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Extension > Mark Seeley's WeatherTalk > May 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Warm days in May

Warm days in May

May 18th (last Friday) brought a warm day to the state with many observers reporting daytime highs in the 90s F, the warmest May 18th since 1998. Madison topped the list with a record-setting 97 degrees F. Other climate stations setting new temperature records on May 18th included: 95 degrees F at Browns Valley; 93 degrees F at Moorhead; 92 degrees F at Park Rapids; and 94 degrees F at Wheaton.

May 22-23 brought more record high temperatures to the region just ahead of heavy thunderstorms. Fargo, ND set a record on the 22nd with 93 degrees F. Then more record highs were set on Wednesday, May 23rd, including 92 degrees F at Amboy, 89 degrees F at MSP and Austin, and 87 degrees F at Lakefield (tied 2010). Strong south winds ushered in very moist air across the state on the 23rd. Between 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm the dewpoint at MSP Airport rose from 51 degrees F to a sticky 65 degrees F.

Heavy rains on May 23-24

Strong winds, hail, and very heavy thunderstorm rainfall visited the state over May 23-24 this week. Wind gusts to 75 mph were reported from New Ulm, and 71 mph at New Prague. Some western and southern counties reported half to one inch diameter hail as well.

The real story was in the number of reports of heavy rainfall, with many observers reporting 2 to over 5 inches. Those reporting record-setting rainfalls included: 4.77 inches at Buffalo; 3.46 inches at Gaylord; 3.81 inches at Glencoe; 2.58 inches at MSP Airport; 2.89 inches at Two Harbors; 3.64 inches at Waconia; 3.01 inches at Andover; 3.50 inches at Elk River; 2.12 inches at Floodwood; 2.87 inches at Forest Lake; 2.88 inches at New Ulm; 2.76 inches at Lakefield; 2.90 inches at Windom; and 3.50 inches at St Francis. Many other observers reported record-setting amounts of rainfall as well, adding to already above normal amounts for May. It was one of the heaviest doses of 24 hour rainfall ever measured in the state during the month of May, the amount of 4.77 inches at Buffalo (Wright County) breaking the all-time state record rainfall for May 24th (formerly 3.60 at Long Prairie in 1939).

Monthly total rainfall for May now exceeds 7 inches at many locations around the state including: Buffalo, Chaska, MSP, Hastings, Hutchinson, New Ulm, Milaca, Mora, Springfield, Jordan, Andover, Forest Lake, Chanhassen, Lakefield, Pipestone, Windom, Lamberton, and Rockford. The 8.18 inches at MSP airport marks the 2nd wettest all-time May (record is 10.33 inches in 1906) and wettest since 1965. The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Chanhassen has reported 9.22 inches of rainfall so far in May. This total is getting close to the state record rainfall for May of 11.70 inches at Winnebago back in 1908. So, with more rainfall forecast for the last week of the month, the record amount for May may be surpassed.

With one week to go in the month, May of 2012 on a statewide basis already ranks among the ten wettest dozen in state history. It is likely that these rainfall totals will be added to by the end of the month.

Weekly Weather Potpourri

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a near-normal Atlantic Hurricane Season given the present atmospheric and oceanic measurements and patterns. This means 9-15 named storms with 4 to 8 of those strong enough to reach hurricane status. Further, 1 to 3 of these storms may reach major hurricane status (category 3 or higher). You can read more here.

Two major storms were operating in tropical waters this week. Typhoon Sanvu was spinning south of Japan in the western Pacific Ocean. It was producing wave heights over 30 feet with winds up to 90 mph and higher gusts. Sanvu is expected to weaken over the weekend as it pulls away from Japan to the east. It is not expected to make landfall. Hurricane Bud, the second named storm of the hurricane season, was off the west coast of Mexico in the Eastern Pacific Ocean with winds close to 110 mph and sea waves near 30 feet. It is expected to weaken towards the weekend, before making landfall. Bud will likely bring 6 to 10 inch rains to some coastal communities in Mexico.

