2013-14 Meteorological Winter Summary

The 2013-14 meteorological winter was exceptionally cold across the Upper Mississippi River Valley.  Temperatures averaged 9 to 12 degrees below normal which made it the coldest winter since the late 1970s. Both La Crosse WI and Rochester MN had their 5th coldest winter.  In addition...Rochester MN had their 4th snowiest and 4th greatest average snow depth during a meteorological winter.

Temperature Departures

Precipitation Departures

Snowfall Departures

Temperatures Departures

Precipitation Departures

Snowfall Departures

 The following weather conditions led to this exceptionally cold start...

  1. Persistent Snow Pack - There was measurable snow on the ground for 83 days (92.2 percent) at both La Crosse and Rochester.  This usually results in temperatures averaging about 11 degrees colder than if there was no snow on the ground.
  2. Persistent northwest winds aloft - This was likely due to persistent thunderstorm activity over the western tropical Pacific.  When this occurs...a ridge of high pressure is usually located over western North America and a trough over the eastern United States.  This keeps the winds aloft blowing from Alaska southeast into the Northern Plains and Upper Mississippi River Valley.  As a result...we saw numerous arctic cold fronts bring air into the region from Siberia and northern Canada.

Here are more details on the winter for La Crosse WI and Rochester MN...

La Crosse WI...

During meteorological winter (December 1 through February 28), La Crosse Regional Airport had their 5th coldest winter.  The winter was slightly wetter than normal (0.33 inches).  Snowfall was nearly ten inches (9.7 inches) above normal normal.  The information below provides more details on these statistics.

Temperatures - 5th Coldest

From December 1st through February 28th...the average temperature at La Crosse Regional Airport was 11.6 degrees.  This was 10.6 degrees below the normal of 20.5 degrees.  This was the 5th coldest meteorological winter. The last time that a winter was this cold was 1977-78 /11.5 degrees/.

The table below lists the coldest meteorological winters.

     Coldest Meteorological Winters
            in La Crosse WI
               1873-2014            

               Average
     Rank    Temperature     Winter
     ----    -----------     ------
       1      8.3 degrees   1872-73
       2     10.8 degrees   1874-75
       3     11.5 degrees   1977-78
             11.5 degrees   1935-36
       5     11.6 degrees   2013-14
       6     11.7 degrees   1903-04 
       7     12.0 degrees   1916-17
       8     12.1 degrees   1917-18
       9     12.2 degrees   1976-77
             12.2 degrees   1892-93

The average maximum temperature was 21.3 degrees.  This was 7.4 degrees colder than the 1981-2010 average of 28.7 degrees. The average minimum temperature was 1.9 degrees.  This was 10.3 degrees colder than the 1981-2010 average of 12.2 degrees.

The temperature fell below zero 43 times. This tied 1916-17 and 1976-77 for the 4th most in a winter and it was the most in a winter since 1976-77.  Normally...there are 21 sub-zero temperatures in a winter.  

The table below contains the monthly temperatures and their departures from normal for the winter of 2013-14.

          Winter 2013-14 Temperatures
               in La Crosse WI

                  Average            Departure
   Month        Temperature         from Normal
   -----        -----------         -----------
 December       15.6 degrees        -6.0 degrees - 19th coldest
 January         9.4 degrees        -8.0 degrees
 February        9.7 degrees       -12.8 degrees - 4th coldest
 
 Winter         11.6 degrees       -10.6 degrees - 5th coldest

The warmest temperature was 43 degrees on January 12th.
The coldest temperature was -20 degrees on January 6th.

The daily average temperatures were below normal on 63 days (70 percent), above normal on 25 days (27.8 percent), and normal on 2 days (2.2 percent).

The temperature fell below zero on 43 days.  This tied 1976-77 and 1916-17 for the 4th most in a meteorological winter.  The greatest number of days in a winter was 51 days in 1872-73. 

The temperature fell to 10 below or colder on 25 days.  This tied 1962-63 and 1917-18 for the 4th most in a meteorological winter.  The greastest number of days in a winter was 31 in 1872-73.

