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Extension > Mark Seeley's WeatherTalk > August 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Preliminary August Climate Summary

Most climate observers in Minnesota are reporting a mean August temperature that is within plus or minus 1-2 degrees F of normal.  Extremes ranged from 91 degrees F at Hutchinson on the 24th to 34 degrees F at Seagull Lake (Cook County) on the 14th.  For a number of western Minnesota communities August did not bring a single day with 90 degrees F or higher, and for only the second time in 20 years, not a single reading of 90 F or higher was recorded in July and August.

MSP set a new high dewpoint record on August 24th with a reading of 76 degrees F as the Heat Index climbed to 95 degrees F for those attending the State Fair.

August precipitation was highly variable, with most observers reporting below normal values, especially in the south-central and southeastern counties.  Thanks to a handful of scattered, but very heavy thunderstorms some observers reported over 5 inches of rain for the month including, Benson (5.27"), Brainerd (6.18"), Dawson (6.62"), Madison (5.39"), Montevideo (6.10"), Ottertail (6.00"), Ortonville (6.20"), Little Falls (6.05"), Morris (5.28"), Zumbrota (6.12"), and Forest Lake (5.10").  Starting Friday morning (Aug 29) additional rainfalls were expected through the end of the month and may bring more observers up closer to normal monthly values. Parts of southeastern Minnesota reported 1-2 inch rains on Friday, August 29th.

Some southern Minnesota counties were designated as abnormally dry by the US Drought Monitor this week, but hopes are that September will bring wetter than normal conditions.


State Fair Weather Quiz


I had fun doing the broadcast of the Minnesota Weather Quiz on Wednesday, August 27th with Steven John of MPR hosting.  If you want to test your knowledge of Minnesota weather during 2014 you can still go to the MPR web site and take the weather quiz


Weekly Weather potpourri:


A recent paper in the Journal of Biometeorology examined whether or not there are any amplifications of pain induced by weather variables for those people who suffer chronic pain from fibromyalgia (like my wife does).  This study found no symptoms of pain amplification brought on by weather variables, except for changes in barometric pressure where there was an inverse association between lower pressure values and higher pain.

Dennis Todey, South Dakota State Climatologist offered a perspective on early September weather in the "Sustainable Corn blog" this week. Warm weather should help maturing crops in many states of the Corn Belt during early September.  You can also examine the frost dates and crop maturation progress around the region by using the U2U Decision Support web site. Remnants of Hurricane Marie in the Eastern Pacific Ocean brought high surf to the Southern California coast this week.  Surfers enjoyed riding the bigger than usual waves, but swimmers were warned to stay out of the rough surf.  Some coastal properties there were flooded by the big waves at high tide.

MPR listener question:  After hearing recently about the 100 years of daily weather observations at Waseca, MN, I was wondering what other Minnesota communities have been observing the weather for 100 years or more?

Answer:  There are actually quite a few.  At least 55 climate stations have kept records for over 100 years, but many of these have as much as 10 to 20 percent of their data missing due to various problems (faulty equipment, ill health or death of an observer, etc). Among the 55 stations perhaps as many as 20 have little if any missing data.  Some of the other places with 100 years or more of daily data, include:  Ada, Albert Lea, Argyle, Baudette, Bemidji, Cass Lake, Cloquet, Collegeville, Crookston, Detroit Lakes, Duluth, Fairmont, Farmington, Fergus Falls, Olivia-Bird Island, Grand Marais, Grand Meadow, Grand Rapids, Hallock, Hutchinson, International Falls, Itasca State Park, Leech Lake, Little Falls, Long Prairie, Mankato, Milan, Milaca, Montevideo, MSP, Mora, Morris, New London, New Ulm, Park Rapids, Pine River Dam, Pokegama Dam, Red Lake Falls, Red Wing, Redwood Falls, Rochester, Roseau, St Cloud, St Peter, Tower, Tracy, Two Harbors, Wadena, Warroad, Waseca, Willmar, Winnebago, Winnibigoshish Dam, Winona, and Zumbrota.