Dr. Rick Knabb, former hurricane expert with The Weather Channel, was named last week as the new Director of the NOAA National Hurricane Center in Miami, FL. He replaces the retiring director Bill Read. Dr. Knabb returns to NOAA where he previously served as Deputy Director of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Hawaii. You can read more about him here.

The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Indianapolis has provided a climatology for the Indianapolis 500 Motor Race which takes place this Sunday (May 27th). The warmest race day was in 1937 with 92 degrees F, while the coldest race day was 1992 with just 58 degrees F. You can find more detail about historical weather for the race here.

The National Weather Service has declared Friday, 25 May 2012, as Heat Awareness Day across the nation. For more information, including safety measures for children in motor vehicles and too much outdoor exposure when Heat Index Values are over 100 degrees you can consult the National Weather Service's webpage here.

MPR listener question


Two listeners wrote with a question about winds: High winds have limited the use of herbicides so far this crop season. Have wind speeds been higher than usual this month and for the spring season so far?

Answer: As a reminder to readers, at most climate stations in Minnesota April and May are two of the windiest months of the year based on historical mean values of wind speed. Using the MSP Airport measurements for frame of reference, mean wind speeds during March, April, and May have been near average or slightly below average this year. However, that is deceiving relative to the frequency of high wind gusts, which have been highly unusual in frequency. Listed below are the number of days with wind gusts greater than 30 mph, 40 mph, and 50 mph for the months of March, April, and May (so far) from MSP International Airport, along with the peak wind gust speed in parentheses:

March: 9 days with wind gusts of 30 mph or greater; 4 days with wind gusts of 40 mph or greater (peak 47 mph)
April: 14 days with wind gusts of 30 mph or greater; 2 days with wind gusts of 40 mph or greater (peak 44 mph)
May: 16 days with wind gusts of 30 mph or greater; 6 days with wind gusts of 40 mph; 2 days with wind gusts of 50 mph (peak 58 mph)

Normally these months bring wind gusts greater than 30 mph on only 5 or 6 days. Further very strong wind gusts have been reported this May at other locations around the state, including: 58 mph at Redwood Falls; 54 mph at Duluth; 46 mph at St Cloud and Rochester; and 45 mph at Mankato.

Twin Cities Almanac for May 25th

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 72 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 51 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 25th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 94 degrees F in 1978; lowest daily maximum temperature of 48 degrees F in 1904; lowest daily minimum temperature of 33 F in 1901; highest daily minimum temperature of 70 F in 1914; record precipitation of 1.76 inches in 1916; no snowfall on this date.  

Average dew point for May 25th is 47 degrees F, with a maximum of 72 degrees F in 1916 and a minimum of 23 degrees F in 1934.

All-time state records for May 25th

The state record high temperature for this date is 100 degrees F at Luverne (Rock County) in 1967; the state record low temperature for this date is 19 degrees F at Tower (St Louis County) in 1983. State record precipitation for this date is 4.32 inches at St James (Watonwan County) in 1953; and state record snowfall for this date is 4.0 inches at Baudette (Lake of the Woods County) in 1970.

Past Weather Features:

May 24-25, 1953 brought strong thunderstorms to southern Minnesota. Heavy rains flooded farm fields and roads, and many creeks and drainage ditches filled with runoff water. Some of the rainfall amounts included: 4.32 inches at St James; 4.28 inches at Pipestone; 3.52 inches at Windom; 3.34 inches at Comfrey; and 2.87 inches at Winnebago.

May 25-26, 1967 brought a heat wave to southern Minnesota as 24 communities reported afternoon highs in the 90s F. A strong cold front dropped temperatures into the 60s and 70s F on May 27th.

May 25, 1970 brought a late spring snow storm to north-central Minnesota where Baudette reported 4 inches, Big Falls reported 2.0 inches, and International Falls received 0.3 inches. The snow was followed by cold Canadian high pressure keeping daytime temperatures down into the 40s and 50s F over May 25-28.

