2023 Minnesota’s Top 10 Weather Stories

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Minnesota had wild weather throughout the year. A recent MPR News article has compiled the following top 10 weather and climate stories that dominated the news in 2023.

  1. Third snowiest winter on record: “We received 90.3 inches of snow in the Twin Cities, the third most ever behind No. 1 1983-84 (98.6 inches) and No. 2 1981-82 (95 inches). January, February and March were all above normal. January was the snowiest with 22.3 inches. Most of that came from the Jan. 3-5 storm that brought 15 inches of snow!
  2. Freak early April heat wave: “April 11 through April 15 brought four consecutive days in the 80s with a maximum temp of 88 degrees on April 12.
  3. Major spring flooding: “Another element that made the April heat wave so bizarre was that March was chilly. March saw temperatures more than 4 degrees colder than normal. Our warmest temp the whole month was only 45 degrees.
  4. Drought and 5th hottest summer: “The first few extreme notes of 2023 would be enough but we went from flooding to a prolonged drought that began in May and continued into most of the summer and early September. The first few extreme notes of 2023 would be enough but we went from flooding to a prolonged drought that began in May and continued into most of the summer and early September.
  5. Minnesota’s billion-dollar hail disaster: “Aug. 11 brought a cluster of severe thunderstorms that produced large on a late Friday afternoon. Hail as large as baseballs struck the heart of the Twin Cities between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Winds as high as 76 mph were clocked near Mora in east-central Minnesota.
  6. Record smoke: “One of the most memorable events of 2023 will be the record smoke we saw. As hot and dry weather developed early in the spring for northwestern Canada, fires flared and kept going all summer long. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, we shattered the previous number of air quality alerts set in 2021 with dozens of alerts issued. In a normal year, we see just two or three air quality alerts.
  7. Record hot summer: “September was the hottest ever recorded in the Twin Cities and for most of the state. It was almost a forgone conclusion with record heat over the Labor Day weekend. It was the hottest Labor Day recorded in the Twin Cities with a high of 98. Places like Brainerd hit 102 degrees and even Duluth hit an astonishing 97 degrees.
  8. Fall deluge: “Keeping with a year of extremes, we suddenly saw a deluge of rainfall late September into October. It started in northeastern Minnesota when Duluth had its wettest September on record with a whopping 10.36 inches of total rainfall. The last week of September alone brought 5.06 inches of rain to the Twin Cities, which was almost as much as we saw all summer. June, July and August totaled 5.79 inches, just 45 percent of the normal value.
  9. Christmas heat wave: The much advertised strong El Niño pattern combined with climate change produced some incredible warmth for winter so far and it was highlighted by the Christmas heat wave of 2023. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day temperatures (55 and 54 degrees respectively) shattered the old record highs of 46 and 51.
  10. Warmest, wettest December on record: “Only one high and low temperature was cooler than normal the whole month of December, and even then just barely. We shattered the old record for December temperature average set 146 years ago. It will also go down as one of the top ten least snowiest in the Twin Cities.

The MPR News reports, “Globally, 2023 will be the hottest year ever recorded in 174 years. It likely was the warmest year in 125,000 years, estimated from proxy data from ice core and sediment samples”.