A monthly electronic newsletter summarizing Minnesota's climate conditions and the resulting impact on water resources. Distributed on the first Thursday of the month.
State Climatology Office - DNR Division of Ecological and Water Resources, St. Paul
distributed: June 5, 2014
What happened in May 2014:
- May precipitation totals across Minnesota ranged from less than three inches in southeastern counties, to well over five inches in many east central, central, and north central Minnesota locales. In the wetter areas, monthly rainfall totals topped the historical average by two or more inches.
- Average monthly temperatures for May in Minnesota were near historical averages in most locations. Cool temperatures during the first half of the month were offset by warm temperatures late in the month. Extremes for May ranged from a high of 93 degrees F at Georgetown (Clay County) on the 29th, to a low of 20 degrees F at Brimson (St. Louis County) on the 17th.
Where we stand now:
- Precipitation totals since April 1 are far above historical averages. For large portions of Minnesota, season-to-date precipitation totals rank above the 90th percentile when compared with the historical database during the April-plus-May time period. It was Minnesota's third consecutive meteorological spring (March - May) of exceptionally high precipitation totals. In the Twin Cities, 2014 continued a rather remarkable streak of wet starts to the calendar year. The January 1-through-June 1 precipitation total (16.84 inches) in the Twin Cities was the second highest of the 144-year record. 2012 and 2013 also ranked among the five wettest all-time for that five-month period.
- The U. S. Drought Monitor, released on June 5, places small portions of southwest Minnesota in the Moderate Drought category. The drought areas are the lingering result of late-summer and early-autumn rainfall shortfalls in 2013. Heavy April and May precipitation substantially mitigated drought conditions in many Minnesota counties. The U. S. Drought Monitor index is a blend of science and subjectivity where drought categories (Moderate, Severe, etc.) are based on several indicators.
- The U.S. Geological Survey and DNR Ecological and Water Resources report that stream discharge values are very high at most Minnesota monitoring locations. Minor flooding is underway at a few locales. Spring rains pushed rivers to bankfull throughout the season, but relatively few major flooding issues have been reported thus far.
- Water levels on many Minnesota lakes are responding markedly upward to spring's large rainfall totals.
- In their June 2 report, the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service reported that topsoil moisture was 97% Adequate to Surplus across Minnesota. Like the rest of the Midwest, field work and planting was delayed by the cool, wet spring.
- Lakes in the far northern Minnesota were finally free of ice by the third week in May. Minnesota lake ice-out dates were 10 days to two weeks later than the historical median. Nonetheless, lake ice-out dates were roughly one week earlier than in 2013. Some northeast Minnesota lakes were ice covered for the iconic fishing opener on May 10.
- The potential for wildfires is currently rated by DNR Forestry as Low across Minnesota.
- The June precipitation outlook leans towards above-normal conditions for southern two-thirds of Minnesota. For the northern two-thirds of the state, the outlook offers equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions. June is historically the wettest month of the year with precipitation normals ranging from three and one half inches in western Minnesota, to over four and one half inches in many central and eastern Minnesota counties. The historical probability of measurable precipitation for any given day in June ranges from 33 percent in the northwest to near 40 percent in eastern Minnesota.
- The June temperature outlook tilts towards below-normal conditions across Minnesota. Normal June high temperatures are in the low to mid 70s early in the month, rising to around 80 by month's end. Normal June low temperatures are in the low 50s to start the month, and rise to around 60 as the month ends.
- The 90-day precipitation outlook for June through August offers equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions across Minnesota. The June through August temperature projection leans towards below-normal conditions statewide.
- The National Weather Service produces long-range probabilistic river stage and discharge outlooks for the Red River, Minnesota River, and Mississippi River basins. These products address both high flow and low flow probabilities.
From the author:
Upcoming dates of note:
- June 19: National Weather Service releases 30/90 day temperature and precipitation outlooks
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Greg Spoden, DNR Climatologist