2013-14 Astronomical Winter - Very Cold with Persistent Snow on the Ground

The 2013-14 astronomical winter (which ran from December 21st through March 19th) was very cold with persistent snow cover at both La Crosse WI and Rochester MN.  Below are more details on each of these sites...

La Crosse WI...

Temperatures - 9th Coldest

During astronomical winter, temperatures averaged 12.9 degrees at La Crosse Regional Airport.  This was 7.8 degrees colder than the long-term (1872-2014) average of 20.7 degrees.  This made it the 9th coldest winter and the coldest since 1977-78 (11.9 degrees - 5th coldest).  The table below lists the top ten coldest astronomical winters in La Crosse WI.

   Top Ten Coldest Astronomical Winters
            in La Crosse WI
               1872-2014

                              Average
     Rank      Winter       Temperature
     ----      ------       -----------
       1       1874-75       8.8 degrees
       2       1911-12      11.0 degrees
       3       1887-88      11.5 degrees
       4       1872-73      11.7 degrees
       5       1977-78      11.9 degrees
       6       1892-93      12.4 degrees
       7       1935-36      12.5 degrees
       8       1916-17      12.8 degrees
       9       2013-14      12.9 degrees
      10       1884-85      13.9 degrees

This was also the first winter since 1977-78 to make the top ten for coldest winter.  In contrast, we have had 7 winters make the top 10 warmest during this same time period.  Due to this, we have become more accustomed to having warm winters.

The average high temperature was 23.0 degrees.  This was 6.4 degrees colder than the long-term average of 29.4 degrees.  This was the tenth coldest, and the coldest since 1977-78 (22.1 degrees - 6th coldest). The high temperature was below freezing on 62 days.

The average low temperature was 2.8 degrees.  This was 9.2 degrees colder than the long-term average of 12.0 degrees.  This was the sixth coldest, and the coldest since 1977-78 (1.6 degrees - 3rd coldest). The low temperature was below freezing on 87 days and below zero on 43 days.

The warmest high temperature was 54 degrees on March 10th.
The coldest high temperature was -10 degrees on January 6th.

The warmest low temperature was 34 degrees on March 10th and March 11th.
The coldest low temperature was -21 degrees on March 3rd.

Precipitation -

During astronomical winter, a total of 3.53 inches of precipitation fell at La Crosse Regional Airport.  This was 0.15 inches below the long-term average of 3.68 inches.

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

Measurable (0.01 inches or greater) precipitation fell on 36 days (40.4%) and trace amounts of precipitation fell on another 16 days (18.0%).

Snowfall -

During astronomical winter, a total of 39.1 inches of snow fell at La Crosse Regional Airport.  This was 10.5 inches above the long-term average of 28.6 inches.

The snowiest day occurred on January 14th when 6.5 inches of snow fell.

Measurable (0.1 inches or greater) snow fell on 34 days (38.2%) and trace amounts of snow fell on another 15 days (16.9%).

Snow Depth - 7th Greatest Average

During astronomical winter, the average snow depth at La Crosse Regional Airport was 10.8 inches.  This was 6.3 inches above the long-term average of 4.5 inches.  This was the 7th greatest average snow depth, and the greatest since the winter of 1977-78 (15.9 inches - 2nd greatest).  The table below lists the top ten greatest average snow depths during astronomical winter:

   Top Ten Greatest Average Snow Depth
     during an Astronomical Winter
            in La Crosse WI
               1893-2014

                              Average
     Rank      Winter       Snow Depth
     ----      ------       -----------
       1       1928-29      16.5 inches
       2       1978-79      15.9 inches
       3       1968-69      12.6 inches
       4       1942-43      12.2 inches
       5       1970-71      11.3 inches
       6       1985-86      10.9 inches
       7       2013-14      10.9 inches
       8       2010-11      10.1 inches
               1958-59      10.1 inches
      10       1916-17       9.6 inches
  

There was at least 3 inches of snow on the ground for the entire astronomical winter.

The greatest snow depth was 17 inches on February 18th and from March 4th through March 7th.

The least amount of snow on the ground was 3 inches from March 15th through March 19th.

Rochester, MN

Temperatures - 9th Coldest

During astronomical winter, temperatures averaged 10.1 degrees at Rochester International Airport.  This was 7.6 degrees colder than the long-term (1886-2014) average of 17.7 degrees.  This made it the 9th coldest winter and the coldest since 1978-79 (7.6 degrees - 2nd coldest).  The table below lists the top ten coldest astronomical winters in Rochester MN.

