WeatherTalk Blog

Expected Turn Around in Weather Pattern

1 week ago
Expected Turn Around in Weather Pattern:
Although the first two weeks of June generally brought cooler than normal temperatures to Minnesota, following a dominant pattern of previous months, it appears that an abrupt turn around is about to occur. The first phase of this was the short-lived pulse of very warm and humid air that dominated the state this week on Tuesday (June 14). At least 60 climate stations reported afternoon high temperatures in the 90s F. Some even reported record highs for the date, including:
Theilman (Wabasha County) with 99°F
St Cloud, Caledonia, and Minnesota City with 95°F
La Crescent (Winona County) with 94°F
Brainerd with 91°F

Dew points climbed into the upper 60s and low 70s F pushing Heat Index Values from 98°F to 103°F, as the National Weather Service issued Heat Advisories for many counties. It definitely looks like more of this pattern will visit us beginning this weekend.

Most of the NOAA Outlook Models suggest a warmer than normal weather pattern will prevail across Minnesota for the rest of June. This will be sufficient to offset the cooler than normal start to the month, I expect that June will end up be at least a few degrees warmer than normal, probably in the neighborhood of 2.5 to 3.5°F above normal. Remember last June was 5 to 6°F above normal and the 3rd warmest in state history.

Not only is the temperature trend going to turn around for the month of June, but it appears it will turn around for the balance of summer. The outlook for the months of July, August, and September favors above normal temperatures for most of Minnesota. Interestingly enough, the outlook also favors a drier than normal weather pattern for the balance of summer, but confidence is not as great in that portion of the outlook.

Weekly Weather Potpourri: The severe flooding and closure of Yellowstone National Park made weather headlines this week. The Weather Underground reported on details about this, as at least 10,000 visitors were evacuated from the park due to dangerous flooding conditions. Many areas that feed the rivers in Yellowstone received 3-5 inches of rainfall last weekend, and that combined with 3-5 inches of runoff from winter snowpack to produce flood crests on the rivers. Some areas around Yellowstone reported 120 to 180 inches of snowfall this past winter season. Even more discussion of the climate features that contributed to this historic flooding can be found at the CNN web site.


The BBC reported this week on an early summer Heat Wave that is affected portions of Western Europe as well, and it is expected to linger into the weekend. Both Madrid, Spain and Bordeaux, France reached a high of 102°F earlier this week, while in southern France high temperatures up to 104°F were reported for the first time so early in the summer.. The Heat Wave is expected to break later this weekend.


The Committed to Climate and Energy Education Program (CLEAN) has a new online learning module called “Global and Great Lakes Climate Change.” Intended for students in the middle grades (6-8) this activity concentrates on the analysis of local and global temperature anomaly data that reveals warming trends. Emphasis is on the Great Lakes Region and potential impacts. The full activity takes between 50 and 100 minutes to finish.

MPR listener question: When the dew point climbed to 72°F this week in the Twin Cities it made me feel a bit like home, as I moved here from Louisiana seven years ago. We commonly had dew points in that range down there. What is the highest dew point for the Twin Cities in the month of June?
Answer: The highest dewpoint for MSP during this month is 80°F on June 22, 1983. In fact that was one of the first ever dew point readings that high in the climate history of the state. The Heat Index reached 105°F that day as well.
Twin Cities Almanac for June 17th: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 80 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 61 degrees F (plus or minus 6 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for June 17th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 97 degrees F in 1933; lowest daily maximum temperature of 54 degrees F in 1876; lowest daily minimum temperature of 42 degrees F in 1960; highest daily minimum temperature of 75 degrees F in 1921; record precipitation of 1.72 inches in 1873. No snow has been reported on this date.

Average dew point for June 17th is 55°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 73°F in 2002; and the minimum dew point on this date is 20 degrees F in 1972.

All-time state records for June 17th:
The state record high temperature for this date is 102 degrees F at Campbell (Wilin County) in 1933. The state record low temperature for this date is 22 degrees F at Tower (St Louis County) in 2000. The state record precipitation for this date is 8.67 inches at Minneota (Lyon County) in 1957. No measurable snowfall has occurred on this date.

Past Weather Features:
Over 80 percent of the state landscape baked in 90 degrees heat on June 17, 1933. Nine counties reported afternoon temperatures of 100°F or greater. The overnight low in Chaska was a tropical-like 75°F.

Probably the coldest June 17th morning was in 2000 when frosts were reported in parts of Pine, Carlton, and St Louis Counties. Temperatures were in the 20s F in both Tower and Embarrass, while the daily high temperature at Isabella (Lake County) only reached 49°F.

June 17, 2010 brought a historic outbreak of tornadoes to Minnesota, 48 such storms in all. Over a six-hour period beginning just before 3:30 PM, 48 tornadoes affected 22 counties in northwestern, west-central, central, east-central, south-central, and southeastern Minnesota. An EF-4 (165 mph winds or greater) tornado ripped through Wadena, severely damaging the high school and many homes. The National Weather Service was challenged to keep up with timely warnings during this stormy period, but did an outstanding job. A more detailed report on this storm can be found at the State Climatology Office web site.

Outlook: Sunny and warmer for Saturday, then relatively hot temperatures with higher dew points take over for Sunday through Tuesday in most places except the far northeastern counties. Temperatures will average well above normal. There will be a chance for showers and thunderstorms this weekend across northern sections of the state, and then in the southern parts of the state by Wednesday. It will be somewhat cooler but still above normal the end of next week.

Mark Seeley

June Starts Cool and Dry

2 weeks 1 day ago



June Starts Cool and Dry:


With vivid memories of last June (2021) which was the 3rd warmest in state history, Minnesota citizens have been somewhat surprised to witness the first 9 days of this June with average temperatures that are 2 to 5 degrees F cooler than normal. So far climate stations in Tower, Cotton, Brimson, Embarrass, and Hibbing have reported frosts this month, while many other locations in Minnesota have reported some lows in the 30s F as well.

With the cooler temperatures, Minnesota crops are emerging and growing at a slower pace than normal. Hopefully with warmer than normal temperatures expected for the second half of the month, crop growth and development may catch up to near normal pace by the July 4th holiday.

Most climate stations are reporting less than normal rainfall for the month so far. Some areas of west-central and northwestern Minnesota have only reported a trace (Warroad, Browns Valley, and Baudette for example), while a few spots in southeastern counties have seen over 1 inch. At least stored soil moisture is adequate or surplus in most areas of the state for this time of year, so that serves as a buffer for crops to not suffer from moisture stress. It is too early in the season to assess whether or not drought will emerge in the state this summer. 

Remembering Minnesota’s Hottest June:


June of 1933 remains as a unique anomaly in the state climate history as the only month to ever bring
two six-day Heat Waves of equal intensity and duration. It presented a special challenge to Minnesota
farmers in producing both drought and two Heat Waves that abruptly diminished any hopes of good crop yields that year. Average monthly temperatures ranged from 2°F to 9°F above normal. June of 1933 was fully 4 degrees F warmer than June of 2020 which most farmers will remember as very hot indeed. There are still many daily high temperature records across Minnesota that remain unbroken from that month.


The first six-day Heat Wave began on June 15 with four counties reporting afternoon temperatures of 100°F or greater. Each day brought more widespread hot temperatures to the state, peaking on the 19th with temperatures of 100°F or greater affecting 23 counties. Daily maximum temperatures in portions of western and southern Minnesota ranged from 101°F to 109°F. Many overnight low temperatures remained in the 70s F, and the reading of 81°F on the morning of June 19th at Morris remains as the highest minimum temperature for that date in Minnesota history. The last day of the Heat Wave, June 20th brought cloudy skies and a few thunderstorms with welcome rainfall amounts of a quarter to half an inch. These storms were followed by a cool front which brought a few days of temperatures in the 80s F and low 90s F.

The second six-day Heat Wave began on June 25 in just three western Minnesota counties where the afternoon temperatures topped 100°F. The hot weather spread across the state during the last week of the month bringing temperatures over 100°F to 18 counties in western and southern Minnesota. Daily temperatures rose to as high as 109 degrees F. Again, many overnight low temperatures remained in the 70s F during this spell which lasted until June 30th when thunderstorms again brought welcome rains of 0.25 to 0.75 inches to some areas of the state.

Overall, 41 Minnesota climate stations reported temperatures of 100 degrees F or greater during the two Heat Waves. Rainfall in June of 1933 was sparse, falling on only 5 or 6 days. Twenty-nine Minnesota counties reported less than 1.5 inches of rainfall that month. According to historical records from the National Climate Data Center portions of 28 Minnesota counties were listed in severe to extreme drought by the end of June 1933. This drought area expanded to 56 Minnesota counties by August of 1933 and many state and federal programs were initiated to bring some financial relief to Minnesota farmers.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:


The Weather Underground features a good description of the new NOAA-National Weather Service HeatRisk Forecast that is being issued as an experimental product this season. This forecast provides a risk level with both a color and numeric value for the next seven days. The levels are designed to better assess what actions, if any, a particular group and area should take. This forecast product also incorporates heat-health data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) into the thresholds.

Recent research by the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and published in Nature Geoscience documents the more widespread appearance of taliks, layers of unfrozen ground that lie within areas of permafrost, across interior portions of Alaska. Many of these areas were initiated during the mild winter of 2018 and preserved by the added insulation of deep snow cover during cold snaps. These areas are expected to grow with the continuing impacts of climate change.

This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin features an interesting article about volunteer efforts to unearth historical climate records from a variety of handwritten archives dating back to the 17th Century. Thanks to volunteer efforts data reconstructions of climate have emerged in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and New Zealand. There are also efforts to transcribe data from ships logs traveling in the Southern Hemisphere. These older data help to tell the tale about weather extremes of the past and fill in gaps about previous century climate behaviors.

