HydroClim Minnesota - June 2008
A monthly electronic newsletter summarizing Minnesota's 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
What happened in May:
- With the exception of northwestern Minnesota, May 2008 precipitation totals were near historical averages in most Minnesota communities.
In the northwest, rainfall totals fell short of average by approximately one inch. In most other Minnesota locations, a wet start to the month (including northern Minnesota
snow on May 10) was counterbalanced by dry weather during the third and fourth weeks of the month.
[see: May 2008 Climate Summary Table]
During the final week of May 2008, portions of the state were impacted by severe weather. Large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes afflicted some Minnesota
communities on May 25, May 30, and May 31.
[see: Severe Weather, May 25 | Severe Weather, May 30 and 31]
Maintaining a multi-month trend, monthly mean temperatures for May 2008 were below historical averages. May temperatures ranged from three to six degrees
below normal across Minnesota. The cool temperatures in May delayed many of the normal signs of spring. Extreme temperature values for May ranged from a high of 89 degrees on the
25th at Waseca, to a low of 19 degrees at Embarrass (St. Louis County) on the 5th. Below-freezing temperatures were reported as late as May 27 and May 28 in northern Minnesota.
[see: May 2008 Climate Summary Table]
Where we stand now:
- Growing season precipitation totals to date (April 1 through early June) are well below average in northern sections of the Red River Valley. Elsewhere
across the western one-half of Minnesota, growing season precipitation totals are close to historical averages. In the eastern one-half of Minnesota, growing season precipitation totals
to-date are above average. In some sections of northeastern and southeastern Minnesota, growing season rainfall totals surpass the 95th percentile (one year in twenty) when compared to other
April-plus-May totals in the historical record.
[see: Weekly Precipitation Maps]
- The U. S. Drought Monitor, released on May 29, places a small area of northwestern Minnesota in the "Moderate Drought" category. In that region,
inadequate spring rainfall led to very dry topsoil conditions. Other sections of northwestern Minnesota, and a portion of west central Minnesota are categorized as being "Abnormally Dry".
The "Abnormally Dry" depiction in west central Minnesota is an acknowledgement of lingering moisture deficits from the 2007 growing season. All other Minnesota locales are
deemed to be free of drought conditions. The U. S. Drought Monitor index is a blend of science and subjectivity where intensity categories are based on several indicators.
[see: U.S. Drought Monitor]
- The U.S. Geological Survey reports that stream discharge values are near to above the historical mid-range for the date across most of Minnesota.
Along some stretches of the Minnesota River and its tributaries, stream flow exceeds the 90th percentile for this time of the year. While stream flows were somewhat high in many
locations across Minnesota in April and May, flooding was not a major problem.
[see: USGS Streamflow | DNR Streamflow]
- The Lake Superior water level is up 13 inches from last year at this time and climbing closer to the long-term average.
[see: Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Water Levels]
- The Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service reports that as of May 30, topsoil moisture was 1% "Very Short", 8% "Short",
81% "Adequate", and 10% "Surplus". Wet soils and cool temperatures delayed land preparation and the planting of crops in early May. However, favorable weather
in late May allowed for significant planting progress.
[see: Ag. Statistics Service Crop Progress and Condition]
All of Minnesota's lakes were free of ice by mid-May. Throughout the spring, lake ice-out lagged behind historical averages by one to two weeks. In
most locales, it was the latest lake ice-out since 1996.
[see: Lake Ice-out Status]
Although recent rainfall reduced the threat of fire, the potential for wildfires is rated by DNR Forestry as "moderate" in far northern Minnesota.
Elsewhere across the state, fire danger is rated as "low".
[see: Fire Danger Rating Map]
- The June precipitation outlook tilts towards above-normal conditions across Minnesota, especially in southern Minnesota.
June is historically the wettest month of the year with precipitation normals ranging from three and one half inches in western Minnesota, to over four inches
and one half inches in many central and eastern Minnesota counties. The historical probability of measurable precipitation for any given day in June ranges
from 33 percent in the northwest to near 40 percent in eastern Minnesota.
[see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook | June Precipitation Normal Map]
- The June temperature outlook offers a strong tendency towards below-normal conditions across Minnesota. Normal June high temperatures
are in the low to mid 70's early in the month, rising to around 80 by month's end. Normal June low temperatures are in the low 50's to start the month, and rise to
around 60 as the month ends.
[see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook | June Temperature Normal Map]
- The 90-day precipitation outlook for June through August indicates no significant tendencies away from climatological probabilities across Minnesota.
The June through August temperature projection offers equal chances of above, near, or below average conditions in most locations. A tilt towards below-normal
temperatures is indicated in the far-southeastern portions of Minnesota.
[see: Climate Prediction Center 90-day Outlook]
- 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).
[see: National Weather Service River Forecast Center]
From the author:
Last year at this time, large sections of north central and northeastern Minnesota were in the grip of an
extreme drought. An exceptionally dry 2006 growing season and a snow-sparse 2007-2007 winter led to very
low lake and stream levels and an explosive wildfire situation in northern Minnesota. During a two-week period
in early to mid-May 2007, the Ham Lake Fire burned tens of thousands of acres near the Gunflint Trail.
The early season dryness set the stage for a summer drought that would eventually impact most of the state of Minnesota.
The situation is dramatically different this year. Very wet late-summer and autumn weather in 2007, along with significant rain and snow in April and early-May 2008, has doused most drought concerns. Lake levels have rebounded, stream flows are at or above historical averages, and soil moisture is adequate in most locales. The only area with some concerns for dryness at this time is the northern portion of the Red River Valley.
Notes from around the state:
Upcoming dates of note:
- June 19: National Weather Service releases 30/90 day temperature and precipitation outlooks
Web sites featured in this edition:
- http://climate.umn.edu - Minnesota Climatology Working Group, Minnesota DNR Waters and U of M Dept. of Soil, Water, and Climate
- http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mpx - National Weather Service Forecast Office - Chanhassen, MN
- http://www.drought.unl.edu - National Drought Mitigation Center
- http://water.usgs.gov/cgi-bin/dailyMainW?state=mn&map_type=weekd - U.S. Geological Survey
- http://mndnr.gov/waters - Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Waters
- http://www.lre.usace.army.mil - Detroit District, US Army Corps of Engineers
- http://www.nass.usda.gov - USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service
- http://mndnr.gov/forestry - Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry
- http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov - Climate Prediction Center, National Weather Service
- http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ncrfc - North Central River Forecast Center, National Weather Service
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