HydroClim Minnesota for Early January 2017

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: January 5, 2017

What happened in December 2016:

  • December 2016 monthly precipitation totals finished above average at nearly every Minnesota reporting station. The average departure for the state was .80 or eight-tenths of an inch. The largest precipitation event for the state was on Christmas Day: December 25, where at least a half inch of precipitation fell over the entire state and amounts around an inch in eastern Minnesota. Thunderstorms were embedded with moderate to heavy rain showers during the evening over eastern Minnesota. Ice coated trees and power lines over central and northern Minnesota and caused power outages. One of the harder-hit areas was Walker in Cass County. Some snow fell over the north as well, with the highest amounts over far northwest Minnesota. The preliminary state-averaged December precipitation total was 1.78 inches.
    [see: December 2016 Precipitation Departure Map  |  December 2016 Climate Summary Table  |  December 2016 Percent of Normal Precipitation Map]
  • Three significant rainfall or snowfall events occurred in Minnesota during December 2016 besides the Christmas Day storm. Heavy snowfall was reported on December 10-11 and again December 16-17.
    [see: Dec 10-11 Snow  |  Dec 16-17 Snow  |  Ice, heavy rain, thunder, snow: December 25, 2016]
  • Average monthly temperatures for December ranged from two degrees below to two degrees above normal. The preliminary December 2016 statewide average temperature was 16.8 degrees or .4 degrees above normal. Extremes for December ranged from a high of 53 degrees F at St James (Watonwan County) on the 25th, to a low of -38 degrees F at Embarrass (St. Louis County) on the 18th. The cold reading at Embarrass was part of an intense, but brief arctic outbreak on December 18, brought many minimum temperatures ranging from -20 F or -30 F in the state.
    [see: December 2016 Climate Summary Table  |  2016 December Departure from Normal Temperature Map  |  December 18, 2016 Cold Wave]

Where we stand now:

Future prospects:

  • The January precipitation outlook offers equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions in Minnesota. January precipitation normals range from near one-half inch of liquid equivalent in western Minnesota to just over one inch liquid in eastern sections of the state. The median snow cover at the end of January ranges from near five inches in southwest Minnesota, to over 15 inches on the ground in northeastern Minnesota (greater than 24 inches along the Lake Superior highlands).
    [see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook  | January Precipitation Normal Map]
  • The January temperature outlook leans towards equal-chances of above, normal or below normal conditions across Minnesota. Historically, January is Minnesota's coldest month. Normal January high temperatures range the low-teens in the north, to near 20 in the south. Normal January lows range from near minus 10 degrees in the far north, to the single digits above zero in southern Minnesota.
    [see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook  | January Temperature Normal Map]
  • The 90-day precipitation outlook for January through March indicates equal chances for above, normal or below normal conditions across southwest, south central, west central and central Minnesota with a tilt for above normal precipitation in the north and southeast. The January through March temperature projection indicates a tilt towards below-normal temperatures, especially in northern Minnesota.
    [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:

  • none

Upcoming dates of note:

  • January 19: National Weather Service releases 30/90 day temperature and precipitation outlooks


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Pete Boulay, DNR Climatologist