 Twin Cities Almanac for August 29th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 79 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 59 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for August 29th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 96 degrees F in 1969; lowest daily maximum temperature of 60 degrees F in 1915; lowest daily minimum temperature is 45 degrees F in 1911 and 1974; highest daily minimum temperature of 74 F in 1881, 1899, and 1969; record precipitation of 2.05 inches in 1964; and there has been no snow on this date.

Average dew point for August 29th is 58 degrees F, with a maximum of 76 degrees F in 1949 and a minimum of 34 degrees F in 1931.

All-time state records for August 29th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 103 degrees F at Beardsley (Big Stone County) in 1921. The state record low temperature for this date is 22 degrees F at Tower (St Louis County) in 1976. State record precipitation for this date is 5.32 inches at Thorhult (Nicollet County) in 1980; and no measurable snowfall has occurred on this date.

Past Weather Features:

August 29, 1976 was the coolest in state history as low temperatures in the 30s F were measured even in southern Minnesota communities (38 F at Preston).  Many frosts were reported in northern counties and eight Minnesota cities saw the thermometer drop into the 20s F.
Strong thunderstorms brought heavy rains to northern Minnesota over August 29-30, 1980 (a drought year).  Many observers reported over 2 inches, while Baudette, Red Lake Falls, and Babbitt received over 4 inches of rain.  Some large hail was reported as well.
August 28-29, 1984 brought a widespread Heat Wave to Minnesota.  Nearly every location saw 90 degrees F or higher daytime temperatures.  Over a half dozen western communities saw temperatures reach 100 degrees F, where are long, hot, dry summer finally came to an end.  Corn yields were not very good that year in western counties.

Outlook:

Near normal to above normal temperatures over the weekend, with increasing chances for showers later on Saturday and into Sunday.  Thunderstorms may be strong on Sunday.  Cooler on Labor Day but with continued chances for showers and thunderstorms.  Drier weather by next Wednesday and Thursday, with warming toward next weekend.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Wet August for Some

In this edition of Minnesota WeatherTalk

  • Wet August for only a few
  • New Seasonal Climate Outlook
  • State Fair
  • Weekly Weather potpourri
  • MPR listener question
  • Almanac for August 22nd
  • Past weather
  • Outlook



Wet August for some

Though most of the state has remained drier than normal for August, a few observers have reported above normal rainfall for the month thanks to some fairly isolated, but intense heavy thunderstorms. In the northern counties Backus, Duluth, and Brimson have received over 3.50 inches of rain so far this month, and Wadena and Little Falls report over 4 inches. In the west Glenwood, Hancock, Alexandria, Montevideo, and New York Mills have received over 3.50 inches, and Ortonville, Rothsay, Artichoke Lake, Madison, and Morris have reported over 4 inches. Dawson is the wet spot in the west with over 6 inches so far this month. In the southeastern counties Mantorville and Theilman have reported over 3.50 inches, while Zumbrota, Winona, Cannon Falls, and Minnesota City have reported over 4 inches.

Further, over August 20-21 this week fast-moving intense thunderstorms brought 2-4 inch rainfalls to some parts of the state. Some observers reported daily record rainfalls, including:

  • 4.00 inches at St James
  • 2.70 inches at Starbuck
  • 2.64 inches at Morris
  • 2.35 inches at Kimball
  • 2.34 inches at Artichoke Lake
  • 2.05 inches at Ottertail
  • 2.04 inches at Glenwood
  • 1.92 inches at Springfield
  • 1.89 inches at North Mankato


As opposed to the widespread wetter than normal pattern that prevailed across the state during the first half of summer, August rainfall has been very spotty. The US Drought Monitor expanded the geographic designation for an abnormally dry landscape in Minnesota. Last week the designated area was Freeborn and Faribault Counties and this week the Drought Monitor designation for abnormally dry includes portions of Winona, Fillmore, Mower, Blue Earth, Waseca, and Le Sueur Counties. Heavier than normal rainfall for much of Minnesota is in the outlook for the remainder of August, so most areas should see some significant rainfall amounts before the end of the month.


