January kicked off 2006 on a very mild and dry note, with average temperatures over 16 degrees above the normal, and snowfall less than 1 inch. High temperatures were at or below freezing on only 12 occasions, while average daily temperatures were above normal every day. The average January usually experiences 25 days where temperatures don’t climb above freezing. In fact, January was so mild that low temperatures only fell into single digits on two days, with 8 degrees on the morning of the 22nd and 5 degrees on the 23rd.. Normally, lows would fall below zero 13 times, let alone the single digits above zero. The average temperature of 28.1 degrees made it the warmest January on record in Rochester. As mentioned, January did not live up to its reputation as one of the snowiest months, with less than an inch falling. This is well below the 10 to 11 inch totals Rochester receives in an average January. The grand total of 0.8 inches for the month made it the least snowiest January on record.
February brought a return to more normal winter conditions. Temperatures fell more instep for the time of year, although highs did top out at 46 on the 2nd and 24th. The coldest day of 2006 occurred in February, with mercuries dropping to -19 on the morning of the 18th, a record for this day. This cold air was associated with a winter storm that swept through the region on 16th, dropping 6.6 inches of snow in Rochester. This set a one-day snowfall record for the 18th.
March was a bit warmer than normal, averaging just over 2 degrees above the normal. However, except for a 57 degree high on the 11 th, there were no appreciable swings in the temperatures from day to day. Precipitation was a bit above normal, thanks to some late month rainfall and three separate snowfall events. Three plus inch events occurred on the 5th, 13th, and 16th, helping to bring the monthly total to 11.1 inches. This was the second snowiest month of the 2005-06 winter season, and rounded out the season at 37.7 inches. That is about 10 inches below what Rochester experiences in a normal winter.
April brought its usual wild swings in temperatures, as the seasons transition from winter to spring. It was rather mild for the most part though, with below normal temperatures being recorded on only 3 days of the month. The warmest stretch was around mid month, with highs reaching or exceeding 70 degrees on 6 consecutive days from the 10th through the 15th. The first 80 degree day of 2006 occurred on the 13 th, with a record high for that day of 82. The monthly average of 51.3 degrees made it the 5th warmest April on record for Rochester. April was also very wet, with an inch or more of rain falling on 3 days. One-day records were set on the 7th and 16th, with 1.52 inches and 1.20 inches falling respectively. The total of 5.51 inches for the month made it the 4th wettest April on record.
May was another mild month on the whole, but experienced quite a range in temperatures. Highs stayed in the 40s on the 11th and 12th, but would reach 95 on both the 28th and 29th. The 43 degree high on 12th was a record for the lowest high temperature for that day, while record highs were recorded on the 28th and 29th. May also wrapped up a warm spring, with the March, April, May period averaging 47.8 degrees. This tied 1991 as the 7th warmest spring on record for Rochester. As for precipitation, May put the brakes on the wet conditions of the previous two month, finishing over 1 ½ inches below normal. Nearly two-thirds of the monthly total fell on two days, the 9th and 12th.
June was another mild month, although there was no significant warm up like there was in May. Temperatures topped out at 88 for the month, while a wet day kept highs to a cool 59 on the 10th. Below normal precipitation continued into June, with the 3.45 inch total around ½ inch below the monthly normal. However, there was a period of significant rainfall, with 2.12 inches of that monthly total falling over the 9th and 10th. Usually the most active month when it comes to severe weather, it was rather quiet this June. There were only 6 days with severe weather across southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, and western Wisconsin. Large hail was the most reported event.
Much warmer temperatures moved in for July, with daily highs reaching or exceeding 90 degrees 6 times. Not only is this well above the average for July, which is 3, but also nearly equals the average of 7 for an entire year! The average temperature of 74.3 degrees made this past July the 7th warmest on record for Rochester. July was also another dry month, finishing about 1 3/4 inches below normal. This doesn’t tell the whole story, as the bulk of July’s rainfall was concentrated on two days, with 94% of the monthly total falling on the 14th (0.89 inches) and 19th (1.83 inches). In addition, dry days were recorded from June 26th through July 7th, while only 0.04" of rain fell from the 20th through the end of the month.