May 25, 1983 brought a late spring hard freeze to northern counties as over 30 communities reported morning lows in the 20s F. In the Red River Valley some crops had to be replanted.

Word of the Week: ACE

This acronym stands for Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index which is used by the United Kingdom Meteorological Office to estimate the seasonal number of tropical storms in the North Atlantic. Using the ACE index the UK Met Office predicts 7-13 named storms for the 2012 season (June through November), with a most likely value of 10. This is slightly less than the seasonal average of 12.

Outlook

An unsettled weekend weather wise with mostly cloudy skies and roller coaster temperature pattern. Showers and thunderstorms are likely each day, with a warm and sultry day on Sunday as temperatures reach the 90s F in some locations. Cooler temperatures by Monday and cooler yet on Tuesday but drier. Chances for showers return on Wednesday and Thursday next week to conclude the wet May.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Very dry air this week

Very dry air this week

Following a wet first ten days of the month, May turned quite dry this week, with low dewpoints and high evaporation rates (0.25 to 0.35 inches on May 14). Montevideo (Chippewa County) reported some record-setting low daily humidity readings over May 12-16. Afternoon air temperature and relative humidity are noted for each day:
May 12 70 degrees F with RH of 7%
May 13 75 degrees F with RH of 11%
May 14 88 degrees F with RH of 4%
May 15 72 degrees F with RH of 12%
May 16 73 degrees F with RH of 14%

These humidity readings at Montevideo were the equivalent of those at Tucson, Arizona this week. Many Minnesota citizens were using moisturizing creams and chapstick.

Cold morning on May 16th

After a very warm Monday this week (afternoon temperatures ranged from 86 F to 90 F in western Minnesota), Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the 48 contiguous states on Wednesday morning (May 16) with a reading of 24 degrees F at Embarrass, the first time this month that the state has reported the coldest reading. Many observers reported overnight lows in the 20s F on May 16th including 28 degrees F at Warroad, Cook, Hibbing, Bigfork, Ely, Grand Marais, and Kabetogama, 27 degrees F at Orr,Silver Bay, and Crane Lake, and 26 degrees F at International Falls. These overnight readings represent new record lows for May 16th at Kabetogama and Orr, and ties the record low for Crane Lake.

NOAA CPC Climate Outlook

On Thursday, May 17, NOAA-Climate Prediction Center release a new climate outlook for June through August. The outlook suggests equal chances for warmer or colder than normal temperature conditions over the summer in Minnesota. It also suggests equal chances for a wetter or drier than normal summer.

Weekly Weather Potpourri

The May 16th report from the Amundsen-Scott Weather Station at the South Pole (Antarctica) was -77 degrees F with an east wind of 10-15 mph and a windchill of -114 degrees F.

The NOAA National Hurricane Center in Miami, FL was issuing advisories this week on the first Tropical Storm of the 2012 season in the Eastern Pacific. Tropical Storm Aletta was generating winds of 40 mph and sea waves of 12 feet as it moved westward well off the coast of Mexico. It is expected to dissipate over the next several days.

Scientists from the University of Utah and Harvard University have developed a new way to estimate carbon dioxide emissions based on measured pattern detection in the atmosphere. This technique may be further refined to be used as a compliance validation measurement system should an international treaty ever be invoked that forces reduction in carbon dioxide emissions over specified periods of time. You can read more about their work here.

MPR listener question

How much does a large thunderstorm cloud weigh? It must contain a lot of water.

Answer: Thomas Schlatter, a NOAA scientist and contributor to Weatherwise magazine addressed this question in a past issue. Of course the answer is highly dependent on cloud volume. But consider a cumulus cloud with a volume of one cubic mile (1 mile wide, 1 mile long, and 1 mile deep) and a water content of 1 gram/cubic meter. This would calculate to a weight of about 9 million pounds (nearly 1.1 million gallons). That's quite a load to remain suspended in the atmosphere, but of course it does, primarily because of the droplet size and the updraft winds that hold these water droplets aloft until they reach a critical mass.

