National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
 

Table of Contents
  1. Top Daily Snowfalls
  2. Seasonal and Monthly Snow
  3. Snowfall Averages
  4. Earliest and Latest Snow
  5. Consecutive Days With Snow
  6. Frost and Freeze Info

  7. Extreme Cold Temps
  8. Miscellaneous Stats

This web page is a collection of winter climate statistics and records. Simply scroll down the page to get started, or use the table of contents on the right to navigate.

** Please note this page is not always up to date. For any official inquiries please email nws.duluth@noaa.gov **


The National Weather Service office in Duluth, MN after a snowstorm in 2007.

 

Top Daily Snowfalls

Rank Duluth, Minnesota International Falls, Minnesota Brainerd, Minnesota
1.

24.1"

November 1, 1991

14.1"

January 10, 1975

24.0"

March 5, 1985

2.

23.2"

December 6, 1950

13.9"

April 25, 1950

15.0"

April 12, 2008

3.

18.2"

January 26, 2004

13.7"

December 14, 2008

12.0"

February 12, 2013

4.

18.0"

March 13, 1917

13.1"

March 10, 2009

12.0"

January 5, 1997

5.

17.2"

March 17, 1965

13.0"

March 4, 1966

12.0"

January 18, 1996

 

Seasonal and Monthly Snow Records

(Snow Season defined as the sum of snow totals from July 1st to June 30th)

Maximum Snow Season Snowfall
Rank Duluth, Minnesota International Falls, Minnesota Brainerd, Minnesota
1.

135.4"

1995-1996

125.6"

2008-2009

80.6"

1996-1997

2.

131.8"

1949-1950

116.0"

1995-1996

79.4"

1988-1989

3.

131.0"

2013-2014

111.0"

1991-1992

75.3"

1968-1969

4.

129.4"

2012-2013

104.7"

1988-1989

73.5"

2017-2018

5.

128.2"

1996-1997

101.2"

2013-2014

71.3"

1970-1971

 

Minimum Snow Season Snowfall
Rank Duluth, Minnesota International Falls, Minnesota Brainerd, Minnesota
1.

36.5"

1980-1981

27.1"

1999-2000

12.6"

1975-1976

2.

39.3"

1967-1968

28.7"

1962-1963

15.5"

1972-1973

3.

40.6"

1976-1977

30.4"

1972-1973

15.8"

1986-1987

4.

40.6"

1986-1987

32.8"

1957-1958

18.0"

1958-1959

5.

44.5"

1958-1959

39.3"

2006-2007

22.1"

1957-1958

 

Location Highest Total Snowfall For the Month of...
Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Duluth, Minnesota

2.4"

(1991)

14.0"

(1933)

50.1"

(1991)

44.3"

(1950)

46.8"

(1969)

36.4"

(2019)

48.2"

(1917)

50.8"

(2013)

8.1"

(1954)

 - 
International Falls, Minnesota

2.0"

(1912)

10.5"

(1917)

29.7"

(1965)

43.9"

(1992)

43.0"

(1975)

32.3"

(1992)

31.5"

(1951)

23.5"

(2008)

13.4"

(1954)

0.3"

(1969)

Brainerd, Minnesota -

3.5"

(1992)

28.5"

(1983)

29.1"

(1968)

33.0"

(1950)

25.4"

(2001)

35.5"

(1965)

22.8"

(2008)

1.0"

(2017)

-

 


Snowfall Averages 

  • International Falls:  normally receives 71.0 inches of snow per snow season (07/01-06/30) (based on the 1981-2010 climate normals). 
  • Duluth:  normally receives 86.1 inches of snow per season (07/01-06/30) (based on the 1981-2010 climate normals).
  • Brainerd:  normally receives 47.1 inches of snow per season (07/01-06/30) (based on the 1981-2010 climate normals).

Earliest and Latest Snow

Dates of... Duluth, Minnesota International Falls, Minnesota Brainerd, Minnesota
Earliest Measureable Snow: Sept. 18, 1991 Sept. 14, 1964 Oct. 10, 2018
Latest Measureable Snow May 28, 1965 Jun. 2, 1969 Apr. 30, 2017
Average first Measureable Snow: Oct. 24th Oct. 20th Nov. 10th
Average Last Measureable: Apr. 26th Apr. 25th Mar. 31st
Average first 1 inch of Snow: Nov. 4th  Nov. 1st  Nov. 14th 
Average Last 1 inch: Apr. 11th  Apr. 10th Mar. 27th

 

Consecutive Days With Measurable Snowfall 

Rank Duluth, Minnesota International Falls, Minnesota Brainerd, Minnesota
1

10 Days,

12/25/2016-01/03-2017

11 Days,

12/14-12/24 1974

5 Days,

12/03-12/07 2016

2

10 Days,

12/12-12/21 2008

10 Days,

11/29-12/08 2008

5 Days,

01/10-01/14 2011

3

10 Days,

02/25-03/06 1998

10 Days,

11/13-11/22 1955

5 Days,

01/22-01/26 2004

4

10 Days,

02/27-03/07 1976

10 Days,

12/05-12/14 1950

5 Days,

01/09-01/13

5

9 Days,

four dates have tied

9 Days,

four dates have tied

5 Days,

12/03-12/08 1950

 

Frost and Freeze Information (CAUTION under construction)

Frost (the formation of light ice crystals on the ground) occurs under light wind conditions with radiational cooling - that is, heat radiating away from the Earth's surface. Frost will form when temperatures at ground level fall to around 32 degrees. Because of different radiative properties, frost will often occur when the surface air temperature is still in the mid-30s. A freeze occurs when the air temperature measured at an observing site falls below 32 degrees. These temperature readings are taken at 2 meters above ground level, or about 6 feet.

