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Extension > Mark Seeley's WeatherTalk > July 2016

Friday, July 22, 2016

WeatherTalk to return soon

WeatherTalk is currently on hiatus. Mark Seeley will send the next WeatherTalk later this summer. Thank you!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Storminess Continues

Storminess Continues:

Strong thunderstorms moved over portions of northern and central Minnesota during the past week, especially on July 11-12 (Mon-Tue). Rainfall totals from 5-7 inches occurred over portions of 10 central Minnesota counties, causing widespread flash flooding. Tornadoes caused some damage to homes, businesses, and farms in Meeker and Stearns Counties. Large hail was reported in 4 Minnesota Counties, the largest, 2.5 inch diameter near Mora.

According to the Minnesota State Climatology Office the storm on July 11-12 was the largest mega-rain event since the Duluth flood of June 19-20, 2012. A mega-rain event is classified as a six-inch rainfall that covers at least a 1000 square miles, with a central core value of at least 8 inches. There have been only 13 such storms documented in Minnesota history, but 6 of these have occurred since 2002. You can read more about this weeks storms at the MN State Climatology Office.

Precipitation Map from the July 11-12, 2016 Rain Event

The largest rainfall reported from the storm this week was 9.34 inches at Cloverton in Pine County. Several climate observers reported a new daily rainfall amount for July 11th, including:

7.51 Inches at Rice (Benton County)
6.38 inches at Brainerd airport (Crow Wing County)
6.36 inches at Bruno (Pine County)
5.50 inches at Moose Lake (Carlton County)
2.93 inches at Madison (Lac Qui Parle County)
2.63 inches at Saint Cloud (Stearns County)
2.27 inches at Duluth (St Louis County) tied record from 1914
2.00 inches at Wheaton (Traverse County)

With the large amount of rainfall, flood warnings were still being issued at the end of the week for parts of Pine, Aitkin, Kanabec, and Crow Wing Counties. Many areas of the state have already seen 5-7 inches of rainfall in July and the month is barely half over.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

According to a press release from NOAA this week, June of 2016 was the warmest of record for the contiguous 48 states since records began in 1895. It surpassed the record warmest June of 1933. Minnesota was warm in June, but only modestly, ranking 31st warmest in 122 years.

NOAA also recently released an assessment of billion dollar weather-related disasters so far this year across the USA. There have been eight. Dominated by flooding, wind, and hail events , most of the insured losses have been in the Southern Plains or Southeastern states so far. You can find an assessment at the NOAA web site.

An interesting paper this week from the University of Oxford examines the famous Heat Wave of August 2003 in Europe and how much of it might be attributed to anthropogenic causes. They even differentiate the death tolls in France and the United Kingdom based on anthropogenic factors.

MPR listener question:

What is the average number of days with thunderstorms in Minnesota and how does this number compare with other states?

Answer:

The average number of days with thunderstorms each year varies across Minnesota, from about 30 days in northern counties to over 40 days for those counties along the Iowa border. This is considerably more than west coast states and the northeastern states, but less than most southern states. The state with the largest number of annual thunderstorm days is Florida, where some central counties record 100 days with thunderstorms each year. This features is the result of convergence of the sea breezes coming off both the east and west coasts, which induces lift in the warm, humid air and development of cumulonimbus clouds. The second highest frequency of thunderstorm days is found in the Rocky Mountain Front Range through portions of Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. In this region, topography plays an important role and helps produce 60-70 days with thunderstorms each year.

Twin Cities Almanac for July 15th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 84 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 65 degrees F (plus or minus 6 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for July 15th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 102 degrees F in 1988 and again in 1974; lowest daily maximum temperature of 63 degrees F in 1962; lowest daily minimum temperature is 49 degrees F in 1912; highest daily minimum temperature of 79 degrees F in 1988; record precipitation of 1.87 inches in 1907; and no snowfall has occurred on this date.

Average dew point for July 15th is 59 degrees F, with a maximum of 77 degrees F in 1988 and a minimum of 43 degrees F in 1920.

