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Extension > Minnesota WeatherTalk > May 2018

Friday, May 18, 2018

Warm May Continues

Warm May Continues:


Temperatures continue to average well above normal this month. May 16th brought daytime temperatures of 85 to 90 degrees F to over 60 communities across the state, topped by 91 degrees F at Montevideo (Chippewa County) and 90 degrees F at Artichoke Lake (Big Stone County). So far this month temperatures are averaging 4 to 6 degrees F warmer than normal in most places and at least a dozen climate stations have reported one new daily record high. The warm weather combined with several dry days allowed for Minnesota farmers to catch up a bit on planting crops. Over 50 percent of the roughly 7 million acres of corn has been planted. But in southeastern Minnesota counties where over 6 inches of rain has fallen so far this month, there are still fields too wet to plant. Undoubtedly over the next week as corn planting wraps up, farmers will move onto planting soybeans.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:


Nearly a month’s worth of wildfires has plagued portions of eastern Siberia in Russia. Over 16 square miles of landscape has burned and ashes and smoke have displaced some residents there. This area of Russia has seen an increased frequency of wildfires due to a warming climate over the past decade or so according to the Weather Underground.

A recent article in Frontiers in MarineScience documents how climate change across Greenland in recent decades has changed the behavioral pattern and habitat range for polar bears there. This has been well documented by the Inuit hunters.

Dr. Harold Brooks from the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory in Oklahoma, along with other NOAA scientists has published a daily climatological perspective on the frequency of tornadoes across the country. Some parts of southern Minnesota fall into the same daily probability category as parts of Kansas.


With expected sunshine and nearly ideal temperature conditions the BBC expects huge crowds to show up near Windsor to watch the carriages go by for the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday (May 19).

MPR listener question:

What is the latest date for snow in the Twin Cities, and what about statewide? Has there ever been snow in June?

Answer:

The latest date for measurable snowfall in the Twin Cities climate record is May 24, 1925 when 0.1 inches of snow was reported. There was a trace of snow as late as June 1, 1946 in St Paul. On a statewide basis 1.5 inches of snow fell at Mizpah (Koochiching County) on June 4, 1935, the latest date in the state records.

Twin Cities Almanac for May18th:


The average MSP high temperature for this date is 70 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 50 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May18th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 93 degrees F in 2012; lowest daily maximum temperature of 45 degree F in 1890; lowest daily minimum temperature of 27 degrees F in 1915; highest daily minimum temperature of 68 degrees F in 1911; record precipitation of 1.57 inches in 1892. Record snowfall on this date is 2.0 inches in 1915.

Average dew point for May18th is 46°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 69°F in 1962; and the minimum dew point on this date is 20°F in 1981.

All-time state records for May 18th:


The all-time state high temperature for today's date is 101 degrees F at Fairmont (Martin County) in 1934; the all-time state low for today's date is 16 degrees F at Duluth (St Louis County) in 1924. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 5.01 inches at Lanesboro (Fillmore County) in 2000. Record snowfall is 3.0 inches at Minneapolis (Hennepin County) in 1915.

Past Weather Features


Snow fell across portions of Minnesota on May 18 in both 1915 and 1968. In 1915 snowfall ranging from 1 to 3 inches fell mostly across central and northern Minnesota counties. In 1968 from 1 to 3 inches of snow fell across portions of northeastern Minnesota, and portions of Highways 61 and 2 we reported to be slippery with ice.

A late spring freeze caused damage to small grains in northern Minnesota on May 18, 1924. Over 20 climate stations reported morning lows in the 20s F, while the daytime temperature never rose above 38 degrees F at International Falls.

By far the warmest May 18 in state history was in 1934 when over 20 communities reported an afternoon high of 90 degrees F or greater. Both Pipestone and Fairmont surpassed 100 degrees F, and the temperature at Albert Lea never dropped below 69 degrees F even at night.

Outlook:

Chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms Saturday through Monday with temperatures slightly either side of normal for this time of year. A warmer than normal temperature trend will begin by next Tuesday and much of next week will be dry as well.



Friday, May 11, 2018

Warm Start to May, But Way Behind on Planting

Warm Start to May, But Way Behind on Planting:

So far temperatures are averaging above normal for the month of May. Over the first ten days average daily temperature is 1 to 3 degrees F above normal in the north, and 5 to 8 degrees F above normal in southern counties. On May 7th it was as warm as 89 degrees F at Crookston, Wheaton, and Granite Falls. Except for the far north, few places have reported a frost in May. For the Twin Cities it is the warmest first ten days of May (ave temp about 64°F) since the year 2000. As a result of the warmth, more lakes are expected to lose ice before the Fishing Opener on Saturday, but some in the far north will obviously still have ice.

