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June Record Rainfalls: July 4, 2014 Commentary

In this edition of WeatherTalk

  • Early Edition
  • June Record Rainfalls
  • Weekly Weather potpourri
  • MPR listener question
  • Almanac for July 4th
  • Past weather 
  • Outlook

Early Edition

With the July 4th holiday on Friday this year, there will not be an MPR segment associated with the Minnesota WeatherTalk weekly newsletter, so I am sending this abbreviated version out early, to enjoy the 3-day weekend.

June Record Rainfalls

Though June temperatures around the state were near normal, rainfall was far from it, in fact record-setting for many communities. On a statewide basis the average rainfall for June was 8.09 inches, a record historical high not only for June, but for any month of the year. The previous wettest months in Minnesota history on a statewide basis were June of 1914 and July of 1897 with values of 7.32 inches.

Those individual climate stations setting records for the wettest June include:

  • Ada 9.20 inches
  • International Falls 10.24 inches
  • Littlefork 9.23 inches
  • Waskish 8.93 inches
  • Kabetogama 11.58 inches
  • Benson 10.49 inches
  • Dawson 8.27 inches
  • Chaska 13.84 inches
  • Glencoe 14.61 inches
  • Lakefield 10.96 inches
  • Luverne 13.84 inches
  • Redwood Falls 14.24 inches
  • Amboy 10.29 inches
  • Faribault 12.96 inches
  • Waseca 12.93 inches
  • Hastings Dam 10.69 inches

Many observers reported measurable rainfall on over half of the days during the month of June, and over 90 climate stations recorded 10 or more inches for the month. Several reported record-setting daily values. In fact well over 100 daily record rainfall values were measured during June, including: Luverne with 3.39 inches on the 1st and 3.57 inches on the 15th; Redwood Falls with 3.41 inches on the 1st and 5.10 inches on the 19th; Waskish with 3.46 inches on the 12th; Worthington with 3.73 inches on the 15th; Gaylord with 4.87 inches on the 19th and 2.92 inches on the 20th; Lake Wilson with 5.20 inches on the 15th; Redwing with 4.41 inches on the 15th; and MSP with 4.13 inches on the 19th (largest June daily rainfall in history).

The acknowledged statewide June rainfall record from the Cooperative Observer network in Minnesota is 15.63 inches at Delano in 2002. This record was not broken. MSP Airport with a June rainfall total of 11.26 inches marked the 2nd wettest June month in history, trailing only 11.67 inches in 1874.

At one point during June over 80 percent of all the stream gages in Minnesota watersheds were reported volume flows in above the historical 90th percentile or above flood stage, a remarkably high fraction for the state in historical terms.

Final June climate summaries are available on the climate website.

Weekly Weather potpourri

Iowa reported a remarkable wet June as well, with many new station records set. At least 90 weather observers reported total monthly rainfall of 10 inches or greater. Among the new records were 15.90 inches at Greenfield, 16.65 inches at Sioux City, 16.33 inches at Sioux Rapids, and 16.92 inches at Cherokee.

Similarly, South Dakota reported a very wet June, with over 30 climate stations receiving 10 or more inches of rainfall. Dennis Todey, South Dakota State Climatologist reported that the Canton, SD just south of Sioux Falls received 18.75 inches of rainfall, a new statewide record for the month, breaking the old record by more than 2.5 inches.

A hot and stormy month of June for parts of France, ended with a hail storm over the Burgundy areas this past weekend. Golf ball size hail caused widespread damage to vineyards there with reported losses of 50 to 90 percent of the grapes in some areas. Reports indicate it will not be a good harvest for wind grates this year in the Burgundy area.

During the four-week period ending on July 1, 2014, contiguous U.S. drought coverage declined 3.31 percentage points to 34.01%. Coverage reached its year-to-date peak of 40.06% on May 6, but subsequent rainfall across portions of the nation’s mid-section has reduced drought’s imprint.

A nationwide drought update from Brad Rippey of the USDA this week included these comments:
Drought still covers a substantial portion of the central and southern Plains and the western U.S. On July 1, the highest level of drought­ D4, or exceptional drought­ was noted in portions of California (36%), Nevada (11%), Oklahoma (7%), Texas (5%), and Colorado (2%). California also led the nation with 79% coverage of extreme to exceptional drought (D3 to D4). According to the latest “agriculture in drought” statistics, based on the July 1 Drought Monitor, 25% of the domestic hay acreage and 36% of the U.S. cattle inventory were located in a drought-affected area. Near-record to record-setting June rainfall eradicated residual drought from the Midwest. As a result, drought covered just 5% of the U.S. soybean area and 8% of the corn area by July 1. Consequently, roughly three-quarters of the U.S. corn and soybeans were rated in good to excellent condition by the end of June. Corn, rated 75% good to excellent on June 29, has not been rated as highly at this time of year since 2003. That year, on the same date, corn was also rated 75% good to excellent. Soybeans, rated 72% good to excellent on June 29, have not been rated as highly at this time of year in the last two decades.

The National Hurricane Center was issuing advisories for Hurricane Arthur this week off the southeast coast. It was bringing some rain and wind to the coastal areas of SC and NC and was expected to persist into the weekend, before dissipating on Monday (July 7th).

MPR listener question

"How often has the daytime temperature remained below 80 degrees F on July 4th in the Twin Cities, as it is expected to do this year?"

Answer: Actually this probably happens more frequently than you think, about 30 percent of the time since 1873. The last 4th of July in the Twin Cities when the temperature did not reach 80 degrees F was in 2009, when the high was 78 degrees F.

Twin Cities Almanac for July 4th

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 82 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 July 4th

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 100 degrees F in 1949; lowest daily maximum temperature of 58 degrees F in 1967; lowest daily minimum temperature is 43 degrees F in 1972; highest daily minimum temperature of 80 F in 1999; record precipitation of 2.27 inches in 1900; and there has been no snow on this date.

Average dew point for July 4th is 59 degrees F, with a maximum of 79 degrees F in 1999 and a minimum of 40 degrees F in 1972.

All-time state records for July 4th

The state record high temperature for this date is 107 degrees F at Pipestone (Pipestone County) and Worthington (Nobles County) in 1936. The state record low temperature for this date is 27 degrees F at Tower (St Louis County) in 1972. State record precipitation for this date is 9.78 inches at Milan (Chippewa County) in 1995; and no measurable snowfall has occurred on this date.

Past Weather Features

The warmest ever July 4th on a statewide basis was in 1949 when 18 communities reported an afternoon high temperature of 100 degrees F or greater. The heat was compounded by very high dewpoints that day (low to mid 70s F), sending the Heat Index soaring to the range of 110 to 115 degrees F. The lemonade and beer vendors were very busy.

The coldest 4th of July probably occurred in 1972 when many central and northern Minnesota climate stations reported low temperatures in the 30s F. Even daytime high temperatures remained in the 60s F as far south as Winnebago and Zumbrota.

Heavy thunderstorms moved across the state on July 4, 1995. Observers in Benson and New London reported over 4 inches of rain, with flash flooding, while the observer at Milan reported the heaviest rain in history with 9.78 inches.

The famous "derecho" storm (straight line winds) devastated the BWCA of northeastern Minnesota on July 4, 1999. Winds from 80 to 100 mph cut a damage swath of 600 square miles through Superior National Forest.


Warming temperature over the weekend with a chance for widespread showers and thunderstorms. Quite warm on Sunday. Cooler next week with a chance for showers on Tuesday and Wednesday.

-Mark Seeley
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