MPR listener question:


We farm near Fairmont in Martin County and represent one of the few areas in Minnesota that has reported relatively little precipitation this year, about 60 percent of normal. So far this June only a quarter inch of rain. We are nervous about having another dry summer. What is the record driest June for our area?

Answer:


Fairmont has a rich climate record back to 1887. The driest June was in 1933 when just 1.02 inches of rainfall was measured. Albert Lea only reported 0.23 inches that same June. The driest June in state history was 1910 when the statewide average rainfall was only about 1.5 inches, and Rochester only reported a trace. The worst drought in history gripped the state in 1910.

Twin Cities Almanac for June 10th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 78 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 59 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for June 10th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 99 degrees F in 1956; lowest daily maximum temperature of 55 degrees F in 1955; lowest daily minimum temperature of 40 degrees F in 1877; highest daily minimum temperature of 73 degrees F in 1973; record precipitation of 1.77 inches in 1874. No snow has been reported on this date.


Average dew point for June 10th is 54°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 73°F in 2002; and the minimum dew point on this date is 20 degrees F in 1972.

All-time state records for June 10th:


The state record high temperature for this date is 106 degrees F at Fairmont (Martin County) in 1933. The state record low temperature for this date is 22 degrees F at Remer (Cass County) in 1985. The state record precipitation for this date is 6.05 inches at Agassiz Refuge (Marshall County) in 2002. No measurable snowfall has occurred on this date.

Past Weather Features:


By far the warmest June 10th in state history was in 1933 when most of the state was blanketed by temperatures of 90°F or greater. Observers in 10 counties reported temperatures of 100°F or greater. The morning low temperature at Milan was 77°F.

Morning frosts were reported in St Louis, Kooochiching, Cook, Lake, Roseau, and Lake of the Woods Counties on June 10, 1980. Tower and Meadowlands both reported morning temperatures in the 20s F.

A large and slow-moving complex of thunderstorms brought flooding rains to many portions of northwestern Minnesota over June 9-10 of 2002. Many climate stations reported 3 to 9 inches of rainfall, with all of Lake of the Woods County reporting 8 inches or more. One observer along the Roseau-Lake of the Woods County boundary reported 14.55 inches. A massive flash flood crest went down the Roseau River. Some communities reported extensive flooding damage. This was reported in detail by the Minnesota State Climatology Office.

Outlook:


After a cooler than normal start to the month, warmer than normal temperatures will begin to prevail across the state on Saturday, especially in the southern half of the state. This warming trend will continue through much of next week, but also bring chances for showers and thunderstorms almost daily.

Mark Seeley

Climate Summary for May of 2022

3 weeks ago
Climate Summary for May of 2022:
Full of dramatic and damaging severe weather episodes, the month of May has thankfully passed us by. Before accounting for the episodes of severe weather, a few general statements about the climate imprint for the month.

Most climate observers reported a mean monthly temperature that was 1°F either side of normal, while some climate stations reported a value that was 1 to 2 degrees F above normal. This is a break from the trend of below normal temperatures that dominated the first four months of the year. Extremes for the month were 97°F at St James (Watonwan County) on May 13th, and 21°F at Eveleth, Seagull Lake, and Brimson on May 3rd and 4th. There were 45 high daily maximum temperature records set or tied within the state climate observation network, and 39 warm minimum temperature records set or tied. On the other hand, there were only 10 record daily cold minimum temperature records set or tied within the state observing network, and 33 low maximum temperature records.

Minnesota reported the nation’s lowest temperature only once during the month, 30°F at Hibbing and Silver Bay on May 30th. MSP reported two 90°F days during the month on the 12th and the 28th. The reading of 90°F on the 28th was unusual in that it occurred between 6pm and 7pm in the evening. MSP also reported several days with dew points above 60 degrees F, and a couple of record setting high dew points.

Rainfall in May was above normal for most locations in the state. The wettest areas were generally in central and eastern sections of the state. Sartell and Collegeville (Stearns County), along with Pelican Rapids (Otter Tail County) reported over 9 inches of rainfall. The 9.04 inches at Collegeville was the wettest May in history there (back to 1892). Mora reported its 3rd wettest May in history (back to 1904) with 8.04 inches. Across the state climate observing network 83 daily record rainfall values were set or tied during May, including 4.68 inches at Granite Falls on May 11 and 5.00 inches at Collegeville on May 12th both of which were new statewide rainfall records for the date. A record rainfall of 2.25 inches fell at International Falls on May 31st. International Falls reported 5.79 inches of rain in May, their 5th wettest May in history. International Falls has received 17.05 inches of precipitation for the first 5 months of the year, and the Rainy River Basin has been flooding for weeks.


The real climate story for May of 2022 involved several days of severe weather, most of which occurred on
May 8
May 9
May 10
May 11
May 12
May 19
May 28
May 29
May 30

Over those 9 dates, 44 tornadoes were reported, there were 338 reports of large hail (1” diameter or larger), and 339 reports of damaging winds (50-95 mph). Ongoing floods prevailed in a number of watersheds, and there were several episodes of flash flooding as well. Some form of severe weather occurred in almost all parts of the state.

Of all those dates, perhaps the worst two were on May 12th when there were reports of 19 tornadoes, 49 reports of large hail, and 133 reports of damaging wind, and then again on May 30th, the observed Memorial Day, May 30th when 15 tornado reports, 27 reports of large hail, and 122 reports of damaging winds were filed with the NOAA Storm Prediction Center. Many Minnesota citizens will spend the month of June and beyond trying to recover and perhaps rebuild. The insurance industry in Minnesota has been buried in claims for property damage, perhaps unlike any period in history. There is a tremendous backlog in hail claims, for both homes and autos.

Overall, the National Weather Service has done an excellent job in providing watches and warnings for this severe weather. Kudos to them.

Many climate stations reported at least 30 mph wind gusts on over half of the days during the month, with multiple gusts over 50 mph, following the same trend set by the first four months of the year. A list of number of days with wind gusts of 30 mph or greater for some locations:

MSP 21 days
Brainerd 19 days
Rochester 18 days
Redwood Falls 17 days
St Cloud 17days
Moorhead 16 days
Hibbing 15 days

Despite all the weather hurdles, Minnesota farmers did their best to get fields planted in May. By the end of the month over 85 percent of the corn acreage was planted and over 60 percent of the soybean acreage.
Weekly Weather Potpourri:
NOAA recently revised the climate outlook for June. It shows that cooler than normal temperatures are favored for the month in the Western Great Lakes area, including Minnesota. There are equal chances for above or below normal precipitation during the month.

An article in this week’s Science Magazine lays out some options for the USA to achieve a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Much of the strategy involves accelerated efforts to convert to clean energy for the electric power grids and move towards electric vehicles more rapidly.

NASA and NOAA recently released some informative video about how the lightning mapper on the new GOES-18 satellite is working. It presents much more detail on the evolution of convective storms and the threat of lightning, as well as tornadoes.
MPR listener question: We live in International Falls, MN where we have seen flooding prevail on the Rainy River for weeks. Our gage has recorded nearly 18 inches of precipitation so far this year. What is the record annual amount for our area of the state?
Answer: The record annual precipitation at International Falls is 34.35 inches back in 1941. You are 10 inches above normal and about halfway there, with 7 months to go. Certainly, you may be approaching that record by the end of 2022.
Twin Cities Almanac for June 3rd:
The average MSP high temperature for this date is 75 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 56 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for June 3rd:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 92 degrees F in 1923; lowest daily maximum temperature of 53 degrees F in 1990; lowest daily minimum temperature of 34 degrees F in 1945; highest daily minimum temperature of 70 degrees F in 1898; record precipitation of 1.71 inches in 1914. No snow has been reported on this date.

Average dew point for June 3rd is 51°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 73°F in 1965; and the minimum dew point on this date is 24 degrees F in 1929.

All-time state records for June 3rd:
The state record high temperature for this date is 98 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1940. The state record low temperature for this date is 19 degrees F at Ely (St Louis County) in 1947. The state record precipitation for this date is 7.10 inches at Pine River Dam (Crow Wing County) in 1898. No measurable snowfall has occurred on this date.

Past Weather Features:
The month of June started very wet in 1898 with rains over the first four day, especially in northern counties. Many climate stations reported rainfall totals from 2 to 3 inches. Pine River Dam in Crow Wing County reported nearly 9 inches of rain.

The morning of June 3, 1964 brought frost to many parts of northern Minnesota, including the Red River Valley where small grain crops were damaged. Seventeen Minnesota counties reported frost with readings from 26°F to 32°F. The daily high only reached 52°F at Grand Marais.

June 3, 1968 was the warmest in state history. Over 40 climate stations reported afternoon highs in the 90s F. The overnight minimum temperature at Hutchinson (McLeod County) was a warm 76°F. Coldest spot was Duluth Harbor with a high of only 54°F.

Outlook:
Cooler than normal with chances for showers on Saturday and Sunday, mostly in the southern portions of the state. It will be partly sunny and mostly dry up north. Monday through Wednesday looks to be a cloudy period, cooler than normal, with chances for scattered showers. Warming back to near normal temperatures by Thursday and Friday.

Mark Seeley

More Rain in May

4 weeks ago
More Rain in May:Wednesday and Thursday brought more rainfall to many parts of the state. May climate stations reported from a third of an inch up to 2 inches of rainfall. In southeastern Minnesota, both Rochester with 1.53 inches on May 25th and Minnesota City with 1.80 inches on May 26th set new daily rainfall records. Almost every area of the state is reporting above normal rainfall for the month.