New Seasonal Climate Outlook

The NOAA Climate Prediction Center issued new seasonal climate outlooks on Thursday this week. They call for equal chances of above or below normal temperatures and precipitation for September across Minnesota. For later in autumn and early winter, the outlook clearly favors warmer than normal temperatures for the western Great Lakes Region for October through February. This is predominately based on the formation of an El Nino episode this fall which is correlated mild winters in our region.

State Fair Coming Up

This year our State Fair runs from August 21st to September 1st. I will be appearing on TPT's Almanac Program at noon on August 22nd at the MPR stage (corner of Judson and Nelson Streets) at the State Fair this year, and again at the MPR stage on Wednesday, August 27th at noon broadcasting the "Annual Minnesota Weather Quiz" with Stephen John . Please drop by if you are at the State Fair.

Some State Fair Weather History: All the climate data for the State Fair history has been compiled by Pete Boulay of the MN State State Climatology Office.  The hottest day in the history of the Minnesota State Fair was on September 10, 1931 with 104 degrees. Note that the Minnesota State fair in 1931 ran eight days from September 5-12. The coldest maximum temperature for the fair is 52 degrees on September 7, 1911 and the coldest minimum temperature is 33 degrees on September 13, 1890. The coolest fair morning in modern history was a chilly 36 degrees on September 1, 1974.

The Minnesota State Fair has been held at its current site since 1885. Beginning in 1975, the fair has a 12 day run each year ending with Labor Day. Thus since 1975, the fair begins on a Thursday in August. Before 1975 the fair was held for shorter durations. On average it rains about 3 to 4 days during the fair's 12 day run. The wettest fair of the modern era (12-day runs) was in 1977 with 9.48 inches, and the driest fair was 2003 with only .02 inch of rain. The largest rain event in the State Fair's history was August 30, 1977. At 8:20 pm heavy rains hit the State Fair. The U of M St. Paul Campus climate observatory ½ mile north of the fairgrounds saw 4.06 inches of rain. This caused some of the worst street flooding seen at the fairgrounds. The grandstand show was cancelled.


Weekly Weather potpourri:

Environment Canada reported that two tornadoes touched down in Ontario on Tuesday (Aug 19) evening this week, one near South Windsor and the other near Harrow. These storms caused some damage to farm buildings but no fatalities.

The USGS and Army Corps of Engineers along with NOAA have released a new online training module called "Preparing Hydro-climate inputs for Climate Change in Water Resources Planning." This science-based self-taught course is supported by a variety of other online data and resources. For those interested in managing water resources by incorporating what we know about climate change, I encourage you to take a look at this.

MPR listener question:

"Which State Fairs have seen the greatest and least frequencies of daily rainfall?"

Answer: Since 1885 the only State Fair to see no rainfall at all was in 1906, over a six day run from September 3 to September 8th. Probably the highest frequency of rainfall during the Fair dates to 1940 when it rained on the first 7 consecutive days. Fortunately the last three days of the State Fair that year were dry, boosting attendance. The 1940 State Fair was plagued by weather even before it started as a strong thunderstorm dislodged and collapsed the Machinery Hill Big Top Tent before the fair even opened. It had to be repaired and resurrected in time for the start of the State Fair.

Twin Cities Almanac for August 22nd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 79 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 60 degrees F (plus or minus 6 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for August 22nd

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 97 degrees F in 1971; lowest daily maximum temperature of 60 degrees F in 1891; lowest daily minimum temperature is 43 degrees F in 1890; highest daily minimum temperature of 80 F in 1968; record precipitation of 3.32 inches in 1914; and there has been no snow on this date.

Average dew point for August 15th is 58 degrees F, with a maximum of 75 degrees F in 1968 and a minimum of 38 degrees F in 1934.

