|HydroClim Minnesota - December 2005
A monthly electronic newsletter summarizing Minnesota climate conditions and the
resulting impact on water resources.
Distributed on the Wednesday following the first Monday of each month.
State Climatology Office - DNR Waters
compiled 12/6/05 (early distribution by one day)
WHAT HAS HAPPENED
- precipitation totals for November 2005 were above normal in most locations. Precipitation in western, central, and northern counties topped historical averages by an inch or more. The moist November continued a trend of wet autumn weather in many central and east central Minnesota communities. In St. Cloud, the September through November period was the second wettest fall in the 113 years of record keeping.
- a significant winter storm roared through the Midwest on November 28-29. The storm brought rain, freezing rain, and snow to much of Minnesota. A coating of ice and snow, accompanied by high winds, led to power outages, school cancellations, and road closures in many western Minnesota counties.
- November 2005 monthly mean temperatures were well above normal across the state. November mean temperatures topped the historical average by three to six degrees in most locations. The temperature extremes for November ranged from 76 degrees at Mankato on the 2nd, to -14 degrees at Embarrass (St. Louis county) on the 26th. In true Minnesota fashion, the November temperature range (highest temperature of the month versus lowest temperature of the month) was 60 or more degrees in most spots. In the Twin Cities and many other locations, autumn temperatures (September through November) ranked among the ten warmest in the historical record.
WHERE WE STAND NOW
- the snow depth map to be prepared on December 8 will show that much of Minnesota has four to eight inches of snow on the ground. Portions of east central and central Minnesota, along with far-northwestern Minnesota, will report a snow cover of less than four inches. Snow cover in Minnesota's historically snowy locales along the north shore of Lake Superior is very sparse for this time of year, generally two inches or less.
- as of November 29, the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) - U. S. Drought Monitor indicated that all Minnesota counties are free of drought designations. The NDMC index is a blend of science and subjectivity where intensity categories are based on six key indicators and numerous supplementary indicators.
- in their final soil moisture status summary of the year, the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service reports that as of November 11, the state's topsoil moisture was 0% very short, 5% short, 86% adequate, and 9% surplus. The present soil moisture condition is indicative of the conditions to be expected at the start of the 2006 growing season.
- soil frost is very shallow to nonexistent in areas of southwestern and west central Minnesota where an early snow cover has insulated the soil surface from the overlying cold air. Elsewhere in Minnesota, soil frost depths are two to eight inches. Soils in areas of northern Minnesota where snow can be trapped (forests and swamps) have less frost. Historically, soil frost reaches maximum depth in late February.
- the U.S. Geological Survey indicates that stream discharge values are near or above the median for the date across Minnesota. Stream discharge values for roughly one-half of Minnesota's streams are above the 90th percentile for this time of year.
- after a few false starts, all of Minnesota's lakes are now ice covered. Ice thickness is highly variable and ice safety is marginal in places. Those venturing onto the state's water bodies should utilize caution and common sense.
- the December precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center indicates no significant tendencies away from climatological probabilities across Minnesota. December precipitation normals range from around one half inch in western Minnesota to over one and one quarter inches in eastern sections of the state. The median snow cover at the end of December ranges from over 10 inches on the ground in northeastern Minnesota (20 inches in the Lake Superior highlands), to under 5 inches in southwestern counties.
- the December temperature outlook indicates a tendency towards below-normal conditions throughout Minnesota. Normal December high temperatures are in the mid-20's to near 30 to start the month, dropping to the mid-teens to near 20 by month's end. Normal lows are around 10 degrees early in the month, falling to the mid-single digits above and below zero by late December.
- the 90-day precipitation outlook for December through February indicates no significant tendencies away from climatological probabilities across Minnesota. The December through February temperature outlook shows a tilt towards above-normal conditions throughout Minnesota.
- the National Weather Service produces long-range probabilistic river stage and discharge outlooks for the Red River, Minnesota River, and Mississippi River basins. These products are part of the National Weather Service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS).
FROM THE AUTHOR
NOTES FROM AROUND THE STATE
- noneUPCOMING DATES OF NOTE
- December 15, Climate Prediction Center releases 30/90 day temperature and precipitation outlooksWEB SITES FEATURED IN THIS EDITION
http://climate.umn.edu - Minnesota Climatology Working Group
- St. Cloud State University, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department
http://www.drought.unl.edu - National Drought Mitigation Center
http://www.nass.usda.gov/mn/ - Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Enforcement Division
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov - Climate Prediction Center
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ncrfc/ - National Weather Service, North Central River Forecast Center
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