HydroClim Minnesota for Early July 2018

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: July 6, 2018

What happened in June 2018:

  • June was another wet month for southern Minnesota, especially in southwest and south central parts of the state. Another very wet area was to the west and south of Duluth. The Twin Cities had a June monthly total close to normal, but the White Bear Lake area saw a surplus, while the northwestern Metro to St. Cloud had a deficit. The driest part of the state was in Lake of the Woods County in northern Minnesota. The preliminary state-averaged precipitation total was 5.28 inches or 1.17 inches above normal. The highest monthly total found so far was 13.09 inches at Lake Wilson in Murray County. This is 8.62 inches above normal. Amboy in Blue Earth County had 11.94 inches or 7.41 inches above normal.
    [see: June 2018 Precipitation Total Map  | June 2018 Precipitation Departure Map  | June 2018 Precipitation Ranking Map  | June 2018 Climate Summary Table  |  June 2018 Percent of Normal Precipitation Map]
    Three storm events of note stood out during June 2018, with another on July 3rd.
  • A round of heavy rain and strong winds on June 11 affected central Minnesota. The rain was not as heavy as what would fall later in the month, but strong winds damaged corn crops between Cokato and Hutchinson, and caused tree damage in Hennepin County.
    [see: June 11, 2018 Heavy Rain and Wind]
  • A much larger heavy rain event occurred from June 15-17. Father’s Day weekend of 2018 was a hot, muggy, and stormy one across Minnesota, yielding high temperatures in the 90s in the south, widespread rainfall totals in excess of two inches, and prolonged periods of dew point temperatures at or above 70 degrees. The worst of the flooding hit northern Wisconsin, but also affected parts of east-central and northeastern Minnesota. The largest 4-day totals (June 15-17) observed by National Weather Service volunteers in Minnesota include 8.08 inches in Bruno and 6.06 inches in Two Harbors.
    [see: Father's Day Weekend Storms: June 15-17, 2018]
  • Hail and wind hit northern Minnesota on June 28-29. Two rounds of severe thunderstorms produced large hail and damaging thunderstorm winds across Minnesota’s Northland on Thursday June 28th and Friday June 29th, 2018. The first wave of storms hit northwestern Minnesota on June 28th, with the rest of northern Minnesota seeing storms on June 29. Winds from 55-70mph caused damage with he hardest hit areas in the Bemidji and Kelliher areas.
    [see: Tornadoes and Severe Storms: June 28-29, 2018]
  • Repeated heavy thunderstorms produced flash-flooding in southwestern Minnesota during the morning of July 3, 2018. These rains fell upon already saturated ground from the rains that fell in June. The heavy rains resulted in rising stream and river levels, along with flash-flooding of low lying areas. Roads were underwater in Cottonwood, Murray, Lyon, and Redwood Counties, with residential sandbagging reported around the town of Ghent in Marshall County.
    [see: Flooding Rains: July 3, 2018]
  • Monthly temperatures for June were above historical averages. The preliminary statewide average temperature departure was 2.8 degrees above normal. The warmest areas of the state was in north west and central Minnesota were the average temperatures were about four degrees above normal. The highest temperature of the month was 99 degrees at Marshall on June 5 and at the Twin Cities International Airport and the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus on June 29. The lowest reading was 30 degrees at Brimson on June 5.
    [see: June 2018 Climate Summary Table  |  2016 June Departure from Normal Temperature Map ]

Where we stand now:

  • Seasonal precipitation totals (April 1 to July 2) ranked above the historical median across all of southern Minnesota with another area of higher ranking near Duluth and in parts of north central Minnesota. Rankings were below the historical median in west central, northwest and northeast Minnesota.
    [see: Seasonal Precipitation Maps for July 3, 2018]
  • The U. S. Drought Monitor map released on July 5 depicts portions of northwest, west central and northeast Minnesota Minnesota as Abnormally Dry with a sliver of Moderate Drought  in west-central Minnesota in Big Stone County. 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 much above normal in southern Minnesota, with the Redwood River near Redwood Falls and the Cottonwood River near New Ulm, in the 98th percentile. Stream flows are normal to above normal over central Minnesota with some much above normal stream flows in the north. There are some pockets of below normal stream flow conditions in the northwest.
    [see: Cooperative Stream Gauging   | USGS Stream Flow Conditions]
  • Water levels on Minnesota lakes vary depending on lake and location in the state. Mille Lacs was slightly above the median lake level for June. On July 6, Minnetonka was at 929.54 with 150cfs flowing through Gray's Bay Dam. White Bear Lake was at 923.91 feet on July 6, a rise of .51 feet from one year ago and a rise of 5.07 feet from the record low of 918.84 measured January 10, 2013. This is the highest level for White Bear Lake in thirteen years, or since June 2005. Rainy Lake was in the median range for June, with Lake of the Woods below in the 20th percentile at the beginning of July. Lake Superior was at 602.49 feet on July 6, five inches above the July average.
    [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 July 5 reported that topsoil moisture across Minnesota is 0 percent Very Short, 3 percent Short, 63 percent Adequate, and 31 percent Surplus. Soil moisture levels at Lamberton on July 1 were above the historical averages.
    [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 most of Minnesota, with Moderate potential over northwest and northeast Minnesota. Historically, 80 percent of all wildfires in Minnesota occur during April and May.
    [see: Fire Danger Rating Map]

Future prospects:

  • The July precipitation outlook has equal chances for below, normal and above normal precipitation. July precipitation normals range from just under three inches in northwest Minnesota to about five inches in southeastern counties.
    [see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook  |  July Precipitation Normal Map]
  • It looks like the warm conditions in June will continue in July. The July temperature outlook is leaning toward above normal temperatures throughout Minnesota. Normal July high temperatures are in the 80s in the south and the upper 70s in the north. Normal July low temperatures are in the 50s in the north, and in the 60s in the south.
    [see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook ]
  • The 90-day precipitation and temperature outlook for July through September indicates equal chances of below-normal, near-normal, or above-normal conditions over all of Minnesota. Looking ahead to the winter of 2018-19, there is a tendency for above normal temperatures, mostly due to the predicted developing El Nino conditions.
    [see: Climate Prediction Center 90-day Outlook   | Dec-Jan_Feb 2018-19]
  • 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.

From the author:

  • The heavy rains that fell on July 3 caused some major flooding on rivers in southwest Minnesota. The Cottonwood River at New Ulm had its second highest crest of record, with 19.64 feet on July 6th. The record crest there is 20.86 feet set on April 8, 1965. The Redwood River at Marshall set a record crest of 17.41 feet on July 3, breaking the old record of 17.09 feet from September 25, 2010. There was extensive flooding in Lyon, Murray and Redwood counties with basements flooding and water closing roads. Currie, Slayton and Tracy were some of the hardest hit towns. Lake Shetek rose over its banks and threatened to flood nearby residences. Governor Dayton declared an emergency in 36 counties hit by storms.

Upcoming dates of note:

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


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