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Significant rains

Significant rains

August 5-6 brought wind, hail, and heavy rains to some parts of the state, for many the first significant rainfall of the month. At least 20 counties reported large hail (nickel size to tennis ball size) for brief periods of time, while another four counties reported strong winds which damaged trees. Fast moving thunderstorms brought record setting rainfall amounts in some places. Among those setting new daily rainfall records were: Wells (1.95"), Winnebago (1.62"), Milan (1.42"), Vesta (1.34"), Montevideo (1.15"), and Litchfield (1.02"). Many other observers reported from 1 to 2 inches of rainfall, but did not set daily records. Albert Lea, Blue Earth, and Hutchinson observers reported over 2 inches. You can read a brief report on these storms at the State Climatology Office web site.

Cooler than normal temperature pattern

The cooler than normal temperature pattern from the last week of July has carried over into the first 9 days of August. Some observers have reported near record cold daytime highs in the 60s F. Overnight lows on August 4-5 in northern Minnesota dropped to the mid to upper 30s F, near record low values. International Falls tied the record coldest minimum temperature on Wednesday, August 7th with a reading of 40 degrees F (tied 1926), then on the morning of Thursday, August 8th several new record low temperature readings were set, including 37 degrees F at International Falls, 34 degrees F at Silver Bay and Wadena, and 39 degrees F at Crane Lake. In some southern Minnesota communities it is the coolest start to August since 2004. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center the cooler than normal temperature trend across the Great Lakes Region is expected to dominate through the first three weeks of August, then warmer than normal temperatures may dominate the rest of the month.

Meet us at the State Fair

MPR presents will be hosting a weather show on August 27th at noon, from the 2013 Minnesota State Fair Public Radio Booth at the corner of Judson and Nelson on the State Fairgrounds. Cathy Wurzer will serve as host with Paul Huttner and I in the booth to answer weather questions and put the past year's weather in perspective. Please consider this an invitation to drop by if you are at the Fair. Otherwise the hour-long broadcast will be carried by Minnesota Public Radio News and Information stations.

Weekly Weather potpourri

NOAA announced this week their 23rd Annual State of the Climate Report (for 2012), based on measurements, monitoring, and analysis of global scale climate data sets (not model projections). It includes a summary of temperature and precipitation trends and patterns, as well as descriptions of notable climate events. You can read a brief synopsis or the full report online.

The NOAA National Hurricane Center was monitoring Hurricane Henriette in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. It was spinning over a thousand miles east of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii with winds up to 110 mph. The track of Hurricane Henriette is expected to be well south of the Hawaiian Islands and it is expected to weaken considerably over the weekend. It was producing sea wave heights over 30 feet and expected to perhaps bring some rainfall to the islands.

The United Kingdom Meteorological Office launched a new web site this month called "My Climate & Me." It enables British citizens to put questions about weather and climate to leading experts using an online video magazine and roving reporter. The Met Office hopes that it will serve to educate citizens about climate and its effects on our quality of life and allow for better understanding of climate change and its implications. You can view the web site here.

NASA's Visible Earth provides a visualization of the planet "breathing" through seasonal animations of ice/snow cover, as well as vegetative greenness. It makes for an interesting view. You can see it at this web site.

Brad Rippey, USDA meteorologist assigned to the World Agricultural Outlook Board provided the following highlights in the drought briefing this week:

- Recent heavy rain has taken a bite out of exceptional drought (D4) across the central Plains and the Southwest, reducing the nation’s D4 coverage to 2.77%. That is down nearly one-half percentage point (0.40%) from a week ago, and represents the nation’s smallest D4 area since April 23. In the last week, D4 coverage fell from 25 to 21% in New Mexico; from 15 to 8% in Colorado; and from 4 to 1% in Nebraska.
- Overall U.S. drought coverage decreased slightly in the last week. Drought coverage is nearly twenty percentage points (19.96 points) below the peak coverage of 65.45% in late-September 2012.
- Drought returned to western Iowa, with 16.51% of the state covered by moderate drought (D1) on August 6. Similarly, D1 has recently returned to northern Missouri, with drought currently covering 15.42% of the state.
- The portion of the U.S. corn production area in drought has been edging upward in recent weeks, from 17 to 22% between July 9 and August 6. The increase has been largely due to resurgent drought in the western Corn Belt, including northern Missouri, eastern Nebraska, and western Iowa. Soybeans in drought have also increased in the last four weeks, from 8 to 14%.

