Climate and monthly weather forecast
Minnesota, USA

Flag of Minnesota, USA
Flag of Minnesota, USA

The climate of Minnesota

Minnesota has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) with warm and icy winters in northern two-thirds of the state. The remaining portion in the south falls under the hot-summer subtype (Köppen Dfa) with hot summers and cold winters. Minnesota lies in the Upper Midwest region of the United States. The state's borders touch Lake Superior in the northeast, Wisconsin in the east, Iowa in the south, South Dakota in the southwest, North Dakota in the west, and the Canadian Provinces of Manitoba and Ontario in the north. The latitudes and proximity to Lake Superior are major factors that influence the climate.

Minnesota, the North Star State, has an average elevation of 370 meters, with the highest point at Eagle Mountain at 701 meters and the lowest at Lake Superior at 183 meters.
The diverse geography consists of Lake Superior lowlands, western prairies, northern woods, and deciduous forests of the southeast. The topography includes eastern broadleaf forests and mixed hardwood and coniferous forests in the north. The Land of 10,000 Lakes is also home to the Minnesota River, the Red River, and the Mississippi. Logging and agriculture have cleared many forested areas in the state.

Temperatures drop to extreme levels in Minnesota due to frequent polar air outbreaks in the cold season that occasionally extend to the rest of the year. Regions near Lake Superior tend to be colder in the summer and warmer in the winter than the rest of the state. Summers range from warm to hot, with mercury barely touching 90°F (32.2°C). The peak of July sees temperatures above 90°F (32.2°C) in the south. Winters are cold and snowy in the north, and slightly mild in the south. Temperatures of -30°F (-34.4°C) are typical in the northern counties in the coldest month of January. The spring season is cold to warm, with wet days in the second half. Fall is colorful and cloudy, and transitions from warm to cold conditions gradually.

The average annual rainfall ranges from 19" (483mm) in the northwest to 35" (889mm) in the southeast of Minnesota. The growing period lasts from 90 to 160 days, with the wettest period from May to September. Snowfall is highest at 70" (1778mm) in the northern highlands of Lake Superior and decreases to 40" (1016mm) in the south and west. At least one inch of snow covers the northern lands for 140 days annually. Hail is common from May to July, while freezing rain and ice storms are frequent in the southern regions in the winter. Minnesota receives an average of 2200 hours of sunshine annually.

Moorhead recorded the highest ever temperature of 114°F (45.6°C) on July 6, 1936, in Minnesota, while Tower holds the record for the coldest temperature of -60°F (-51.1°C) on February 2, 1996.

The best time to visit Minnesota

The best time to visit Minnesota is from May to September that includes late spring, summer, and early autumn seasons. The Great Lakes bring pleasant temperatures in their vicinity during the summer. The fall season is attractive due to the beautiful foliage, the return of the summer crowds, and mild temperatures. The freeze-free period begins from the second half of May in the south to June in the north. The growing season lasts till mid-September to October, with the most prolonged period of 160 days in the southeast. The numerous lakes and warm temperatures during the summer attract visitors in large numbers. The fishing and hunting seasons are in full swing in August and September.

The worst time to visit Minnesota

The worst time to visit Minnesota is the winter season from December to February, with severe cold amid short days. The northern highlands near Lake Superior, receive vast amounts of snow in the cold season. Blizzards are frequent in the winter, with wind speeds higher than 35mph (56.3km/h) and visibility limited to one-fourth of a mile. Snowstorms bring vast amounts of snow and stall everyday life, cause power outages, and extensive property damage. The days are short in the cold season as the sunshine limits to a few hours daily.

Weather hazards

Minnesota is vulnerable to thunderstorms, hailstorms, blizzards, derechos, and tornadoes.
Thunderstorms bring the most considerable damage to property, and the annual frequency ranges from 30 in the north to 45 in the south. Hailstorms and windstorms occasionally accompany the thunderstorms to inflict substantial damage. Derechos are widespread storms in the presence of straight-line winds that step up to hurricane strength and cause heavy rains and flash floods. Thirty-five tornadoes occur on an average annually, with at least 75% between May and July. Blizzards result in the loss of lives, livestock, and property. The Halloween Blizzard that lasted from October 31 to November 3, 1991, brought 28" (711mm) of snow.

