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Warmest first 10 days of July

Warmest first 10 days of July

For the Twin Cities, and perhaps a few other climate stations, the first ten days of July 2012 have been the warmest in history based on mean temperature values. Seven of the first ten days brought daytime temperatures of 90 F or greater (two days were over 100 F), and on five nights the temperature remained above the 70 degrees F mark. These values produced a mean temperature of 82.7 degrees F, or 9 degrees F warmer than normal. The following is a list of the top ten warmest first ten days of July in the Twin Cities area going back to 1871:

1. 82.7 F in 2012
2. 82.4 F in 1948
3. 82.2 F in 1936
4. 81.2 F in 1989
5. 81.2 F in 1949
6. 80.8 F in 1937
7. 80.0 F in 1974
8. 79.2 F in 2002
9. 79.1 F in 2011
10. 79.0 F in 1988

The warmth, combined with the relative absence of significant rainfall has produced stress on some crops, as well as other landscape vegetation. Those with irrigation have been applying water to keep up with crop demands and many homeowners have been watering more than usual. Despite some widespread showers across the state early Friday morning (July 13) these trends of warmth and dryness are expected to continue for most of the month of July. A few who benefited from significant rainfall on Friday morning included: Warroad (1.18 inches), Stillwater (1.60 inches), Lake Elmo (1.63 inches), and Spring Grove (2.95 inches).

Drought expands

Though April and May surplus rainfall brought alleviation of drought across much of southern Minnesota, a deficiency in rainfall since June 1st has brought a return of moderate drought to many areas. Places like Lamberton, Pipestone, Windom, Worthington, Preston, Rushford, and Spring Valley have only seen less than half of normal rainfall since June 1st and crops are showing some signs of stress. This week these places were put in a moderate drought status by the U.S. Drought Monitor, while northwestern Minnesota counties remained in a moderate drought status where they have been the past several weeks. This is worrisome, though Minnesota is not as bad off as many parts of IA, IL, IN, OH, and MO where severe or extreme drought occupies a large share of the landscape. In fact nearly 56 percent of the USA land area is in moderate drought or worse, the highest percentage measured in the past 12 years. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack declared 1016 counties in 26 states to be drought disasters this week based on the designation of "severe drought" by the weekly US Drought Monitor for eight weeks or longer. USDA also cut the estimate for USA corn production this year by 12 percent because of drought and heat stress that has already occurred. You can examine more geographic aspects of drought at the Drought Monitor web site and the USDA blog.

Weekly Weather potpourri

NOAA's National Hurricane Center was monitoring the development of Tropical Storm Fabio off the west coast of Mexico in the Eastern Pacific Ocean this week. It is expected to strengthen into a hurricane over the weekend and perhaps bring a rainfall threat to Baja California next week.

On southern Japan's Kyushu a slow moving frontal system brought record-setting rainfall this week (up to 20 inches in places) to some places causing mudslides, road closures and widespread flooding. Some observers reported rainfall intensity of up to 4 inches per hour. Unfortunately more rainfall is expected over the same area this weekend.

The United Kingdom Meteorological Office this week offers a synopsis of the research on climate change and extreme weather events and episodes. They note that the incidence of heat wave episodes has been inflated by climate change, while the incidence of extreme cold events has been diminished.

NOAA reported this week that strong thunderstorms over Sierra Leone and Nigeria in West Africa brought flash flooding, causing some damages and fatalities. A boat off the coast of Sierra Leone overturned in one of the strong storms and it was reported that at least 30 people drowned. Rainfalls of 3-4 inches were common and a second consecutive week of thunderstorm rainfalls was expected to begin this weekend.

Environment Canada reported some record warm highs and lows in Manitoba this week. At Winnipeg the high on Wednesday (July 11) was 94 degrees F with a warm low of 69 degrees F, and a dewpoint of 71 degrees F, producing a Heat Index of 101 degrees F. Further north, at Churchill (nearly 59 degrees N latitude) along the southwestern shore of Hudson Bay it reached 89 degrees F with an overnight low of 63 degrees F, and a dewpoint of 68 degrees F (Heat Index reached 93 F).