All-time state records for July 15th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 112 degrees F at Beardsley (Big Stone County) in 1931. The state record low temperature for this date is 30 degrees F at Alborn (St Louis County) in 1930. State record precipitation for this date is 7.17 inches at New Ulm (Brown County) in 1916; and no measurable snowfall has occurred on this date.

Words of the Week: Sulfurous readings

This terminology is intended to evoke an image of heat and humidity like that found in natural geothermal sulfur springs used at some health spas. Meteorologists may include such terminology in their forecast discussions, particularly when heat and humidity are expected to prevail for long periods of time, producing Heat Index values of 100 degrees F or greater. Though many people relish an exposure of several minutes to such conditions in a health spa, exposure to this type of outdoor climate for hours and days is not healthy for anybody.

Past Weather Features:

Strong thunderstorms brought 2-5 inches of rain to many parts of southern Minnesota over July 14-15, 1916. In addition large hail ruined many crop fields in southern Minnesota.

On a statewide basis the hottest July 15th in history occurred in 1931. At least 35 Minnesota cities reported afternoon temperatures of 100F or higher. The temperature at Winona that day never dipped below 80F.

July 15, 1995 brought an end to a 3-day Heat Wave that caused widespread turkey losses in the state, as hundreds of thousands of birds died of heat stress. This was also the end of the lethal Chicago Heat Wave that killed over 600 people there.

Outlook:

Near normal temperatures over the weekend, with a chance for showers and thunderstorms later on Saturday and into Sunday. Some storms could be severe. Drier on Monday and Tuesday, then a warming trend with a several consecutive days bringing high Heat Index values.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Storminess Continues

Storminess Continues:

July 5th (Tuesday) brought severe thunderstorms to many parts of the state, with strong winds and large hail. There were reports of short-lived tornadoes in Swift and Wabasha Counties. At least 8 counties reported large hail (1 diameter or greater), and near Artichoke Lake (Big Stone County) hail stones up to 3 in diameter were observed. In addition 17 counties reported strong winds (60-80 mph), and some associated damage.

Rainfall amounts from these storms were highly variable, with the largest amounts reported across a swath from west-central Minnesota through the Twin Cities Metro Area, and southeastern counties. Many observers recorded over 2 inches, and some reported new record daily amounts for July 5th, including: 4.51 at Morris, 2.14 at Artichoke Lake, and 1.77 at Moose Lake. Then on the July 6th Waseca reported a record 3.03 inches of rain,and on July 7th Park Rapids reported a new record daily rainfall of 2.11 inches. In many cases these record or near-record rainfalls were confined to narrow geographic areas by the size of the thunderstorm cells and their speed of movement.

Just before the onset of the storms dew points spiked into the 70s F pushing Heat Index values into the mid-90s F to low 100s F. More periodic high dew point spells are likely for the rest of the month.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Super Typhoon Nepartak in the Western Pacific Ocean brought high winds, high seas, and heavy rains to Taiwan on Thursday and Friday of this week. It packed winds up to 155 mph, and delivered rainfalls of 6 inches or greater. Eastern China was bracing for heavy rainfall this weekend.

The United Kingdom Meteorological Office will provide rail forecasts for the Eurotunnel train service that connects the UK with France. These forecasts will include storm and flood risk to operations of the trains which average 57,000 passengers daily.

NOAA reports that Alaska just concluded its 9th warmest June in history. This follows a consistent pattern of warmer than normal months during 2016. The first 6 months of 2016 are warmer than any other year in Alaska history, averaging about 9F warmer than normal.

NOAA will host a webinar next week on Thursday, July 14, 2016 at 1:00pm ET to present a discussion of how they are using unmanned aircraft and watercraft to make critical measurements of the atmosphere and oceans. You can find more information and register here.

MPR listener question:

I heard you talk about the famous July 1936 Heat Wave earlier this week on Tom Webers program. When was the peak of that Heat Wave? My grandpa said they had a number of cows die that month.

