A Very Cold & Wet Spring in La Crosse WI & Rochester, MN

It was a very cold and wet meteorological spring (March 1st through May 31st) across the Upper Mississippi River Valley.  It was the 7th coldest spring at both La Crosse, WI (coldest since 1965) and Rochester, MN (coldest since 1996). In addition, near to record precipitation fell across the region.  It was wettest spring ever recorded in Rochester and the second wettest in La Crosse.  More details on these statistics for both La Crosse and Rochester can be found below.

La Crosse, WI

Two words sum up the spring of 2013 in La Crosse, WI very well...and they are cold and wet.  It was the coldest spring since 1965 and the wettest (1973) and snowiest spring (1975) since the early to mid-1970s.  More details on these statistics can be found below.

Temperatures - 7th Coldest Spring and coldest since 1965

From March 1st through May 31st, La Crosse Municipal Airport had an average temperature of 42.6 degrees.  This was 5.0 degrees below the 1981-2010 normal of 47.6 degrees.  This tied 1883 and 1909 for the 7th coldest spring and it was the coldest spring since 1965 (42.3 degrees).  In contrast, the spring of 2012 was the warmest with an average temperature of 54.7 degrees or 12.1 degrees warmer than this spring.  The table below lists the top 10 coldest springs in La Crosse WI.

                  Coldest Springs
            in La Crosse WI
               1873-2013

               Average
     RanK    Temperature    Year
     ----    -----------    ----
       1     39.5 degrees   1888
       2     42.3 degrees   1965
             42.3 degrees   1950
       4     42.4 degrees   1956
       5     42.5 degrees   1907
             42.5 degrees   1892
       7     42.6 degrees   2013
             42.6 degrees   1909
             42.6 degrees   1883
      10     42.7 degrees   1975
             42.7 degrees   1893
             42.7 degrees   1890

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

           Spring 2013 Temperatures
               in La Crosse WI

                  Average            Departure
   Month        Temperature         from Normal
   -----        -----------         -----------
   March       26.2 degrees        -8.3 degrees - 15th Coldest
   April       42.6 degrees        -6.0 degrees - 10th Coldest
   May         59.1 degrees        -0.6 degrees
 
   Spring      42.3 degrees        -5.0 degrees - 7th Coldest

Other Spring Temperature Tidbits:

  • The average high temperature was 51.7 degrees.  This was 6.3 degrees colder than the 1981-2010 normal of 58.0 degrees.  This was the 9th coldest and the coldest since 1965 (51.6 degrees).
  • The average low temperature was 33.6 degrees.  This was 3.7 degrees colder than the 1981-2010 normal of 37.3 degrees.  This was the 11th coldest and the coldest since 2008 (33.6 degrees).
  • The daily temperatures averaged below normal on 66 days (71.7 percent/) and above normal on 26 days (28.3 percent/.
  • The highest temperature of the spring was 92 degrees on May 14th.  This is unusual because only 47 out of 141 (33.3 percent) springs have had a 90 degree temperature or greater. 
  • The coldest temperature of the spring was -4 degrees on March 7th.

Number of Days with...

      Maximum Temperature 32 degrees or below      13 Days
     Maximum Temperature 90 degrees or above       1 Day
     Minimum Temperature 32 degrees or below      45 Days
     Minimum Temperature  0 degrees or below       1 Days

Precipitation - 2nd wettest and the wettest since 1973

From March 1st through May 31st, La Crosse Municipal Airport received 16.53 inches of precipitation.  This was 7.63 inches above the 1981-2010 spring normal of 8.90 inches.
This made it the second wettest spring ever in the La Crosse area.  The only spring which was wetter was 1973 (17.21 inches).  The near-record precipitation alleviated the moderate drought (D1) across the area.  The table below lists the top 10 wettest springs in the La Crosse area.

            Wettest Springs
            in La Crosse WI
               1873-2013

             Precipitation
     Rank        Total      Year
     ----    -------------  ----
       1     17.21 inches   1973
       2     16.53 inches   2013
       3     15.37 inches   1945
       4     15.04 inches   1991
       5     14.61 inches   2004
       6     13.70 inches   1993
       7     13.61 inches   1888
       8     13.28 inches   1908
       9     13.11 inches   1903
      10     12.88 inches   1960

The table below contains the monthly precipitation totals and their departures from normal for the spring of 2013.

          Spring 2013 Precipitation
               in La Crosse WI

                Precipitation         Departure
   Month            Total            from Normal
   -----        ------------         -----------
   March        2.12 inches         +0.08 inches
   April        5.92 inches         +2.58 inches - 9th Wettest
   May          8.49 inches         +4.97 inches - 3rd Wettest
 
   Spring      16.53 inches         +7.63 inches - 2nd Wettest

Measurable rain (0.01 inches or greater) fell on 46 days.  Normally, measurable precipitation falls on 32 days.  This tied 1903,1927, and 2004 for the greatest number of days with measurable precipitation.