Thunderstorms have brought heavy rains to southern parts of the state. Already places like Caledonia, Houston, Harmony, and Lanesboro have seen over 4 inches for the month. At least 16 daily rainfall records have been tied or broken within the Minnesota climate network, including 2.23” at Harmony on the 2nd, 1.94” at Caledonia on the 4th, and 1.43” at Grand Meadow on the 4th.

Because of wet soils, only recently have farmers been making progress on planting corn around the state, mostly in western and central counties. Many southern counties remain too wet. For the week ending on May 6th only 9 percent of the corn was planted. Hopefully a mostly dry next week will allow for a great deal of corn planting.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:


NOAA features an article by Rebecca Lindsey this week about the signature warmth of the year 2016 in the Arctic region, where some daily temperature departures were 30 to 40 degrees F warmer than normal. She documents how this unprecedented warmth is definitely a signature of climate change, and describes the evidence.

Earlier this week the BBC reported the warmest early May Bank Holiday in the modern record for the United Kingdom, with temperatures soaring into the 80s F, and many citizens flocking to the beaches. Temperatures were averaging a good 15-20 degrees F warmer than normal over the first weekend of the month.

The Yale Climate Connections this week features an interview by Amy Brady with Richard Powers, author of “The Overstory.” He talks about the legacy of the battle to preserve the majestic northwest woods and forests and how people from different walks of life commonly value such features.

MPR listener question:

My goodness ( I usually use stronger language, but in case this gets on the radio) here near Caledonia we have already received nearly 5 inches of rain this month, keeping me out of my fields. I just hope to get planted by Memorial Day. Can you tell me the record amount of rainfall for the month of May here?


Answer:

The record May rainfall at Caledonia (Houston County) is 11.63 inches in 2004. It rained on 21 days that month. That broke an old record of 11.13 inches of rain during May of 1902. BTW in 2013 the month of May brought 14.64 inches of rain to Grand Meadow (Mower County) just a little west of you. This is a state record.

Twin Cities Almanac for May 11th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 68 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 47 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 11th: MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 88 degrees F in 1900; lowest daily maximum temperature of 40 degrees F in 1914 and 1966; lowest daily minimum temperature of 27 F in 1946; highest daily minimum temperature of 64 F in 1881, 1915 and 1922; record precipitation of 1.55 inches in 1935 (2.10 inches in the Pioneer records of 1882); and 2.8 inches of snowfall was recorded on this date in 1946.

Average dew point for May 11th is 40 degrees F, with a maximum of 66 degrees F in 1922 and a minimum of 14 degrees F in 1946.

All-time state records for May 11th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 104 degrees F at Blue Earth (Faribault County) in 2011. The state record low temperature for this date is 11 degrees F at Fosston (Polk County) in 1946; state record precipitation for this date is 4.60 inches at Crookston (Polk County) in 1922; and state record snowfall for this date is 3.0 inches at Isle (Mille Lacs County County) in 1966 and at Tower (St Louis County) in 2008.

Past Weather Features:

The coldest May 11th in state history was in 1946 when 30 climate stations reported a morning low temperature in the teens. The high temperature at Warroad never rose above 32 degrees F that day.

A rare May snow storm slowed the pace of corn planting on May 11, 1966. Many parts of southern and central Minnesota reported 1 to 3 inches of snow. Fortunately it was very short-lived, and corn planting resumed in two days.

On a statewide basis, May 11, 1987 was the warmest in state history with over 30 climate stations reporting afternoon highs of 90 degrees F or higher. Afternoon relative humidity values ranged from the teens into the 20s F making for a high risk fire danger as well.

Outlook:

Generally cloudy and cooler than normal with a chance for showers in the south on Saturday. Partly cloudy and warmer on Sunday, with a return of above normal temperatures. Sunny and warmer yet on Monday, then a chance for showers later on Tuesday. Then generally dry much of the rest of next week.











Friday, May 4, 2018

Time for Farmers and Gardeners

Time for Farmers and Gardeners:


As the soil has warmed up, and fields have dried out, many Minnesota farmers are just starting to take equipment out into the fields to prepare for planting, one of the latest planting seasons in state history. The latest planting season in my memory as Extension Climatologist was 1979, when half of the state’s corn acreage (about 7 million acres) did not get planted until May 21st, and half of the soybean crop until May 27th. That made for a late and wet fall harvest season in 1979 because farmers had to wait for the corn crop to mature. Perhaps modern corn hybrids dry down faster than the old ones, but it still makes farmers antsy to be planting so late. I suspect farmers will be working 20 hour days until they get their crops in the ground.

