The year 2019 was one of high precipitation and snowfall at the University of Minnesota Southwest Research and Outreach Center near Lamberton.

Most notably, the 82” of snow recorded during the 2019 winter (Oct. 1, 2018-April 30, 2019) set a new snowfall record for the site. The previous record of 77.8” was set in 1984.

A cold and snowy month of February contributed significantly to the record-breaking snowfall total. Snow was recorded on 17 days out of the month, bringing February’s monthly total snowfall to 31.9”. Air temperatures averaged a high of 14 degrees and a low of -4 degrees in February, significantly lower than the historic average high and low of 28 degrees and 8 degrees.

The coldest day of 2019 was Jan. 31; air temperatures reached a high of -13 degrees and a low of -30 degrees. June 8 was the hottest day of the year, with high air temperatures peaking at 93 degrees.

Total annual precipitation for 2019 was 39.77”, well above the annual historic average of 27.37” at the SWROC. The year’s largest single-day rain event occurred Sept. 12 when 3.11” of was recorded.

The SWROC has recorded 16.6” of snow so far in the winter of 2020. Warm air temperatures Dec. 28-29, allowed 1.02” of precipitation to fall as rain rather than snow.

The year was cooler and wetter than average throughout southwest Minnesota, which created challenges for many area growers.

In April and May, 5.91” and 4.80” of precipitation were recorded, respectively, and high air temperatures averaged 54 degrees and 63 degrees, respectively. These cold temperatures as well as the rainy weather delayed spring planting and prevented some growers from getting fields planted.

During the May-September growing season, 22.52” of precipitation were recorded, making 2019 the sixth consecutive growing season with above-average precipitation in southwest Minnesota.

July and September were high precipitation months with precipitation totals of 6.86” and 6.02”, respectively.

A warm end to September allowed late-planted crops to finish growing and increased the SWROC 2019 growing degree days (GDD) total to 2,450, just behind the historic average GDD of 2,540.

October was cooler and wetter than average, with 4” of precipitation (historic average 2.15”) and high temps averaging 54 degrees (historic average 61 degrees), which created harvest challenges for many farmers. 

– Information courtesy of the U of M Southwest Research and Outreach Center