The wettest spring day was 2.58 inches from May 29th into May 30th. 

Number of days with...

       0.01 inches or more       46 Days - Tied with 1903...1927...and 2004
                                           for the greatest number of days
       0.10 inches or more       29 Days - Tied with 1951 for greatest
                                           number of days
       0.50 inches or more       10 Days - Most since 2004 - 6th greatest
                                           number of days
       1.00 inches or more        5 Days - Tied with 1908...1991...1993...
                                           and 2008 for the greatest
                                           number of days

Snowfall - 10th Snowiest and Snowiest since 1975

From March 1st through May 31st, the snow observer near La Crosse Municipal Airport recorded 20.6 inches. This was 11.8 inches below the 1981-2010 normal of 8.8 inches.  This was the tenth highest amount of snow during a spring and the highest amount since the spring of 1975. The highest spring snowfall ever recorded was 33.5 inches in 1959.  The table below lists the top 10 snowiest springs in La Crosse WI.

            Snowiest Springs
            in La Crosse WI
               1884-2013

                 Total
     Rank      Snowfall    Year
     ----      --------    ----
       1     33.5 inches   1959
       2     28.5 inches   1923
             28.5 inches   1909
       4     27.5 inches   1962
       5     26.9 inches   1956
       6     24.7 inches   1951
       7     23.1 inch     1900
       8     22.0 inches   1975
       9     20.8 inches   1952
      10     20.6 inches   2013

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

             Spring 2013 Snowfall
               in La Crosse WI

                   Snowfall           Departure
   Month            Total            from Normal
   -----        ------------         -----------
   March        15.6 inches          +8.5 inches - 19th Snowiest
   April         4.2 inches          +2.5 inches
   May           0.8 inches          +0.8 inches
 
   Spring       20.6 inches         +11.8 inches

Cloud Cover -

Number of days...

        Clear            0 to  3 tenths       34 days
        Partly Cloudy    4 to  7 tenths       28 days
        Cloudy           8 to 10 tenths       30 days

Barometric Pressure -

The lowest sea level pressure was 29.37 inches on April 19th.
The highest sea level pressure was 30.49 inches on March 7th.

Rochester, MN

Cold and wet summarizes the spring of 2013 very well.  It was the 7th coldest spring and the coldest since 1996.  In addition, it was the wettest and snowiest ever recorded.   More details on these statistics can be found below.

Temperatures - 7th Coldest Spring and coldest since 1996

From March 1st through May 31st, Rochester International Airport had an average temperature of 39.9 degrees.  This was 5.8 degrees colder than the 1981-2010 normal of 45.7 degrees.  This was the 7th coldest spring and the coldest since 1996 (39.7 degrees).  The table below lists the top 10 coldest springs in Rochester MN.

            Coldest Springs
            in Rochester MN
               1886-2013

               Average
     Rank    Temperature    Year
     ----    -----------    ----
       1     36.6 degrees   1888
       2     39.2 degrees   1950
       3     39.3 degrees   1892
       4     39.4 degrees   1893
       5     39.5 degrees   1965
       6     39.7 degrees   1996
       7     39.9 degrees   2013
       8     40.2 degrees   1984
       9     40.3 degrees   1909
      10     40.4 degrees   1997
             40.4 degrees   1975
             40.4 degrees   1937

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

           Spring 2013 Temperatures
               in Rochester MN

                  Average            Departure
   Month        Temperature         from Normal
   -----        -----------         -----------
   March       23.8 degrees        -8.6 degrees - 11th Coldest
   April       40.2 degrees        -6.5 degrees -  8th Coldest
   May         55.7 degrees        -2.4 degrees -
 
   Spring      39.9 degrees        -5.8 degrees - 7th Coldest

Other Spring Temperature Tidbits:

  • The average high temperature was 48.2 degrees.  This was 7.2 degrees colder than the 1981-2010 normal of 55.4 degrees.  This was the 3rd coldest and the coldest since 1965 (47.6 degrees).  The coldest ever occurred in 1888 when the average temperature was 44.3 degrees.
  • The average low temperature was 31.7 degrees.  This was 4.3 degrees above the normal of 36.0 degrees.  This was coldest since 2002 (31.5 degrees - 20th coldest). 
  • The daily temperatures averaged below normal on 65 days (70.6 percent)...above normal on 23 days (25.0 percent)...and normal on 4 days (4.3 percent).
     
    The highest temperature of the spring was 97 degrees on May 14th.  Only 1934 (106 degrees) had a warmer temperature during a spring.   
  • The coldest temperature of the spring was -4 degrees on March 7th. This was the coldest temperature in a spring since 2008 (-8 degrees).