Twin Cities Almanac for May 18th

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 69 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 49 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 18th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 91 degrees F in 1911; lowest daily maximum temperature of 45 degrees F in 1890; lowest daily minimum temperature of 27 F in 1915; highest daily minimum temperature of 68 F in 1911; record precipitation of 1.57 inches in 1892; record 3.0 inches of snowfall in 1915.
 
Average dew point for May 18th is 46 degrees F, with a maximum of 72 degrees F in 1998 and a minimum of 19 degrees F in 2002.

All-time state records for May 18th

The state record high temperature for this date is 101 degrees F at Fairmont (Martin County) and Pipestone (Pipestone County) in 1934; the state record low temperature for this date is 16 degrees F at the Duluth Experimental Farm (St Louis County) in 1924. State record precipitation for this date is 5.01 inches at Lanesboro (Fillmore County) in 2000; and state record snowfall for this date is 3.0 inches at Minneapolis (Hennepin County) in 1915.

Past Weather Features:

May of 1892 was one of the wettest in Twin Cities history. It rained everyday from 13th to the 21st (totaling nearly 4 inches). Farmers were late in planting crops that year because it rained on 18 days during the month. Many observers reported 6-8 inches of rainfall for the month, and Northfield reported nearly 10 inches.

May 18, 1915 brought cold and snow to many places in the state. Park Rapids and Caledonia observers reported 1 inch of snowfall, while Taylors Falls reported 1.5 inches. In Minneapolis an observer recorded 3 inches of snowfall, still a record for the date.

About 8:30 pm on May 18, 1918 an F-2 tornado (winds 113-157 mph) moved 8 miles across the rural landscape of Big Stone County in western Minnesota. It damaged buildings on 30 farms, but caused no injuries.

May 17-18, 1968 brought snow to many northern Minnesota communities, in one of the latest spring snow storms on record. Duluth reported 3.6 inches, Grand Rapids 3.0 inches, and Mahnomen 2.0 inches. As far west as Milan (Chippewa County) reported 0.5 inches. Temperatures warmed into the 50s and 60s F the next day so the snow was very short-lived.

May 18, 2000 brought heavy thunderstorms and flash flooding to many southern Minnesota communities. Jackson, St Peter, Wells, Grand Meadow, Hokah, Preston, Rushford, and Rochester measured over 4 inches of rain. Huge drifts of hail stones piled up near Mankato and there was reported crop damage in many areas. Many roads were closed, one due to a mud slide in Winona County.

Most recently on May 18, 2002 a hard freeze visited many northern Minnesota communities. Many areas saw morning lows in the 20s F, while Tower reported just 18 degrees F and Embarrass was the coldest with 17 degrees F.

Outlook

Generally a warm Saturday with chances for showers and thunderstorms. Cooling down on Sunday and Monday with a continued chance for showers. Drier on Tuesday. Warmer with another chance for showers by Thursday next week.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Record rainfalls for some to start early May

Record rainfalls for some to start early May

According to the NOAA National Climatic Data Center over the first 7 days of May, Minnesota weather observers reported 62 new daily rainfall records, an exceptionally large quantity of records for such a short period of time. Some examples of the record amounts of rainfall include:

May 1st: 1.73 inches at St Cloud Airport
May 2nd: 2.05 inches at Windom and 2.10 inches at Elk River
May 3rd: 2.21 inches at Zumbrota and Wabasha
May 4th: 1.70 inches at Amboy
May 5th: 2.41 inches at Winnebago and 2.33 inches at Sherburn
May 6th: 2.78 inches at Marshall, 2.86 inches at Hawley, 3.06 inches at Redwood Falls, 3.50 inches at Hastings, and 3.62 inches at Pipestone

The 3.62 inches of rainfall reported at Pipestone on May 6th was a new state record for the date, beating the 3.48 inches that fell at Minnesota on May 6, 1983.