  • Duluth Airport: The average first frost occurs around September 13 at the airport, with 90% of the first fall frosts occurring by September 28. The average last spring frost occurs around June 5th, with 90% of the last spring frosts occurring by June 24th.
  • Duluth Harbor:  The average first frost occurs around October 2nd at the harbor, with 90% of the first fall frosts occurring by October 25th. The average last spring frost occurs around May 30th, with 90% of the last spring frosts occurring by July 7th.
  • International Falls:  The average first frost occurs around September 7th, with 90% of the first fall frosts occurring by September 20th. The average last spring frost occurs around June 7th, with 90% of the last spring frosts occurring by June 29th.

Why does the fall frost occur much later at the Duluth harbor, as opposed to on top of the hill by the airport? Basically, Lake Superior heats up during the summer months and water has a high heat content. Therefore, it takes awhile to heat up, or cool down a large body of water. When it gets really cold in inland areas in the fall, the areas right along the water will stay warmer because Lake Superior hasn't cooled down yet.

 

Extreme Cold Temperatures (CAUTION under construction)

 

Coldest Low Temperatures
Duluth, Minnesota International Falls, MN
  1.  -41F, January 2, 1885
T2.  -39F, February 2, 1996
T2.  -39F, January 15, 1972
T4.  -38F, four dates tied, January 17, 1982 most recent
  1.  -55F, January 6, 1909
  2.  -54F, January 7, 1909
  3.  -50F, January 11, 1909
  4.  -48F, February 8, 1909
T5.  -46F, January 21, 2011 and January 6, 1968
Coldest High Temperatures
Duluth, Minnesota International Falls, MN
  1.  -22F, January 9, 1982
T2.  -21F, February 2, 1996
T2.  -21F, January 18, 1994
T2.  -21F, January 14, 1972
T5.  -20F, four dates tied, January 19, 1985 most recent
  1.  -29F, January 6,1909
T2.  -28F, January 19, 1985
T2.  -28F, January 14, 1972
  4.  -26F, January 27, 1966
T5.  -25F, February 1, 1996 and January 16, 1982
Consecutive Days Highs Below Zero
Duluth, Minnesota International Falls, MN
  1.  7 days, ended on January 19, 1994
  2.  6 days, ended on January 23, 1963
T3. 5 days, 6 different streaks tied for 3rd place.
 1. 18 days, ended on December 31, 1924
  2. 13 days, ended on January 15, 1912
  3. 10 days, ended on December 17, 1919
T4.  9 days, ended on January 7, 1968
T4.  9 days, ended on January 26, 1963
Consecutive Days Lows Below Zero
Duluth, Minnesota International Falls, MN

1.    23 days ended on February 11, 2014

T2.  22 days, ended on January 31, 1963
T2.  22 days, ended on February 7, 1936
  4.  20 days, ended on January 18, 1979
T5.  18 days, 3 different streaks tied for 4th place

 1. 35 days, ended on January 22, 1977
 2. 34 days, ended on February 4, 1950
 3. 31 days, ended on February 13, 1959
T4. 30 days, ended on January 26, 1982
T4. 30 days, ended on January 28, 1924

 

 

Miscellaneous Climate Facts (CAUTION under construction)

  • Wind chill records are not reliably kept. However, a notable bitter wind chill occurred on February 1, 1996 around 725pm. The temperature at Duluth was -25 degrees with a peak wind speed of 25 MPH. This produced a wind chill value of -58 degrees.
  • The state record low temperature in Minnesota was recorded at Tower, Minnesota on February 2, 1996. The low was -60 degrees. This is also the coldest temperature ever recorded east of the Mississippi River.
  • The state record low temperature in Wisconsin was recorded at Couderay on February 2nd and February 4th of 1996. The temperatures dipped down to -55 degrees both nights.
  • At the Duluth International Airport, the record for consecutive hours below zero degrees temperature is 186 hours from January 12-20, 1994.
  • The lowest pressure ever recorded at Duluth, Minnesota was 960.2 millibars or 28.35 inches of mercury. This occurred at 11:15 AM on October 26, 2010..
  • The Minnesota state record snowfall in 24 hours was at Wolf Ridge ELC in Finland, WI where 36 inches of snow fell on January 7, 1994. The Minnesota state record snow depth was 88 inches from February 15th to February 21st in 1969.
  • The Wisconsin state record snow depth was 83 inches on April 6, 1933 at the Turtle Flambeau Reservoir. The Wisconsin state record for 24-hour snowfall was outside of the NWS Duluth area of responsibility (26 inches at Neillsville).
  • Hurley, Wisconsin in Iron County set a new Wisconsin state record for the most snowfall recorded in a single season in 1996-1997. The observer in Hurley measured 277.2 inches of snow, or 23.1 feet of snow.
  • Hurley, Wisconsin averaged 174.4 inches of snow per season from the winter of 1987-1988 to the winter of 2009-2010. This makes it one of the snowiest spots east of the Rockies in the United States. This is largely due to it being situated in the Lake Superior snowbelt, where lake effect snows are prevalent in the winter months.