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Extension > Mark Seeley's WeatherTalk > June 2016

Friday, June 24, 2016

June Storms

June Storms:

Storms late last week and earlier this week brought some damage reports due to hail, wind, and flooding. Over last Friday and Saturday (June 17-18), widespread large hail (1-1.5 inch diameter) was reported from 14 Minnesota western counties. Then on Sunday June 19th, large hail was reported from 10 northern Minnesota counties, including grape fruit size stones observed near Nisswa in Crow Wing County. Tornadoes were also reported that day from Wadena, Cass, and Itasca Counties, although all were brief touchdowns with relatively little damage associated. Strong thunderstorm winds (up to 70mph) knocked down trees and damaged cabins in Crow Wing and Itasca Counties, and a great deal of wind damage was reported from the Duncan Lake region of the BWCA, where some campers were injured and a man was killed by a falling tree. More details on these storms can be found at the State Climatology Office web site.

Continuing this weather trend, strong thunderstorms brought rain, hail, and high winds to portions of Rice, Steele, Goodhue, Dodge, and Scott Counties on Wednesday, June 22nd. A few places like Byron and grand Meadow received over an inch of rain from these storms. Over the past week thunderstorms brought new daily rainfall records to Redwood Falls, Montevideo, and Dawson in the west, and Cotton in the north, with amounts ranging from 1.50 to nearly 3 inches. So far 32 new daily rainfall records have been set this month in the Minnesota climate observing networks, and more may come from unsettled weather over the coming weekend.

Thanks to heavy rains from thunderstorms, many climate observers are reporting over 5 inches of rain for the month of June, and a handful like Hutchinson, Mankato, New Ulm, Redwood Falls, Preston, and La Crescent have received over 6 inches. Though many observers are reporting above normal rainfall for this month, some areas of west-central Minnesota, especially from Wilkin to Lac Qui Parle Counties, remain drier than normal with rainfall deficiencies ranging from 3-5 inches since May 1st.

Some farmers in Brown, Redwood, Renville, and Stearns Counties were assessing hail damage to corn and soybean fields. The University of Minnesota Extension has published some guidelines on assessing such damage for determining whether to replant fields. If you know someone in this situation please encourage them to check out these guidelines.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:



A hot June has prevailed in many western states, especially California, Nevada, and Arizona. Here are the average daily temperature departures and extreme values of temperature so far for selected western climate stations:
Las Vegas, NV, +6.0°F, with a high of 115°F
Phoenix, AZ, +4.0°F, with a high of 118°F
Needles, CA, +7.0°F, with a high of 125°F
Death Valley, CA, +6.0°F, with a high of 126°F

This June will rank historically very high if not record-setting with respect to temperature at many of these locations. More about this Heat Wave in the west can be found at the NOAA web site.

This week on NOAA Event Tracker there is an interesting feature on the flooding rains in France and Germany that occurred earlier this season. Some scientists link the unusual weather pattern that brought persistent heavy rains over these countries to climate change signals.

A recent paper in the International Journal of Climatology documents the climate characteristics of ice storms across the USA. It show that central and western Minnesota counties have a higher annual frequency of ice storms (quarter inch of deposition or greater) than most other states in the Midwest, but not quite as high as some northeastern states. Peak occurrence of such storms is in the months of January and March, with a secondary peak in December.

A recent paper from Columbia University published in the journal Environmental Health examines the expected change in frequency of Heat Waves for New York City due to global climate change by the year 2080. There is considerable interest in this topic by health professionals who serve urban populations which already suffer from city "heat islands" in the summer.

MPR listener question:

My question relates to sleeping weather. We live in South Minneapolis in a home without air conditioning. Our habit is to leave the bedrooms windows open at night and capture the cool outside air. But that is not happening very frequently this month. How many nights has the nighttime temperature dropped below 60°F this month compared to average?

Answer:

I'm with you, cool nights below 60F are great for sleeping. So far in the Twin Cities we have seen only 8 such nights this month, compared to a historical average of 15 or 16. Hopefully, we'll get a couple of more before the end of June. Such nighttime temperatures become pretty rare in July. In four of the past 7 Julys there have been no nights when the temperature dropped below 60°F.

Twin Cities Almanac for June 24th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 82 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 62 degrees F (plus or minus 6 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for June 24th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 101 degrees F in 1988; lowest daily maximum temperature of 59 degrees F in 1928; lowest daily minimum temperature is 44 degrees F in 1972; highest daily minimum temperature of 76 degrees F in 1954; record precipitation of 2.36 inches in 1911; and no snowfall has occurred on this date.

Average dew point for June 24th is 57 degrees F, with a maximum of 75 degrees F in 2003 and a minimum of 29 degrees F in 1972.

All-time state records for June 24th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 106 degrees F at Artichoke Lake (Big Stone County) in 1988. The state record low temperature for this date is 20 degrees F at Remer (Cass County) in 1985. State record precipitation for this date is 7.60 inches at Browns Valley (Traverse County) in 2003 ; and no measurable snowfall has occurred on this date.

Past Weather Features:

A high pressure system from Canada brought cool weather to Minnesota on June 24, 1985. Many climate stations reported record low temperatures in the 30s F, and a few stations in the north reported frosts with temperatures in the 20s F.

By far the hottest June 24th in state history was in 1988. Over 30 communities in the state reported afternoon temperatures of 100F or higher. The coolest spot in the state was Grand Marais with a temperature of 53F.

June 22-25, 2003 brought bouts of heavy rain, hail, strong winds, and even tornadoes to many parts of the state. Heavy rains totaling over 6 inches brought flooding to parts of Morrison, Aitkin, Renville, Sherburne, and Wright Counties. A tornado cause extensive property damage in Buffalo Lake (Wright County).

Outlook:

Warm and humid on Saturday with a chance for showers and thunderstorms. Severe weather is possible in some areas. Breezy on Sunday, with a chance for a few stray showers early. Cooler Monday through Wednesday next week and generally dry. Below normal temperatures and another chance for showers by Thursday.








 

 





Friday, June 17, 2016

Heavy rains dominate the week

The warm and humid conditions of last weekend help set the stage for numerous thunderstorms this week across much of the state. Recall that the weather of last weekend produced widespread readings in the 90s F around the state, including a record high of 98°F at Winnebago on the 11th, and a record high of 96°F at Lake Wilson on the same date. Many observers also reported near record dew points in the 70s F, leading to Heat Index readings over 100°F in many places. This represents a large quantity of water vapor which does not allow the air to cool off much at night. As a result, Tracy set a new record warm minimum temperature on the 10th, with a reading of 73°F.

All of the water vapor in the atmosphere served as fuel for thunderstorms, which became widespread across the state over June 11-14. Over those 4 days many areas received from 2-4 inches of rain. A few highly localized amounts were even greater causing some short-lived flooding concerns. You can read more about the distribution of these storms at the Minnesota State Climatology Office web site.


http://images.dnr.state.mn.us/natural_resources/climate/journal/ahps_rain_mn160613.jpg

Some climate stations reported new daily rainfall records as a result of these thunderstorms. These included: on the 11th Lake City 2.03 inches; on the 12th Thorhult 1.70 inches; on the 13th Eveleth 2.51", Dassel 3.19", Embarrass 1.96", and Stillwater 1.54"; on the 14th Amboy 2.00"; and on June 15th record values were reported for La Crescent 1.78", Melrose 1.80", Caledonia 1.51", Harmony 2.07", Houston 2.83", Waseca 3.19", and Forest Lake 2.00".

The strong thunderstorms on June 14th produced tornadoes in Pipestone, Traverse, Big Stone, Le Sueur, and Blue Earth Counties. All were relatively short-lived and produced relatively little damage. Very strong winds up to 60mph were also reported from portions of Nobles, Jackson, Cottonwood, Brown, and Watonwan Counties.

As a result of the rainy week, many climate stations are already reporting total monthly rainfall that exceeds the June normal. This continues a recent climate trend for June, as 15 of the most recent Junes have been normal or wetter than normal on a statewide basis.

New seasonal climate outlooks:

NOAA Climate Prediction Center released new seasonal climate outlooks this week. The new outlooks covering the period from July-September favor warmer than normal temperatures over a vast area of the USA, including Minnesota. The outlooks also favor wetter than normal conditions for most of the southern half of Minnesota.

Weekly weather potpourri:

Weather for Grandma's Marathon along the north shore of Lake Superior this Saturday from Two Harbors to Duluth looks good. Starting in the morning with increasing cloudiness, light south winds and temperatures in the upper 50s F to low 60s F. There will be a 40-50 percent chance of showers by mid-morning as temperatures warm into the low 70s F.

Recently NOAA scientists revisited the sources of carbon dioxide emitted into Earth's atmosphere each year. Human activity as a source of carbon dioxide far outweighs any other sources.

The UK Met Office has another interesting article this week about the trend in atmospheric carbon dioxide, showing that 2016 will be the first year with concentrations above 400ppm on a year round basis since measurements began at the Mauna Loa Observatory in 1958.

A recent study from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University reveals that the public is more likely to believe climate scientist's warnings about climate change if they see that these scientists are practicing conservation and reducing their own environmental footprints.

MPR listener question:

The other night at the Pub 500 in Mankato we got into an argument about which month brings the most 2 inch thunderstorm rains. I am sure it is June because I have had so many hay cuttings ruined by heavy rains in June. My neighbor insists it is more common in August? Who is right?

Answer:

For the Mankato area you are correct. Over 30 percent of all historical thunderstorms that brought 2 inches of rain or more have occurred in the month of June. August has brought about 20 percent of such storms. There is some geographic disparity in this climate attribute across the state. For most of southern Minnesota, June indeed has the highest frequency of heavy thunderstorm rainfalls, with the second highest frequency in August. In northern counties the highest frequency is in August, and along the north shore area near Lake Superior there is a second high frequency of such storms in September, while the lake surface remains warm from accumulated summer heat.

Twin Cities Almanac for June 17th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 80 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 60 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for June 17th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 97 degrees F in 1933; lowest daily maximum temperature of 54 degrees F in 1876; lowest daily minimum temperature is 42 degrees F in 1960; highest daily minimum temperature of 75 degrees F in 1921; record precipitation of 1.72 inches in 1883; and no snowfall has occurred on this date.

Average dew point for June 17th is 56 degrees F, with a maximum of 74 degrees F in 1994 and a minimum of 39 degrees F in 1958.

All-time state records for June 17th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 102 degrees F at Campbell (Wilkin County) in 1933. The state record low temperature for this date is 22 degrees F at Tower (St Louis County) in 2000. State record precipitation for this date is 8.67 inches at Minnesota (Lyon County) in 1957 ; and no measurable snowfall has occurred on this date.

Past Weather Features:

The warmest ever June 17th occurred in 1933 when nearly every part of the state (except communities along Lake Superior) reported record high temperatures in the 90s F. Eight climate stations reached the century mark.

Over June 16-18, 1957 thunderstorms produced hail and heavy rains across many parts of the state. Many farm fields were flooded by 2-4 inches of rain. Especially hard hit were southwestern counties where rainfall totals ranged from 7-9 inches. Some fields had to be replanted.

A very cold on the morning on June 17, 2000. Many northern counties reported morning lows in the 30s F, while Embarrass and Tower reported readings in the 20s F. As far south as Wabasha County some ground frost was reported.

Outlook:

Chance for showers in the north on Saturday, partly cloudy elsewhere.  Much warmer on Sunday with a chance for showers and thunderstorms later in the day. Heat index values may exceed 100°F in some places, and some of the storms on Sunday may be severe.  Continued chance for showers on Monday, but with cooler temperatures.  Dry and mild Tuesday-Wednesday, then chance of showers again by Thursday.









Friday, June 10, 2016

June frosts in the north country



June frosts in the north country:

June 7 and 8 brought cold morning temperatures to many parts of the state, especially northeastern counties. Many climate observers reported morning lows in the 30s F, and several reported frost. A number of climate stations also reported new record daily low temperatures. These included:
June 7th 37F at Kabetogama and Littlefork
June 8th: 28F at Crane Lake; 29F at Hibbing and Orr; 30F at International Falls and Babbitt; and 37F at Sandstone.

Actually frosts this time of year are not all that unusual in northern Minnesota counties, with a 10 to 20 percent historical frequency during the 2nd week of June.

Heavy rains on June 9th:

The heaviest rains of the month so far occurred on June 9th. Dew points climbed from 40F the previous day into the low 60sF just before the rains occurred. Many observers reported over 1 inch of rainfall, and a few southern Metro observers reported over 2 inches, including a record daily value of 2.52 inches at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Chanhassen. A couple of spots in Chaska reported over 3 inches.

The Urban Heat Island Explored by Bicycle:

A number of years ago an article in Weather magazine described the urban heat island of Reading, England as measured by a bicyclist who used a simple digital thermometer
with a 10 second response time. He repeatedly cycled 5 mile long transects through the city center near sunset and recorded temperatures along the way about every 1 km. His
measurements showed a mean urban heat island effect of about 3 to 4 degrees F, that is the city center tended to be that much warmer than the perimeter areas around the city.
Under some conditions, he measured a maximum temperature difference of over 12 degrees F.

These temperature data are similar in magnitude to some of those being measured by the "Islands in the Sun" project of Dr. Snyder and Dr. Twine here in the Twin Cities Metro Area, where the frost-free season can vary in length by as much as 8 to 12 days.

I would be interested to hear from any listeners or readers who routinely bicycle around the Twin Cities area and have found highly perceptible differences in temperature along
the routes they take. I would suspect that some city parks and/or city lakes may have some noticeable cooling effects on air temperature, especially in the summer months.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

NOAA scientists this week offer a more detailed discussion of the 2016 North Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. They particularly spend time describing why the outlook is so uncertain this year.

A recent paper in Nature Communications discusses Arctic warming and how it is affecting the melting rate of Greenland's ice sheet as well as the polar jet stream. The authors suggest we will witness mote surprising changes in the behavior of the Arctic climate system in coming years.

AGU published an interesting retrospective on the Mt Pinatubo eruption 25 years ago, and the scientific knowledge accrued since that time. It is very interesting reading.

MPR listener question:

What are the records for most single day rainfall and most monthly rainfall in June?

Answer:

The single day record is 10.40 inches at Two Harbors on June 20, 2012 (Duluth Flood), while the monthly record is 15.63 inches at Delano in June of 2002.

Twin Cities Almanac for June 10th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 77 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 57 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for June 3rd:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 99 degrees F in 1956; lowest daily maximum temperature of 55 degrees F in 1945; lowest daily minimum temperature is 40 degrees F in 1877; highest daily minimum temperature of 73 degrees F in 1973; record precipitation of 1.77 inches in 1874; and no snowfall has occurred on this date.

Average dew point for June 3rd is 53 degrees F, with a maximum of 73 degrees F in 2002 and a minimum of 20 degrees F in 1972.

All-time state records for June 10th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 106 degrees F at Fairmont (Martin County) in 1933. The state record low temperature for this date is 22 degrees F at Remer (Cass County) in 1985. State record precipitation for this date is 6.05 inches at Agassiz Refuge (Marshall County) in 2002; and no measurable snowfall has occurred on this date.

Word of the Week: "Sheep's Cold"

This expression comes courtesy of Jo Farrow of the BBC Weather Centre. In Austria a late spring or early summer cold spell that comes close to June 11 is referred to as "sheep's cold" weather (or schafskalte). It brings a bit of a shock to the sheep as they have typically just been sheared for the impending summer season and are therefore more susceptible to the cold. So I guess you could call the cold mornings in northern Minnesota this week, when temperatures dipped into the 20s F, "sheep's cold."

Past Weather Features:

The hottest June 10th in state history occurred in 1933. Nearly every part of the state reached 90F or greater that day with 10 climate stations reporting 100F or greater. It was a trend that lasted all month,as June of 1933 was the hottest in state history.

Many areas of the state reported frost on June 10, 1972. Several climate stations in northeastern Minnesota reported low temperatures in the 20s F, and frost was reported as far south as Zumbrota (Goodhue County), where some soybean fields had to be replanted.

Strong thunderstorms brought record-setting rains and flash floods to many parts of the state over June 9-10, 2002. Portions of Lake of the Woods and Roseau Counties saw 12 to 14 inches of rain, sending a record flood crest down the Roseau River. More details can be found from the Minnesota State Climatology Office.

Outlook:

Warm weekend coming up with chances for showers and thunderstorms by Sunday. Continued chance for showers into Monday and Tuesday, but with cooler temperatures that are closer to normal.

 






Friday, June 3, 2016

May closes wet for some

May closes wet for some:

The last week of May brought frequent, and sometimes heavy rains to many parts of the state. for some northern Minnesota climate stations it rained each day over the last week of the month. Sotty thunderstorms brought some new record daily rainfall amounts over the last day of May, including 0.99 inches at Lakefield; 1.67 inches at Hokah; 1.29 inches at La Crescent; 1.27 inches at Austin; 1.19 inches at Hallock; and an incredible 4.45 inches at Crookston. That amount at Crookston ranked as the 4th highest daily rainfall in history there.

Thought most areas of the state recorded a drier than normal May, thanks to the high frequency of rainfall during the last week, a few climate stations reported one of their wettest Mays. Some of these included:
Crookston 6.68 inches (3rd wettest)
Lakefield 5.44 inches (5th wettest)
Lamberton 5.56 inches (9yh wettest)
Worthington 6.90 inches (7th wettest)
Hutchinson 7.29 inches (2nd wettest)

Stored soil moisture remains near average or greater for most areas of the state as we head into June.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

A recent paper from researchers at Concordia University in Montreal documents the climate and energy saving benefits from using more reflective roofing materials. Such measures on a broad scale can actually diminish the effects of "urban heat islands."

NOAA news blog (climate.gov) features an interesting article this week about using climate models to plan for more effective use of Colorado River water and to mitigate the risks of diminished water supply due to a higher frequency of drought.

Michigan State University has developed a classroom activity to help students understand the link between climate and phenology (such as bird migrations). You can find guidance and an outline of activity for this curriculum at their web site.

Southern Germany and central France were plagued by persistent heavy thunderstorms earlier this week dropping 3-5 inches of rain over widespread areas. The resulting floods displace thousands of residents along river flood plains and even caused some removal of art works from the Louvre in Paris which is located along the river Seine.

Similarly in parts of east Texas strong thunderstorms during the last week of May brought heavy rains that produced widespread flooding. Some observers reported 10-17 inches of rain over a 5-day period. This was the 2nd consecutive year that May has brought flooding rains to Texas. Some climate stations recorded over 20 inches of rain for the month.

MPR listener question:

I am training for Grandma's Marathon in Duluth this month and May brought at least two smoky days to Minnesota, with poor air quality. I did not run on those days. Since atmospheric inversions (increase of temperature with height) are often associated with poor air quality, what is the season with the most frequent occurrence of inversions in Minnesota?

Answer:

A study done at St Cloud State University a number of years ago showed that inversions are far more common during the winter season. This was based on taking historical atmospheric soundings of the National Weather Service (instrumented balloons launched twice each day). Inversions occurred about 90 percent of all days in the winter (Dec-Feb), and about 50 to 55 percent of all days in the summer (Jun-Aug). Inversions were also shown to be far more common in the early morning hours than in the evening hours. I suspect you will have few or even zero occurrences of poor air quality before Grandma's Marathon on the 18th of this month.

Twin Cities Almanac for June 3rd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 75 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 55 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for June 3rd:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 92 degrees F in 1923; lowest daily maximum temperature of 53 degrees F in 1897 and again in 1990; lowest daily minimum temperature is 34 degrees F in 1945; highest daily minimum temperature of 70 degrees F in 1898; record precipitation of 1.71 inches in 1914; and no snowfall has occurred on this date.

Average dew point for June 3rd is 49 degrees F, with a maximum of 73 degrees F in 1963 and a minimum of 24 degrees F in 1929.

All-time state records for June 3rd:

The state record high temperature for this date is 98 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1940, and at several locations in 1968. The state record low temperature for this date is 19 degrees F at Ely (St Louis County) in 1947. State record precipitation for this date is 7.10 inches at Pine River Dam (Crow Wing County) in 1898; and no measurable snowfall has occurred on this date.

Past Weather Features:

On June 3, 1860 an F5 tornado cut a path across Iowa from Dewitt to Comanche, along the Mississippi River near the Illinois border. As described by eyewitnesses, this strong tornado actually formed as a merger of two lesser tornadoes that collided. It remains one of the worst to ever strike the midwest, resulting in 92 deaths and 200 injuries. The town of Comanche, IA was completely destroyed, including 39 businesses and 150 homes. The tornado was 1000 yards wide and cut a path of over 80 miles. When it crossed the Mississippi River and struck Albany, IL it tore up the cemetery and scattered grave stones for miles.

June 3, 1928 brought widespread frosts, with morning lows in the 20s F in many areas. In western counties some crops had to be replanted.

On June 3, 1955 strong thunderstorm winds overturned a boat on Lake Traverse (Traverse County) drowning seven people.

June 3, 1968 was the hottest in history on a statewide basis. Over 80 Minnesota communities reported afternoon highs of 90°F or greater.

June started out very wet in 2002, bringing 3-4 inches of rain to many parts of southern Minnesota. It was a precursor to one of the wettest Junes in state history.

Outlook:

Lingering chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms on Saturday, but a brighter day on Sunday with below normal temperatures. Continuing mild and sunny weather through Wednesday, then increasing clouds, humidity, and temperature by Thursday with a chance for thunderstorms.

  

 
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