Many observers now report over 4 inches of rainfall for the month, and some have already totaled over 5 inches. Those over 5 inches include Springfield (5.34"), Hastings (5.18"), and Pipestone (5.90").

The abundant rainfall has alleviated drought across southern and western Minnesota. Earlier this spring up to 33 Minnesota counties were designated to be in severe drought by the U.S. Drought Monitor. In Thursday's release (May 10) of a new drought update, only a small portion of Cook County is left in severe drought. For the most part soils have been recharged with near normal moisture levels, and Minnesota's streams and rivers have risen with the recent abundant rainfall. According to the USGS flows on many southern Minnesota watersheds have risen above the 75th percentile mark.

Still Room at the Minnehaha Creek Watershed Stormwater Adaptation Study Forum, May 15th

Speaking of heavy rainfalls, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District in the Twin Cities Metro Area is hosting a Forum on Tuesday, May 15th from 6:30 pm to 8:45 pm at the St Louis Park Recreation Center. They will be presenting and discussing objectives associated with their stormwater adaptation study. This is in response to changing precipitation patterns across the area which have not only brought greater annual precipitation, but more frequent episodes of intense,thunderstorm produced extreme rainfall events which pose a serious flash flood threat. I will be presenting a climate perspective and many others will offer perspectives on vulnerability of infrastructure, risk management and community response, including options for storm water management and associated costs. Those interested in attending this meeting can contact Leslie Yetka with the Minnehaha Watershed District (email: lyetka@minnehahacreek.org) or phone 952-641-4524. If you want to learn more, go here.

A brief tornado near Kiester, MN

Reports showed that an EF-0 tornado (winds 65-85 mph) touched down on the evening of May 4th (Sunday) near Kiester, MN (Faribault County). It traveled for about four miles, damaging some trees, barns, and farm outbuildings. This was the 4th date so far this year that tornadoes have been reported in Minnesota.

Weekly Weather Potpourri

Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire (elevation 6280 ft) is one of the world's unique climates, noted for extremes of temperature and wind. Their recent monthly climate report for April shows that they recorded ten days during the month with wind speeds of 80 mph or greater, topped by 96 mph on the 23rd. On April 28th they reported a morning low of 4 degrees F with an afternoon high of 14 degrees F and wind speeds that averaged over 60 mph. Don't even ask what the windchill index was!

The National Weather Service in Phoenix, AZ reported a combination of dust storm and thunderstorm on Wednesday afternoon (May 9) this week. Between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm winds gusted between 40 and 60 mph stirring up clouds of dust, which was later washed out of the air by thunderstorms rainfall though it only amounted to 0.03 inches.

With the exceptional early ice-out dates this year, the Minnesota DNR was received numerous questions about the effects on the fishing season, including the Fishing Opener (May 12). They created a press release with remarks from fisheries biologists Mike Duval and Tom Jones.

NASA scientists using a new fire forecast model developed from the MODIS satellite data base have predicted a mild fire season for the Amazon Forest encompassed by parts of Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru. This is the first use of the new fire forecast model which will be further evaluated this year. You can read more about this here.

MPR listener question

On average in Minnesota which month brings the highest frequency of hail?

Answer: For most of Minnesota the peak hail season is centered on June 1st, so May and June are the months mostly likely to bring hail for most of the state. Historically there have been reports of hail in all 12 months of the year, though they are very rare from November through February.

Twin Cities Almanac for May 11th

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 66 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 46 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 11th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 88 degrees F in 1900; lowest daily maximum temperature of 40 degrees F in 1914 and 1966; lowest daily minimum temperature of 27 F in 1946; highest daily minimum temperature of 64 F in 1881, 1915, and 1922; record precipitation of 1.55 inches in 1935; record 2.8 inches of snowfall in 1946.
 
