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Fresh Breeze Out of the Northwest

Reproduction of watercolor illustration showing Fort Snelling, 1848. Negative No. 12702
Seth Eastman, Fort Snelling in 1848. Head of Navigation, 1848, watercolor, MHS Collections (Negative No. 12702).

Early on the morning of September 22, 1805, in the area that would become Minneapolis and St. Paul, the sky was clear and there was a fresh breeze out of the northwest. The temperature was 77 degrees. This was the area's first documented weather observation, noted in the diary of U.S. Army Lt. Zebulon Pike, two years after the area had come under United States jurisdiction through the Louisiana Purchase. In 1819 the Army began documenting the weather at Fort Snelling, the outpost it built above the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers.

Beginning with those observations at Fort Snelling, Minnesota weather has been recorded continuously for more than 180 years. The state boasts the nation's third-longest uninterrupted weather record, trailing only those of Connecticut and Maryland.