Precipitation - Slightly Wetter-than-Normal

From December 1st through February 28th, La Crosse Regional Airport received 3.77 inches of precipitation.  This was 0.35 inches above the winter 1981-2010 normal of 3.53 inches.  The table below contains the monthly precipitation totals and their departures from normal for the winter of 2013-14.

          Winter 2013-14 Precipitation
               in La Crosse WI

                Precipitation         Departure
   Month            Total            from Normal
   -----        ------------         -----------
 December        1.52 inches        +0.16 inches
 January         0.98 inches        -0.14 inches
 February        1.38 inches        +0.33 inches
 
 Winter          3.77 inches        +0.35 inches

The wettest day was on February 20th when 0.73 inches of precipitation fell. 

Precipitation fell on 56 days (62.2 percent). Measurable precipitation fell on 38 days (41.1 percent).  This tied the winter of 1882-83 for the third most in a winter.  The greatest number of days in a winter was 42 days during the winter of 1885-86.  Trace amounts of precipitation fell on 18 days (20.0 percent).

Snowfall - Snowier-than-Normal

From December 1st through February 28th, the snow observer near La Crosse Regional Airport received 39.9 inches of snow (same total as last winter).  This was 9.7 inches above the 1981-2010 normal of 30.2 inches.  The table below contains the monthly snowfall totals and their departures from normal for the winter of 2013-14.

           Winter 2013-14 Snowfall
               in La Crosse WI

                  Snowfall            Departure
   Month            Total            from Normal
   -----        ------------         -----------
 December        12.7 inches         +1.4 inches
 January         15.7 inches         +5.0 inches
 February        11.5 inches         +3.3 inches
 
 Winter          39.9 inches         +9.7 inches

The snowiest day was 6.5 inches on January 14th.

Snow fell on 54 days (60.0 percent).  Measurable snow fell on 35 days (38.9 percent).  Only the winter of 1935-36 had more days (37).  A trace of snow fell on another 19 days (21.1 percent).

Snow Depth -

From December 1st through February 28th, the official snow observer near La Crosse Regional Airport had an average snow depth of 8.7 inches. This was 4.3 inches greater than the average of 4.4 inches. This tied 1981-82 and 2007-08 for the 15th greatest average snow depth for a winter and the greatest average snow depth since the winter of 2010-11 (11.7 inches).

The greatest snow depth was 17 inches on February 18th.

There was snow on the ground on 83 days (92.2 percent) this winter.  Measurable snow was on the ground on 82 days (91.1 percent) and trace amounts of snow on the ground on 1 day (1.1 percent).

Rochester MN...

During meteorological winter (December 1 through February 28), Rochester had their 5th coldest winter.  Precipitation was about 1 inch wetter than normal.  Both snow and average snow depth was 4th greatest for a meteorological winter.  The information below provides more details on these statistics.

Temperatures...5th Coldest

From December 1st through February 28th, Rochester International Airport had an average temperature of 8.8 degrees.  This was 9.7 degrees colder than the 1981-2010 normal of 18.5 degrees. This was the 5th coldest winter.  The table below lists the ten warmest winters in Rochester MN.

         Coldest Meteorological Winters
                in Rochester MN
                   1886-2014

                    Average
      Rank        Temperature       Winter
      ----        -----------       ------
        1          5.6 degrees    1978-1979
        2          5.9 degrees    1886-1887
                   8.1 degrees    1935-1936
        4          8.7 degrees    1977-1978
        5          8.8 degrees    2013-2014
        6          9.0 degrees    1892-1893
        7          9.2 degrees    1917-1918
        8          9.3 degrees    1887-1888
        9          9.4 degrees    1976-1977
       10         11.4 degrees    1950-1951

The average maximum temperature was 18.0 degrees.  This was 8.2 degrees colder than the 1981-2010 average of 26.2 degrees. The average minimum temperature was -0.3 degrees.  This was 11.1 degrees colder than the 1981-2010 average of 10.8 degrees.

The table below contains the monthly temperatures and their departures from normal for the winter of 2013-14.