MPR listener question

Thanks to NOAA's ThreadEx Project (threaded extremes using the Army Signal Corps data), the National Weather Service official climate record for the Twin Cities starts in 1871 for daily precipitation, and 1872 for daily high and low temperatures. My question: how many record daily climate values (high and low temperatures, and precipitation) that still stand today were established during that first year of observation (1871 and 1872), over 140 years ago?

Answer: Good question. To the best of my knowledge there are still two daily precipitation records from 1871 (0.85 inches on Jan 23 and 1.28 inches on Apr 19); there are four daily low temperature records from 1872 (-13 F on Nov 27, -27 F on Dec 23, -31 F on Dec 24, and -24 F on Dec 27); and there are two cold maximum daily temperature records from 1872 (-1 F on Nov 28 and -10 on Dec 21). In fact the week leading up to Christmas that year was the coldest in history with a mean daily temperature of -18 degrees F over December 18-24, 1872. So in total there are still 8 daily climate records in the Twin Cities that have survived from 1871-1872.

Twin Cities Almanac for July 13th

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 83 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 63 degrees F (plus or minus 6 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for July 13th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 105 degrees F in 1936; lowest daily maximum temperature of 65 degrees F in 1975; lowest daily minimum temperature of 50 F in 1926 and 1990; highest daily minimum temperature of 86 F in 1936; and record precipitation of 2.03 inches in 1919.
Average dew point for July 13th is 60 degrees F, with a maximum of 80 degrees F in 1995 and a minimum of 40 degrees F in 1926.

All-time state records for July 13th

The state record high temperature for this date is 111 degrees F at Minnesota City (Winona County) in 1995. The state record low temperature for this date is 32 degrees F at Sawbill Camp (Cook County) in 1940 and at Brimson (St Louis County) in 1990. State record precipitation for this date is 5.02 inches at Indus (Koochiching County) in 1999; and no snowfall has been reported on this date.

Past Weather Features:

July 13, 1890 brought severe weather to parts of eastern Minnesota. About 4:30 pm an F-3 (winds 158-206 mph) tornado touched down in Anoka County and traveled 10 miles southeast through Ramsey County. It destroyed over 50 cottages on Turtle, Snail, Vadnais, and Gervais Lakes, killing 6 people and injuring 30 others. The same thunderstorm complex destroyed the town of Newport, and downburst winds overturned the excursion boat, Sea Wing, on Lake Pepin, drowning about half of its 200 occupants, the worst boating disaster in state history.

July 13-14, 1919 brought heavy thunderstorms to eastern Minnesota. Maple Plain and Minneapolis reported over 2 inches, while downtown St Paul received over 3 inches. It was the heaviest rain of that summer.

From July 6 to July 14, 1936 eight days were over 100 degrees in the Twin Cities, and the early morning low on the 13th was 86 degrees F, the highest minimum temperature ever measured in the Twin Cites. In fact seven times that month the overnight low did not drop below 80 degrees F.
July 13-14, 1970 brought heavy thunderstorms to southwestern and south-central Minnesota. Lamberton, Minnesota, Tracy, Mankato, New Ulm, and Marshall reported over 2 inches of rainfall, while Worthington and St James reported nearly 3.50 inches. Windom received 5.69 inches and reported street flooding.

About 3:00 pm on the afternoon of July 13, 1974 an F-2 tornado (winds 113-157 mph) traveled 7 miles across Ottertail County and destroyed several trailers and a machine shed near Fergus Falls. Fortunately there were no injuries or deaths attributed to this storm.
Over July 12-14, 1990 a brief cold spell visited northeastern Minnesota. Observers at Brimson, Cotton, Duluth, and Isabella reported temperatures in the 30s F. On the 13th Brimson started out at 32 degrees F and warmed up to 80 degrees F by afternoon.

On July 13, 1995 a Heat Wave brought daytime temperatures of 100 degrees or higher to 25 Minnesota communities. With dewpoints in the 70s F the Heat Index soared and ranged from 105 to 115 degrees F that day. This spell of heat was also the cause of many deaths in the city of Chicago, especially in neighborhoods without air conditioning.


Warm under partly cloudy skies Saturday with a chance for showers in eastern Minnesota. Then chance of widely scattered showers in the north on Sunday and Monday. Mostly dry until late next week with increasing temperatures towards the weekend.
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