University of Minnesota Extension
Menu Menu

Extension > Minnesota WeatherTalk > Cold Mother's Day for some

Friday, May 17, 2013

Cold Mother's Day for some

Cold Mother's Day for some

A strong low pressure system and associated cold front brought high winds for the Fishing Opener (Saturday, May 11), then some record low temperature readings for Mother's Day (Sunday, May 12th). Among those setting record low temperature readings on May 12th were International Falls (22 degrees F tied record low), Lake Kabetogama (23 degrees F), Orr (21 degrees F), Agassiz Refuge (20 degrees F), New York Mills (22 degrees F), and Wells (28 degrees F). Afternoon high temperatures remained cold as well at some northeastern locations including Babbitt (38 F) and Tower (38 F), while elsewhere they reached the more comfortable 50s F. Crane Lake set a new low temperature record on Monday (May 13) with a reading of just 19 degrees F, and Hibbing tied their low temperature record for the date with 21 degrees F. Then, with southeast winds and bright sunshine temperatures warmed into the 50s and 60s F by 6:30 pm that day.

Record hot on Tuesday (May 14)

Very hot, dry air invaded the state on Tuesday, bringing extraordinary temperatures and humidity readings to southern counties. Many climate observers reported daytime highs that broke their own May 14th maximum temperature records, but also broke the statewide maximum temperature for the date (99 degrees F at Milan and Redwood Falls in 1932, and again at Milan in 2001). Blue Earth, Sherburn, St James, Amboy, New Ulm, Fairmont, Mankato, Hutchinson, Owatonna, Waseca, Winnebago, Albert Lea, Austin, and Jackson were among those locations that hit the century mark in temperature, topped by 103 degrees F at Winnebago and Sherburn (Blue Earth too if you count the Mn/DOT automated station there). Hutchinson, MN rose from a low of 48 degrees F at 6:00 am to an afternoon high of 100 degrees F at 2:00 pm (8 hours later). The MSP Airport set a new Twin Cities record high for May 14th of 98 degrees F (old record 95 F set in 1932). Other cities that reported new record highs for May 14th include St Cloud (95 F), Rochester (97 F), Brainerd (93 F), Hibbing (87 F), and Alexandria (93 F tied their record). In addition dewpoints in the 20s and 30s F produced desert-like relative humidity values ranging from 7 to 16 percent, equivalent to the readings in Arizona on Tuesday. More narratives about this recording setting day can be found at both the NWS and MN-State Climatology Office web sites:

The warm, dry air along with moderate winds increased the fire danger around the state, placing many counties in the "very high" risk category and some northeastern counties in the "extreme" risk category. The National Weather Service issued Red Flag warnings

You can keep abreast of the fire danger and read postings about current wild fires in the state at the following web sites:

Lake ice-out dates

Many central and northern Minnesota lakes only recently lost their ice cover. For some it was the latest ice-out date since 1950, and in a few cases it was record-setting for lateness. The NASA-MODIS satellite "Image of the Day" web site shows the changes in lake ice cover over Minnesota this week in a very effective set of images. You can view this here.

Rochester climate trivia

For the 8th time in history (back to 1886), the month of May has brought to Rochester, MN record-setting daily maximum temperatures that both span extreme cold to extreme hot or vice versa in the same month (that is record cold and record hot daytime maximum temperatures). On May 2nd and 3rd Rochester reported record-setting daytime highs of just 33 degrees F (cold), followed by a record -setting daytime high of 97 degrees F (hot) on May 14th. This range of 64 degrees F between extreme daytime highs for the month is an all-time record for that location in the month of May. Other wide variations in daytime record maximum temperatures at Rochester occurred in the following years.

May 10, 1887 daytime high 89 F
May 31, 1887 daytime high 55 F
May 12, 1914 daytime high 42 F
May 27, 1914 daytime high 93 F
May 8, 1916 daytime high 84 F
May 16, 1916 daytime high 45 F
May 1, 1940 daytime high 36 F
May 12, 1940 daytime high 89 F
May 2, 1959 daytime high 90 F
May 14, 1959 daytime high 46 F
May 1, 1992 daytime high 89 F
May 25, 1992 daytime high 46 F
May 15, 2001 daytime high 89 F
May 23, 2001 daytime high 46 F

It is obvious that in some years the month of May allows Minnesota citizens to wear clothes from their entire wardrobe!

Weekly Weather potpourri

Crane Lake, MN which still has ice cover, reported a low of 27 degrees F on Thursday (May 16) this week. This tied the record low for the date from 1967.

The first named storm of the 2013 Tropical Storm season in the Eastern Pacific Ocean appeared this week. Tropical Storm Alvin was being monitored and tracked by the National Hurricane Center. Alvin is expected to track well out to sea from the west coast of Mexico with winds from 50 to 60 mph producing sea wave heights of 12 feet or more. It is expected to dissipate by early next week.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center reported at several tornadoes were spotted in north Texas on Wednesday (May 15) this week. The largest (up to a mile wide) was reported in Granbury, southwest of Fort Worth, where six deaths and a number of injuries were reported. Elsewhere many homes were damaged and there were a number of power outages.

