperature that finished .2 (two tenths) of a degree above normal and this was due to the relatively warm overnight minimums. The pleasant weather extended into State Fair season, with a total attendance record set.
Honorable Mention #2
In what seemed to be the most cruel storm of the extended winter, locations just north of the Twin Cities saw a foot of snow on April 16-17. The heart of the Twin Cities was spared with only .3 (three tenths) of an inch of snow. There was a large gradient with 13 inches at Rogers in northern Hennepin County.
Honorable Mention #3
This was the largest snowstorm of the 13-14 snow season for the Twin Cities with 9.9 inches of snow. The Duluth airport saw 14.3 inches. Schools were canceled across the Twin Cities for the sixth time for the winter of 2013-14.
Honorable Mention #4
A spring-like moment appeared in the middle of December with three days in a row of 50 degree air temperatures at the Twin Cities International Airport. Dense fog and mist accompanied the mild temperatures as the snow pack melted away and pools of water formed on Minnesota lakes. A muggy dew point of 49 degrees on December 15th in the Twin Cities was the warmest dew point temperature on record so late in the season.
Honorable Mention #5
The winter of 2014-15 started off with a bang with a large winter storm on November 10. While the Twin Cities was on the southern edge of this storm with only 3.4 inches of snow, it effectively brought fall to a screeching halt. The official measurement for St. Cloud was 13.5 inches and was the 13th largest snowstorm in St. Cloud history.
Honorable Mention #6
In an otherwise quiet year storm-wise, there were a few events of note. One of these was a severe storm outbreak on July 21 and 22. The storms on the 21st caused substantial tree damage in the International Falls area.
Honorable Mention #7
Lack of Tornadoes
It was the second year in a row of a relatively small number of tornadoes. In 2014 only 23 tornadoes were reported in Minnesota. The tornado count as a whole for the United States was down as well