   Top Ten Coldest Astronomical Winters
            in Rochester MN
               1886-2014

                              Average
     Rank      Winter       Temperature
     ----      ------       -----------
       1       1887-88      7.4 degrees
       2       1978-79      7.6 degrees
       3       1892-93      8.3 degrees
       4       1911-12      8.4 degrees
       5       1886-87      8.9 degrees
       6       1935-36      9.0 degrees
       7       1916-17      9.3 degrees
       8       1977-78      9.7 degrees
       9       2013-14     10.1 degrees
      10       1903-04     11.0 degrees

This was also first winter since 1977-78 to make the top ten for coldest winter.  In contrast, we have had 7 winters make the top 10 warmest during this same time period.  Due to this, we have become more accustomed to having warm winters.

The average high temperature was 19.4 degrees.  This was 7.0 degrees colder than the long-term average of 26.4 degrees.  This was the tenth coldest, and the coldest since 1978-79 (16.6 degrees - coldest). The high temperature was below freezing on 68 days.

The average low temperature was 0.7 degrees.  This was 8.2 degrees colder than the long-term average of 8.9 degrees.  This was the seventh coldest, and the coldest since 1978-79 (-1.3 degrees - 2nd coldest). The low temperature was below freezing on 88 days and below zero on 47 days.

The warmest high temperature was 46 degrees on March 10th.
The coldest high temperature was -13 degrees on January 6th.

The warmest low temperature was 36 degrees on March 10th.
The coldest low temperature was -23 degrees on January 6th.

Precipitation -

During astronomical winter, a total of 3.77 inches of precipitation fell at Rochester International Airport.  This was 0.81 inches above the long-term average of 2.96 inches.

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

Measurable (0.01 inches or greater) precipitation fell on 39 days (43.8%) and trace amounts of precipitation fell on another 21 days (23.6%).

Snowfall - 3rd Greatest

During astronomical winter, a total of 47.0 inches of snow fell at Rochester International Airport.  This was 19.3 inches above the long-term average of 27.7 inches.  This was the third snowiest, and the snowiest since 1996-97 (52.8 inches).  The table below lists the top ten snowiest astronomical winters in Rochester MN:

   Top Ten Snowiest Astronomical Winters*
            in Rochester MN
               1892-2014
                            
     Rank      Winter        Snow Total
     ----      ------        ----------
       1      1996-97        52.8 inches
       2      1950-51        48.6 inches
       3      2013-14        47.0 inches
       4      2004-05        46.3 inches
       5      1928-29        45.7 inches  
       6      1998-99        44.1 inches
              1970-71        44.1 inches
       8      2012-13        43.6 inches
              2006-07        43.6 inches
      10      1993-94        41.1 inches

* This does not include any snow that fell before December 21st and after March 19th.

The snowiest day occurred on February 20th when 8.8 inches of snow fell.

Measurable (0.1 inches or greater) snow fell on 29 days (32.6%) and trace amounts of snow fell on another 18 days (20.2%).

Snow Depth - 6th Greatest Average

During astronomical winter, the average snow depth at Rochester International Airport was 11.4 inches.  This was 6.0 inches above the long-term average of 5.4 inches.  This was the 6th greatest average snow depth and the greatest since the winter of 2010-11 (15.0 inches - 2nd greatest).  The table below lists the top ten greatest average snow depths during an astronomical winter.

   Top Ten Greatest Average Snow Depth
     during an Astronomical Winter
            in Rochester MN
               1892-2014

                              Average
     Rank      Winter       Snow Depth
     ----      ------       -----------
       1       1978-79       15.5 inches
       2       2011-12       15.0 inches
       3       2009-10       13.6 inches
       4       1969-70       12.6 inches
       5       1968-69       12.4 inches
       6       2013-14       11.4 inches
               1981-82       11.4 inches
       8       1985-86       11.2 inches
               1970-71       11.2 inches
      10       2000-01       10.4 inches

There was at least 2 inches of snow on the ground for the entire astronomical winter.

The greatest snow depth was 25 inches on March 5th.

The least amount of snow on the ground was 2 inches from December 22nd through December 24th.

   



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