          Winter 2013-14 Temperatures
               in Rochester MN

                  Average            Departure
   Month        Temperature         from Normal
   -----        -----------         -----------
 December       13.1 degrees        -6.6 degrees - 16th Coldest
 January         6.5 degrees        -9.2 degrees - 19th Coldest
 February        6.6 degrees       -13.7 degrees -  4th Coldest
 
 Winter          8.8 degrees        -9.7 degrees -  5th Coldest


The warmest temperature was 39 degrees on December 2nd.
The coldest temperature was -23 degrees on January 6th.

The daily average temperatures were below normal on 64 days (71.1 percent), above normal on 24 days (26.7 percent), and normal on 1 day (1.1 percent).

The temperature fell below zero on 48 days.  This was the 7th most in a meteorological winter.  The greatest number of days in a winter was 52 days in 1977-78.

Precipitation - Slightly Wetter-than-Normal

From December 1st through February 28th, Rochester International Airport received 3.86 inches of precipitation.  This was nearly an inch (0.94 inches) above the seasonal normal of 2.92 inches.  The table below contains the monthly precipitation totals and their departures from normal for the winter of 2013-14.

          Winter 2013-14 Precipitation
               in Rochester MN

                Precipitation         Departure
   Month            Total            from Normal
   -----        ------------         -----------
 December        1.10 inches        -0.13 inches
 January         1.00 inches        +0.14 inches
 February        1.65 inches        +0.93 inches - 8th Wettest
 
 Winter          3.86 inches        +0.94 inches


The wettest day was on February 20th when 1.12 inches of precipitation fell. 

Precipitation fell on 55 days (61.1 percent). Measurable precipitation fell on 31 days (34.4 percent).  This was for the 10th most in a winter.  The greatest number of days in a winter was 45 days during the winter of 1996-97.  Trace amounts of precipitation fell on 24 days (26.7 percent).

Snowfall - 4th Snowiest Winter

From December 1st through February 28th, the snow observer near Rochester International Airport received 46.5 inches of snow.  This was 13.5 inches above the 1981-2010 normal of 33.0 inches.  This was the 4th snowiest winter and the snowiest since 2008-09.

The table below lists the snowiest meteorological winters.
      
     Snowiest Meteorological Winters
            in Rochester MN
               1892-2014            

     Rank      Snowfall     Winter
     ----      --------     ------
       1     60.4 inches    2010-11
       2     50.0 inches    2000-01
       3     48.1 inches    1969-70
       4     46.5 inches    2013-14
       5     46.4 inches    2008-09
       6     45.8 inches    1996-97
       7     44.4 inches    2009-10
       8     43.9 inches    1995-96
       9     43.6 inches    1978-79
      10     43.1 inches    1993-94

The table below contains the monthly snowfall totals and their departures from normal for the winter of 2013-14.

           Winter 2013-14 Snowfall
               in Rochester MN

                  Snowfall            Departure
   Month            Total            from Normal
   -----        ------------         -----------
 December        13.1 inches         +0.6 inches 
 January         14.8 inches         +2.8 inches
 February        18.6 inches        +10.1 inches - 4th Snowiest
 
 Winter          45.1 inches        +12.1 inches - 4th Snowiest

The snowiest day was 8.8 inches on February 20th.

Snow fell on 51 days (56.7 percent).  Measurable snow fell on 29 days (32.2 percent).  This tied the winter of 1970-71 for the 18th most in a winter.  The greatest ever during a winter was 42 days in 1996-97.  A trace of snow fell on another 21 days (23.3 percent).

Snow Depth - 4th greatest average snow depth

From December 1st through February 28th, the official snow observer near Rochester International Airport had an average snow depth of 18.6 inches.  This was 13.2 inches greater than the average of 5.4 inches. This was the 4th greatest average snow depth and the greatest since the winter of 2006-07 (20.1 inches). 

The greatest snow depth for the winter was 21 inches from January 21th through February 28th.

There was snow on the ground on 83 days (92.2 percent) this winter.  Measurable snow was on the ground on 82 days (91.1 percent) and trace amounts of snow on the ground on 1 day (1.1 percent).



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