HydroClim Minnesota for Early July 2021

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 8, 2021

What happened in June 2021:

  • The drought of 2021 gained steam in June. Nearly all of the state had below normal precipitation, with the lone exception along the Mississippi River in parts of the southeast. The preliminary statewide average precipitation total was 2.18 inches or 2.44 inches below normal. The last time June was similarly dry was in 1995. June 2021 will likely wind up one of the top fifteen driest Junes since 1895. One of the wettest locations in the state was Minnesota City with 6.02 inches or .90 inches above normal. One of the direst locations was Granite Falls in west central Minnesota with .32 inches or 4.24 inches below normal.
    [see: June 2021 Precipitation Total Map  | June 2021 Precipitation Departure Map  | June 2021 Climate Summary Table  |  June 2021 Percent of Normal Precipitation Map]
  • Despite the ongoing drought, there was one severe weather event in June of note. A weak cool front sagged to the south across central and southern Minnesota on Thursday, June 17, 2021. Dew point temperatures surged into the low 70s out ahead of the front in southeast Minnesota. In the late afternoon and early evening strong to severe thunderstorms formed out ahead of this cool front and brought some welcome rains, as well as unwelcome hail. A swath of large hailstones from golf-ball to baseball size fell just south of Cannon Falls in Goodhue County, damaging cars and buildings.
    [see: Hail and Heavy Rain in Southeast Minnesota: June 17, 2021 ]
  • June was a very warm month. The preliminary statewide average temperature for June 2021 was 70.7 degrees or 5.1 degrees above normal. June 2021 will likely wind up being the 3rd warmest June on record for Minnesota, behind 1933 and very close to 1988. Many cities in western Minnesota saw a max temperature above the century mark. The warmest temperature reported in Minnesota was 104 degrees at Granite Falls on June 5 and at Warren on June 7 and the coldest temperature reported for the month was 33 degrees on June 1 at Brimson and on June 22 at Kabetogama in northeast Minnesota.
    [see: June 2021 Climate Summary Table  |  2021 June Departure from Normal Temperature Map]

Where we stand now:

  • Seasonal precipitation so far (April 1 through July 6) shows a very dry pattern in the state. The majority of the state is ranked in the 30th percentile or less, with some areas in southwest and south central Minnesota ranked nearly the driest since April 1. The places where it has been the driest have only seen about half the amount of normal precipitation since April 1. A few areas are seeing close to normal precipitation, in the 50th percentile such as a small area along the Mississippi River in southeast Minnesota.
    [see: Seasonal Precipitation Maps]
  • The U. S. Drought Monitor map released on July 8 depicts 40% of the state in Severe Drought conditions, 53% of the state in Moderate Drought conditions and 7% of the state in Abnormally Dry conditions. The last time this high of a percentage of the state was covered by Severe Drought conditions was in May 2015. 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 to be below normal to much below normal across the central and north, with normal to below normal in the south. A few locations in the central and north have low flow conditions, levels that are in the 1 percentile.
    [see: Cooperative Stream Gauging   | USGS Stream Flow Conditions]
  • Water levels on Minnesota lakes vary depending on lake and location in the state. On July 8, Mille Lacs was at 11.09 feet, about a half a foot lower than the median and about a foot lower than July 2020. On July 7, Minnetonka was at 928.70 feet with 12 cfs flowing through Gray's Bay Dam. Minnetonka is a half foot lower than this time last year. White Bear Lake was at 924.13 feet, a fall of just over a foot from July 2020. Rainy Lake was at the low end of the normal band and Lake of the Woods was well below the median range for early July. Lake Superior was at 602.30 feet on July 2, two inches above the July average and six inches below the July level set in 2020
    [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 6 reported that topsoil moisture across Minnesota is 28 percent Very Short, 50 percent Short, 21 percent Adequate, and 1 percent Surplus. Soil moisture levels at Lamberton on July were well below historical averages. On July 1 the soil moisture was approximately 4.6 inches, the lowest for July 1 since 2012. Most of the deficit was in the top 24 inches of soil.
    [see: Agricultural Statistics Service Crop Progress and Condition  |  U. of M. Southwest Research & Outreach Center (Lamberton)  |  2011-2018 Lamberton Soil Moisture Graphs ]
  • Spring and Summer 2021 has been a very active season for wildfires. The potential for wildfires is currently rated by DNR Forestry as Low across southern and east central Minnesota. Fire danger was Moderate over the rest of central and parts of northern Minnesota. Fire danger was High in the far north central and the northeast and Very High in the far northwest. To help ensure public safety and protect natural resources, the Department of Natural Resources is enacting burning restrictions for the southern portion of Beltrami County, and all of Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena counties. Historically, 80 percent of all wildfires in Minnesota occur during April and May.
    [see: Fire Danger Rating Map]

Future prospects:

  • The July precipitation outlook continues the pattern we have seen this spring and summer, a tendency for below 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]
  • To go along with the dry outlook, the July temperature outlook also looks to be tilted to above normal. 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 for above, normal and below normal precipitation. It looks like there is a continued tendency for above normal temperature conditions. Looking ahead to the winter of 2021-22, there are equal chances of below, normal and above normal temperatures and the same with precipitation.
    [see: Climate Prediction Center 90-day Outlook   | Dec-Jan_Feb 2021-22]

From the author:

  • For the second June in a row, there was high evaporation. The pan evaporation for the St. Paul Campus in June 2021 was 8.98 inches. This was the highest June evaporation total since 11.83 inches in June 1988. The normal June pan evaporation is 6.56.
    Some beneficial rains fell on June 6-7. The heaviest rains were in two west to east areas, from Long Prairie to Moose Lake and in southern Minnesota from Windom though Winona. There were large areas of one half to an inch and a half of rain, with pockets of two inches or more. One of the heaviest rainfalls found so far was 2.63 inches at Wells in Faribault County.

[see: Monthly Pan Evaporation - U. of M. St. Paul Campus   | Beneficial Rains: July 6-7, 2021]

Upcoming dates of note:

  • July 15: National Weather Service releases 30/90 day temperature and precipitation outlooks


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