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Potential Winter Storm Friday - Significant Impacts To Travel Possible

A winter storm will bear down on the region for Friday, bring snow with several inches of accumulation possible. Storm track could still shift, resulting in a subsequent shift in where the heaviest snows fall. In addition, blowing and drifting could occur along with a smaller threat for freezing precipitation. There will be impacts to travel - plan accordingly. Read More >

Washington's Birthday is the official name for Presidents Day.  From 1880 through 1970, it was celebrated on February 22nd.  Since then it has been celebrated on the third Monday of February (anywhere from February 15 through February 21).  Below are some Washington's Birthday climate statistics for La Crosse, WI and Rochester, MN.

La Crosse, WI:

The following statistics comprise 142 years of data. From 1880 through 1950, the data came from various locations in downtown La Crosse. Since 1950, the data has been gathered at La Crosse Regional Airport.

Washington's Birthday in La Crosse, WI
(Period of Record 1880-2021)
1981-2010 Average
Records
Maximum Temperature
31 to 33°F
Warmest High Temperature
60°F
February 16, 1981
February 22, 1930
Coldest High Temperature
-4°F
February 22, 1889
Minimum Temperature
14 to 16°F
 
Warmest Low Temperature
45°F
February 20, 2017
Coldest Low Temperature
-21°F
February 15, 2021
Average Temperature
22 to 25°F
 
Warmest Average Temperature
51.5°F
February 20, 1917
Coldest Average Temperature
-10.0°F
February 22, 1889
Precipitation
0.03 to 0.04"
Wettest
2.05"
February 22, 1922
Snowfall
0.2 to 0.4"
Snowiest
9.0"
February 22, 1928
Snow Depth at 7 AM
5"
Most Snow of Ground at 7 AM
26"
February 15, 1971

 

The odds of having any precipitation at all on Washington's Birthday is 50.7% (72 out of 142).  There has been measurable (0.01" or greater) precipitation on 40 (28.2%) Washington's Birthday and trace amounts (less than 0.01") of precipitation on 32 (22.5%) Washington's Birthday. 

Since 1909, it has snowed on 53 out of 125 (42.4%) Washington's Birthday.  Measurable snow (0.1" or greater) has fallen on 26 (20.8%) Washington's Birthday and a trace (less than 0.1") on 27 (21.6%) Washington's Birthday.

Since 1893, residents have woken up with measurable snow (1/2" or greater) on the ground 96 (74.4%) times, trace amounts (less than a 1/2") 6 (4.7%) times, and no snow 27 (20.9%) times.

In 2021 (February 15), the high temperature was 3°F (2nd coldest) and the low temperature was -21°F (coldest - the previous record was -17°F on February 22, 1936). No precipitation fell.  There was 11" of snow on the ground and the average wind speed was 8.6 mph.

Rochester, MN:

The following statistics comprise 108 years of data. From 1887 through 1931, the data came from several cooperative observers in the Rochester area. Since 1932, the data has been gathered at Rochester International Airport. No data was taken on Washington's birthday from 1889 to 1892, 1908, and from 1921 to 1928.

Washington's Birthday in Rochester, MN
(Period of Record 1887-2021)
Means
Records
Maximum Temperature
28 to 30°F
Warmest High Temperature
59°F
February 22, 1930
Coldest High Temperature
-3°F
February 15, 2020
Minimum Temperature
12 to 15°F
 
Warmest Low Temperature
42°F
February 22, 1930
Coldest Low Temperature
-25°F
February 22, 1936
Average Temperature
20 to 23°F
 
Warmest Average Temperature
50.5°F
February 22, 1930
Coldest Average Temperature
-13°F
February 15, 2021
Precipitation
0.03"
Wettest
0.81"
February 20, 2017
Snowfall
0.2 to 3"
Snowiest
8.0"
February 22, 1913
Snow Depth at 7 AM
6"
Most Snow of Ground at 7 AM
21"

February 15, 2010

 

The odds of having any precipitation at all on Washington's Birthday is 49.1% (52 out of 106).  There has been measurable (0.01" or greater) precipitation on 31 (29.2%) Washington's Birthday and trace amounts (less than 0.01") of precipitation on 21 (19.8%) Washington's Birthday. 

Since 1929, it has snowed on 40 out of 103 (38.9%) Washington's Birthday.  Measurable snow (0.1" or greater) has fallen on 25 (24.3%) Washington's Birthday and a trace (less than 0.1") on 15 (14.6%) Washington's Birthday. 

Since 1938, residents have woken up with measurable snow (1/2" or greater) on the ground 69 (79.3%) times, trace amounts (less than a 1/2") 8 (9.2%) times, and no snow 10 (11.5%) times.

