Table of Contents
  1. Winter Snow Maps
  2. Top Snowfalls
  3. Seasonal and Monthly Snow
  4. Snowfall Averages
  5. Earliest and Latest Snow
  6. Consecutive Days With Snow
  7. Frost and Freeze Info

  8. Extreme Cold Temps
  9. Miscellaneous Stats

This web page will be a collection of winter climate statistics and records, mainly for the two climate sites in the area - Duluth, MN and International Falls, MN. This will include records on the biggest snowstorms, the earliest and latest dates for snow, frost and freeze information, and much more. Simply scroll down the page to get started, or use the table of contents on the right to navigate.


The National Weather Service office in Duluth, MN after a snowstorm in 2007.

 

Seasonal Winter Snow Maps

 
2009-2010 2008-2009 2007-2008  

Please note that these seasonal snowfall maps were created using GIS software. In order to get the shaded contours, snowfall totals from the Cooperative Observer Network are interpolated. Because the interpolation involves some smoothing, and considering how an individual data point fits in with surrounding data points, the shaded value at a specific spot may not match the actual total. However, these maps should provide a fairly accurate smoothed regional snowfall map.

 

Top Snowfalls

Duluth, Minnesota International Falls, MN
Top Storm Total Snowfalls Top Storm Total Snowfalls
1. 36.9 inches, Oct 31 - Nov 3, 1991
2. 33.1 inches, December 5-7, 1950
3. 27.1 inches, January 25-27, 2004
4. 25.9 inches, January 5-7, 1994
5. 24.5 inches, December 24-26, 2009
1. 24.1 inches, January 9-12, 1975
2. 21.2 inches, March 3-5, 1966
3. 19.0 inches, November 1-3, 1991
4. 18.8 inches, March 9-10, 2009
5. 16.8 inches, November 1-3, 1976
Top 24 Hour Snowfalls Top 24 Hour Snowfalls
1. 25.4 inches, December 5-6, 1950
2. 24.1 inches, November 1, 1991
3. 23.2 inches, January 25-26, 2004
4. 21.0 inches, March 13-14, 1917
5. 19.4 inches, March 17-18, 1965
1. 17.7 inches, January 10-11, 1975
2. 17.0 inches, March 3-4, 1966
3. 14.7 inches, November 1-2, 1991
4. 14.6 inches, March 11-12, 1976
5. 14.2 inches, January 17-18, 1996

 

Seasonal and Monthly Snow Records

Duluth, Minnesota International Falls, MN
Airport MAX Record Winter Season Snow
All Time MAX Record Winter Season Snow
1. 135.4 inches, 1995-1996
2. 131.8 inches, 1949-1950
3. 130.2 inches, 2013-2014
4. 129.4 inches, 2012-2013
5. 128.2 inches, 1996-1997
1. 125.6 inches, 2008-2009
2. 116.0 inches, 1995-1996
3. 111.0 inches, 1991-1992
4. 104.7 inches, 1988-1989
5. 97.2 inches, 1990-1991
Airport MIN Record Winter Season Snow All Time MIN Record Winter Season Snow
1. 39.3 inches, 1967-1968
2. 40.9 inches, 1980-1981
3. 42.4 inches, 1944-1945
4. 42.9 inches, 1958-1959
5. 45.5 inches, 1972-1973
1. 25.8 inches, 1918-1919
2. 27.1 inches, 1999-2000
3. 27.4 inches, 1941-1942
4. 28.7 inches, 1962-1963
5. 30.4 inches, 1972-1973

Highest total snowfall for the month of...
  Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
 DLH 2.4 14.0 50.1 44.3 46.8 34.4 48.2 50.8 8.1 0.2
 INL 2.0 10.5 29.7 43.9 43.0 32.3 31.5 23.0 13.4 0.3

 

Snowfall Averages

  • International Falls:  normally 71 inches of snow per year (based on 1981-2010 climate record). Winter storms are considered to be storms that produce 6 inches or more of snow at a given location. From 1990 to early 2010, International Falls had 53 winter storms, or averaged about 2.7 winter storms per winter. International Falls also averaged about 0.7 10-inch snowstorms per year, or just under one per year, and has only two 20-inch snowstorms on record.
  • Duluth:  normally 86.1 inches of snow per year (based on 1981-2010 climate record). Winter storms are considered to be storms that produce 6 inches or more of snow at a given location. From 1990 to early 2010, Duluth had 70 winter storms, or averaged about 3.5 winter storms per winter. Duluth also averaged about 1.6 10-inch snowstorms per year, and a 20-inch snowstorm once every 5 years.

 

Earliest and Latest Snow

Duluth, Minnesota

  • Earliest Measurable Snow: Sept. 18, 1991
  • Latest Measurable Snow: June 2, 1945
  • Avg. 1st Measurable: October 24th
  • Avg. Last Measurable: April 27th
  • Avg. 1st 1 inch Snow: November 4th
  • Avg. Last 1 inch Snow: April 12th
 International Falls, Minnesota
  • Earliest Measurable Snow: Sept. 14, 1964
  • Latest Measurable Snow: June 2, 1969
  • Avg. 1st Measurable: October 20th
  • Avg. Last Measurable: April 27th
  • Avg. 1st 1 inch Snow: November 1st
  • Avg. Last 1 inch Snow: April 11th

 

Consecutive Days With Measurable Snowfall

Duluth, Minnesota International Falls, MN
T1. 10 days, December 12 - December 21, 2008
T1. 10 days, February 25 - March 6, 1998
T1. 10 days, February 27 - March 7, 1976
T4. 9 days, three different dates tied
  1. 11 days, December 14-24, 1974
T2. 10 days, November 29 - December 8, 2008
T2. 10 days, November 13 - November 22, 1955
T2. 10 days, December 5 - December 14, 1950
T5. 9 days, two different dates tied

 

Frost and Freeze Information

Frost (the formation of light ice crystals on the ground) occurs under light wind conditions with radiational cooling - that is, heat radiating away from the Earth's surface. Frost will form when temperatures at ground level fall to around 32 degrees. Because of different radiative properties, frost will often occur when the surface air temperature is still in the mid-30s. A freeze occurs when the air temperature measured at an observing site falls below 32 degrees. These temperature readings are taken at 2 meters above ground level, or about 6 feet.

