HydroClim Minnesota for Early August 2022

A monthly electronic newsletter summarizing Minnesota's climate conditions and the resulting impact on water resources.

State Climatology Office - DNR Division of Ecological and Water Resources, St. Paul
distributed: August 9, 2022

What happened in July 2022:

  • The bulk of Minnesota saw below-normal precipitation in July 2022, with some exceptions. The statewide average precipitation was 3.26 inches or .77 inches below normal. The wettest area of the state was in southeast Minnesota, where a few places finished well above normal. One of the wettest locations was Grand Meadow in Mower County with 10.74 inches or 6.23 inches above normal. International Falls continues to see above normal precipitation with 4.73 inches for July or .76 inches above normal. So far for 2022, International Falls has measured 26.10 inches of precipitation or 10.90 inches above normal, their wettest year to date on record. One of the driest locations was the Twin Cities. July had 1.18 inches, at the Twin Cities International Airport or 2.88 inches below normal.
    [see: July 2022 Precipitation Total Map  | July 2022 Precipitation Departure Map  | July 2022 Climate Summary Table  |  July 2022 Percent of Normal Precipitation Map]
    The active weather was confined for the most part to northern Minnesota. There were reports of some large hail on July 14 in Becker County and a larger event on July 23 in southern Minnesota, that brought severe weather, but also beneficial rains. One of the largest events of July was the derecho of July 5, 2022 that just skirted along the border of Minnesota and Iowa. What may be remembered by most in central and southern Minnesota was the eerie orange sky of July 5th that accompanied this event.
    [see: Derecho: July 5, 2022]
  • The preliminary statewide average temperature for July 2022 was 70.6 degrees or .9 degrees above normal. The last time there was a Minnesota statewide July average temperature that was below normal was in 2014. The warmest temperature reported in Minnesota for July 2022 was 100 degrees reported at Gaylord in Sibley County in south central Minnesota on July 2 and the coldest temperature of the month was 35 degrees near Brimson in St. Louis County on July 13.
    [see: July 2022 Climate Summary Table  |  2022 July Departure from Normal Temperature Map]

Where we stand now:

  • Seasonal precipitation so far (April 1 through August 2) shows that north of a line from Breckenridge and St Cloud precipitation is at or above the median. There is still near record precipitation ranking for parts of northwest and north central Minnesota. Over southern Minnesota, precipitation is near to below normal. A swath from Rock County to the Twin Cities is well below normal.
    [see: Seasonal Precipitation Maps]
  • The U. S. Drought Monitor map released on August 4 depicts 20% of the state in the Abnormally Dry category, 10% in the Moderate Drought category and 4% in the Severe Drought 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 levels vary quite a bit from place to place in Minnesota. In general, the larger streams such as the Mississippi, the Minnesota and the Red River of the North are close to normal for this time of year. There are above to much above normal stream flows in the north central. The current drought is having an impact on smaller streams around the Twin Cities, with some much below normal stream flows on streams such as Elm Creek near Champlain, and Vermilion River in Dakota County.
    [see: USGS Stream Flow Conditions]
  • Water levels on Minnesota lakes vary depending on lake and location in the state. Mille Lacs was close to the median level for early August at 11.31 feet. On August 5, Minnetonka was at 928.30 feet, .1 (one tenth of a foot) lower than this time last year. Gray's Bay Dam closed on July 21. On August 5, White Bear Lake was at 923.27 feet, about a half-foot lower than last year. After being at record elevation in June, Rainy Lake has fallen about five feet and is now near the upper limit of the normal band for early August. Lake of the Woods was still very high in early August, but has fallen from the peak levels of June and July. Lake Superior was forecasted to be at 602.46 feet on July 29, four inches above the late July average and 9 inches below the record late July level set in 2019. The lake level in Superior is forecast to stay unchanged over the next month.
    [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 8 percent Very Short, 20 percent Short, 66 percent Adequate, and 6 percent Surplus. Available soil water at Lamberton on July 15 was about four inches, about an inch below the historical average.
    [see: Agricultural Statistics Service Crop Progress and Condition  |  U. of M. Southwest Research & Outreach Center (Lamberton)]
  • The potential for wildfires rated by DNR Forestry on August 9, as Low across much of northern, central and southeast Minnesota. Moderate potential exists over southwest, and parts of east central and north central Minnesota. Historically, 80 percent of all wildfires in Minnesota occur during April and May.
    [see: Fire Danger Rating Map]

Future prospects:

  • The August precipitation outlook has equal chances for above, normal and below normal precipitation in the north and central parts of the state. Southern Minnesota has a tendency for below normal precipitation. August precipitation normals range from about two-and-a-half inches in northwest Minnesota to about five inches in southeastern counties. The August temperature outlook a tendency for above normal temperatures for all but the northern part of the state. 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 a tendency for below normal precipitation across the state, except in the far northwest where there are equal chances for above, below and normal precipitation. The August through October temperature projection has a tendency for above normal temperatures across Minnesota, except in the northwest where there are equal chances for below, normal, and above normal temperatures.
    [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:

  • Goodbye drought of 2021, hello drought of 2022. After a multi-month wet period beginning in August 2021 and ending in May 2022, the dryness has returned to the state, but not everywhere. This time the drought is focused south of St. Cloud, with the driest locations right in the heart of the Twin Cities and to the southwest to Redwood Falls. What about prospects this winter? It appears as though this will be the third la Nina winter in a row. In the Twin Cities, January 2021 was well above normal, January 2022 was well below normal. What does the Climate Prediction Center has in their outlooks for the winter of 2022-23? Equal chances of below, normal and above normal temperature and precipitation. [see: Climate Prediction Center Dec 22-Feb 23]
  • So basically it is a three-sided coin.

Upcoming dates of note:

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

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