Past Weather Features

Slow moving thunderstorms brought heavy rains to many parts of the state over August 22-24, 1959. In southern counties rainfall amounts from 2 to 4 inches were quite common. Some communities experienced widespread flooding with heavier amounts of rainfall including 5.23 inches at Zumbrota, 5.94 inches at Austin, 6.01 inches at Blue Earth, and 7.53 inches at Bricelyn.

The coldest August 22nd in state history occurred in 1967 as many northern counties reported overnight lows in the 30s F and there were several reports of frosts. At Cook, Cotton, and Bigfork temperatures dropped into the upper 20s F, ending the gardening season for residence of those communities.
August 22, 1971 was probably the hottest in history across the southern half of the state as most observers reported afternoon highs in the 90s F and six cities in western Minnesota topped the 100 degrees F mark. Fortunately it just last one day, as a Canadian cold front dropped temperatures back into the 70s F the next day.


Outlook

Still humid through the weekend and early next week with high dewpoints. Air temperatures will generally be warmer than normal, especially on Sunday. There will be chances for showers and thunderstorms each day. Cooler than normal temperatures will settle in for Tuesday through Thursday, but there will still be chances for showers.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Wrap-up on July Climate: August 8, 2014 Commentary

In this edition of WeatherTalk


  • Wrap-up on July climate
  • Scarcity of 90 F in July
  • Concerns at Farmfest 2014
  • Weekly weather potpourri
  • MPR listener question
  • Almanac for August 8th
  • Past weather
  • Outlook

Wrap-up on July Climate


Most observers reported a July mean temperature that was 2 to 4 degrees F cooler than normal. This pattern has been prevalent across the state since last October as 8 of the last 9 months have brought cooler than normal temperatures to the state. During the cool spell towards the end of the month, Ada set a new record cold maximum temperature on the 27th with 67 degrees, and Red Lake Falls did similarly with 66 degrees F on the 28th. Extremes for the month were 96 degrees F at Hutchinson on the 21st and 36 degrees F at Brimson on the 4th and Embarrass on the 16th.

Most of the state was drier than normal during July, many places 1 to 2 inches less than average for the month. Thanks to some intense thunderstorms there were some wet spots, including Grand Portage with 6.31 inches, Wadena with 7.78 inches, and Chaska with 5.05 inches. The drier than normal rainfall pattern of July caused Minnesota crops to deplete the soil moisture supplies significantly, so that by the end of the month many areas were showing less than normal values of stored soil moisture. Many areas of the state would welcome appreciable rainfalls during the first two weeks of August.

Scarcity of 90 F in July


Many citizens have remarked about the absence of 90 F temperatures this summer. July was unusual in this respect. The Twin Cities which normally sees 6 or 7 days of 90 F temperatures or greater in July reported only two. Saint Cloud which averages 5-6 90 F days in July reported only 2, and Rochester which averages 4-5 days of 90 F temperatures reported 0 days with temperatures that high in July. This was not uncommon as Morris, Wheaton, Windom, and Tracy also reported no days with 90 F temperatures in July. For many locations this last happened in 1992.

Concerns at 2014 Farmfest


Many farmers were concerned about August rainfall at this year’s Farmfest as southern agricultural areas of the state were drying out. Additional rainfall is needed to maintain good yield prospects for late planted corn and soybeans. In addition some farmers were concerned about early frost in the fall which might prevent crops from fully maturing. There are no indications that Minnesota will be threatened by early frost this year, but it is a concern nevertheless.

One of the program discussions there involved climate change consequences for Minnesota agriculture. There is widespread acceptance that Minnesota's climate is changing and farmers are adapting. Crop insurance has become more commonly used as a management tool, as has conservation tillage to protect the soil from erosion and better preserve stored soil moisture. Clearly farmers are coping with a greater variability in climate.

