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Extension > Mark Seeley's WeatherTalk > Helpful rains arrive

Friday, April 22, 2016

Helpful rains arrive

Helpful rains arrive:

With the agricultural planting season now fully underway, some helpful rains began to occur this week following a dry start to the month of April. Up until the rains came, rapid planting progress was made, with earliest ever planting of sugar beets across the state. Also corn was being planted at a robust rate and may be near 50 percent completed by next week. Many northwestern Minnesota observers reported 0.75 inches to over an inch of rain, while southwestern areas received from half an inch to nearly 1.5 inches of rain (Luverne reported 1.64 inches). Elsewhere amounts generally ranged from a quarter inch to a half inch of rainfall. Though most observers still reported below normal rainfall for the month so far, rainfall is expected to average above normal for the balance of the month and will add to soil moisture recharge.

New Seasonal Climate Outlooks:

The NOAA Climate Prediction Center released new seasonal climate outlooks on Thursday this week (April 21). The outlook for May, June, and July calls for temperatures across the Great Lakes Region, including Minnesota to be above normal, a trend that has been prevalent for well over a year now. The outlook for precipitation calls for drier than normal conditions to prevail in northeastern Minnesota, and equal chances for above or below normal values across the rest of the state.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

NOAA announced last week that a next generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-R will be launched in October of this year. It will provide enhance satellite data and observations for National Weather Service meteorologists, with better spatial and temporal resolution of measurements and broader coverage of the Western Hemisphere.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reported last week on the rapid loss of ice caps on Ellesmere Island in the Arctic Region of Canada. The loss of ice has been remarkably fast in recent years and is very evident in satellite imagery.

The Washington Post reported on a study by Knox College in Illinois which was a survey of attitudes towards creepiness. Over a 100 respondents were asked to rank several professional occupations in regards to creepiness. The creepiest occupations were clown, taxidermist and sex shop owner. Those ranked as least creepy were farmer, teacher, and professor. The least creepiest occupation? Meteorologist!

A recent paper published in the journal Nature documents suggests that worsening weather across the United States as a result of climate change may in the end provide the strongest motivation to do something about climate change. Areas of the country which currently experience a high percentage of pleasant weather, may see more unsuitable weather conditions prevail in the future, which will drive some changes in demographics.

Tropical Cyclone Fantala in the Southern Indian Ocean will bring high seas, strong winds, and heavy rains to the northern parts of Madagascar this weekend. It was producing sea waves near 30 feet and winds up to 105 mph on Thursday of this week. Elsewhere Tropical Cyclone Amos in the South Pacific Ocean will bring high seas, strong winds, and rain to portions of Pago Pago in American Samoa this weekend. It was already producing sea waves of 25 feet and winds up to 90 mph.

A recent paper published in EOS asked the question “Are U.S. states prepared to manage water in a changing climate?” This study of five states concludes the answer is emphatically No! Though MNRE effort has been directed in recent years to managing water resources, yet greater effort is needed according to this study.

MPR listener question:

Now that we have apparently put the snow season in the rear view mirror, can you tell me which places in the state had the most snowfall for the season of 2015-2016?

Answer:

Most climate observers around the state reported below normal values for the past snow season. The Twin Cities for examples reported just 36.7 inches, over 17 inches below normal. The exceptions were in northeastern and southwestern Minnesota counties where many observers reported above normal snow seasons. Some of these from the northeast included: Gunflint Lake (Cook County) with 83.9 inches; Ely (St Louis County) with 84 inches, Tower (St Louis County) with 75 inches; and Isabella (Lake County) with 120.6 inches. Some from the southwest included: Lake Wilson (Murray County) with 59.7 inches; Pipestone (Pipestone County) with 59.8 inches; Worthington (Nobles County) with 54.9 inches; and Lakefield (Jackson County) with 56.5 inches. Snow cover is gone across the state except for portions of Lake and Cook Counties in the northeast.

Twin Cities Almanac for April 22nd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 61 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 40 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for April 22nd:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 90 degrees F in 1980; lowest daily maximum temperature of 34 degrees F in 1967: lowest daily minimum temperature is 23 degrees F in 1874; highest daily minimum temperature of 61 degrees F in 1913; record precipitation of 2.21 inches 2001; and record snowfall of 5.4 inches in 1963.

Average dew point for April 22nd is 35 degrees F, with a maximum of 67 degrees F in 1925 and a minimum of 10 degrees F in 1953.

All-time state records for April 22nd:

The state record high temperature for this date is 101 degrees F at Hawley (Clay County) in 1980. The state record low temperature for this date is 1 at Sawbill Camp (Cook County) in 1936. State record precipitation for this date is 3.52 inches at St Cloud (Stearns County) in 2001; and record snowfall is 10.0 inches at Moorhead (Clay County) in 1902.

Past Weather Features:

A spring storm brought several inches of snow to northern parts of the state over April 21-22, 1902. Many observers reported 6-10 inches of snow, especially in the northern sections of the Red River Valley.

Perhaps the coldest April 22nd on a statewide basis was in 1918. Climate observers in central and northern communities reported morning lows in the teens F, while southern Minnesota reported many minimum temperatures in the 20s F. Many areas of the state still had snow on the ground that spring.

April 22-23, 1972 brought snow to many parts of Minnesota. In southern counties the snowfall ranged from 1 to 3 inches, while in northern Minnesota observers reported 5 to 10 inches. The snow brought an abrupt halt to the spring planting season that year.

By far the hottest April 22nd in state history occurred during the Heat Wave of April 20-22, 1980. All-time high temperature records for so early in the spring were set for scores of locations around the state. More than 70 climate stations reached a high temperature of 90F or higher, while strong southerly winds blew dry soil around into dust clouds.

The wettest April 22nd in state history occurred in 2001. A strong, slow-moving spring storm covered the state over April 21-23 dropping a a mixture of precipitation, rain and snow. Many portions of western Minnesota received 5 to 10 inches of snow, while other areas recorded heavy rainfall. Most areas of the state received 2-3 inches, but there were some areas that experienced street flooding as a result of over 4 inches of rain, including Marshall with 4.68 inches and Worthington with 4.33 inches.




Outlook:

The weekend should start mild and sunny with increasing cloudiness by Saturday night and a chance for rain. Continued chance for rain on Sunday and Monday, with some scattered thunderstorms possible. Generally drier and cooler on Tuesday. Continuing chances for showers by the middle of next week with cooler than normal temperatures prevailing.
 

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