HydroClim Minnesota for Early October 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: October 2, 2014

What happened in September 2014:

  • September precipitation totals were generally below-normal across most of Minnesota. Monthly rainfall totals fell short of historical averages by one to two inches in most locations. Isolated pockets of relative wetness were reported in a few locales.
    [see: September 2014 Precipitation Map  |  September 2014 Precipitation Departure Map  | September 2014 Climate Summary Table]
  • The most notable heavy rain event of September occurred on the 3rd and 4th when slow moving thunderstorms dropped three or more inches of rain, along with damaging hail, on some central Minnesota counties.
    [see: Heavy Rain: September 3-4]
  • Average monthly temperatures for September in Minnesota were very near historical averages. Cool temperatures mid-month were counterbalanced by a late-month warm spell. Extremes for September ranged from a high of 89 degrees F at Amboy (Blue Earth County) on the 4th, to a low of 25 degrees F at International Falls on the 13th. Many corn and soybean fields in central and southern Minnesota were affected by frost during the morning hours of the 13th. Mid-September frost is quite uncommon in these areas.
    [see: September 2014 Climate Summary Table  |  Mid-September Frost]

Where we stand now:

  • Despite a relatively dry July-through-September period, seasonal precipitation totals since April 1 remain above historical averages nearly everywhere in Minnesota. For large portions of the state, season-to-date precipitation totals rank above the 90th percentile when compared with the historical database for the April-through-September time period. Below-normal rainfall during the late summer and early autumn slowed the record-setting pace established earlier in the growing season.
    [see: Season-to-date precipitation maps | Late-summer Dry Spell | Record Wet June]
  • The U. S. Drought Monitor, released on October 2, indicated that Abnormally Dry conditions exist over a small portion of south central Minnesota, and in central St. Louis County. 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 near, to above, the historical median for the date at most Minnesota monitoring locations. Lower-than-median stream flow is reported for a few northern Minnesota basins.
    [see: USGS Stream Flow Conditions | MNDNR Weekly Stream Flow Maps and Tables]
  • Water levels on Minnesota lakes often reach their lowest levels of the year around October 1. The season-long decline in lake levels typically eases in late-autumn due to fall rains along with diminishing evaporation rates dictated by the shorter days and cooler temperatures.
    [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 September 29 report, the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service reported that topsoil moisture across as 91% of Minnesota's landscape is Adequate or Surplus.
    [see: Fire Danger Rating Map]

Future prospects:

  • The October precipitation outlook leans towards above-normal conditions across Minnesota. Normal October precipitation ranges from one and one-half inches in northwestern Minnesota, to over two and one-half inches in portions of northeastern Minnesota.
    [see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook  |  October Precipitation Normal Map]
  • The October temperature outlook tilts towards below-normal conditions throughout Minnesota. Normal October high temperatures fall from the low to mid-60s early in the month, to the upper 40s by month's end. Normal October low temperatures drop from the low 40s early in the month to near 30 by late October.
    [see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook  |  October Temperature Normal Map]
  • The 90-day precipitation outlook for October through December offers equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions in all Minnesota counties. The October through December temperature projection favors above-normal conditions.
    [see: Climate Prediction Center 90-day Outlook  |  El Niño Winter Tendencies]
  • 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:

  • The 22nd Annual Kuehnast Lecture will feature author, musician, and award-winning journalist Andrew Revkin of the New York Times and Pace University. Revkin is known widely as the founder of the Dot Earth blog. His lecture, "The New Communication Climate," will explore issues and opportunities arising as both the environment and the news media experience an era of unprecedented and unpredictable change. Refreshments will follow the program. October 7 - 3:00 PM - St. Paul Campus Student Center Theater.


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Greg Spoden, DNR Climatologist