HydroClim Minnesota - June 2012
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 Division of Ecological and Water Resources, St. Paul
prepared: June 6, 2012
What happened in May 2012:
- May 2012 precipitation totals were extraordinarily high along a broad arc that extended from southwest Minnesota into Minnesota's Arrowhead region. Along this swath, monthly precipitation totals in excess of eight inches were common. May rainfall totals topping 10 inches were reported in many southwest and east central Minnesota counties. The long-term average for May rainfall ranges from two to four inches across Minnesota. Therefore, May rainfall totals in many communities tripled the long-term average. Some locales reported their wettest May ever. As is often the case in a state the size of Minnesota, broad generalizations do not tell the whole story. While much of the southeastern two-thirds of Minnesota received abundant to excessive rainfall, the northwest corner of the state was missed by most of May's heavy rainfall events. Monthly precipitation totals in northwestern counties were short of average by one to two inches.
[see: May 2012 Climate Summary Table | May 2012 Precipitation Map | May 2012 Precipitation Departure from Normal Map]
- Two very heavy rainfall events were responsible for much of the May rainfall. Large sections southern Minnesota received three or more inches of rain from May 4 through May 6. Later in the month, a very slow-moving cold front dropped two or more inches of rain on much of the state on May 23 and 24. Over four inches of rain fell during these two days in some southern and eastern Minnesota communities.
[see: Early May Rainfall Totals | Heavy Rain: May 23-24 Precipitation Totals]
- Monthly mean temperatures for May 2012 were above average in the northern one-half of Minnesota, and well above average in the south. In southern Minnesota, May's mean monthly temperature topped the historical average by four or more degrees in most locales. It was Minnesota's eighth consecutive month of above-normal temperatures. For many Minnesota communities, it was the warmest meteorological spring (March - May) of the modern record. Extreme temperature values for May ranged from a high of 97 degrees F at Madison (Lac Qui Parle County) on the 18th, to a low of 24 degrees F at Embarrass (St. Louis County) and Brimson (St. Louis County) on the 16th. Maximum temperature records were set at some Minnesota communities on May 17, 18, 19, and 23 when the thermometer climbed into the upper 80s and low 90s. A few minimum temperature records were set in far northern Minnesota on May 31 when the temperature dropped to the upper 20s.
[see: May 2012 Climate Summary Table | Hot and Windy: May 17-18 | Record Warm Spring]
Where we stand now:
- Abundant spring rainfall dramatically improved Minnesota's drought situation in many counties. April-plus-May rainfall totals in excess of ten inches were common over large sections of southwest, central, east central, and northeast Minnesota. In many of these areas, it was the wettest April-plus-May of the modern record.
[see: 2012 Spring Rainfall Totals]
- The U. S. Drought Monitor, released on May 29, places some northwest Minnesota counties in the Moderate Drought category. Roughly one-third of the state is rated in the Abnormally Dry category. In this case, the Abnormally Dry designation is used by the U.S. Drought Monitor authors to indicate that the landscape is "coming out of drought", with perhaps some minor lingering drought impacts. Over one-half of Minnesota is free of any drought designation. This week's map shows substantial improvement in the drought situation when compared with early May when 60 percent of Minnesota was said to be in the Moderate Drought or Severe Drought categories. The U. S. Drought Monitor index is a blend of science and subjectivity where drought categories (Moderate, Severe, etc) are based on several indicators.
[see: U.S. Drought Monitor | Minnesota Drought Condition Summary | Red River Basin Drought Decision Support System]
- The U.S. Geological Survey and Minnesota DNR report that stream discharge values are very low at some northwest Minnesota reporting locations. Stream flow values rank below the 10th percentile for this time of year in these areas. Stream flows are very high in southwest, central, east central, and northeast Minnesota. Stream discharge values in these watersheds rank above the 90th percentile when compared with historical data for the season.
[see: USGS stream flow conditions | MNDNR Weekly Stream Flow Maps and Tables]
- Water levels on most Minnesota lakes located within areas receiving spring's heaviest rainfalls rose notably this past month.
[see: Lake Minnetonka Water Levels | White Bear Lake Water Level | Lake of the Woods Control Board Basin Data | Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Water Levels]
- In their June 3 report, the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service reported that topsoil moisture is 0% Very Short, 5% Short, 77% Adequate, and 18% Surplus across Minnesota. This represents a significant improvement over the early-April soil moisture survey when topsoil conditions were said to be 54% Very Short or Short.
[see: Agricultural Statistics Service Crop Progress and Condition | U. of M. Southwest Research Center (Lamberton) Soil Moisture | U. of M. Southern Research Center (Waseca) Soil Moisture]
- The potential for wildfires is currently rated by DNR Forestry as High in far northwest Minnesota. Elsewhere in Minnesota, wildfire potential is considered Low.
[see: Fire Danger Rating Map]
- The June precipitation outlook tilts towards above-normal conditions in northwest Minnesota and projects equal chances of above-normal, near-normal, and below-normal conditions elsewhere in the state. 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 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 is weighted towards above-normal conditions across the state. Normal June high temperatures are in the low to mid 70s early in the month, rising to around 80 by month's end. Normal June low temperatures are in the low 50s 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 offers an equal likelihood of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions across the state. The June through August temperature projection also indicates an equal likelihood of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions.
[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 address both high flow and low flow probabilities.
[see: National Weather Service - North Central River Forecast Center]
From the author:
Notes from around the state:
Upcoming dates of note:
- June 21: 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 Eco/Water Resources and U of M Dept. of Soil, Water, and Climate
- http://water.weather.gov/precip/ - National Weather Service, Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service
- http://www.drought.unl.edu - National Drought Mitigation Center
- http://www.rrbdin.org/rddss - Red River Basin Drought Decision Support System, International Water Institute
- 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 Ecological and Water Resources
- http://www.minnehahacreek.org - Minnehaha Creek Watershed District
- http://lwcb.ca/ - Lake of the Woods Control Board
- http://www.lre.usace.army.mil - US Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District
- http://www.nass.usda.gov - USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service
- http://swroc.cfans.umn.edu - University of Minnesota, Southwest Research and Outreach Center, Lamberton
- http://sroc.cfans.umn.edu - University of Minnesota, Southern Research and Outreach Center, Waseca
- http://mndnr.gov/forestry - Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry
- http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ncrfc - National Weather Service, North Central River Forecast Center
- http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov - National Weather Service, Climate Prediction Center
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