In 2021 (February 15), the high temperature was -3°F (coldest high - the previous record was 0°F on February 22, 1965) and the low temperature was -23°F (second coldest).  The average temperature was -13°F (coldest average - the previous record was -5.5°F on February 22, 1929 & February 22, 1965). No precipitation fell.  There was 8" of snow on the ground and the average wind speed was 8.6 mph.

 

Washington's Birthday Weather History


The following weather events affected northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and western Wisconsin on Washington's Birthday:

  • In 1889 (February 22), La Crosse, WI only had a high temperature of -4°F.  This was their coldest high temperature on Washington's Birthday.
  • In 1897 (February 22), La Crosse, WI (8.2") snow.
  • In 1913 (February 22), Fayette, IA (10") and Rochester (8" - snowiest Washington's Birthday).
  • In 1922 (February 22), rain and sleet began during the late morning of the 21st, changing to all rain by 3 PM, and continuing through the evening of the 22nd. The rain changed back to sleet at 7 PM and continued until 10 PM. The rain froze on contact, covering everything with ice. In addition, occasional thunderstorms were reported from the 10 PM to 10 AM. In La Crosse, the ice thickness was 2" or more. Both telephone and telegraph service was badly crippled. Sidewalks and streets were completely covered with ice and boys were ice skating everywhere. The following locations had their wettest February day: In IA: Fayette (2.42"). In MN: Winona (1.65"). In WI: Hillsboro (3.00"), La Crosse (2.05", wettest February day), Richland Center (1.80"), Neillsville (1.78"), Mather (1.56"), Hatfield (1.45").  More on this devastating ice storm can be found here.
  • In 1928 (February 22), La Crosse, WI (9") snow.
  • In 1930 (February 22), La Crosse, WI had a high temperature of 60°F.  This was later tied in 1981 (February 16) for their warmest Washington's Birthday.  Rochester, MN had a high temperature of 59°F and low temperature of 42°F.  This was their warmest high and low temperature on Washington's Birthday.
  • In 1936 (February 22), La Crosse, WI had a low temperature of -17°F and Rochester, MN had a low temperature of -25°F.  This was their coldest low temperature on Washington's Birthday. 
  • In 1945 (February 22), snow began falling during the morning of the 21st and continued through the morning of the 22nd. Fayette, IA (9"), Grand Meadow, MN (8"), La Crosse, WI (7.9"), and Winona, MN (6") snow.
    In 1962 (February 22), snow totals this day ranged from: Dodge, WI (9"), Galesville, WI (8"), Mather, WI (8"), Winona, MN (7"), Trempealeau, WI (6.2"), Neillsville, WI (6").
  • In 1965 (February 22), the high temperature only climbed to 0°F at Rochester, MN.  This was their coldest high temperature on Washington's Birthday.
  • In 1979 (February 19), this was the last day of a stretch of 52 consecutive days where temperatures never got above freezing in La Crosse. The average high temperature during the stretch was 16.1°F.  In addition, there was 26" of snow on the ground at La Crosse, WI.  This was their greatest for Washington's Birthday.
  • In 1981 (February 16), La Crosse had a high temperature of 60°F.  This tied in 1930 (February 22) for their warmest Washington's Birthday.  
  • In 2010 (February 15), Rochester, MN had 21" of snow on the ground.  This was their greatest on Washington's Birthday.
  • In 2017 (February 20), the low temperature at La Crosse, WI only fell to 45°F.  This was their warmest low temperature on Washington's Birthday.  Rochester, MN had their wettest (0.81") Washington's Birthday.
  • In 2020 (February 17), anywhere from 1 to 6" of snow fell across the Upper Mississippi River Valley.  The highest totals were in Crawford County (6.4" - 4 miles southeast of Steuben & 6" - 6.1 miles southeast of Gays Mills) in southwest Wisconsin and Dodge County (5" in Hayfield) in southeast Minnesota.  This snow result in snow-covered and slippery roads. There were several slide-offs during the evening along I-90 near St. Charles and US Highway 52 in Rochester in southeast Minnesota.  In addition, it was Rochester's 5th wettest (0.4") and 2nd snowiest (4.2") Washington Birthday.  During the day, the snow occasionally mixed with rain and sleet south of Interstate 90.
  • In 2021 (February 15), high temperatures were in the single digits above and below zero.  Low temperatures ranged from -13°F at Prairie du Chien, WI to -32°F at Black River Falls, WI.  Numerous record cold high and low temperature records were broken for the date and for Washington's Birthday.  This included the coldest high temperature on Washington's Birthday for Rochester, MN (-3°F - the previous record was 0°F on February 22, 1965). The coldest low temperature for Washington's Birthday at La Crosse, WI (-21°F - the previous record was -17°F on February 22, 1936).  Wind chills ranged from -20°F to -40°F.  Due to these, a Wind Chill Advisory was in effect through 10 AM.