The winter is dragging on and on. It's cold and it's gray and it's miserable. When is spring going to start?
Winter can be pretty extreme in Minnesota, hitting below-freezing temps (as cold as -60 degrees Fahrenheit) with plenty of snow (averages can top 170 inches in the North Shore region), freezing rain and sleet.
If you're traveling to Minnesota in the winter — or any season, for that matter— make sure you pack for the potential of extreme weather conditions.
The Start of Spring
But in the winter, spring can't come soon enough, right? Spring in Minneapolis and St. Paul is often frustratingly slow to arrive. Traditional spring months in other parts of the country, like March, are mostly below freezing in Minnesota.
April is usually the first month to have tantalizingly warm days. But even so, the weather in April is typically unpredictable. In mid-April, you could be wearing shorts or it could be snowing.
By late April or early May, the weather usually begins to more represent a real spring, but then by late May, it feels like summer. Then we will all be complaining it's too hot and too humid and dang these mosquitoes; summers in Minnesota tend to be pretty extreme, too. But at least the snow is gone, right?
Tornado Risk in the Spring
Later spring's weather changes may also bring an increased risk for tornadoes. Tornadoes remain a risk all the way through fall. In fact, Minnesota averages 27 tornadoes per year.
Another common thing to strike Minnesota in the spring is floods. As the snow melts, many of the state's rivers are prone to flooding, and you may see flash floods due to heavy rain (into already high-running rivers).
Extreme Weather Conditions
Minnesota experiences the full expression of each season and its temps vary pretty dramatically regionally and seasonally.
Winter in the northern part of the state can get as cold as -60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Summer in the southern part of the state can get as hot as 114 degrees.
Regional Weather Variations
The southern part of Minnesota tends to be hotter (averaging the mid-80s in the summer) and more humid than the north. By comparison, the North's average summer temps hover in the upper 70s.
The northern part of the state also tends to have fewer severe thunderstorms than the southern areas of Minnesota.
Weather Around Lake Superior
The weather around Lake Superior in Minnesota tends to be different from the rest of the state, due to the effects of the lake. Areas in this part of the state usually see chillier temps in the summer. Many visitors are surprised that this area may have warmer winters. The temperature variations around the lake are not as extreme as the rest of the state.
While the weather is unique around the lake, it doesn't expand very far inland beyond the lake's shores. It doesn't have a major influence on the rest of the state's conditions.