Climate observers in Benton, Stearns, Kanabec, Kandiyohi, Wright, and Renville Counties have reported over 7 inches of rainfall so far this month. And at least 74 climate stations in Minnesota have reported setting one new daily rainfall record this month. Collegeville (Stearns County) reported 5 inches of rainfall on May 12 which was a new all-time statewide record for the date. Many other climate stations have reported new daily rainfall records ranging between 1.5 and 3.5 inches. Grand Rapids reported 3 inches of snowfall on May 15th which was a new record for the date.

Most National Weather Service forecast models suggest 2 or 3 more days of rainfall before the end of the month, but with warmer than normal temperatures.

Speaking of temperature, with the last 5 days of the month projected to be warmer than normal, some climate stations may show an average temperature for May that is close to normal. Otherwise, for most locations in Minnesota May will mark the 5th consecutive month of colder than normal mean monthly temperature.

Farmers have been doing a remarkable job catching up on planting crops by taking advantage of every opportunity to be in the field. They are also working around showers to try to harvest the first crop of alfalfa hay.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:The BBC reported earlier this week that severe flooding in the eastern Indian state of Assam has displaced tens of thousands and killed at least 24 people. These rains are likely a precursor to the coming monsoon season, following a pattern of extreme heat that prevailed earlier in May.

Science Daily reports that “slashing emissions of carbon dioxide by itself isn't enough to prevent catastrophic global warming, a new study shows. But if we simultaneously also reduce emissions of methane and other often overlooked climate pollutants, we could cut the rate of global warming in half by 2050 and give the world a fighting chance. The study, appearing the week of May 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to assess the comparative impacts, through 2050, of cutting emissions of a broad range of climate pollutants versus targeting only carbon dioxide.”

MPR listener question: We saw reports of a trace of snowfall at International Falls on May 21st last weekend. As the Memorial Weekend approaches, I keep telling our expected visitors from Florida to bring warm clothes because the Minnesota weather can produce just about anything in late MInay. In fact, historically, haven't we even recorded some snowfall this late in the spring?
Answer: Minnesota's climate history shows that even late May has brought some wintry weather. Some of the latest May snows in the state have been:
-May 25-26, 1970 produced a snowfall of 4 inches at Baudette
-May 27, 1932 brought 5 inches of snow to Virginia
-May 28-29, 1947 brought 4 inches of snow to Orr and 2.6 inches to Spring Grove
-May 30-31, 1897 Tower reported 4 inches of snow and Grand Portage 2.6 inches

Believe it or not, June 1, 1946 Gull Lake, Willmar, Park Rapids, Babbitt, and even St Paul reported a trace of snowfall, while on June 2, 1945 Virginia on the Iron Range reported 5 inches of snowfall.

Temperatures look to be in the 60s and 70s this Memorial Weekend even up north, though there will be chances for showers the second half of the weekend (Sunday and Monday). No snowfall is in the forecast!
Twin Cities Almanac for May 27th: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 73 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 54 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 27th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 95 degrees F in 1969; lowest daily maximum temperature of 44 degrees F in 1965; lowest daily minimum temperature of 34 degrees F in 1907; highest daily minimum temperature of 70 degrees F in 1969; record precipitation of 2.17 inches in 1978. There was a trace of snowfall on this date in 1965

Average dew point for May 27th is 50°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 70°F in 2012; and the minimum dew point on this date is 25 degrees F in 2011.

All-time state records for May 27th:
The state record high temperature for this date is 104 degrees F at Hallock (Kittson County) in 1934. The state record low temperature for this date is 13 degrees F at Sandy Lake Dam (Aitkin County) in 1895. The state record precipitation for this date is 4.22 inches at New York Mills (Otter Tail County) in 2012. Record snowfall is 5.0 inches at Virginia (St Louis County) in 1932.

Past Weather Features:


May 27, 1907 brought a hard freeze to many parts of western and northern Minnesota. Morning lows in the twenties F prevailed as far south as Worthington, while Black Duck in Beltrami County reported just 19 degrees F. Afternoon highs only reached the mid 40s F in some areas. Some farmers had to replant their injured small grains crops.

The warmest May 27th in state history was in 1934 when afternoon temperatures ranged from 85 degrees F to 100 degrees F across most of Minnesota. It reached 104 degrees in the northern Red River Valley at Hallock. The cool spot in the state was Grand Marais Harbor with a temperature of 62 degrees F.

May 27th in both 1932 and 1947 brought a few inches of snowfall to portions of northern Minnesota. Virginia on the Iron Range reported 5 inches in 1932, a statewide record for the date.

Outlook: 

Much warmer over the weekend and early next week with temperatures well above average, especially in the southern half of Minnesota. There will also be daily chances for showers and thunderstorms, more in the south than the north. A bit cooler towards next weekend.

Mark Seeley

Let's Declare May as "Hail Month"

1 month ago
Let's Declare May as "Hail Month":After writing so much about severe thunderstorms that brought hail and wind damage to Minnesota last week, this Thursday, May 19 produced the most single day hail reports so far. There were 98 reports of large hail (1” diameter or greater) spread over ten counties, mostly in east-central and southeastern Minnesota. Some hail near Albert Lea ranged up to 3 inches in diameter. Many areas of the Twin Cities reported marble to ping pong sized hail stones, that shredded tree leaves and temporarily blocked up storm drains.

These reports of large hail added to the monthly total. According to the NOAA-Storm Prediction Center Minnesota has filed over 280 reports of large hail (1 inch diameter or bigger) over six dates this month. That is a large number even for an annual total of reports.

Some of the storms bringing large hail on Thursday, May 19th also brought heavy rainfalls, ranging from 0.5 inches to 1.5 inches, especially in southeastern counties. Reports of 3 and 4 inches of rainfall around the Winona, Stockton, Minnesota City area caused the National Weather Service to issue a Flash Flood warning on Thursday evening. This included portions of Whitewater State Park.

This rainfall added to already abundant monthly totals in many areas of the state. Climate observers in 13 Minnesota counties already report over 6 inches of rainfall so far this month. Many of the rivers and streams are running at or above flood stage. In fact, a recent web site post by the Minnesota State Climatology Office documents the year-to-date-precipitation totals across northern Minnesota and the historic flood crests being measured on the Rainy River Basin, and Pigeon River Basin.


Wet soils in many areas of the state are preventing farmers from catching up on an already late planting season. For major crops (corn and soybeans) this may be the latest plating season since 1979. It looks like farmers will have to continue to work between showers over the next week or two but should have a few more field working days than in recent weeks. At least they won’t have to expect snow like some North Dakota farmers this week.

Weekly Weather Potpourri: NOAA this week features a global climate summary for April of 2022 which ranked 5th warmest historically. It was significantly colder than normal throughout Minnesota. The NOAA report also highlights the precipitation patterns of April, showing the surplus values throughout the Great Lakes Region.


This week a subtropical cyclone named Yakecan battered portions of Uruguay and Brazil with strong winds, heavy rains, and hail. The BBC reported that two deaths were blamed on the storm and at least 220,000 residents in southern Brazil were left without power for a time. Yakecan was one of the strongest such storms to impact these countries in many years.


Recent research published in Earth and Space Science documents expected shifts in snowmelt runoff across the Colorado River Basin due to climate change. Peak runoff periods will occur earlier in the year and will have implications for reservoir management, as well as irrigation management in some western states.

MPR listener question: With the 92°F maximum temperature in the Twin Cities last Thursday (May 12th), we finally had our first afternoon beer sitting out on the deck. One of the neighbors who is new to Minnesota asked me if there is always at least one 90°F temperature reading in May? I said I knew just the right person to ask. So how about it?
Answer: Sure. The Twin Cities climate records go back to 1873, a period of 150 years. A scan of the May record keeping shows that two-thirds of the time May does not bring a 90°F reading to the Twin Cities. However, since 2000 the month of May has brought such a temperature reading on at least one day, 11 times, so about 50 percent. BTW there are only two Mays in the Twin Cities climate record that brought readings 100°F or greater. Those were in 1934 and 2018.

Twin Cities Almanac for May 20th: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 71 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 52 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 20th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 94 degrees F in 2009; lowest daily maximum temperature of 45 degrees F in 1931; lowest daily minimum temperature of 31 degrees F in 1892; highest daily minimum temperature of 69 degrees F in 2009; record precipitation of 1.47 inches in 2017. A record snowfall of 3.0 inches in 1892.

Average dew point for May 20th is 47°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 69°F in 1974; and the minimum dew point on this date is 19 degrees F in 1954.
All-time state records for May 20th:
The state record high temperature for this date is 100 degrees F at Fairmont (Martin County) in 1934. The state record low temperature for this date is 16 degrees F at Embarrass (St Louis County) in 2002. The state record precipitation for this date is 4.83 inches at Winton (St Louis County) in 1970. Record snowfall is 4.8 inches at Virginia (St Louis County) in 1931.

Past Weather Features:
Many central counties in Minnesota reported snowfall over May 20, 1892. Some observers reported 1 to 3 inches, with morning temperatures in the 20s and 30s F. By afternoon temperatures warmed into the 50s F and the May sunshine rapidly melted all the snow.

May 20, 1934 was by far the warmest in state history with nearly half of Minnesota reporting afternoon temperatures in the 90s F. Pipestone, Redwood, Martin, and Nicollet Counties reached 100 degrees F. At Rochester the overnight temperature never dropped below 70°F.

May 20, 2002 brought frost to many parts of the state. Morning temperatures were below freezing as far south as Worthington and Caledonia. Up north, Brimson, Tower, and Embarrass all reported morning lows in the teens, and the afternoon high temperature at Grand Portage along Lake Superior only reached 40°F.