August brought some relief from the dry conditions, with precipitation for the month almost 2 inches above the normal. Rainfall of ½ inch or more fell on 5 days, with a record 2.77 inches on the 24th. This was also the highest one-day total for 2006. The total of 6.25 inches for the month made it the 10th wettest August on record for Rochester. It was still a mild month though, and marked the 8th consecutive month with above normal temperatures. Temperatures were relatively steady though, with highs only ranging from a max for the month of 84, and a low of 69. August was the most active month of the year for severe weather, especially toward the end of the month. A stationary front laid up across the region, and served as the focus for thunderstorm develop from the 23rd through the 25th. Large hail was reported throughout the region over these three days, with hail as large 2 ½ inches in Monroe County, Wisconsin on the evening of the 23rd. Damaging wind gusts up to 75 mph were also reported with the severe thunderstorms, while torrential rains caused flooding in some locations.
September was an average month in relation to rainfall, but unlike some other months, it would spread its total out over several days. There were 10 days in September where at least a tenth of an inch of rain fell, with 4 of those recording better than 1/4 inch. Measurable rain fell on 14 days, 5 more than average. September would end the string of warm months, averaging 1.1 degrees below the monthly normal. There were more days with highs only in the 50s (9) compared to when highs warmed to 80 or better (4). This cool trend would continue into October.
October started out promising for mild temperatures, with 80 plus degree days on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. However, temperatures quickly tumbled after this mild beginning, with below normal temperatures on 19 of the remaining 28 days. High temperatures did not break 50 degrees on 13 days, and stayed below 40 four times. Along with being cool, this past October was dry. Measurable rain fell on 7 days, with the monthly total almost 1 ½ inches below normal. What did fall came mostly on two days, with the 4th and 16th accounting for over 70% of the monthly total. The first flurries of the season flew on the 4th, while the first measurable snowfall came on the 12th (0.1 inches).
cool start to November quickly gave way to some milder conditions, which would then hold on for the rest of the month. After the 3rd, temperatures were at or above normal for 23 out of the remaining 27 days. The last 70 degree day of the year was recorded this month, with a high of 73 on the 8th. November 2006 will be remember more for one event though, rather than the mild conditions. A winter storm bore down on the region on the 10th, leaving a blanket of 10.5 inches of snow across Rochester. This set a new record for this day, and also tied for the 6th highest one-day total on record for Rochester. The snow would not stick around for long though, as the mild temperatures quickly ate into the snow cover and brought the area back to bare ground by the 18th. Aside from this snowfall, only a few days with a trace, and one with a tenth of an inch, were recorded. The rest of the month wasn’t completely dry though, as record rainfall fell on the 28th with 1.17 inches.
December got the last month of 2006 off on a cold note, with at or below normal temperatures for the first 8 days. However, that would be the last of the cold temperatures for the rest of the year, as mild air would settle back over the region. Above normal temperatures were recorded the rest of the month, with lows either near or above the average highs on those days! The 29.0 degree average made it the 4th warmest December on record (tied with 1918). December lacked for snowfall, but not for precipitation. There were 3 days with over 1/4 inch of rainfall, although those days did account for nearly 80% of the month’s total. The 0.8 inches of snowfall for the month made it the 5th least snowy December on record. Nearly all of that snow came on the 31st, with 0.7 inches falling on that day.
Overall, 2006 will be remembered as a very warm year, with the 47.6 degree average making it the 2nd warmest on record for Rochester. Amazingly, temperatures were above normal on 2 out of every 3 days. Looking at the warmth another way, Rochester typically experiences freezing or sub freezing high temperatures 83 times in a normal year. In 2006, there were only 45 days where highs failed to exceed freezing. In addition, low temperatures usually drop to or below zero 33 times, but only the 17th, 18th, and 19th of February and December 7th did that in 2006. It was a bit above normal for precipitation, with most months generally within 1½ inches of their normals. The exceptions were the wetter months of April and August.
|Highest temperature for 2006||95 on May 28th and 29th|
|Lowest temperature for 2006||-19 on February 18th|
|Highest one-day precipitation||2.77" on August 24th|
|Highest one-day snowfall||10.5" on November 10th|
|Number of days with highs at or above 90 degrees||8|
|Number of days with highs at or below 32 degrees||45|
|Number of days with zero or below temperatures||4|
|Peak wind gust||74 mph from the N on August 24th|
|Number of days with measurable precipitation||107|
|Percentage of days with measurable precipitation||29%|
|Number of days with above normal temperatures||241|
|Percentage of days with above normal temperatures||66%|