Average dew point for May 11th is 40 degrees F, with a maximum of 66 degrees F in 1922 and a minimum of 14 degrees F in 1946.

All-time state records for May 11th

The state record high temperature for this date is 98 degrees F at Lamberton (Redwood County) in 1987; the state record low temperature for this date is 11 degrees F at Fosston (Polk County) in 1946. State record precipitation for this date is 4.60 inches at Crookston (Polk County) in 1922; and state record snowfall for this date is 3.0 inches at Isle (Mille Lacs County) in 1966.

Term of the Week: UTCI

The current issue of the International Journal of Biometeorology is devoted to the Universal Thermal Comfort Index (UTCI), an international effort by scientists to derive a comfort index related to human physiology and apparel that takes into account temperature, humidity, wind, and radiation factors that combine to effect our thermoregulation. Perhaps with time government weather services around the world will adopt this UTCI and use it in public forecast products. You can read more about it here.

Past Weather Features

Around 8:30 pm on May 11, 1896 an F-2 tornado (winds 113-157 mph) touched down near Worthington, MN. It cut a short half mile long path through town and damaged at least 11 homes, but there were no fatalities and just one injured person was reported.

May 11-13, 1900 brought above normal temperatures to the state of Minnesota with at least 15 communities reporting daytime highs of 90s degrees F or greater.

Strong thunderstorms brought heavy rains to northwestern Minnesota on May 11, 1922. Crookston reported over 4.5 inches of rain, Ada received 2.90 inches, Roseau 1.99 inches, and Hallock 1.75 inches. Some crop fields had to be replanted.

A little past 6:00 pm on May 11, 1937 an F-2 tornado (winds 113-157 mph) traveled 20 miles in the rural landscape between North Mankato and St Peter. It damaged some barns and other farm buildings, but no fatalities or serious injuries were reported from the storm.

May 11, 1946 brought a hard freeze to many parts of Minnesota damaging some agricultural crops, orchards, and gardens. Low temperatures ranged from 16 to 25 degrees F. The cold weather also brought some rare May snowfall over May 11-12. The Twin Cities reported 3 inches, while Bird Island, Elk River, and Moorhead also reported measurable snowfalls.

May 11, 1966 brought measurable snowfall to many central Minnesota communities, including Isle, Moose Lake, and Aitkin. It was very short-lived as temperatures climbed into the 50s F the next day.

Severe weather visited Minnesota on May 11, 1985. Hail and strong winds were reported in western counties, and a brief tornado touchdown near Osakis in Douglas County. Some northern observers reported record-setting rainfalls with 3.95 inches at Georgetown, 2.50 inches at Red Lake, 2.48 inches at Waskish, and 2.22 inches at Big Falls. In some areas roads were washed out by the heavy rain.

Outlook

Nice spring weekend coming up with near normal temperatures and mostly sunny skies. It should be fine for both the Fishing Opener (Sat) and Mother's Day (Sun). Warming trend begins on Sunday and carries into next week, with mostly above normal temperatures and dry conditions until a chance for rainfall emerges on Thursday.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Wet Start to May for Some

Wet Start to May for Some

Strong thunderstorms crossed the state overnight from May 1st to 2nd producing numerous reports of heavy rainfall, hail, strong winds, and even tornadoes. NOAA Storm Prediction Center received reports of brief tornado touchdowns in Pope and Stearns Counties between 9:00 and 10:00 pm Tuesday night. No serious damage reports from tornadoes were evident. There were numerous reports of strong winds and large hail (1-2 inches in diameter) from many western and southern counties. Sauk Rapids reported wind gusts to 64 mph while Wabasha reported winds up to 74 mph. Many observers reported rainfall from 0.75 inches to 1.50 inches, and some reported new record rainfall amounts for May 2nd. Among the new record amounts were 2.20 inches at St Francis; 2.10 inches at Elk River; 2.05 inches at Rush City, Slayton, and Windom; and 1.63 inches at Rice. The campus of St Cloud State University reported a rainfall of 3.11 inches.

