Winter Climatology for the
Upper Mississippi River Valley
Updated October 17, 2014 - Jeff Boyne

Below are the winter climate statistics for La Crosse, WI and Rochester, MN.

La Crosse, WI

Temperatures (in degrees F)

La Crosse, WI averages 20.5 degrees during a typical meteorological winter (December through February).  This is based upon the 1981 through 2010 (30-year) climate normals.  The coldest winter occurred during the winter of 1872-73 when the average temperature was 8.2 degrees.  Meanwhile, the warmest winter occurred during the winter of 1877-78 when the average temperature was 34.2 degrees. The image below compares the average temperatures from the winter of 1872-73 through the winter of 2013-14 with the 1873-2014 longterm average of 19.5 degrees.

La Crosse, WI Average Winter Temperatures

Last winter (2013-14), the average temperature was 11.6 degrees or 8.9 degrees below the 1981-2010 normal of 20.5 degrees.  This was the fifth coldest winter and the coldest since 1977-78 (11.5 degrees).  

Precipitation

On average, La Crosse, WI receives 3.53 inches of precipitation during a typical meteorological winter (December through February).  This is based upon the 1981 through 2010 (30-year) climate normals.  The driest winter occurred during the winter of 1963-64 when just 0.92 inches of precipitation fell.  Meanwhile, the wettest winter occurred during the winter of 1875-76 when 7.47 inches of precipitation fell.  The image below compares the precipitation from the winter of 1872-73 through the winter of 2013-14 with the 1873-2014 longterm average of 3.45 inches.

La Crosse, WI Winter Precipitation

Last winter (2013-14), 3.88 inches of precipitation fell.  This was 0.35 inches wetter than the 1981-2010 normal of 3.53 inches.

Snowfall

On average, La Crosse, WI receives 43.3 inches of snow during a typical snow season (July 1 through June 30).  This is based upon the 1981 through 2010 (30-year) climate normals.  The least amount of snow in a season occurred during the 1967-68 snow season when just 7.7 inches of snow fell.  Meanwhile, the snowiest season occurred during the 1961-62 snow season when 78.7 inches of snow fell.  The image below compares the seasonal snowfall totals from the 1884-85 snow season through the 2013-14 snow season with the 1884-2014 longterm average of 43.1 inches.

La Crosse, WI Seasonal Snowfall

Last winter (2013-14), 48.9 inches of snow fell.  This was 5.6 inches snowier than the 1981-2010 normal of 43.3 inches.

Rochester MN

Temperatures (in degrees F)

Rochester, MN averages 18.5 degrees during a typical meteorological winter (December through February).  This is based upon the 1981 through 2010 (30-year) climate normals.  The coldest winter occurred during the winter of 1978-79 when the average temperature was 5.6 degrees.  Meanwhile, the warmest winter occurred during the winter of 1930-31 when the average temperature was 26.1 degrees.  The image below provides average temperatures from the winter of 1886-87 through the winter of 2013-14  with the 1886-2014 longterm average of 16.3 degrees.

Rochester MN Average Winter Temperatures

Last winter (2013-14), the average temperature was 8.8 degrees or 9.7 degrees below the 1981-2010 normal of 18.5 degrees.  This was the fifth coldest winter and the coldest since 1978-79 (5.6 degrees - coldest winter).  

Precipitation

On average, Rochester, MN receives 2.92 inches of precipitation during a typical meteorological winter (December through February).  This is based upon the 1981 through 2010 (30-year) climate normals.  The driest winter occurred during the winter of 1957-58 when just 0.71 inches of precipitation fell.  Meanwhile, the wettest winter occurred during the winter of 1887-88 when 5.47 inches of precipitation fell.  The image below provides precipitation totals from the winter of 1886-87 through the winter of 2013-14  with the 1886-2014 longterm average of 2.73 inches.

Rochester MN Winter Precipitation

Last winter (2013-14), 2.73 inches of precipitation fell.  This was 0.19 inches drier than the 1981-2010 normal of 2.92 inches.

Snowfall

On average, Rochester, MN receives 51.9 inches of snow during a typical snow season (July 1 through June 30).  This is based upon the 1981 through 2010 (30-year) climate normals.  The least amount of snow in a season occurred during the 1967-68 snow season when just 9.1 inches of snow fell.  Meanwhile, the snowiest season occurred during the 1996-97 snow season when 84.7 inches of snow fell.  The image below provides snow totals from the 1949-50 snow season through the 2013-14 snow season with the 1949-2014 longterm average of 2.73 inches

Rochester MN Seasonal Snowfall

Last winter (2013-14), 60.5 inches of snow fell.  This was 8.6 inches snowier than the 1981-2010 normal of 51.9 inches.

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