Outlook:
Temperatures will be much cooler than normal over the weekend with a chance for frost in some northern and central counties. Temperatures will remain cooler than normal Monday through Wednesday next week with small daily chances for widely scattered showers. A warm up to near normal temperatures will begin on Thursday and into Memorial Weekend temperatures will climate to above normal values.

Mark Seeley

Stormy Second Week of May

1 month 1 week ago
Stormy Second Week of May:Since May 7th a number of low-pressure systems have brought a series of strong thunderstorms to various parts of Minnesota. These storms have produced large hail, strong gusty winds, heavy rainfalls, and tornadoes. In addition, the Twin Cities have reported mid-summerlike dew points with a record 67°F on May 9th, a record-tying 66°F reading on May 11, and a new record dew point of 70°F on May 12th.

Chronologically:

May 8th brought thunderstorms to many western portions of the state with Dawson (Lac Qui Parle County) reporting a record daily rainfall of 1.30 inches. May 9th the thunderstorms remained mostly in western Minnesota, but move north, where Rothsay (Wilkin County) reported a record rainfall of 2 inches. There were also over 80 reports of large hail (some with diameters of 3 inches) across western and central counties on May 9th, was well as wind gusts from 60 to 75 mph. There was also a report of a brief tornado near Gillman (Benton County) that day. By May 10th more thunderstorms were reported scattered across central Minnesota, with large hail reported in Le Sueur County. Kimball (Stearns County) reported a record daily rainfall of 1.20 inches that day.

May 11th was perhaps the most active day from the standpoint of the areal coverage of thunderstorms with 45 reports of large hail (up to 2.5 inches in diameter), numerous reports of strong winds (60-77 mph), and rainfall totals from 1 to 3 inches across a wide swath of the state.

Some isolated 4 and 5 inches of rainfall also were reported from other Minnesota volunteer observer networks. According to the NOAA-National Weather Service there were also 8 reports of either tornadoes or funnel clouds (still being assessed). Many long-term climate stations reported new daily record rainfall amounts for either May 11 or May 12. Some of these included:

2.83 inches at Marshall
2.69 inches at Willmar
2.67 inches at Mora
2.16 inches at Elk River

On Thursday, May 12th a frontal boundary across central and western Minnesota set up strong thunderstorms again, bringing 1.5 to 3.5 inches of rainfall to many areas, as well as widespread reports of large hail, and very strong winds (60-94 mph). Some areas around Sartell (Benton County) reported 3.5 inches of rainfall, and St Cloud reported a new record daily rainfall of 2.03 inches. Afternoon temperatures ranged from 96°F at Windom and Winnebago on the warm side of the front, to just 49°F at Grand Marais on the cool side of the front.

Not quite through the first half of May and many Cooperative Weather Observers are already reporting from 4 to 6 inches of rainfall for the month. Collegeville (Stearns County) has already measured 6.62 inches of rainfall this month, their 8th wettest May since 1892. The National Weather Service provided many ongoing reports about the storms this week.

Weekly Weather Potpourr:
There is a fascinating article published recently in the journal Weather and Climate Extremes that documents the intense mid-continent Cold Wave of February 2021. During this time many Minnesota communities recorded two weeks of subzero nighttime temperatures, while over 6000 new low temperature records were set throughout the central USA. This Cold Wave made national headlines for taxing the utility grid in Texas beyond its capacity and leaving many residents without heat. The article concludes that more states need to use their own climatological services to better assess risk management for such weather episodes.


According to the latest research from Chris Landsea of NOAA the evidence for a connection between climate change and Atlantic Hurricane activity is mixed. Certainly oceans are warming and providing more latent energy. Because of 50-80 variability in hurricane behavior, it is difficult to detect a significant effect of climate change. Perhaps more study and future trends will reveal significant and meaningful impact of climate change on tropical storms.


An article in this week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin highlights the linkage between air pollution and mental health. “In a recent study, researchers found that adolescents living in areas with relatively high levels of ozone experienced a significant uptick in depressive symptoms, such as sadness, loneliness, and feelings of self-hate.” Symptoms can come on suddenly when air pollution episodes are severe.


MPR listener question:
With all of the very heavy rains so far this month, my wife and I are wondering what is the largest single rainfall measurement for May in Minnesota?

Answer:
The greatest that I can find historically is 7.50 inches at Thief River Falls on May 29, 1949. That must have resulted in instant flash flooding.

Twin Cities Almanac for May 6th: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 68 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 49 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 13th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 92 degrees F in 2007; lowest daily maximum temperature of 44 degrees F in 1966; lowest daily minimum temperature of 29 degrees F in 1953; highest daily minimum temperature of 68 degrees F in 1900; record precipitation of 0.98 inches in 1962. A trace of snowfall fell on this date in 1935.

Average dew point for May 13th is 44°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 72°F in 1962; and the minimum dew point on this date is 10 degrees F in 1989.

All-time state records for May 13th:
The state record high temperature for this date is 95 degrees F at Beardsley (Big Stone County) in 1894 and also at Granite Falls (Yellow Medicine County) in 2007. The state record low temperature for this date is 10 degrees F at Tower (St Louis County) in 1997. The state record precipitation for this date is 4.63 inches at St Francis (Anoka County) in 1999. Record snowfall is 3.0 inches at Argyle (Roseau County) in 1924.

Past Weather Features:


May 13, 1997 brought a hard frost to much of the state with morning temperatures in the teens and twenties most places. It went down to 10°F at Tower and 15°F at Embarrass in northeastern Minnesota.

Minnesota farmers were frustrated during the planting season of 1999 by frequent rainfall. Over May 11-13 rainfalls were frequent and heavy delivering 3 to 5 inches of rainfall across many parts of southern and central counties. Many observers reported 6 to 8 inches of total rainfall that month.

Perhaps the warmest May 13th in state history was in 2007 when over 25 climate stations reported an afternoon temperature of 90°F or greater. Overnight temperatures remained in the 60s F in Cottonwood and Yellow Medicine Counties.

Outlook: 

Sunny and pleasant on Saturday, then increasing cloudiness and cooler on Sunday with a chance for widely scattered showers and thunderstorms. Dry and sunny on Monday, then a chance for widely scattered showers and thunderstorms Tuesday through Thursday, with temperatures running a few degrees cooler than normal. It should be a good week for Minnesota farmers to get some planting done.

Mark Seeley

The frequency of strong winds and cooler than normal temperatures

1 month 2 weeks ago
The frequency of strong winds and cooler than normal temperatures:Many MPR listeners have remarked about how windy this year has been so far, as well as how slow the onset of Spring has been. I examined the details in a historical context.

At many climate stations around the state the first four months of the year (Jan-Apr) have brought daily wind gusts of 30 mph or greater on over 60 percent of all days. This is a remarkable deviation from past climate behavior when roughly 1 in 4 days (25 percent frequency) would bring wind gusts of 30 mph or greater. Granted there has been a change in the cycle of anemometry measurements (higher frequency of measurements), but I don’t think that entirely accounts for the uptick in frequency of strong wind gusts. Some climate stations have already reported 1 or 2 days in May with wind gusts of 30 mph or greater. I suspect this feature of our climate will be studied much more intentionally in the near term to look for linages to climate change.

Regarding the slow onset of Spring across Minnesota, much of it has to do with the dominance of cooler than normal temperatures, lack of sunshine, and frequency snows or rains. For much of the state the January through April period climate measurements show that nearly two-thirds of all days brought cooler than normal temperatures. The January through April statewide mean temperature was slightly over 18°F, ranking as the 18th coldest since 1895. In addition, many climate stations reported some form of precipitation (snow or rain) on over half of the days, an unusual persistence of wetness. The statewide average precipitation for January through April was 6.65 inches, ranking as the 10 wettest such period since 1895. The four-month period was also marked by higher-than-normal incidence of cloudiness.in many portions of the state. Pete Boulay of the Minnesota State Climatology Office showed earlier this week that solar radiation measured at the University of Minnesota Climate Observatory for the month of April was the lowest on record (back to 1963).

Weekly Weather Potpourri: A paper published in the Annual Reviews of Environment and Resources documents the decline in many global bird populations. Habitat loss, climate change and over exploitation are factors that have driven this decline. The authors suggest more coordinated and amplified conservation efforts are needed to sustain biodiversity and populations of various bird species.

This week’s AGU EOS Bulletin features an article about the carbon cycle in the oceans, and especially what we don’t know about it. There is hope that the oceans may be able to sequester more carbon than once thought. Some studies have found that phytoplankton may become more efficient (at storing carbon) as the ocean warms…….that a new, widely distributed ocean microbe species also has the potential to sequester carbon.”

MPR listener question:

We farm down in Olmsted County, mostly corn, soybeans, and some alfalfa. We are hoping to get a lot of planting done in the coming weeks. Can you tell us how many frosts have occurred historically in May, and what the latest date is for Olmsted County?

Answer:

For Olmsted County the average May brings at least one night of frost based on data back to 1886. In recent decades there have been many frost-free months of May as well. In fact, there have been 18 frost-free Mays over the past 30 years. The most ever frosty mornings during May occurred in 1929 when Olmsted County reported 9 mornings with frost.

The latest May frost I can find is May 30, 1930 when the low temperature went down to 31°F.  I might add that it is extremely rare to have frost in Olmsted County after the end of May. However, it has happened three times in 135 years of record-keeping:

June 9, 1937 31°F
June 4, 1945 32°F
June 21, 1992 32°F.

The outlook for the remainder of this May now favors generally warmer than normal temperatures for your area.

Twin Cities Almanac for May 6th: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 66 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 46 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 6th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 92 degrees F in 2016; lowest daily maximum temperature of 35 degrees F in 1931; lowest daily minimum temperature of 25 degrees F in 1989; highest daily minimum temperature of 67 degrees F in 1896; record precipitation of 1.51 inches in 1939. Record snowfall is 0.3 inches in 1885.