Answer:

The peak of the Heat Wave was over July 6-15. There was no respite from the heat. In the Twin Cities alone there were over 175 deaths attributed to heat, and statewide it is estimated between 760-900 people lost their lives. The casualty rate among farm livestock was not formally estimated, but must have been in the hundreds at least.

Twin Cities Almanac for July 8th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 84 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 64 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 1936 and again in 1974; lowest daily maximum temperature of 65 degrees F in 1895 and 1997; lowest daily minimum temperature is 51 degrees F in 1958; highest daily minimum temperature of 82 degrees F in 1936; record precipitation of 3.07 inches in 1925; and no snowfall has occurred on this date.

Average dew point for June 24th is 59 degrees F, with a maximum of 74 degrees F in 1983 and a minimum of 42 degrees F in 1953.

All-time state records for June 24th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 110 degrees F at Fosston (Polk County) in 1936. The state record low temperature for this date is 25 degrees F at Kelliher (Beltrami County) in 2003. State record precipitation for this date is 6.03 inches at White Rock Dam (Traverse County) in 1950 ; and no measurable snowfall has occurred on this date.

Past Weather Features:

July 8, 1936 was the hottest in state history, with over 35 communities reporting record-setting high temperatures above 100F. Little relief from the heat came until July 18th when daytime temperatures cooled into the 80s F.

July 8, 1997 brought cool, dry Canadian air to the state, a respite from the heat of earlier in the month. Many observers reported morning lows in the 30s and 40s F. It was 41F in Wabasha County (Theilman). Afternoon highs remained in the 60s and 70s F.

Repeated thunderstorms brought flash flooding to many parts of the state over July 7-10, 2002. Many areas of western and central Minnesota received 4-5 inches of rain. Rothsay (Wilkin County) reported 7.56 inches an there were many flooded county roads.

Outlook:

Nice day Saturday with near cooler than normal temperatures. Increasing clouds on Sunday with a chance for showers and thunderstorms in the north Continued chance for showers Monday and near normal temperatures. Warming trend later in the week with chances for widely scattered showers.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Preliminary Climate Summary for June


Preliminary June Climate Summary:

For most of Minnesota June was warm, with an average monthly temperature that ranged from 1 to 3°F greater than normal. A few areas of northern Minnesota reported slightly cooler than normal mean June temperature values. Extreme temperatures ranged from 100 degrees F at Madison (Lac Qui Parle County) on the 12th to just 28 degrees F at Embarrass (St Louis County) on the 8th. A few days with dew points in the 70s F pushed the Heat Index above 100 degrees F at several locations and caused the National Weather Service to issue several Heat Advisories.

Rainfall for the month was near normal in most areas, except for west-central counties, and some isolated areas of northwestern Minnesota in the Red River Valley, which reported less than normal rainfall for the month. Above normal rainfall was reported by some observers, especially in southeastern and northeastern areas. Eveleth, Tower, Brimson, and Two Harbors reported over 7 inches for the month, and Houston in southeastern Minnesota reported over 8 inches.. The largest one day rain storm was 5.25 inches just southwest of Mankato over June 14-15. Several areas of the state reported some short-lived flooding from severe thunderstorms, and a number of tornadoes were reported, along with large hail. At least 36 new daily rainfall records were reported during June from Minnesota’s weather observer networks. Some Minnesota farmers had to replant fields due to wash-outs or hail damage.

Cool start to July:

July 1st brought below normal temperatures to the state. Many northern areas reported morning lows in the 30s F, including 35°F at Hibbing and Embarrass, and 34°F at Brimson. Elk River in central Minnesota reported a new record low of 47°F and Kabetogama in Voyageurs National Park reported a new record low of 38°F. These temperature values are about 10-15°F below normal for July 1st.  It was for many the coldest start to the month of July since 1969.