May 3rd brought more heavy thunderstorms, strong winds and hail to southern Minnesota counties, especially the southeast. Winds up to 70 mph were reported near Harmony. Lake City reported a record rainfall for May3rd with 1.68 inches, while Zumbrota received a record 2.21 inches and Wabasha received 2.21 inches as well (not a record there). An observer near Zumbrota reported nearly 4 inches of rainfall with a record dewpoint of 67 degrees F. The Cannon River and north branch of the Zumbro River rose dramatically flash flooding in some places. Many observers are well on their way to reporting above normal rainfall for the month of May. Over the first three days of the month Rice reports 3.30 inches, Zumbrota 2.89 inches, Wabasha 3.15 inches, Milaca 2.48 inches, and Elk River with 2.47 inches.

 

Announcement of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed Stormwater Adaptation Study Forum, May 15th

Speaking of heavy rainfalls, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District in the Twin Cities Metro Area is hosting a Forum on Tuesday, May 15th from 6:30 pm to 8:45 pm at the St Louis Park Recreation Center. They will be presenting and discussing objectives associated with their stormwater adaptation study. This is in response to changing precipitation patterns across the area which have not only brought greater annual precipitation, but more frequent episodes of intense,thunderstorm produced extreme rainfall events which pose a serious flash flood threat. I will be presenting a climate perspective and many others will offer perspectives on vulnerability of infrastructure, risk management and community response, including options for storm water management and associated costs. Those interested in attending this meeting can contact Leslie Yetka with the Minnehaha Watershed District (email: lyetka@minnehahacreek.org) or phone 952-641-4524. If you want to learn more, go here.

Wrap-up on April Precipitation

According to DNR-State Climatologist Greg Spoden in his HydroClim Newsletter, "April 2012 precipitation totals were above normal in portions of west central, north central, and northeast Minnesota. Elsewhere, monthly precipitation totals were near the historical average. It was only the second month since July 2011 where monthly precipitation totals were near to above average." Some of the larger precipitation totals for April included: 4.91 inches at Pipestone (7th wettest April in history); 4.67 inches at Sherburn; 4.66 inches at Caledonia; 4.22 inches at Grand Rapids; 4.13 inches at Spring Grove and Wadena; 4.11 inches at Browns Valley; 4.10 inches at Albert Lea and Wheaton; and 4.09 inches at Grand Meadow. These amounts and others helped bring some relief from prolonged dryness dating back to last summer. Graphics and maps related to April's climate signature can be found here.

New web resource for recent precipitation reports

Greg Spoden from the State Climatology Office has designed a new web page for viewing maps, graphics and text associated with recent rainfall events in Minnesota. He calls it the "Puddle Page." You can also find access there to stream flow levels on Minnesota watersheds (provided by USGS). To view the page go here.

Weekly Weather Potpourri

Stan Changnon of the University of Illinois and Illinois Water Survey passed away this week. He was one of the most respected and prolific atmospheric and climate scientists of his generation. He was perhaps the first to study urban climates (St Louis and Chicago) in detail, and to work with the insurance industry in assessing weather and climate risks. Stan was our first Kuehnast Endowment presenter at the University of Minnesota giving a lecture titled "Is Climate Still Important" back in 1993. His son David is a professor of climatology at Northern Illinois University. Stan will be greatly missed by all in the atmospheric and climate science community.

The United Kingdom Meteorological Office reported this week that April was the wettest ever across that country dating back to 1910. Many observers reported over double the normal rainfall for the month, with several reports of 5 inches or more. Liscombe in Somerset reported over 10.5 inches for April.

A recent study in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests that large wind turbines in west Texas used for power generation are causing a night-time warming of temperatures. Scientists from SUNY who published the study suggest that turbulence in the wake of the large turbine blades pulls down warmer air aloft towards the surface, disrupting development of an overnight inversion and keeping warm air near the surface of the ground. This is one of the first studies to document microclimatic effects of wind turbines in the natural environment. You can read more about it here.

