HydroClim Minnesota for Early August 2015

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 6, 2015

What happened in July 2015:

  • July monthly precipitation totals were highly variable across Minnesota. Above-average rainfall was reported in northwest, central, east central, and southeast counties. Below-average rainfall totals occurred in northeast and southwest sections of the state. In portions of northeast Minnesota, it was the second consecutive month of below-average precipitation.
  • Heavy rainfall events, associated with severe storms, occurred at regular intervals during the first three weeks of July.
  • Average monthly temperatures for July were very close to historical averages across Minnesota. Extremes for July ranged from a high of 98 degrees F at Browns Valley (Traverse County) on the 12th, to a low of 37 degrees F at International Falls on the 7th and Hibbing on the 8th.

Where we stand now:

  • Seasonal precipitation totals (April through July) rank near or above the historical median in most Minnesota counties. Some locations in north central and northeast Minnesota, as well as small sections of southwest Minnesota, report below-median seasonal precipitation totals.
  • The latest U. S. Drought Monitor map reflects the impact of dry July weather on portions of north central and northeast Minnesota. The product released on August 6, depicts this area (roughly 20% of Minnesota's landscape) as Abnormally Dry. The map shows no other areas in Minnesota in a dryness category. 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 the Minnesota DNR report that stream discharge values are near, to somewhat above, historical medians for the date on most Minnesota rivers. A few gauging locations in south central Minnesota, and in northeast Minnesota, report below-median streamflow for this time of year.
  • Water levels on most Minnesota lakes are near the middle of the historical data distribution for this time of year. Some northeast Minnesota lakes are below historical averages for the date.
  • In their August 3 report, the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service reported that topsoil moisture was 7 percent Short, 88 percent Adequate, and 5 percent Surplus.
  • The potential for wildfires is currently rated by DNR Forestry as High in portions of northeast Minnesota, Moderate throughout the remainder of northern Minnesota, and Low in the southern two-thirds of the state.

Future prospects:

  • The August precipitation outlook offers equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions in most Minnesota counties. However, the August outlook leans towards above-normal rainfall in far southwest 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.
  • The August temperature outlook favors below-normal conditions across the southern one-third of Minnesota, and equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions elsewhere. 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.
  • The 90-day precipitation outlook for August through October indicates equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions across Minnesota. The August through October temperature projection also offers equal probabilities 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.

From the author:

  • For most Minnesota locales, the summertime weather has been close to ideal. The state has not suffered a major heat wave or consistently unbearable humidity levels. With the exception of some northeast Minnesota communities, growing season rainfall totals have been adequate to abundant. And while some severe weather has been reported, the damage has been geographically isolated. The excellent growing season-to-date weather conditions are apparent when reviewing the latest USDA survey of Minnesota's two major commodities, corn and soybeans. In an early-August report, corn condition was rated 87 percent good to excellent. Soybean condition was rated 81 percent good to excellent.

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Greg Spoden, DNR Climatologist

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