80th Anniversary of Minnesota's worst Heat Wave:

Next week marks the 80th Anniversary of the start of Minnesota's worst Heat Wave. It started in southern counties on July 4, 1936 with many observers reporting daytime temperatures over 100F. The Heat Wave spread north over the next 12-15 days. Even northern communities reported temperatures close to 100F, and nighttime temperatures remained in the 80s F in many areas, falling into the 70s F near lakes and in low lying areas. There was no respite from the heat, as many citizens chose to sleep outside. It is estimated that this Heat Wave caused over 900 deaths in Minnesota and at least 5000 deaths across the nation. It was also combined with serious drought.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Earth and Space Science News featured an interesting article this week about the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU, and expected negative impacts on the European science community. Many scientists think this will make it more difficult to work collaboratively among various national institutions in Europe.

Another article this week published by EOS features a story about citizen scientists who in recent years have been helping to collect sea ice data in the Arctic Ocean. These data have been used by a number of organizations who are studying the decline in Arctic Sea Ice as it relates to global climate change.

The Minnesota State Climatology Office offered its first rendition of the “Summer Glory Index: this week. June of 2016 ranked as the 24th nicest in 114 years of records according to the SCO.

A recent paper in the journal Nature Communications suggests that obtaining better soils data will be beneficial in predicting future crop productivity under various scenarios of climate change. In some regions of the world soils and soil management is the primary driver of crop yield, more so than climate variability or the deployment of farm technology.

MPR listener question:

When was the hottest 4th of July in Minnesota? Also when was the wettest?

Answer:

In the Twin Cities Metro Area, the hottest July 4th was in 2012 when it hit 101 degrees F and the Heat Index reached 108 degrees F. In 1949, the 4th of July temperature in the Twin Cities reached 100°F with a Heat Index of 111°F. The wettest was in 1900 when 2.27 inches of rain fell in the Twin Cities. Statewide the hottest July 4th was in 1936 when both Pipestone and Worthington reported 107 degrees F. The all-time wettest July 4th was in 1995 when Milan received 9.78 inches of rainfall that produced flash flooding. The Chippewa River rose 9 feet and reached its 2nd highest ever flood crest. Thirty-two sheep were drowned in the flood.

Twin Cities Almanac for July 1st:

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 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for July 1st:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 100 degrees F in 1883; lowest daily maximum temperature of 60 degrees F in 1945; lowest daily minimum temperature is 46 degrees F in 1969 and 1995; highest daily minimum temperature of 80 degrees F in 2002; record precipitation of 2.85 inches in 1997; and no snowfall has occurred on this date.

Average dew point for July 1st is 58 degrees F, with a maximum of 78 degrees F in 1916 and a minimum of 34 degrees F in 2001.

All-time state records for July 1st:

The state record high temperature for this date is 105 degrees F at Winona (Winona County) in 1911. The state record low temperature for this date is 30 degrees F at Brimson (St Louis County) in 1988. State record precipitation for this date is 8.00 inches at Theilman (Wabasha County) in 1978; and no measurable snowfall has occurred on this date.

Past Weather Features:

Perhaps the warmest ever start to the month of July occurred in 1911, when many observers reported temperatures of 100°F or higher. Even Itasca State Park reported an afternoon temperature of 100°F. The nighttime temperatures remained in the 70s as well.

July 1, 1969 was sweater weather form many Minnesota citizens. In northern and central counties morning temperatures dropped into the 30s F, while as far south as Preston it fell to just 40 degrees F. Many areas saw daytime highs only make it into the 60s F as well.

June 30 to July 1, 1978 brought damaging flash flooding to many eastern sections of the state. Over a 14-hour period 6-9 inches of rain fell over broad ares of southeastern Minnesota. Red Wing and Theilman reported a storm total of 10 inches. This storm began a very wet month of July in 1978.

Outlook:

Mostly sunny with near normal temperatures through the weekend and on July 4th. There will be a chance for showers and thunderstorms by next Tuesday. Temperatures will also climb to above normal values by the middle of next week.
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