  • Duluth Airport: The average first frost occurs around September 13 at the airport, with 90% of the first fall frosts occurring by September 28. The average last spring frost occurs around June 5th, with 90% of the last spring frosts occurring by June 24th.
  • Duluth Harbor:  The average first frost occurs around October 2nd at the harbor, with 90% of the first fall frosts occurring by October 25th. The average last spring frost occurs around May 30th, with 90% of the last spring frosts occurring by July 7th.
  • International Falls:  The average first frost occurs around September 7th, with 90% of the first fall frosts occurring by September 20th. The average last spring frost occurs around June 7th, with 90% of the last spring frosts occurring by June 29th.

Why does the fall frost occur much later at the Duluth harbor, as opposed to on top of the hill by the airport? Basically, Lake Superior heats up during the summer months and water has a high heat content. Therefore, it takes awhile to heat up, or cool down a large body of water. When it gets really cold in inland areas in the fall, the areas right along the water will stay warmer because Lake Superior hasn't cooled down yet.

 

Extreme Cold Temperatures

Coldest Low Temperatures
Duluth, Minnesota International Falls, MN
  1.  -41F, January 2, 1885
T2.  -39F, February 2, 1996
T2.  -39F, January 15, 1972
T4.  -38F, four dates tied, January 17, 1982 most recent
  1.  -55F, January 6, 1909
  2.  -54F, January 7, 1909
  3.  -50F, January 11, 1909
  4.  -48F, February 8, 1909
T5.  -46F, January 21, 2011 and January 6, 1968
Coldest High Temperatures
Duluth, Minnesota International Falls, MN
  1.  -22F, January 9, 1982
T2.  -21F, February 2, 1996
T2.  -21F, January 18, 1994
T2.  -21F, January 14, 1972
T5.  -20F, four dates tied, January 19, 1985 most recent
  1.  -29F, January 6,1909
T2.  -28F, January 19, 1985
T2.  -28F, January 14, 1972
  4.  -26F, January 27, 1966
T5.  -25F, February 1, 1996 and January 16, 1982
Consecutive Days Highs Below Zero
Duluth, Minnesota International Falls, MN
  1.  7 days, ended on January 19, 1994
  2.  6 days, ended on January 23, 1963
T3. 5 days, 6 different streaks tied for 3rd place.
 1. 18 days, ended on December 31, 1924
  2. 13 days, ended on January 15, 1912
  3. 10 days, ended on December 17, 1919
T4.  9 days, ended on January 7, 1968
T4.  9 days, ended on January 26, 1963
Consecutive Days Lows Below Zero
Duluth, Minnesota International Falls, MN

1.    23 days ended on February 11, 2014

T2.  22 days, ended on January 31, 1963
T2.  22 days, ended on February 7, 1936
  4.  20 days, ended on January 18, 1979
T5.  18 days, 3 different streaks tied for 4th place

 1. 35 days, ended on January 22, 1977
 2. 34 days, ended on February 4, 1950
 3. 31 days, ended on February 13, 1959
T4. 30 days, ended on January 26, 1982
T4. 30 days, ended on January 28, 1924

 

Miscellaneous Climate Facts

  • Wind chill records are not reliably kept. However, a notable bitter wind chill occurred on February 1, 1996 around 725pm. The temperature at Duluth was -25 degrees with a peak wind speed of 25 MPH. This produced a wind chill value of -58 degrees.
  • The state record low temperature in Minnesota was recorded at Tower, Minnesota on February 2, 1996. The low was -60 degrees. This is also the coldest temperature ever recorded east of the Mississippi River.
  • The state record low temperature in Wisconsin was recorded at Couderay on February 2nd and February 4th of 1996. The temperatures dipped down to -55 degrees both nights.
  • At the Duluth International Airport, the record for consecutive hours below zero degrees temperature is 186 hours from January 12-20, 1994.
  • The lowest pressure ever recorded at Duluth, Minnesota was 960.2 millibars or 28.35 inches of mercury. This occurred at 11:15 AM on October 26, 2010..
  • The Minnesota state record snowfall in 24 hours was at Wolf Ridge ELC in Finland, WI where 36 inches of snow fell on January 7, 1994. The Minnesota state record snow depth was 88 inches from February 15th to February 21st in 1969.
  • The Wisconsin state record snow depth was 83 inches on April 6, 1933 at the Turtle Flambeau Reservoir. The Wisconsin state record for 24-hour snowfall was outside of the NWS Duluth area of responsibility (26 inches at Neillsville).
  • Hurley, Wisconsin in Iron County set a new Wisconsin state record for the most snowfall recorded in a single season in 1996-1997. The observer in Hurley measured 277.2 inches of snow, or 23.1 feet of snow.
  • Hurley, Wisconsin averaged 174.4 inches of snow per season from the winter of 1987-1988 to the winter of 2009-2010. This makes it one of the snowiest spots east of the Rockies in the United States. This is largely due to it being situated in the Lake Superior snowbelt, where lake effect snows are prevalent in the winter months.

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