HydroClim Minnesota for Early February 2016

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: February 4, 2016

What happened in January 2016:

Where we stand now:

Future prospects:

  • The February precipitation outlook offers equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions in the southern one-half of Minnesota, with a tilt towards below-average conditions in the northern one-half of Minnesota. February is Minnesota's driest month on average with precipitation normals ranging from near one-half inch in northwestern Minnesota to just over one inch in far eastern sections of the state. The median snow depth at the end of February ranges from under five inches in southwest Minnesota to over 18 inches on the ground in northeastern Minnesota (greater than 30 inches in the Lake Superior highlands).
    [see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook  | February Precipitation Normal Map]
  • The February temperature outlook leans towards above-normal conditions across Minnesota. Normal February high temperatures range from the low teens in the north to near 20 in the south early in the month, climbing to the mid-20s to low 30s by month's end. Normal February low temperatures range from near minus 10 degrees in the far north to the single digits above zero in southern Minnesota early in the month; ascending to the low single digits in the north, mid-teens in the south by the end of February.
    [see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook  | February Temperature Normal Map]
  • The 90-day precipitation outlook for February through April indicates equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions in the southwestern one-half of Minnesota, and a tilt towards below-normal conditions in the northern and eastern counties. The February through April temperature projection strongly favors above-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. Here are current conditions impacting prospects for spring snowmelt flooding:
    • present streamflows are high to very high relative to historical flows for the date
    • soil profiles are moist to saturated in most areas
    • the high stream discharge and moist soils are due to record-breaking high precipitation totals in November/December
    • frost depths are shallow relative to historical values due to very warm early-winter temperatures
    • snow depths are above the historical median for the date in most southern Minnesota locales. Snow depth is below median in central, northwest, and north central Minnesota.
    [see: National Weather Service - North Central River Forecast Center]

From the author:

  • none

Upcoming dates of note:

  • February 18: National Weather Service releases 30/90 day temperature and precipitation outlooks
  • late-February: National Weather Service releases updated spring flood probabilistic outlooks

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Greg Spoden, DNR Climatologist