HydroClim Minnesota for Early August 2014

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: August 7, 2014

What happened in July 2014:

  • July precipitation totals across Minnesota were light in all but a few locations. In some portions of southwest and south central Minnesota, monthly rainfall totals were less than one inch. July rainfall in most counties fell short of historical averages by one to three inches.
  • The most notable heavy rain and severe weather event of July occurred on the evening of the 21st and the early morning hours of 22nd. Severe storms swept through portions of northern Minnesota bringing damaging winds and torrential downpours.
    [see: Heavy Rain and Severe Storms: July 21-22]
  • Average monthly temperatures for July in Minnesota were two to three degrees below the historical average at most locations. Extremes for July ranged from a high of 96 degrees F at Hutchinson on the 21st, to a low of 36 degrees F at Brimson (St. Louis County) on the 4th and Embarrass (St. Louis County) on the 16th. 90-degree temperatures were infrequent during the month, which is unusual for July.

Where we stand now:

  • In spite of the dry July, seasonal precipitation totals since April 1 remain above historical averages everywhere in Minnesota. For large portions of the state, season-to-date precipitation totals rank above the 75th percentile when compared with the historical database for the April-through-July time period. Below-normal rainfall over the past six weeks has slowed the record-setting pace established earlier in the growing season.
    [see: Season-to-date precipitation maps]
  • The U. S. Drought Monitor, released on August 7, shows no locations within Minnesota with a drought designation. However, the U.S. Drought Monitor authors are carefully monitoring Minnesota's recent dry spell and will revise the product if they deem that mid-summer rainfall deficits are sufficient to counterbalance the impacts of Minnesota's wet June. The U. S. Drought Monitor index is a blend of science and subjectivity where drought categories (Moderate, Severe, etc.) are based on several indicators.
    [see: U.S. Drought Monitor]
  • The U.S. Geological Survey and DNR Ecological and Water Resources report that stream discharge values are well above the historical median for the date at many Minnesota monitoring locations. In some watersheds, especially in southern Minnesota, stream discharge is near the median. At all locations, stream discharge values are trending downward.
    [see: USGS Stream Flow Conditions | MNDNR Weekly Stream Flow Maps and Tables]
  • Water levels on many Minnesota lakes are receding in response to the dry July weather and summertime evaporation.
    [see: Mille Lacs Lake Water Level  |  Lake Minnetonka Water Level  |  White Bear Lake Water Level  |  Lake of the Woods Control Board Basin Data  |  Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Water Levels]
  • In their August 4 report, the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service reported that topsoil moisture was 25% Very Short or Short across Minnesota. The moisture status for the remainder of Minnesota's topsoils is described as Adequate. Subsoil moisture was rated as 83% Adequate. Minnesota's row crops are drawing moisture from lower portions of the soil profile recharged during the wet June. 
    [see: Agricultural Statistics Service Crop Progress and Condition  |  U. of M. Southwest Research & Outreach Center (Lamberton)  |  U. of M. Southern Research & Outreach Center (Waseca)]
  • The potential for wildfires is currently rated by DNR Forestry as Moderate in some northern Minnesota counties, Low elsewhere in Minnesota.
    [see: Fire Danger Rating Map]

Future prospects:

  • The August precipitation outlook offers equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions throughout Minnesota. August precipitation normals range from under three inches in northwest and west central Minnesota to over four and one half inches in southeastern counties.
    [see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook  |  August Precipitation Normal Map]
  • The August temperature outlook tilts towards below-normal conditions across most of Minnesota. Normal August high temperatures are around 80 degrees to start the month, dropping to the mid-70s by month's end. Normal lows are around 60 degrees early in the month, falling to the mid-50s by late August.
    [see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook  | August Temperature Normal Map]
  • The 90-day precipitation outlook for August through October depicts equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions in all Minnesota counties. The August through October temperature projection leans towards below-normal conditions statewide.
    [see: Climate Prediction Center 90-day Outlook]
  • The National Weather Service produces long-range probabilistic river stage and discharge outlooks for the Red River, Minnesota River, and Mississippi River basins. These products address both high flow and low flow probabilities.
    [see: National Weather Service - North Central River Forecast Center]

From the author:

  • none

Upcoming dates of note:

  • August 21: National Weather Service releases 30/90 day temperature and precipitation outlooks
  • October 7: Kuehnast Lecture
  • November 6: Climate Adaptation Conference

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Greg Spoden, DNR Climatologist