Weekly weather potpourri


On Sunday, August 3rd Death Valley reported a daytime high of only 89 degrees F, 33 degrees F below normal. This was only the coldest summer daytime high measured there since 1984 and only the 5th time since 1911 that a summertime high has been measured that is less than 90 degrees F.

Another unusual weather report from the western states was a new record cold high at Reno, NV on Monday, August 4 with a high of only 76 degrees and 20 hours of rainfall, a highly odd weather day for a town used to summer drought and high temperatures in the 90s F.

California State Climatologist Michael Anderson announced this week the publication of California's Climate Change Research Plan to serve their state agencies. It is a fairly comprehensive plan and considers many socio-economic impacts on the state. Read the plan.

In the western Pacific Ocean Typhoon Halong was spinning off the south coast of Japan with winds up to 100 mph producing sea wave heights well over 30 feet. It is expected to bring high winds and heavy rains to parts of Kyoto on Saturday. Meanwhile Super Typhoon Genevieve was located between Wake Island and Midway Island producing wind gusts in excess of 170 mph and over 40 foot seas. It is expected to remain out to sea throughout the weekend. Tropical Storm Iselle and Hurricane Julio were bringing storm warnings to Hawaii this week due to their strong winds, high seas, and heavy rains. Islanders were preparing for a 1-2 punch from these storms which may last through the weekend and bring well over a foot of rain to some places.

The NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC) released an updated North Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook this week showing a 70 percent chance of a below-normal season in terms of number of Tropical Storms and Hurricanes. Read more.


MPR listener question

"How many weekends this summer (since May 1st) have brought rainfall to the Twin Cities? It seems like a lot to me."

Answer: Since May 1st 8 out of 13 weekends (over 61 percent) have seen measurable rainfall occur in the Twin Cities. Indeed this is greater than the historical frequency for weekend rainfalls which is about one weekend in every three.

Twin Cities Almanac for August 8th


The average MSP high temperature for this date is 83 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 63 degrees F (plus or minus 6 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for August 8th


MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 96 degrees F in 1894, 1914, and 2010; lowest daily maximum temperature of 62 degrees F in 1888; lowest daily minimum temperature is 47 degrees F in 1888; highest daily minimum temperature of 77 F in 2001; record precipitation of 2.22 inches in 1987; and there has been no snow on this date.

Average dew point for August 8th is 59 degrees F, with a maximum of 76 degrees F in 2010 and a minimum of 37 degrees F in 1927.

All-time state records for August 8th


The state record high temperature for this date is 105 degrees F at Beardsley (Big Stone County) and Wheaton (Traverse County) in 1936. The state record low temperature for this date is 33 degrees F at Tower (St Louis County) in 1898 and at Thorhult (Beltrami County) in 1964. State record precipitation for this date is 5.30 inches at Waseca (Waseca County) in 1991; and no measurable snowfall has occurred on this date.

Past Weather Features


By far the warmest August 8th in state history was 1936 as virtually all observers in the state reported daytime highs in the 90s F and seven communities saw the thermometer soar to 100 degrees F or greater. The heat spell lasted until August 13th when temperatures dropped off into the 70s and 80s F.

Perhaps the coldest August 8th in state history was in 1964 when a dozen northern Minnesota communities reported morning low temperatures in the 30s F. Ground frosts were reported by observers in Lake of the Woods, Clearwater, and Beltrami Counties. It was as cold as 41 degrees F at Theilman in southeastern Minnesota.

August 7-8, 1991 brought strong thunderstorms and heavy rains to many parts of southern Minnesota. Many observers reported over 3 inches of rain, including 3.23" at Austin, 3.57" at New Ulm, and 3.89" at Rochester. Waseca reported a total rainfall of 5.35 inches flooding streets in that community.

Outlook


Near normal temperatures over the weekend with a chance for widely scattered thunderstorms, mostly Sunday night. Slightly cooler on Monday with a continued chance for widely scattered showers, then cooler temperatures for the balance of next week, and a growing chance for showers by next Thursday.
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