Average dew point for May 6th is 37°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 66°F in 1965; and the minimum dew point on this date is 14 degrees F in 1989.

All-time state records for May 6th:
The state record high temperature for this date is 98 degrees F at Grand Meadow (Mower County) in 1934. The state record low temperature for this date is 12 degrees F at Alborn (St Louis County) in 1944. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.78 inches at Lake Wilson (Murray County) in 2012. Record snowfall is 10.0 inches at Roseau (Roseau County) in 1938.

.Past Weather Features:


May 6, 1934 was the warmest in state history with 20 Minnesota Counties reporting afternoon temperatures of 90°F or greater. It was 89°F at Two Harbors on Lake Superior. At Albert Lea the overnight temperature never dropped below 66°F.

An unusual winterlike storm brought snow to many northeastern Minnesota communities on May 6, 1938. Many northern Minnesota climate observers reported 3 to 6 inches of snowfall, while much of the rest of the state reported 1 to 2 inches of rain. Roseau reported a record 10 inches of snow.

May 6, 1944 brought frost to every corner of the state. Morning lows ranged from the teens to the twenties F in most places. It was 29°F at Faribault. The frost did little damage to crops as farmers were experiencing a very late planting season, and little seed was in the ground.

Outlook: 

Warm and breezy on Saturday with increasing cloudiness later in the day. Chance for showers and thunderstorms Saturday night and into Sunday. Warmer yet on Monday with a chance for showers and thunderstorms, some of which could be severe. Significant warming for Tuesday through Thursday next week with 80°F afternoon highs becoming more widespread. Chance for showers and thunderstorms nearly every day next week.

Mark Seeley

Preliminary Climate Summary for April 2022

1 month 3 weeks ago
Preliminary Climate Summary for April 2022:
Wet and cool are the most appropriate terms for the climate of April. Most climate observers report a mean monthly temperature that is 6 to 8 degrees F below normal. Over two-thirds of the days delivered colder than normal temperatures. April of 2022 will end up among the top ten coldest in history on a statewide basis, joining 2013 and 2018 in that category.

Within the state climate network over 30 stations reported setting at least one new daily minimum temperature record during April, while over 60 stations reported setting at least one new cold daily maximum temperature record, including a high temperature of just 20°F at International Falls on the 15th. Extremes for the month ranged from 81°F at Granite Falls (Yellow Medicine County) on the 23rd to -5°F at Seagull Lake and Gunflint Lake on the 1st and 2nd of the month.

Except for southwestern Minnesota, all regions of the state reported above normal precipitation for the month, most especially in northwestern and north-central counties. Northwestern Minnesota is reporting the wettest April in history (back to 1895) with average precipitation over 5 inches, while north-central Minnesota counties report average precipitation for April of nearly 4.5 inches, the 2nd highest in history. Extremes for the month range from well over 7 inches of precipitation in sections of northern Minnesota to just under 1.50 inches in far southwestern sections of the state. April of 2022 will rank among the ten wettest in state history on a statewide basis. Most climate observers reported well over 3 inches for the month, while portions of Koochiching, Beltrami, and Red Lake Counties reported over 7 inches, and many areas along the north shore of Lake Superior had over 6 inches. Over 35 climate observers reported at least one day with a new daily precipitation record, including 3.05 inches at Grand Meadow (Mower County) on the 13th.

Many areas of northern Minnesota also reported 8 to 20 inches of snowfall during the month. Climate observers in Beltrami, Otter Tail, St Louis, Lake, and Cook Counties reported over 20 inches of snowfall. At Wolf Ridge ELC in Lake County measurable snowfall occurred on 13 days this month, totaling over 26 inches. Across the state there were over 30 daily snowfall records reported during April.

Combined snowmelt and rainfall events produced more flooding along portions of the Red River Valley in northwestern Minnesota. The abundant precipitation this month has eliminated all remaining Moderate Drought areas in the state, for the first time in over two years. There are a few abnormally dry areas in Minnesota, especially in far southwestern counties, but they are not dry enough designate any form of drought. Furthermore, according to the USGS and the Minnesota DNR many northern Minnesota streams and rivers are running at high volume flow or flood flow as the month concludes.

April was similar to the earlier three months of 2022 bringing stronger winds to the area. Many climate stations reported 13 to 20 days with wind gusts over 30 mph and some days brought gusts over 50 mph. Mower and Fillmore Counties reported tornadoes on the evening of April 12th, while Polk County (near Crookston) reported a brief tornado on the evening of April 23rd. There were also several reports of hail during the month.

Overall, the first four months of the year 2022 falls among the 15 coldest such periods for the state back to 1895 and among the 20 wettest such periods.
Weekly Weather Potpourri:The BBC reported this week on another early Heat Wave that has brought misery to 15 states in India. Afternoon temperatures have soared from 105°F to 111°F and do not cool off much at night because of higher dew points. But many experts say India is now recording more intense, frequent heatwaves that are also longer in duration. For some scientists the link is clear to climate change as well.

A recent paper from University of Oklahoma scientists published in Communications Earth and Environment finds that continued climate change trends will lead to a higher frequency of flash floods and more intense flash floods for some parts of the US geography. Using high resolution climate models the researchers found that both the Southwestern states and the Central States of the USA will become flash flood hot spots.

This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin features an article about the collapse of ice shelves in Antarctica and the role that storms known as “atmospheric rivers” may play in accelerating the process. These storms hold vast amounts of moisture and heat and deliver extreme rain, snow, whipping winds, and unusually warm temperatures, causing melting and fracturing on the ice below.

MPR listener question: I live in Mankato, and this is clearly the coldest start to Spring since 2018. I am wondering how widespread the current “cold spring” phenomenon is. Is it only in MN, upper mid-West, all US?
Answer: Since March 1st average temperatures across the Upper Midwest, west of the Great Lakes have been 3 to 5 degrees cooler than normal. It can generally be stated that IA, SD, ND, MN, and WI are experiencing a cold March-April period, probably among the 25 coldest in history back to 1895. This is true for Manitoba as well. But outside this region as you go east across the Great Lakes, south to the Southern Plains States, and west towards Colorado the temperature trend as been somewhat cooler than normal, but not near the magnitude that we have experienced. So Spring is advancing very gradually across our region, not just in Minnesota. According to the USDA only a small acreage of oats has been planted in Minnesota so far, and very little else. In Iowa, nearly half of the oat crop has been planted, but little else.
Twin Cities Almanac for April 29th: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 63 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 43 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 29th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 92 degrees F in 1952; lowest daily maximum temperature of 35 degrees F in 1909; lowest daily minimum temperature of 22 degrees F in 1958; highest daily minimum temperature of 61 degrees F in 1952; record precipitation of 1.30 inches in 1993. Record snowfall is 6.6 inches in 1984.

Average dew point for April 29th is 37°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 66°F in 1970; and the minimum dew point on this date is 7 degrees F in 1958.
All-time state records for April 29th:
The state record high temperature for this date is 93 degrees F at New Ulm (Brown County) and Pipestone in 1910, and also at Wheaton (Traverse County) in 1934. The state record low temperature for this date is 3 degrees F at Babbitt (St Louis County) in 1958. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.25 inches at Orr (St Louis County) in 1940. Record snowfall is 14.0 inches at Windom (Cottonwood County) in 1956.

Past Weather Features:


April 29, 1934 brought a taste of mid-summer with most state communities reporting afternoon high temperatures in the 80s F. Many portions of west-central Minnesota saw afternoon temperatures in the 90s F. Only areas along the north shore of Lake Superior were cool with afternoon temperatures in the 50s and 60s F.

April 29, 1956 brought a Spring snow storm to southern Minnesota where many climate observers measured 4 to 8 inches of heavy, wet snowfall. St James (Watonwan County) reported 11 inches and Windom (Cottonwood County) reported 14 inches, both still records for the date.

April 29, 1958 was the coldest in history. Most Minnesota climate stations reported morning lows in the single digits or teens. For many communities in northern Minnesota the temperature remained below freezing all day.

Outlook: 

Rainy weekend coming up, especially on Saturday, with below normal temperatures. It will be breezy as well. Skies will become partly cloudy during the day on Sunday. Drier on Monday, then chances for rain showers Tuesday through Thursday across southern sections of the state, while generally drier in the north. Temperatures will continue cooler than normal, with a bit of a warm up closer to normal for this time of year by next weekend.

Mark Seeley

Wet April Restoring Creeks, Streams, and Rivers

2 months ago
Wet April Restoring Creeks, Streams, and Rivers:Through the first two thirds of April the climate signature has been cold and wet. Temperatures are averaging 6 to 8 degrees F cooler than normal, while for many, precipitation is at least twice normal. The wetter areas are in northern and eastern counties. Many northern climate stations report over 3 inches of precipitation so far this month, while Bemidji (Beltrami County) is showing 4.02 inches, and Wolf Ridge ELC (Lake County) 5.56 inches. In the southeast, Wabasha and Rochester are reporting over 3 inches, while Lake City is reporting nearly 4 inches.

Only some portions of southwestern Minnesota are reporting precipitation totals less than one inch so far this month.

With respect to snowfall, many climate stations in the southern half of the state are reporting less than 3 inches so far this month. In contrast, many climate stations in north-central and northeastern Minnesota are reporting 15 to 25 inches of snowfall so far this month. The total seasonal snowfall at climate station in or near Ely, Two Harbors, Chisholm, and Wolf Ridge ELC now surpasses 120 inches, while near Grand Marais is it over 160 inches and nearing the statewide seasonal snowfall record of 170.5 inches near Grand Portage during the 1949-1950 season. Average snow depth is still 24 to 36 inches in portions of Lake and Cook Counties along the Lake Superior north shore, and 15 to 20 inches along the northern areas of St Louis and Koochiching Counties.

According to the US Drought Monitor the excessive wetness has help to alleviate drought in the state. The current drought map shows that only about 2 percent of the Minnesota landscape remains in Moderate Drought, the lowest area of drought in the state since the beginning of the 2020 growing season (May of 2020). The DNR streamflow map this week shows that in many watersheds the volume of flow is normal or even higher than normal across much of Minnesota.

On the other hand, many farmers are now getting very itchy to get into the fields and start planting, but it has been too wet and cold. There is little or no reporting on field working progress yet. For southern Minnesota farmers next Tuesday through Friday looks like the first opportunity to get into fields and I am sure many Minnesota farmers are prepared to work 16 to 20-hour days in order to get seed in the ground.

Weekly Weather Potpourri: According to the Weather Channel “nine large wildfires, including five that prompted mandatory evacuation orders, are burning uncontained in the Southwest U.S. amid dangerous fire conditions due to warm, dry, windy weather.” Unfortunately the weather outlook shows a continuation of mild, windy, and dry conditions across the region, marking an early start to the wildfire season.

A new NCAR study about wildfires in the Western USA reports that “increasingly large and intense wildfires in the Pacific Northwest are altering the seasonal pattern of air pollution and producing a spike in unhealthy pollutants during August. The smoke is undermining clean air gains and poses potential risks to the health of millions of people” More detail can be found at the journal Nature Communications. Recall that some of the Air Quality Alerts for Minnesota last year were related to Pacific Northwest wildfires.

This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin contains two interesting articles that might be worth noting:

(1) Conifer forests may intercept over half of the snowfall and yet estimates of how much moisture is held in the forest canopy during the winter system has been hard to come by. Now scientists have equipped trees with accelerometers that measure how much a tree sways as a function of the weight of snow contained in the canopy. This allows for estimation of the water content in that snow. It is likely a helpful tool in estimating volume of run-off from snowpack, which is critical for assessing freshwater supply in some western regions of the state according to the EOS article.


(1) New studies of the Hiawatha Impact Structure (left by an asteroid) under the Greenland Ice Cap reveal that it may be 58 million years old, much older than what was originally thought. It likely had significant impact on changing the local climate of Greenland which was composed of a temperate forest back then according to the EOS article.


MPR listener question: Here in Bemidji we have received a lot of precipitation this month, over 4 inches so far. It made us wonder what is the wettest April we have ever had, and secondly has April ever been the wettest month of the year?
Answer: The record wettest April was in 1964 when 5.41 inches of precipitation fell. That was not the wettest month of the year (5.50 inches of rainfall came in June). But in 1925 April brought 5.06 inches of precipitation to Bemidji and that was the wettest month of the entire year.

On a statewide basis April of 1896 and April of 2001 proved to be the wettest month of the year for most locations in Minnesota, a rare climate pattern indeed. Lynd (Lyon County) in southwester Minnesota reported 11.93 inches of precipitation in April of 1896, while in 2001 Wolf Ridge (Lake County) along the north shore of Lake Superior reported 9.92 inches.

Talking about extremes for April, in 2013 April brought 55.6 inches of snow to Island Lake near Duluth, a statewide record for total April snowfall.
Twin Cities Almanac for April 22nd: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 60 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 40 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 22nd:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 90 degrees F in 1980; lowest daily maximum temperature of 34 degrees F in 1967; lowest daily minimum temperature of 23 degrees F in 1874; highest daily minimum temperature of 61 degrees F in 1913; record precipitation of 2.21 inches in 2001. Record snowfall is 5.4 inches in 1963.

Average dew point for April 22nd is 34°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 67°F in 1925; and the minimum dew point on this date is 6 degrees F in 2015.

All-time state records for April 22nd:
The state record high temperature for this date is 101 degrees F at Hawley (Clay County) in 1980. The state record low temperature for this date is 4 degrees F at Grand Rapids (Itasca County) in 1918. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.52 inches at St Cloud (Stearns County) in 2001. Record snowfall is 10.0 inches at Moorhead (Clay County) in 1902.

Past Weather Features:
April 22, 1936 was one of the coldest in state history as many northern central Minnesota climate observers reported morning lows in the single digits and teens. The afternoon high temperatures only climbed into the mid-30s to low 40s F.

The hottest April 22nd in state history was in 1980 when over 80 climate stations reported an afternoon high temperature of 90°F or greater. It reached 100°F in both Traverse and Clay Counties in western Minnesota.

On April 22, 1997 the Red River of the North at Grand Forks crested at 54.35 ft, the highest level in history for a flood at that location. The Red River was about 16 miles wide at that point and would only slowly subside.

A large, slow-moving winter storm brought heavy rains and snows to the state over April 22-23, 2001. Many areas of the state reported 3 to 4 inches of rainfall, while north-central and northwestern counties reported 5 to 10 inches of snowfall. This storm greatly amplified and prolonged the spring snow melt flood season across the state.

Outlook:


Much warmer than normal on Saturday but with a chance for showers and thunderstorms. Chance for showers will continue on the north on early Sunday. Then partly cloudy, but cooler than normal for Sunday through Wednesday. Temperatures climb to near normal towards the end of next week, with a chance for showers again by late Thursday and Friday.

 

Mark Seeley

Major Winter Storm Brings Widespread Precipitation and High Winds

2 months 1 week ago
Major Winter Storm Brings Widespread Precipitation and High Winds:A large-scale winter storm brought a wide swath of precipitation to Minnesota over April 12-13 this week. Many areas reported thunder and lightning, as well as hail, especially in southern counties. There were over 35 reports of hail (1 inch diameter or greater), as well as 8 reports of damaging high winds (up to 60 mph). Also, the La Crosse, Wisconsin National Weather Service Office reported tornado touchdowns in Taopi (Mower County) and near Spring Valley (Fillmore County). The Taopi tornado was very destructive, damaging or destroying many homes and buildings, while the one near Spring Valley did mostly tree damage or damage to farm buildings.

The backside of the storm ushered in cold air, snow flurries, and high winds to many areas on Thursday, April 14th. The following climate stations reported wind gusts over 50 mph on Thursday: MSP, Marshall, Windom, Redwood Falls, Fairmont, Worthington, and Jackson.

Precipitation amounts from this storm varied widely, but many areas received between one and two inches. Rochester reported a new daily record rainfall for April 12th with 2.25 inches. Other locations reported new daily record amounts for April 13th including:
3.05 inches at Grand Meadow (Mower County)
2.46 inches at Bricelyn (Faribault County)
1.77 inches at Wabasha (Wabasha County)
1.58 inches at Austin (Mower County)
1.58 inches at Theilman (Wabasha County)
1.46 inches at Spring Valley (Fillmore County)
1.41 inches at Albert Lea (Freeborn County)
1.27 inches at Winona Dam (Winona County_
1.19 inches at Lake City (Goodhue County)

Some climate stations in Olmsted, Faribault, Mower, Wabasha, and Winona Counties have already reported over 3 inches of precipitation during the first half of April. Through the first half of the month average temperatures around the state are running 3-5 degrees F cooler than normal, and precipitation is roughly twice normal.

In the northwestern sections of the state some record snowfall values were reported this week as well (see Weekly Weather Potpourri Section), with widespread snowfall all the way across the northern third of the state. Many areas of northeastern Minnesota have already reported 10 to 19 inches of snowfall through the first half of April, as well as 100 to 150 inches of snowfall since last October.

A more detailed description of this storm can be found at the Minnesota State Climatology Office web site.
Weekly Weather Potpourri:A massively large and slow-moving winter storm with deep low-pressure brought record snowfalls to many parts of North Dakota, southern Manitoba, and even a few northwestern Minnesota communities in the Red River Valley this week. Blizzard warnings were extensive and long-lasting across many parts of the region. In North Dakota the storm essentially shut down local and state governments, schools, events and some businesses during mid-week. Many areas of North Dakota reported 10 to 20 inches of snowfall, while portions of Stark, McHenry, McClean, Sheridan, Dunn, and Bottineau reported 20 to 30 inches of snowfall, record values across the board. On the Minnesota side of the Red River observers reported 5 to 12 inches of snowfall, with Warren (Marshall County) reporting a new record daily snowfall of 8.2 inches on the 13th, Thorhult (Beltrami County) a record value of 6.6 inches, and Crookston (Polk County) a record value of 5.0 inches.

The Bismarck Tribune had a detailed description of the winter storm.

In Canada, the CBC reported widespread snowfalls of 6 to 14 inches, with large drifts formed from the high winds (35-50 mph) across southern Manitoba, especially in the Brandon area.

The Red River Valley has suffered through a very high frequency of blizzard warnings this snow season, the most since the winter of 1996-1997.


The BBC reported this week that record-setting rainfall in parts of South Africa has produced historical flooding and damages. Over 300 deaths are blamed on the flooding. Many highways and bridges have been closed or damaged, and many homes lost. Earlier this year the region was hit by three cyclones and two tropical storms in six weeks.


This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin contains an interesting article about the somewhat mysterious continued rise in global methane in the Earth’s atmosphere. The inference is that research has not yet revealed all of the global sources of methane, so it is uncertain how much mitigation of fossil fuel associated methane emissions will impact the global trend.
MPR listener question: Last Sunday and Monday were the only two days so far this month that MSP has reported a high temperature of 60°F or greater. The way the weather is behaving this month here in the Twin Cities made me wonder what year had the fewest number of days with a high temperature of 60°F or higher?
Answer: The record for the fewest number of days with a high temperature of 60°F or greater during the month of April in the Twin Cities comes from 1975, when only one day (April 25) reached that temperature. In both 1874 and 1920 there were only two such days, and more recently in 2013 there were only five days. Right now judging from the outlook models it looks like there will be a number of days with temperatures over 60°F during the last week of this month.
Twin Cities Almanac for April 15th: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 56 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 37 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 15th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 91 degrees F in 2002; lowest daily maximum temperature of 28 degrees F in 2018; lowest daily minimum temperature of 18 degrees F in 2014; highest daily minimum temperature of 58 degrees F in 1942; record precipitation of 1.19 inches in 2012. Record snowfall is 3.5 inches in 2018.

Average dew point for April 15th is 32°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 61°F in 2012; and the minimum dew point on this date is 0 degrees F in 2014.
All-time state records for April 15th:
The state record high temperature for this date is 93 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 2003. The state record low temperature for this date is -12 degrees F at Warroad (Roseau County) in 2014. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.00 inches at Thief River Falls (Pennington County) in 2013. Record snowfall is 13.0 inches at Mahoning Mine (St Louis County) in 1961.

Past Weather Features:
A late season winter storm over April 14-15 in 1961 brought rain, sleet, and snow to many parts of the state. Many climate stations in the northern parts of the state reported 5 to 15 inches of snowfall. The additional moisture was welcome as much of the state was in Moderate to Severe Drought.

April 15 in 2002 was the warmest in state history with many communities recording afternoon high temperatures in the 80s F. Sixteen climate stations reported high temperatures in the low 90s F. The overnight low at Tracy (Lyon County) only dropped to 63°F.

The coldest ever April 15th was in 2014 when much of the state saw morning low temperatures in the teens and single digits. Parts of Roseau and Lake of the Woods Counties reported subzero morning temperatures and many northern Minnesota communities reported afternoon high temperatures only in the mid-twenties.

Outlook:
Sunny with cooler than normal temperatures on Saturday. Increasing cloudiness on Sunday with a chance for rain or snow. Continuing chance for rain or snow early Monday, then partly cloudy skies towards the end of the day. Mostly sunny on Tuesday, but temperatures continue to be cooler than normal. Increasing chance for rain or snow later on Tuesday and into Wednesday. Drier, sunnier, and warmer towards Thursday and Friday of next week.

Mark Seeley

Cold and Snow Persist

2 months 2 weeks ago
Cold and Snow Persist:After a cool, cloudy, and windy first three months of the year, April has not turned a corner into Spring (yet). Many Minnesota citizens are complaining about the slow onset of Spring weather this month. So far through the first week of April temperatures are averaging from 2 to 6 degrees F cooler than normal, while precipitation (including snow) is accumulating at a greater than normal rate as well. Though residents of Browns Valley, Canby, and Wheaton in western Minnesota had a brief taste of 60°F for an hour or two this week, residents in northeastern Minnesota were greeted with subzero temperatures on a couple of mornings. Ely in northeastern Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the 48 contiguous states on Tuesday (April 5) with a morning reading of 8°F.

Most climate observers around the state are reporting above normal precipitation through the first week of April. Some areas of northeastern Minnesota have already reported 6 to 11 inches of new snow this month. Many other climate stations which have received less snow, have reported more rain, in some cases over 1.5 inches through the first week of the month.

NOAA Climate Prediction Center outlooks for Minnesota continue to favor cooler and wetter than normal weather conditions for another week or so.
Verifying Extreme Climate Records: This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin features an interesting article about how the World Meteorological Organization investigates and verifies all time climate extreme records. It particularly details the process for the 100°F air temperature measured on June 20, 2020 inside the Arctic Circle at Verkhoyansk (Siberia). The article goes on to say how climate change is driving the higher frequency of measured climate extremes.
Weekly Weather Potpourri: A new report from the IPCC Sixth Assessment, “Mitigation of Climate Change” was released on April 4th this week. It provides a comprehensive look at many options for mitigating the rise in global temperatures by halving the emissions of greenhouse gases by the year 2030. But actions must become more aggressive and widespread throughout the world to achieve this. The full report is available online.


The BBC featured an interesting article this week explaining how dinosaur fossils from Tanis (part of the Hell Creek formation) in southwestern North Dakota may be showing evidence of the asteroid impact 66 million years ago which caused the massive extinction event. Analysis of the composition of sediments, as well as evidence from the fossils themselves suggest the destructive energy from the asteroid impact may have reached this part of North America and caused the sudden deaths of both aquatic and terrestrial species.


A new study from the Desert Research Institute published in the Journal of Hydrometeorology finds that evaporative demand has increased in portions of many western states in the USA. This is due to increased temperature, changes in humidity, wind, and variations in solar radiation. Annual evapotranspiration has increased from 6 to 9 inches in the Rio Grande Basin, while the southern Colorado River Basin has also exhibited an increase. According to this report “increased atmospheric thirst due to climate warming has the potential to decrease water availability and increase wildfire risks in water-scarce regions.”


The Australian Bureau of Meteorology reported recently that March of 2022 was the wettest in history (back to 1900) for portions of central and northern New South Wales where a number of rivers reached major flood stage. Lismore a city of approximately 30 thousand residents had to be evacuated due to flooding, while some climate stations measured 24-hour rainfall of 10-12 inches on March 28th.

MPR listener question:
Do we have La Niña to thank for the snail-like arrival of spring this year?

Answer: Yes, at least partially. According to research by NOAA Climate Modelers who use the El Nino/La Nina features of the equatorial Pacific Ocean as a prediction tool for North America weather, cooler than normal average temperatures for November, December, January, February, and March across Minnesota and the High Plains states show historical correlation with La Nina episodes, at least back to 1950. In addition, La Nina episodes are also correlated with above normal snowfall across Minnesota for November through April.

These are not perfect correlations, but they certainly suggest that the dominant pattern for cooler temperatures (as well as above normal snowfall in some northern areas) this winter is likely associated with the current La Nina episode, which began in November of last year and is expected to endure into the summer months. This would be the longest episode of La Nina since 2011.
Twin Cities Almanac for April 8th: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 53 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 34 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 8th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 83 degrees F in 1931; lowest daily maximum temperature of 30 degrees F in 1928; lowest daily minimum temperature of 9 degrees F in 1997; highest daily minimum temperature of 55 degrees F in 1988; record precipitation of 0.73 inches in 1906. Record snowfall is 5.0 inches also in 1980.

Average dew point for April 8th is 27°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 58°F in 1903; and the minimum dew point on this date is -4 degrees F in 1997.
All-time state records for April 8th:
The state record high temperature for this date is 92 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1931. The state record low temperature for this date is -12 degrees F at Saw Bill Camp (Cook County) in 1939. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.45 inches at Dawson (Lac Qui Parle County) in 1894. Record snowfall is 13.2 inches at Moorhead (Clay County) in 1904.

Past Weather Features:
April 8 of 1923 brought cold, mid-winter like conditions to many parts of the state. In the north, portions of Lake of the Woods, Roseau, and Clearwater Counties saw morning lows in the single digits below zero. Many other areas of the state reported lows in the single digits above zero. The afternoon high temperature at Campbell (Wilkin County) only reached 27°F.

April 8 of 1931 was the warmest in state history with afternoon temperatures of 80°F or greater being reported from 35 counties, and most of the rest of the state seeing 70s and 60s F. The warmest spot was Canby with 92°F while Grand Marais on Lake Superior only reached a high of 50°F.

A late season winter storm brought rain, sleet, and snow to most of Minnesota over April 6-8 of 1956. Many areas reported 5 to 10 inches of snowfall, while some parts of north-central and northeastern Minnesota reported 12 to 16 inches of snowfall. The snowfall and moisture were much appreciated as areas of the state were in moderate drought going into April of 1956.

Outlook:
Sunny, with temperatures closer to normal for Saturday. A few degrees warmer on Sunday, but with increasing cloudiness and a chance for rain or snow. Monday and Tuesday may bring temperatures a few degrees above normal but with chances for showers. More chances for rain or snow for Wednesday and Thursday as a strong low-pressure system crosses the region. Temperatures will be cooler than normal following the storm.

Mark Seeley

Climate Summary for March of 2022

2 months 3 weeks ago
"It is good to be back to the crazy weather of Minnesota after being gone for nearly two weeks in order to close out my deceased father-in-laws home in Florida so that it could be sold this month. Nice weather, but not a vacation, more of an ordeal. So good to write about the weather again."  MS

Climate Summary for March of 2022:
For the most part this March will be remembered for cold, wind, cloudiness, and mixed precipitation. Most observers in the state climate network reported a mean monthly temperature that ranged from 1 to 4 degrees cooler than normal, with the exception of the southern third of the state where some climate stations reported a mean monthly temperature that was slightly above normal (plus 0.5 to 1.5°F). Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the 48 contiguous states on five days during the month. Extreme temperatures ranged from 76°F at Zumbrota on the 22nd (a record high for that community) to -29°F at Tower and Kabetogama on the 12th. Within the state climate observation network there were 10 new daily high maximum temperature records set and 17 new daily low minimum temperature records set.

Most climate stations in Minnesota reported less than normal precipitation totals for the month of March with totals ranging from 0.50 inches to 1.50 inches. There were some areas (mostly in the eastern half of the state) that reported over 2.00 inches of precipitation for the month. Grand Portage, along the north shore of Lake Superior reported 3.34 inches. Within the state climate network there were reports of at least 19 new daily precipitation records set during March, including 1.06 inches at International Falls on the 22nd. Most areas of the state reported 3 to 8 inches of snowfall for the month, but a few places in the north-central and northeastern Minnesota reported over 15 inches. Grand Portage and Hovland (Cook County) reported over 23 inches for the month.

