Minneapolis - Geography and Climate

Geography and Climate

The history and economic growth of Minneapolis are tied to water, the city's defining physical characteristic, which was brought to the region during the last ice age ten thousand years ago. Fed by a receding glacier and Lake Agassiz, torrents of water from a glacial river cut the Mississippi riverbed and created the river's only waterfall, St. Anthony Falls, important to the early settlers of Minneapolis. Lying on an artesian aquifer and flat terrain, Minneapolis has a total area of 58.4 square miles (151.3 km2) and of this 6% is water. Water is managed by watershed districts that correspond to the Mississippi and the city's three creeks. Twelve lakes, three large ponds, and five unnamed wetlands are within Minneapolis.

The city center is located at 45° N latitude. The city's lowest elevation of 686 feet (209 m) is near where Minnehaha Creek meets the Mississippi River. The site of the Prospect Park Water Tower is often cited as the city's highest point and a placard in Deming Heights Park denotes the highest elevation, but a spot at 974 feet (297 m) in or near Waite Park in Northeast Minneapolis is corroborated by Google Earth as the highest ground.

Minneapolis has a continental climate typical of the Upper Midwest. Winters are cold and snowy, while summers are hot and humid. On the Köppen climate classification, Minneapolis falls in the hot summer humid continental climate zone (Dfa) and has a USDA plant hardiness of zone 5a/4b. As is typical in a continental climate, the difference between average temperatures in the coldest winter month and the warmest summer month is great: 60.1 °F (33.4 °C).

The city experiences a full range of precipitation and related weather events, including snow, sleet, ice, rain, thunderstorms, tornadoes, heatwaves, and fog. The warmest temperature ever recorded in Minneapolis was 108 °F (42 °C) in July 1936, and the coldest temperature ever recorded was −41 °F (−41 °C), in January 1888. The snowiest winter of record was 1983–84, when 98.4 inches (250 cm) of snow fell.

The average annual temperature in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area is 45.4 °F (7.4 °C).

Climate data for Minneapolis/St. Paul
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 59
(15)
64
(18)
83
(28)
95
(35)
106
(41)
104
(40)
108
(42)
103
(39)
104
(40)
90
(32)
77
(25)
68
(20)
108
(42)
Average high °F (°C) 23.7
(−4.6)
28.8
(−1.8)
41.3
(5.2)
57.7
(14.3)
69.4
(20.8)
78.8
(26.0)
83.4
(28.6)
80.5
(26.9)
71.7
(22.1)
58.1
(14.5)
41.2
(5.1)
27.1
(−2.7)
55.1
(12.8)
Average low °F (°C) 7.4
(−13.7)
12.7
(−10.7)
24.2
(−4.3)
37.2
(2.9)
48.9
(9.4)
58.7
(14.8)
64.0
(17.8)
61.7
(16.5)
52.3
(11.3)
39.6
(4.2)
26.2
(−3.2)
12.2
(−11.0)
37.1
(2.8)
Record low °F (°C) −41
(−41)
−40
(−40)
−32
(−36)
2
(−17)
18
(−8)
34
(1)
43
(6)
39
(4)
26
(−3)
10
(−12)
−25
(−32)
−39
(−39)
−41
(−41)
Precipitation inches (mm) .90
(23)
.76
(19.3)
1.89
(48)
2.65
(67.3)
3.36
(85.3)
4.25
(108)
4.04
(102.6)
4.29
(109)
3.07
(78)
2.43
(61.7)
1.76
(44.7)
1.15
(29.2)
30.55
(776)
Snowfall inches (cm) 11.1
(28.2)
7.7
(19.6)
10.1
(25.7)
2.3
(5.8)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
.6
(1.5)
8.8
(22.4)
10.2
(25.9)
50.8
(129)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 8.9 7.4 9.3 10.7 11.5 11.3 10.2 9.7 9.8 9.2 8.7 9.8 116.5
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 8.2 6.3 5.4 1.9 .1 0 0 0 0 .6 5.0 8.1 35.6
Percent possible sunshine 53 59 57 58 61 66 72 69 62 55 39 42 58
Source #1: NOAA (1981–2010 normals), Average Percent Sunshine through 2009
Source #2: The Weather Channel (Extremes)


Read more about this topic:  Minneapolis

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