For horse racing fans a climatology of the Kentucky Derby (all 137 years) has been made available by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Louisville, KY. The 138th running of this race is scheduled for this Saturday (May 5th), and the forecast calls for temperatures in the mid 80s F with a chance for thunderstorms. The coldest temperature was 47 degrees F in 1957, and the warmest 94 degrees F in 1959. You can read more here.

MPR listener question

Any correlation between the full moon and overnight frost in Minnesota?

Answer: We have had this question before, but the answer is the same. There are no studies that document a significant correlation of the full moon dates with spring and fall frost dates in Minnesota. It does occasionally happen, but certainly with no consistency. This correlation has been examined by many from several geographic regions of the world and I honestly don't know if it is significant anywhere on Earth.

Twin Cities Almanac for May 4th

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 66 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 44 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 4th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 91 degrees F in 1952; lowest daily maximum temperature of 40 degrees F in 1890; lowest daily minimum temperature of 22 F in 1967; highest daily minimum temperature of 65 F in 1934; record precipitation of 1.74 inches in 1944; 2.0 inches of snowfall in St Paul in 1890 and there was a trace of snow in 1907 and 1944.
 
Average dew point for May 4th is 40 degrees F, with a maximum of 73 degrees F in 1912 and a minimum of 13 degrees F in 1957.

All-time state records for May 4th

The state record high temperature for this date is 96 degrees F at Wheaton (Traverse County) and Montevideo (Chippewa County in 1949 and at Springfield (Brown County) in 1952; the state record low temperature for this date is 8 degrees F at Cloquet (Carlton County) in 1911. State record precipitation for this date is 4.00 inches at Blanchard Power Station (Morrison County) in 1949; and state record snowfall for this date is 5.0 inches at Mankato (Blue Earth County) in 1890.

Past Weather Features:

May 4-5, 1890 brought a rare late spring snowfall. Mankato reported 5 inches, Le Sueur 4 inches, Duluth 2.5 inches, and downtown St Paul 2.0 inches.

A hard freeze prevailed on May 4, 1907. Mora and Long Prairie reported morning lows of just 15 degrees F, while Hinckley had just 16 degrees F and New London 17 degrees F. As far south as Zumbrota was as cold as 19 degrees F.

Another hard freeze occurred in many places on May 4, 1911. Cloquet reported a low of 8 degrees F, while Littlefork measured 16 degrees F and Warroad 17 degrees F. It was as cold as 27 degrees F at St Peter.

May 4, 1926, a typical Minnesota spring day. The temperature rose from 32 degrees F in the morning to an afternoon high of 89 degrees F at Morris.

May 4-6, 1949 was a hot, sultry spell over central Minnesota bringing 90 degrees F to many cities. It also brought daily thunderstorms which deposited a month's worth of rain in many places, including 4.77 inches at Brainerd, 4.39 inches at Blanchard Power Station (Morrison County), 4.33 inches at Onamia, 4.29 inches at Aitkin, and 3.94 inches at Gull Lake.

The first five days of May in 1952 brought a Heat Wave with many temperatures in the 90s F. Finally on the 6th temperatures dropped back into the 60s F bringing some relief to farmers who were busy with corn planting that week.

May 1-7, 1954 was the snowiest week of May in Minnesota history. Temperatures hovered in the 20s and 30s F up north with daily snow showers and snow flurries. Snowfall totals for the week ranged from 4 inches at Crookston to 17.8 inches at Virginia, where the snow depth was 14 inches on May 4th! Snow was measured (1 inch) as far south as Austin.

Outlook

Warm to start the weekend as many places should reach the 70s F. Chance for showers and thunderstorms later in the day on Saturday, then more showers and thunderstorms for Sunday with cooler temperatures. Better chance for showers in southern counties. Continued chance for showers Monday and again by Wednesday with near normal to below normal temperatures.
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