Number of Days with...

     Maximum Temperature 32 degrees or below      19 Days - 5th Greatest
                                                          - Most since 1975
     Maximum Temperature 90 degrees or above       1 Days
     Minimum Temperature 32 degrees or below      51 Days - 9th Greatest
                                                          - Most since 1996
     Minimum Temperature  0 degrees or below       2 Days - Most since 2009

Precipitation - Wettest Spring

From March 1st through May 31st, Rochester International Airport received 21.90 inches of precipitation.  This was 13.15 inches wetter than the 1981-2010 normal of 8.75 inches.  This was the wettest spring ever recorded in Rochester.  The previous record was 15.87 inches in 2001.  The table below lists the top 10 wettest springs in Rochester MN.

            Wettest Springs
            in Rochester MN
               1893-2013

                 Total
     Rank   Precipitation  Year
     ----   -------------  ----
       1    21.90 inches   2013
       2    15.87 inches   2001
       3    15.09 inches   1888
       4    14.57 inches   1990
       5    14.35 inches   1945
       6    12.85 inches   1982
       7    12.60 inches   1999
       8    12.37 inches   1973
       9    12.06 inches   1938
      10    11.91 inches   1991

By mid-April, the record precipitation had alleviated the severe /D2/ drought which had developed across the area during the autumn of 2012.

The table below contains the monthly precipitation totals and their departures from normal for the spring of 2013.

          Spring 2012 Precipitation
               in Rochester MN
                  1886-2013

                Precipitation         Departure
   Month            Total            from Normal
   -----        ------------         -----------
   March        2.85 inches         +0.97 inches - 16th Wettest
   April        6.79 inches         +3.55 inches -  2nd Wettest
   May         12.26 inches         +8.63 inches - Wettest Ever
                                                   Previous record 8.42 inches
                                                   in 1982
 
   Spring      21.90 inches        +13.15 inches - Wettest Ever
                                                   Previous record 15.87 inches
                                                   in 2001

The wettest spring day was 2.43 inches from May 17th.  This was the 5th wettest spring day and the wettest since April 11 2001 (3.75 inches - 3rd Wettest).  The wettest spring day occurred on May 17 2000 when 4.02 inches of rain fell.

Number of days with...

       0.01 inches or more       48 Days - Most ever
                                           Previous record 47 days in 1965
       0.10 inches or more       34 Days - Most ever
                                           Previous record 31 days in 1888
       0.50 inches or more       15 Days - Most ever
                                           Previous record 12 days in 1888
       1.00 inches or more        8 Days - Most ever
                                           Previous record 7 days in 1999

Snowfall - Snowiest Spring

From March 1st through May 31st, the snow observer near Rochester International Airport recorded 42.2 snow. This was 30.2 inches above the 1981-2010 normal of 12.0 inches.  This was snowiest spring ever recorded in Rochester.  The previous record was 36.1 inches in 1951. The table below lists the top 10 snowiest springs in Rochester MN.

            Snowiest Springs
            in Rochester MN
               1893-2013

                 Total
     Rank      Snowfall    Year
     ----      --------    ----
       1     42.2 inches   2013
       2     36.1 inches   1951
       3     30.0 inches   1952
       4     29.1 inches   1962
       5     29.0 inches   1985
       6     27.6 inches   1983
       7     26.2 inches   1956
       8     23.7 inches   1958
       9     23.4 inches   1961
      10     23.1 inches   2005

The greatest snowfall in a single calendar day was 14.0 inches on May 2nd.  This tied 1893 (April 20th) and 1934 (March 30th) as the second greatest daily snowfall in a spring.  The most ever in a spring was 19.8 inches in 2005 (March 18th).

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

             Spring 2013 Snowfall
               in Rochester MN

                   Snowfall           Departure
   Month            Total            from Normal
   -----        ------------         -----------
   March        23.5 inches         +14.8 inches
   April         4.2 inches         + 0.9 inches
   May          14.5 inches         +14.5 inches - Most ever
                                                   Previous record 2.0 inches
                                                   in 1944
 
   Spring       42.2 inches         +30.2 inches - Most ever
                                                   Previous record 36.1 inches
                                                   in 1951

Cloud Cover -

Number of days...

        Clear            0 to  3 tenths       32 days
        Partly Cloudy    4 to  7 tenths       29 days
        Cloudy           8 to 10 tenths       31 days

Barometric Pressure -

The lowest sea level pressure was 29.44 inches on April 18th.
The highest sea level pressure was 30.50 inches on May 2nd

Wind Data -

The average wind speed was 12.4 mph.
The highest wind gust was 60 mph from the southwest on May 19th.

 



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