Gardeners who are eager to get going should probably begin to remove mulch, fertilize, plant seeds, and transplant those seedlings that were started indoors. There is little threat of frost on the horizon, especially across southern Minnesota counties. In fact the month of May is more likely to turn out warmer than normal, as opposed to last month. Soil temperatures are no longer an impediment to planting.

Who Would Have Thought?


With one of the top 5 coldest Aprils in state history, who would have guessed the last day of the month would bring such remarkable temperatures (12 to 15 degrees F above normal). Over 50 climate stations reported an afternoon high temperature of 80 degrees F or greater, topped by 85 degrees F at Marshall. The Twin Cities hit 84 degrees F, a temperature only seen in April about once in every five years!

Weekly Weather Potpourri:


Today, May 4th is National Weather Observers Day. Hats off and thanks to all the thousands of citizens who voluntarily record the daily weather for the NOAA-National Weather Service, State Climatology Office, and other monitoring agencies throughout the USA. In Minnesota we are blessed to have well over 1500 such volunteers.

East-central and north-central counties of Minnesota remain in a high fire danger category. With no major rain storms expected over the next several days, there is likely to be a high fire danger through the weekend. Some afternoon relative humidity readings will hover in the range of only 15 to 20 percent.

Earlier this week, the Yale Climate Connection pointed out a very interesting essay published by Rosemary Randall, titled the “The id and the eco.” This article deals with not only the cognitive side of the climate change issue, but the emotional side and how it stands in the way of having open dialogue among our communities.

The United Kingdom Meteorological Office features an interesting article about Hay Fever this week, debunking the myth that it can spread from person to person. Given that the pollen season is upon us here in Minnesota, it might be worth a read.

MPR listener question:


I am a resident of Lake City, MN. I noticed that ice-out on Lake Pepin did not occur this year until April 20th, but that was not a record for lateness. According to the DNR, ice out on Lake Pepin in 1843 was not until May 20th. Still this year seems unusually late for ice-out down here. How does it rank historically?

Answer:


The April 20th date for ice-out on Lake Pepin ranks as the 6th latest in history, tied with 1869, 1875, 1885, and 1899. It was the latest ice out date since 1904 (April 21). As you know, ice-out is an important date for barge traffic to resume on the Mississippi River.

Twin Cities Almanac for May 4th


The average MSP high temperature for this date is 66 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 45 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 4th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 91 degrees F in 1952; lowest daily maximum temperature of 36 degree F in 1944; lowest daily minimum temperature of 22 degrees F in 1967; highest daily minimum temperature of 65 degrees F in 1934; record precipitation of 1.01 inches in 1959. Record snowfall on this date is 2.0 inches in 1890.

Average dew point for May 4th is 40°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 73°F in 1912; and the minimum dew point on this date is 13°F in 1957.

All-time state records for May 4th:


The all-time state high temperature for today's date is 96 degrees F at Montevideo (Chippewa County) and Wheaton (Traverse County) in 1949; the all-time state low for today's date is 8 degrees F at Cloquet (Carlton County) in 1911. The all-time state record precipitation for this date is 4.00 inches at Blanchard (Morrison County) in 1949. Record snowfall is 5.0 inches at Mankato (Blue Earth County) in 1890.

Past Weather Features:


An unusual storm brought 2-4 inches of snowfall across the state over May 4-5, 1890. Though short-lived, cool temperatures following the storm kept farmers from planting for over two weeks.

The two warmest May 4ths in state history were in 1949 and 1952. Scores of communities reported afternoon high temperatures in the 90s F, and as is common for that time of year, the fire danger was high in western Minnesota counties with very low relative humidity as well.

May 4, 1974 brought a hard freeze to much of northern and western Minnesota. Morning lows fell into the 20s F at more than 40 climate stations and it was just 12 degrees F at Tower (St Louis County). Many gardeners complained of plants being damaged by the freeze, but most plants recovered.

Outlook:

Weekend will start out warmer than normal, with a chance for widely scattered showers or thunderstorms late in the day on Saturday. Then, a cool down on Sunday with temperatures closer to normal for this time of year. Generally dry until Tuesday and Wednesday when there will be a widespread chance for showers and thunderstorms, followed by a sunny period towards the end of next week.














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