HydroClim Minnesota for Early October 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: October 2, 2015 (delayed distribution)

What happened in September 2015:

  • September monthly precipitation totals were highly variable across Minnesota. Above-average rainfall was reported in northeast Minnesota and portions of southern Minnesota. Below-average monthly rainfall totals were observed in west central and northwest sections of the state.
  • Average monthly temperatures for September were well above historical averages across Minnesota. Preliminary data indicate that the statewide average temperature for September 2015 was nearly six degrees above normal and may set an all-time high record for the month. Extremes for September ranged from a high of 94 degrees F at Marshall (Lyon County) on the 3rd, to a low of 18 degrees F in Isabella (Lake County) on the 29th.

Where we stand now:

  • Seasonal precipitation totals (April through September) rank near or above the historical median in most Minnesota counties. A few locations in northwest Minnesota report below-median seasonal precipitation totals.
  • The U. S. Drought Monitor map released on September 29 depicts portions of west central, northwest, and far southeast Minnesota (roughly 10% 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 northwest Minnesota report below-median streamflow for this time of year.
  • In their September 27 report, the Agricultural Statistics Service reported that topsoil moisture across Minnesota was 2 percent Very Short, 12 percent Short, 81 percent Adequate, and 5 percent Surplus.
  • The potential for wildfires is currently rated by DNR Forestry as Moderate to High in northwest Minnesota. Elsewhere, the fire danger rating is Low.

Future prospects:

  • The October precipitation outlook tilts towards below-normal conditions for all Minnesota counties. 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.
  • The October temperature outlook favors above-normal conditions across 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.
  • The 90-day precipitation outlook for October through December indicates equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions across Minnesota. The October through December temperature projection favors 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.

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Greg Spoden, DNR Climatologist

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