Some parts of MO, AR, and TN received 6-8 inches of rainfall over Wednesday and Thursday this week, creating some flash flooding and washed out farm fields in some areas. The National Weather Service in Nashville, TN posted a summary of the rainfall, along with some photos of the flash flooding there. You can find those here.

The American Geophysical Union published a revised Statement on Climate Change recently and posted it on their web site. It is based on a synthesis of research and data analysis from recent years and clearly advocates for a set of policy priorities that include both climate adaptation and mitigation planning and activity. You can read it here.

MPR listener question

From a farmer attending Farm Fest in Morgan, MN this week...."I have some corn fields that are just tasseling now. Do you think the temperatures will warm enough so that my crop matures before the first autumn frost?"

Answer: Yes, beginning towards the end of this month temperatures are expected to warm and remain above normal as we enter the month of September. This will help to boost crop maturation. I think there is a good chance that most of the state's corn crop will reach maturation (black layer) before the first widespread frost.

Twin Cities Almanac for August 9th

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 81 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 62 degrees F (plus or minus 6 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for August 9th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 95 degrees F in 1947 and 2010; lowest daily maximum temperature of 60 degrees F in 1994; lowest daily minimum temperature is 46 degrees F in 1888 and 1972; highest daily minimum temperature of 76 F in 2010; and record precipitation of 3.34 inches in 1914; No snow has been recorded on this date.

Average dew point for August 9th is 59 degrees F, with a maximum of 79 degrees F in 1992 and a minimum of 37 degrees F in 1927.

All-time state records for August 9th

The state record high temperature for this date is 104 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1947. The state record low temperature for this date is 28 degrees F at Tower (St Louis County) in 1994. State record precipitation for this date is 5.25 inches at Two Harbors (Lake County) in 1939; and no snow has fallen on this date.

Past Weather Features:

Persistent rains and occasional thunderstorms brought some flooding to many northern Minnesota communities over August 7-9, 1939. Many areas received over 3 inches of rainfall, while Virginia received over 4 inches and Two Harbors reported nearly 5 inches. In fact August of 1939 was the wettest in history for Two Harbors, totaling 10.86 inches for the month.

1947 brought the hottest August 9th in state history with over 40 communities reporting daytime highs in the 90s F. Seven western Minnesota cities hit 100 degrees F or higher. The cool spot that day was Grand Marais which reported a high of only 61 degrees F. For western counties the August Heat Wave of 1947 was one of the longest in history, lasting from the 1st to the 13th of the month.

Perhaps the coldest August 9th occurred in 1972. A cool Canadian high pressure system brought overnight lows in the 30s F to over 20 Minnesota communities. It was just 39 degrees F as far south as Pipestone and Zumbrota. In the north observers at Bigfork, Karlstad, Wannaska, Tower, and Thorhult reported frost. Temperatures warmed into the 80s F two days later.

An F-0 tornado (winds 40-72 mph) touched down at 1:35 am on August 9, 1993 in Littlefork, MN. It was only a brief touchdown (about 1 mile in length) but it turned over a mobile home, killing both people inside. Earlier that evening another tornado had touched down near Roseau, MN damaging a warehouse there.


Mixed weather over the weekend with cooler than normal temperatures. Generally sunny and pleasant on Saturday, then increasing clouds with chances for showers overnight and into Sunday. Dry on Monday and Tuesday with near normal temperatures and another chance for showers by Thursday of next week in southern counties.
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