Winter at the half-way point

The 2020-21 winter has just crossed the half-way point, whether you consider "meteorological winter" (December through February), or an "extended" version that includes November and March. So, how does this winter stack up so far?

Without a doubt, the first half of the 2020-21 winter has been warm. In some places, it has been rather snowy too.

The warmth has been most noteworthy in far northern Minnesota, where International Falls ranked 3rd warmest for November 1 through January 15, and 2nd warmest for December 1 through January 15. Rochester and St. Cloud recorded top-10 warmth for both periods, and the Twin Cities and Duluth were in or very near the top-10 as well. Each station was above the 90th percentile for temperatures since both November 1, and December 1. In other words, the first half of winter has been warmer than more than 90% of other first-halves of winter in Minnesota.

Precipitation has been more difficult to summarize. If we include November, the first half of winter was reasonably wet in St. Cloud, near normal in Duluth, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, but somewhat dry in International Falls. If we exclude November, the first half of winter was dry to near normal at all stations.

Snowfall for the season through January 15 was above the 80th percentile in Duluth, St. Cloud, and the Twin Cities, but near the middle of the pack or slightly low in International Falls and Rochester.

So it has been a warm, somewhat snowy winter so far.

Below is a table summarizing the statistics for the first halves of both the meteorological and extended winter at Minnesota's five long-term, "first-order" stations.

Summary and comparative statistics for the first half of the 2020-21 winter at five long-term observing sites. Note that record length varies between stations, and for temperature, precipitation, and snowfall at each station. "Percentile" refers to approximate percentage of historical record that is below the value listed. Values below 33rd percentile are considered "low," between the 33rd and 67th percentile "near normal," and above the 67th percentile "high."
StationNov. 1 - Jan. 15 Temperature (rank)Dec. 1 Jan. 15 Temperature (rank)Nov. 1 - Jan. 15 Precipitation (rank)Dec. 1 - Jan. 15 Precipitation (rank)Seasonal snowfall through Jan. 15 (rank)
Duluth25.9 F (11th, 92nd percentile)21.1 F (11th, 92nd percentile)3.64 in. (65th, 56th percentile)1.19 in. (103rd, 31st percentile)49.4 in. (21st, 84th percentile)
Int. Falls24.0 F (3rd, 96th percentile)19.3 (2nd, 97th percentile)1.82 in. (71st, 26th percentile)1.33 in. (43rd, 56th percentile)26.0 in. (49th, 32nd percentile)
Rochester30.1 F (9th, 92nd percentile)25.0 F (8th, 93rd percentile)3.29 in. (41st, 62nd percentile)

0.77 in. (84th, 23rd percentile)

17.0 in. (50th, 43rd percentile)
St. Cloud27.7 F (7th, 94th percentile)23.3 F (6th, 95th percentile)3.25 in (31st, 75th percentile)0.98 in (65th, 48th percentile)24.9 in. (30th, 80th percentile)
Twin Cities30.5 F (8th, 94th percentile)25.3 F (12th, 92nd percentile)2.53 (77th, 48th percentile)1.24 (78th, 48th percentile)33.4 in. (15th, 89th percentile)



Modified Jan 21, 2021




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