Weather in January

January is typically the coldest and snowiest month of the year in Minnesota with frigid temperatures. It is exceedingly challenging to stay outdoors, even for a few minutes without heavy coats, caps, and mittens. The temperatures are severe, often below -10°F (-23.3°C) and plummeting to -30°F (-34.4°C) in the northeast. Weather in January »

Weather in February

February is a cold winter month in Minnesota that is severely cold with heavy snowfall. The average high temperatures are below freezing in the 21°F (-6.1°C) to 28°F (-2.2°C) range, while the average low temperatures are in the icy -4°F (-20°C) to 15°F (-9.4°C) zone. Weather in February »

Weather in March

March begins the spring season in Minnesota, with the nights still below freezing temperatures. The rainfall increases slightly, but the snowfall is heavy in the range of 8" (203mm) to 10" (254mm) in the state. Drizzles are frequent during the day, and mornings are misty in the forests. The daily sunshine is mild in intensity and lasts for 5 to 6 hours during the early part of spring. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April sees the advance of the spring season in Minnesota, with the days warming up considerably. The average high temperatures are in the warm zone of 49°F (9.4°C) to 61°F (16.1°C), and the average low temperatures hover in the cold range of 24°F (-4.4°C) to 37°F (2.8°C). Weather in April »

Weather in May

May is the peak of the spring in Minnesota with the first really warm days of the season. The bright sunshine lasts for 7 hours during the day, and the nights are mild at the least. A moderate rainfall of 3" (76mm) keeps the rain jacket business profitable, particularly in the southern portion of the state. The average high temperatures are in the pleasant 56°F (13.3°C) to 72°F (22.2°C) range, while the nights are above freezing in the 38°F (3.3°C) to 50°F (10°C) zone. Weather in May »

Weather in June

June is warm and bright in the summer of Minnesota, with the average temperatures in the 44°F (6.7°C) to 81°F (27.2°C) range. The southeast is the hottest region, with temperatures rising to 90°F (32.2°C). The sprawling wilderness attracts crowds in search of hiking and camping trips. Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is usually the hottest month of the year month in Minnesota, with the average high temperatures in the range of 76°F (24.4°C) to 85°F (29.4°C). Wild River State Park in the northeast sees a rise in tourist footfalls with the temperatures in the bright range of 57°F (13.9°C) to 83°F (28.3°C). Weather in July »

Weather in August

August is a warm and wet summer month in Minnesota with plenty of sunshine. The average high temperatures in the state are in the pleasant range of 70°F (21.1°C) to 80°F (26.7°C), while the nights are comfortable in the 50°F (10°C) to 60°F (15.6°C) zone. The skies are bright except for periods of wet weather, mostly in the southern regions due to thunderstorms and tornadoes. Weather in August »

Weather in September

September is a beautiful time to visit Minnesota during the period of the colorful autumn season. The leaves start to change by the third week of September in the north and progress steadily towards the south. The conditions are mild, with the average high temperatures hover in the 42°F (5.6°C) to 70°F (21.1°C) range. The early fall season has cloudy skies, yet the days are long and bright. Weather in September »

Weather in October

October is the peak of the autumn in Minnesota with brilliant colors and mild to cold weather. The average high temperatures are comfortable in the day in the 50°F (10°C) to 60°F (15.6°C), but the nights are chilly with average low temperatures in the 30°F (-1.1°C) to 40°F (4.4°C) range. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November is cold in the last days of the autumn season in Minnesota. The skies are gloomy, and the days are short. The sunshine barely lasts for 4 hours with the invasion of ice and snow on the land. The snowfall registers in the 6" (152mm) to 10" (254mm) statewide with snow cover ubiquitous on the ground. Weather in November »

Weather in December

December is the beginning of the winter season in Minnesota, with freezing days and frosty nights. The short days barely receive 3 hours of sunlight in its mildest form. The average high temperatures are in the 19°F (-7.2°C) to 30°F (-1.1°C) range, while the average low temperatures are in the cold 0°F (-17.8°C) to 15°F (-9.4°C) zone. Weather in December »
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