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 4, 2015
What happened in May 2015:
- May monthly precipitation totals were above historical averages across most of Minnesota, terminating a predominantly dry pattern that originated during the mid-summer of 2014 and continued into the early spring of 2015. In many communities, May precipitation totals exceeded the historical average by one to three inches.
- Average monthly temperatures for May were near, to slightly below, historical averages for Minnesota. Extremes for May ranged from a high of 90 degrees F at Benson (Swift County) on the 28th, to a low of 23 degrees F in various northern Minnesota communities on the 1st and again on the 19th and 20th. Below-freezing or near freezing temperatures were reported in many areas of the state on May 19 and 20. Fortunately, wide-spread frost damage to crops did not occur.
Where we stand now:
- The U. S. Drought Monitor indicates that Moderate Drought conditions exist in portions of northern Minnesota. The remainder of Minnesota is placed in the Abnormally Dry category, or free of any drought designation. In the present scenario, Abnormally Dry is defined as "coming out of drought". Due to ample May rainfall, the current fraction of Minnesota's landscape designated as undergoing Moderate Drought is significantly less than that reported in early April. Any lingering drought conditions are the result of a dry 2014 autumn, below average snowfall during the 2014-2015 winter, and a dry early spring. 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 reports that stream discharge values along nearly all of Minnesota's major rivers are near or above the historical median for the date.
- Water levels on most Minnesota ponds, wetlands, and lakes have responded upward to the abundant May rainfall.
- In their June 1 report, the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service reported that topsoil moisture was 1 percent Short, 86 percent Adequate, and 13 percent Surplus.
- The potential for wildfires is currently rated by DNR Forestry as Low across Minnesota.
- The June precipitation outlook offers equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions in most Minnesota counties. The June outlook leans towards above-normal rainfall in far southwest Minnesota. June precipitation normals range 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 favors above-normal conditions across most of Minnesota. In far southwest Minnesota counties, the outlook offers equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions. 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. The June through August temperature projection also indicates equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-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.
Greg Spoden, DNR Climatologist