HydroClim Minnesota - June 2009
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:
- May 2009 was a dry month across nearly all of Minnesota. Most Minnesota locales reported May precipitation totals that fell short of the historical average by one and one-half inch to two and one-half inches. This perpetuated a dry spell of weather that began in early April. There were two exceptions to the dry May pattern; far northwestern Minnesota received above-average precipitation, and May precipitation totals in far southeastern Minnesota were near historical averages.
[see: May 2009 Climate Summary Table | May dryness | April-plus-May precipitation ranking]
- Monthly mean temperatures for May 2009 were below historical averages in west central Minnesota as well as most of the northern one-half of the state. May temperatures elsewhere in Minnesota were close to the long-term mean. Extreme temperature values for May ranged from a high of 100 degrees in Milan (Chippewa County) on the 19th, to a low of 20 degrees in Embarrass (St. Louis County) on the 21st. Numerous high temperature records were broken on May 19 and 20 when temperatures soared into the 90's in many locations. The hot temperatures were accompanied by very strong winds, gusting to 40 mph or more. The hot, dry, windy conditions led to numerous reports of blowing soil. The conditions were also favorable for very high evaporation rates. An evaporation pan located at the University of Minnesota Climate Observatory in St. Paul reported 0.63 inches of evaporation, the third highest daily value in history.
[see: May 2009 Climate Summary Table | Record Heat - May 19 | Record Heat - May 20]
- The National Weather Service reported that on May 20, the Red River at Fargo-Moorhead dropped below flood stage. The river had remained above flood stage for 61 consecutive days, the longest duration flood of all-time at that observation point. For most of the Red River basin, dry weather in April and May caused rivers to return to within the confines of their banks. However, heavy rain in late May in far northwestern Minnesota led to moderate flooding in Kittson and Roseau counties.
Where we stand now:
- The U. S. Drought Monitor, released on May 26, placed areas of east central and southeastern Minnesota counties in the Moderate Drought and Severe Drought categories. Large portions of the remainder of the southern two-thirds of Minnesota are considered to be Abnormally Dry. The drought designations are the result of two spells of dry weather, one short-term and one longer-term. The shorter-term dryness has persisted since early April and impacts much of the southern two-thirds of the state. The long-term dry spell commenced in mid-June 2008 and has persisted in east central and southeast Minnesota, producing 12-month precipitation deficits of eight or more inches. The U. S. Drought Monitor index is a blend of science and subjectivity where intensity categories are based on several indicators.
[see: Drought 2009]
- The U.S. Geological Survey reports that stream discharge values are highly variable across the state. Some Minnesota streams are at flow rates that rank below the 25th percentile in the historical distribution for early June. Stream discharge in a few east central Minnesota rivers is below the 10th percentile for the date. By contrast, the Red River and many of its tributaries continue to experience high flows.
[see: USGS Streamflow | DNR Streamflow]
- The Lake Superior water level is up two inches from last year at this time but remains below the long-term average. Levels on inland lakes in Minnesota's drought areas are low. In some cases, east central Minnesota lake levels are at or below those observed during the droughts of 2006 and 2007.
[see: Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Water Levels]
- The Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service reports that as of May 31, topsoil moisture was 19% "Very Short", 31% "Short", 42% "Adequate", and 8% "Surplus". Deficient topsoil moisture is of great concern to producers in central and southern Minnesota at the moment. In spite of the dry conditions, 77% of Minnesota's newly emerging corn crop is rated in good to excellent condition.
[see: Agricultural Statistics Service Crop Progress and Condition]
- The potential for wildfires is currently rated by DNR Forestry as "Very High" in and around the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The fire danger rating is "High" in central and west central Minnesota, and "Moderate" across much of northern Minnesota.
[see: Fire Danger Rating Map]
- The June precipitation outlook tilts towards heavier than normal rainfall across the northern two-thirds of Minnesota. The outlook for the southern one-third of the state offers equal chances of above, near, and below normal precipitation. 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 indicates a tendency towards below-normal conditions. 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 shows no significant tendencies away from climatological probabilities. The June through August temperature projection tilts towards below-normal conditions across nearly all 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:
Notes from around the state:
Upcoming dates of note:
- June 18: 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.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 - US Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District
- 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 - National Weather Service, Climate Prediction Center
- http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ncrfc - National Weather Service, North Central River Forecast Center
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