Like January and February, the wind speeds of March were strong with many days bringing gusts over 30 mph. With the passage of a strong low-pressure system on the 25th there were widespread reports of wind gusts over 50 mph. Listed below are the number of days with wind gusts over 30 mph, along with the maximum measured wind gust for selected climate stations:

MSP 17 days, max wind gust 51mph
St Cloud 11 days, max wind gust 53mph
Redwood Falls 16 days, max wind gust 56mph
Rochester 16 days, max wind gust 55mph
Duluth 13 days, max wind gust 46mph
International Falls 8 days, max wind gust 45mph
Brainerd 7 days, max wind gust 47mph
Hibbing 10 days, max wind gust 49mph
Moorhead 14 days, max wind gust 48mph

Finally, the oscillating freeze/thaw cycles during March were helpful in mitigating the volume of flow on the Red River of the North where flood warnings were in effect, but it was not as bad as it could have been with a sudden and prolonged thaw period.

Weekly Weather Potpourri: Over Thursday, March 30 the NOAA Storm Prediction Center reported that 36 tornado reports had been filed across the southeastern states from east Texas to the Florida panhandle. There were widespread reports of damage and the National Weather Service was dispatching crews to survey the areas over this coming weekend. The Weather Underground web site contained some update reports on these storms.

Recent research from the University of Michigan documents how the loss of sea ice in the Artic Ocean has changed the composition of some aerosols released into the atmosphere. This has implications for the types of clouds that are formed in the Artic and may be used to predict or better model the changes in cloud patterns that might go along with continued climate change in the higher latitudes. This work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The BBC reported this week that Northern Ireland recorded its sunniest March in history (at least back to 1919 when measurements started). Thanks to the dominance of frequent high-pressure systems which brought few clouds to the nation during March. Average temperatures were also several degrees warmer than normal.

This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin features an interesting article about tall tower measurements being used in the Amazon Forest of Brazil to measure the composition of atmospheric dusts blown in from Africa. The nutrients contained in theses dusts are a contributor to the ecological production of the forest. They may be disrupted by future climate change as portions of Africa become wetter.
MPR listener question: With much of northern Minnesota reporting Severe Drought last year, we were wondering if above normal snowfall has helped to alleviate drought in that part of the state this winter?
Answer: Yes, certainly in some areas the abundant snowfall has helped. Warroad has reported over 70 inches of snowfall so far and International Falls has reported 76 inches, both well above normal. Some areas of northeastern Minnesota have reported over 100 inches of snowfall so far, which will be good for restoring flow into rivers and streams. Long-term, I am sure these areas would benefit even further from a wetter than normal Spring, which most NOAA outlook models do not favor for Minnesota.
Twin Cities Almanac for April 1st: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 50 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 31 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 1st:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 84 degrees F in 2015; lowest daily maximum temperature of 22 degrees F in 1896; lowest daily minimum temperature of 9 degrees F in 1975; highest daily minimum temperature of 51 degrees F in 1999; record precipitation of 0.54 inches in 1967. Record snowfall is 4.6 inches also in 2002.

Average dew point for April 1st is 28°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 61°F in 1903; and the minimum dew point on this date is -2 degrees F in 1975.
All-time state records for April 1st:
The state record high temperature for this date is 85 degrees F at Winona (Winona County) in 1986. The state record low temperature for this date is -21degrees F at Thorhult (Beltrami County) in 1975. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.52 inches at Beaver Bay (Lake County) in 2009. Record snowfall is 18.0 inches at Frazee (Becker County) in 2009.

.Past Weather Features:


An April Fools Winter Storm over March 31 to April 1 in 1896 certainly dimmed the hopes for gardeners anxious for signs of Spring. Many areas of the state reported between 10 and 15 inches of snowfall. The area around St Cloud reported over 20 inches.

Signs of Spring were abundant on April 1, 1963 when afternoon temperatures across the state reached into the 60s and 70s F. Across southwestern Minnesota temperatures ranged from 80°F to 84°F, and for many overnight lows remained mild in the low to mid 50s F.

The coldest April Fools Day in Minnesota was April 1, 1975 when over half of Minnesota reported subzero morning temperatures. The afternoon high temperature at Detroit Lakes (Becker County) only reached 13°F as if it were mid-January.

Outlook: 

More sun and closer to normal temperatures over the weekend, but with some chances for rain or snow by Sunday, especially in the southern half of the state. Chance of rain and or snow again Tuesday through Thursday of next week as temperatures remain a few degrees cooler than normal. More of a warm-up due the second full week of the month.

Mark Seeley

Cold Grip on Minnesota About to Reverse

3 months 2 weeks ago
Cold Grip on Minnesota About to Reverse:
Following a colder than normal January and February, March has brought a good share of cold temperatures as well with over half of the Minnesota climate station network reporting some subzero lows this month so far. In fact, climate observers in 10 northern counties have reported minus 20°F or colder so far this month, and most areas of the state are reporting an average temperature through the first 10 days of the month that ranges from 1 to 5 degrees F below normal.

The NOAA Climate Prediction Center Outlook Models for March favored below normal temperatures across most of the state (certainly true for the first half of the month), but it appears to be this is going to be wrong. Starting on Sunday (March 13) and for much of the rest of the month our weather pattern will bring warmer than normal temperatures. Though not record-setting warm temperatures by any means, but nevertheless it appears that this warming trend will be persistent. It is likely to be enough to make the month of March come out to be warmer than normal this year. Further interpretation of the outlook models suggest that we will continue to see a trend towards warmer than normal temperatures prevail through April and May as well. We may not see another cooler than normal month for some time. Fourteen of the most recent twenty Spring seasons in Minnesota have been warmer than normal.

With the expected warming trend in mind for the remainder of March and continuing into April it is not unrealistic to start anticipating the coming gardening season and wrapping our minds around our Spring chores and plans for what to grow.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:The Australian Prime Minister as declared a national emergency over the recent flooding that has occurred in Queensland and New South Wales. Some have called this a “once in 500 year flood” while others have attributed the flooding to climate change. There were 20 flood related deaths, as well as thousands of people being displaced from their homes according to the BBC.


Mozambique is feeling the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Gombe over Friday and the weekend as the storm slowly comes ashore. It is bringing heavy rains (8-12 inches in some places) and high winds (over 100 mph) to northern portions of the country, but is expected to turn back out to sea by Monday according to the BBC Weather Center.


Scientists have reported recently in the Journal Science Advances a study of the Hiawatha impact structure in northwestern Greenland. Located beneath the Hiawatha Glacier this structure is the result of a 31km diameter meteorite impact that occurred 58 million years ago, about 8 million years after the asteroid impact that caused dinosaur extinction. More research is being conducted to evaluate what the Hiawatha impact structure might have mean for perturbations in the Earth’s climate system.


An article posted this week by the United Kingdom Met Office on their blog describes extreme weather events of the recent past and how they might be linked to climate change via attribution studies that distinguish between ongoing natural variability and patterns of climate change that may have influenced the physics and dynamics of the atmosphere. It is worth reading.

MPR listener question: Some of us at Newt’s Burger Café in Rochester this week were talking about the weather, and someone mentioned there has only been one perfectly dry day through the first nine days of this month. What is the record for consecutive wet days in March at Rochester?
Answer: In March of 1944 there were reports of rain or snow on every day through the first 17 days of the month. Daily amounts were generally light, totally 0.71 inches of total precipitation over the period, and 5.4 inches of snowfall. For the month of March in 1944 the Rochester climate report shows precipitation on 27 days during the month. Now that would be depressing!
Twin Cities Almanac for March 11th: The average MSP high temperature for this date is 39 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 23 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for March 11th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 66 degrees F in 2016; lowest daily maximum temperature of 6 degrees F in 1906; lowest daily minimum temperature of -27 degrees F in 1948; highest daily minimum temperature of 47 degrees F in 2012; record precipitation of 1.30 inches in 1990. Record snowfall is 8.2 inches also in 1962.

Average dew point for March 11th is 20°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 50°F in 1990; and the minimum dew point on this date is -34 degrees F in 1948.
All-time state records for March 11th: The state record high temperature for this date is 72 degrees F at St James (Watonwan County) in 2012. The state record low temperature for this date is -41degrees F at Moose Lake (Carlton County) in 1948. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.00 inches at Waseca (Waseca County) in 1918. Record snowfall is 16.0 inches at New London (Kandiyohi County) in 1897.

Past Weather Features:


March 11-12, 1897 brought a big snow storm across central Minnesota. Many climate observers reported 6 to 12 inches of snowfall, while New London and Sauk Center reported 16 inches. This storm combined with earlier heavy snowfalls helped to set up some Spring snowmelt flooding along many rivers during April of that year.

The coldest March 11 in state history was in 1948 when an Arctic Air Mass produced subzero morning low temperatures in every part of the state. Over 40 climate stations reported morning low temperatures of minus 30°F or colder. It was -30°F as far south as Fairmont and Windom. The daytime high temperature at Detroit Lakes (Becker County) only reached -8°F.

March 111, 2012 was the warmest in state history as over 125 climate stations in Minnesota reported afternoon temperatures in the 60s F. The state was almost snow-free at that time, except for the far north. In Crookston where they still reported a half-foot of snow cover, the afternoon high temperature only reached 45°F.

Outlook: 

Mostly sunny over the weekend, except in far northern areas which may have a chance for flurries. Temperatures will be warming closer to normal, and even a bit above normal by Sunday. Some continued chances for light precipitation for Monday and Tuesday in northern counties, but with climbing temperatures. Temperatures will warm even higher in southern counties with some days reaching the 50s and 60s F. There will be a chance for rain showers by late Wednesday and Thursday of next week.

Mark Seeley
Checked
22 hours 32 minutes ago
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