HydroClim Minnesota for Early August 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: August 4, 2016

What happened in July 2016:

  • It was a wet and stormy July for many sections of Minnesota. Precipitation totals in July were well above normal across central, parts of northern and south central Minnesota. The rest of the state was close to normal. Central Minnesota was the wettest with Mora in Kanabec County seeing 10.02 inches of rain and Brainerd in Crow Wing County seeing 11.65 inches of rain for the month. Normal July precipitation for these areas is about four inches. The last two weeks of July were relatively dry in some southwest Minnesota counties, with some locations seeing a half an inch or less.
    [see: July 2016 Precipitation Total Map  | July 2016 Precipitation Departure Map  | July 2016 Climate Summary Table  |  July 2016 Percent of Normal Precipitation Map ]
    There were a number of heavy rain events in July 2016. Northern Minnesota in particular was hard hit in July 2016
  • July 5 saw a variety of severe weather and heavy rainfall across Minnesota. The hardest hit areas were from west-central Minnesota, into the Twin Cities and southeastern part of the state. Severe weather also affected northern and northeastern Minnesota from the Grand Rapids to north of Duluth.
    [see: Heavy Rain and Severe Weather: July 5, 2016]
  • The largest summer flood since the June 19-20, 2012 event in northeast Minnesota struck some of the same areas on July 11-12, 2016. This time Pine County was hit especially hard. One of the highest two-day totals was 9.34 inches at a volunteer rain gauge site near Cloverton in eastern Pine County, near the Wisconsin border. The event was approximately 24 hours in duration, but spanned over the observer's observation time. Flooding rains also affected parts of Morrison, Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Benton, Mille Lacs, Kanabec and Carlton Counties. Numerous roads were affected by water in the hardest hit counties. Southbound I-35 was closed for a time and Highway 61 was closed during the afternoon hours of the 12th. The area covered by six inches or more of rainfall exceeded 2,000 square miles, with at least 1,000 square miles in Pine County alone.
    [see: Central Minnesota Flood: July 11-12, 2016]
  • The next heavy rain event was on July 19th and affected northwest Minnesota with localized flooding, high winds, and large hail including wind gusts reaching 70 mph in the Red River Valley.
    [see: Severe Storms hit Northwest Minnesota: July 19-20 2016]
  • The stormy mid-summer of 2016 continued, with severe storms striking northern Minnesota yet again. A line of intense thunderstorms swept across Minnesota during the overnight hours of July 20-21. Damage was widespread across the northern quarter of the state, with pockets of concentrated damage noted near Bemidji, the Brainerd Lakes area, Duluth, and the Boundary Waters.
    [see: Severe Storms Strike Northland Again: July 20-21, 2016]
  • Another heavy rain event was on July 23 with torrential rains falling over central and southeast Minnesota in the late morning and afternoon hours. The Twin Cities International Airport saw 2.17 inches of rain from this event and a Volunteer rain gauge reporter in Spring Lake Park saw 3.95 inches.
    [see: Heavy Rains hit Central and Southern Minnesota: July 23 2016]
  • July average temperatures wound up being close to normal across Minnesota for the month of July. The average statewide July temperature was only .2 (two tenths) of a degree above normal. There was a heat wave on July 20-22 that saw high temperatures in the 90's with heat indexes over 100 degrees across many central and southern Minnesota locations. Luckily, the heat wave was short-lived. The highest temperature found for the state was 98 degrees in Marshall on July 22. The coldest temperature for the month was 34 degrees 2 miles east of Celina in St. Louis County on July 1.
    [see: July 2016 Climate Summary Table  |  2016 July Departure from Normal Temperature Map ]

Where we stand now:

  • Seasonal precipitation totals(April 1 through August 2) ranked near or above the historical median over much of Minnesota, with a few pockets in north central and southwest Minnesota lagging behind.
    [see: Seasonal Precipitation Ranking Map]
  • The U. S. Drought Monitor map released on August 2, depicts a small area of west central and southwest Minnesota 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.
    [see: Drought Conditions Overview]
  • The U.S. Geological Survey reports that stream discharge values are above to much above normal across large sections of eastern and northern Minnesota, with some stream flow values the highest for the time of year in Red Lake County. Normal flows are in the west central and southwest.
    [see: USGS Stream Flow Conditions]
  • Water levels on most Minnesota lakes vary depending on lake and location in the state. Mille Lacs was above the median lake level for July. On August 3, Minnetonka was at 929.04 with 20cfs flowing through Grays Bay Dam. White Bear Lake was at 922.13 feet on August 4, a rise of .65 feet from one year ago and a rise of 3.29 feet from the record low of 918.84 measured January 10, 2013. Rainy and Lake of the Woods are in the median range for June.
    [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]
  • The Agricultural Statistics Service on August 1 reports that topsoil moisture across Minnesota is 1 percent Very Short, 3 percent Short, 80 percent Adequate, and 16 percent Surplus. Soil moisture levels at Lamberton is above the historical median.
    [see: Agricultural Statistics Service Crop Progress and Condition  |  U. of M. Southwest Research & Outreach Center (Lamberton)]
  • The potential for wildfires is currently rated by DNR Forestry as Low across Minnesota, except the far northeast sections where the fire danger is Moderate. Historically, 80 percent of all wildfires in Minnesota occur during April and May.
    [see: Fire Danger Rating Map]

Future prospects:

  • The August precipitation outlook leans towards equal chances for below, above and normal precipitation across central and northern Minnesota, with a slight tendency for above normal precipitation in southern Minnesota. August precipitation normals range from about two-and-a-half inches in northwest Minnesota to about five inches in southeastern counties.
    [see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook  |  August Precipitation Normal Map]
  • The August temperature outlook leans towards equal chances for below, above normal temperatures throughout Minnesota. 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..
    [see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook  | August Temperature Normal Map]
  • The 90-day precipitation outlook for August through October indicates equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions across most of Minnesota, with the exception of a slight tendency for above normal precipitation in western Minnesota. The August through October temperature projection also offers a tilt for 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.
    [see: National Weather Service - North Central River Forecast Center]

From the author:

  • If you have any questions or comments about the HydroClim Newsletter, please let me know.

Upcoming dates of note:

  • August 18: National Weather Service releases 30/90 day temperature and precipitation outlooks


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Pete Boulay, DNR Climatologist

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