May 14 (Tue) brought a record warm overnight low to Las Vegas, NV,,,reported by the NWS Office there as the following....

840 AM PDT TUE MAY 14 2013

The Quad-City Times newspaper reported this week that Iowa has set a new record for the longest period without a tornado. Iowa has not seen a report of a tornado since May 24, 2012, a period of 360 days. This breaks the old record for absence of tornadoes, May 5, 1955 to April 26, 1956 (355 days). Overall, the USA has seen reduced numbers of tornadoes since April of 2012.

NOAA's National Climatic Data Center offered a web-based briefing this week on the national climate features of April, 2013. They point out that ND reported its coolest April in history, while for SD it was the 2nd coolest. With respect to April's precipitation both Iowa and Michigan reported their wettest April in history, and WI and MI are both reporting the wettest first four months (Jan-Apr) in their climate records. Other Midwestern states, including MN are also reporting one of the wettest first four months of the year as well. You can see more of these NOAA-NCDC highlights here.

The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)-Local Governments for Sustainability recently named Minneapolis as one of the top 20 cities or counties leading in resilience to disruption from energy availability, economic, or climatic events and episodes. Specifically Minneapolis is recognized for its proactive response to Heat Waves and to adapting for more extreme storm water runoff events (intense thunderstorms).

MPR listener question

What are the largest day-to-day temperature swings - both hotter and colder - for the Twin Cities and for Minnesota?

Answer: The largest daily temperature range in the Twin Cities record is from December 26, 1903 when the 24-hour difference in temperature (max-min) was 51 degrees F (high of 34 F and low of -17 F). On Tuesday, May 14th this week, the daily temperature range at MSP was 44 degrees F (high 98 F, low 54 F). On a statewide basis, Lamberton (Redwood County) holds the record with a temperature range of 71 degrees F on April 3, 1982 (high of 78 F, low of 7 F).

Twin Cities Almanac for May 17th

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 70 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 49 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 17th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 93 degrees F in 1987; lowest daily maximum temperature of 46 degrees F in 1890; lowest daily minimum temperature of 31 F in 1915; highest daily minimum temperature of 69 F in 1911; and record precipitation of 1.17 inches in 1938; No snow has been recorded on this date.

Average dew point for May 17th is 45 degrees F, with a maximum of 69 degrees F in 1996 and a minimum of 17 degrees F in 2009.

All-time state records for May 17th

The state record high temperature for this date is 100 degrees F at New Ulm (Brown County) and Pipestone (Pipestone County) in 1934. The state record low temperature for this date is 14 degrees F at St Vincent (Kittson County) in 1888. State record precipitation for this date is 4.43 inches at Blue Earth (Faribault County) in 2000; and the state record snowfall for this date is 12.0 inches at St Cloud (Stearns County) in 1890.

Past Weather Features:

May 17, 1934 was the hottest in state history, with over 30 communities reporting daytime highs in the 90s F. The second half of May that year brought many readings of 100 degrees F to the state, along with severe drought and crop failures that required replanting.

Between 6:00 pm on May 17 and 1:30 am on May 18, 1937 a tornado outbreak brought five different storms to Minnesota. The first tornado occurred between North Mankato and St Peter, damaging a number of farm buildings in its path. This F-2 storm (winds 113-157 mph) was on the ground for 20 miles. The other tornadoes, all F-2 intensity, occurred after dark in western counties. They destroyed farms and farm buildings near Canby, Marshall, Tracy, Slayton, and Fulda. Fortunately there were no fatalities and only a few injuries.

May 14-17, 1890 brought four consecutive days with snow to the Duluth area, and 1 to 4 inches across northern Minnesota counties. Temperatures over those days averaged 20-30 degrees F colder than normal. Another episode of mid-May snow occurred on May 17, 1968 when 1 to 3 inches of snowfall occurred across northern Minnesota. It was followed by frost and a 3-day cold spell before temperatures recovered into the 60s and 70s F.

Perhaps one of the coldest third weeks of May occurred in 1983. Over the period from May 15-18, overnight lows dropped into the 20s F as far south as Preston and Zumbrota. Temperatures in the north dropped into the teens F, setting some record lows there. Fortunately crops had just been planted and were not susceptible to frost damage.

May 17-18, 2000 brought heavy thunderstorms to southern Minnesota communities with rainfall amounts ranging from 2 to 5 inches in many places. Lanesboro, Rochester, and Blue Earth reported over 5 inches of rainfall. Hail, strong winds, and flash flooding caused some widespread damages, including urban flooding and a mudslide in Winona County. Some crops were underway for a period to two days following the storm. For many areas the rain was needed following a prolonged dry spell.


A wet and stormy period is coming up, already indicated by reports on Friday morning (May 17) of thunderstorm rainfall amounts over 1 inch across southern counties. Sherburn reported a record 1.51 inches on Friday. Thunderstorms and rain showers will dominate the Minnesota landscape this weekend and into Monday and Tuesday of next week. Temperatures will generally be a few degrees warmer than normal, but vary considerable depending on cloud cover. Cooler than normal temperatures by mid-week, then drier weather is expected by Thursday.

No comments:

  • © Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy