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June 2015: Cold Start, Followed by Rain

June 2015: Cold Start, Followed by Rain:

The month of June started with cold temperatures earlier this week.  On June 1st many northern cities were visited by frosty temperatures including International Falls, Bigfork, Cloquet, Hibbing, Crane Lake, and Gunflint Lake.  It was as cold as 37°F at Preston (Fillmore County) in southern Minnesota but no frosts were reported in that section of the state.  A few observers reported record low temperatures for the date including: 29°F at Ely, 27°F at Floodwood, 26°F at Orr, 25°F at Embarrass, and 24°F at Togo (Itasca County), also the coldest temperature in the nation on June 1st this year.

After a cold start to the month, and following a generally wetter than normal May, the first significant rains of June occurred over Tuesday through Thursday this week (June 2-4), bringing thunder, lightning and hail to some areas.  Observers in Norman and Red Lake Counties reported some 1 inch to 1.5 inch diameter hail on June 2nd, while other locations in the Red River Valley saw thunderstorm winds gust to over 40 mph. Many observers reported rainfall amounts that ranged from half an inch to three-quarters of an inch.  Some areas received over an inch of rainfall, including Crookston, Roseau, Twin Valley, Winton, Cook, St Cloud, Kimball, Lester Prairie, Renville, Litchfield, Willmar, Minnesota,  and Vesta. 

Thanks to the rains moderate drought which occupied nearly 25 percent of the Minnesota landscape last week, shrunk further to just 12 percent of the landscape this week.  Warmer and drier weather appears to be on tap for the 2nd week of June, following some additional widespread showers this weekend.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The Science Museum of Minnesota will be hosting a program titled "Confronting Climate Change" on June 16, 2015 beginning at 7pm.  It is a public forum co-sponsored by Fresh Energy and Climate Generation.  Keynote speakers include Dr. Ben Santer, from Lawrence Livermore National Lab and Dr. Frank Niebold, Climate Education Coordinator at NOAA.  Will Steger will also give a presentation and there will be discussion by a group of panelists that include Dr. Tracy Twine, U of MN Dept of Soil, Water, and Climate; Pat Hamilton, Science Museum; and J. Drake Hamilton of Fresh Energy.  I would encourage you to attend.

This week NOAA scientists through the Climate.Gov web site offered an analysis of the record-breaking May rains in Oklahoma and Texas.  Their article includes graphics, maps, and charts and a historical perspective that most readers will find interesting.  

From the weekly drought briefing by Brad Rippey of the USDA: During the 5-week period ending on June 2, 2015, contiguous U.S. drought coverage plunged to 24.57% a decrease of 12.84 percentage points.  This represents the first time since February 2011 that less than one-quarter of the USA was covered by drought.  All of the change has occurred in the last 4 weeks.  In fact, the 4-week change of 13.22 percentage points (from 37.79 to 24.57% of the continental U.S. in drought) represents the second-greatest decrease in the 16-year history of the U.S. Drought Monitor. Rampant May storminess reduced or eliminated droughts footprint across the nation’s mid-section.  Incessant showers led to the worst flooding in at least 25 years across portions of the southeastern Plains, mid-South, and western Gulf Coast region, where May rainfall topped 20 inches in several locations.  In fact, May 2015 became the wettest month on record in Oklahoma and Texas.  Currently, major flooding persists along parts of several rivers that drain through the lower Mississippi Valley or into the Gulf of Mexico, including the Arkansas, Red, Trinity, and Nueces Rivers.

In the Eastern Pacific Ocean Hurricane Blanca was spinning this week and producing sustained winds up to 100 mph with gusts as high as 120 mph.  Sea wave heights ranged from 25-30 feet.  Forecasts called for Blanca to move north and eventually bring high winds and heavy rains to portions of Baja California by early next week.

The online journal Science published a paper this week by NOAA’s Thomas Karl and others that provides a new analysis of the global temperature record showing that there has been virtually no “slowdown” in the upward trend over the past several years.  Some corrections, adjustments, and additions to the global data sets were used in this new analysis, one of which was a correction for the difference in data collected from buoys and ship-based measurements.  These procedures are detailed in a NOAA press release. The paper generated a good deal of conversation among scientists.  Dr. Gavin Schmidt of NASA provides his perspective on this new study at the RealClimate blog, and it is an interesting read.

MPR Listener Question:

My son asked how many National Weather Service Forecast Offices are there in the USA, and how many Doppler radars do they operate?  Is every part of the USA covered by radar?  


I don't know the exact number of National Weather Service Forecast Offices.  There used to be 98, but I think the number is over 100 now.  There are 155 Doppler radar systems operated across the nation by the National Weather Service. With overlapping coverage of the radar systems in many areas there is little of the USA landscape not covered by a radar signal.  I think there are still some spots in the mountainous western states where radar signals do not operate, but in Minnesota we are well covered with systems in Grand Forks, Duluth, Sioux Falls, MSP, and La Crosse.

Twin Cities Almanac for June 5th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 77 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 56 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for June 5th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 92 degrees F in 1911 and 1925; lowest daily maximum temperature of 50 degrees F in 1935: lowest daily minimum temperature is 40 degrees F in 2000; highest daily minimum temperature of 75 F in 1925; record precipitation of 2.53 inches 1980; and no snowfall has been recorded on this date.

Average dew point for June 5th is 52 degrees F, with a maximum of 77 degrees F in 1925 and a minimum of 21 degrees F in 2009.

All-time state records for June 5th:

 The state record high temperature for this date is 99 degrees F at Fairmont (Martin County) in 1934. The state record low temperature for this date is 18 degrees F at Remer (Cass County) in 1985.  State record precipitation for this date is 5.47 inches at Rosemount (Dakota County) in 1994; and there has not been any snowfall on this date.

Past Weather Features:

Strong thunderstorms brought flooding rains to parts of Minnesota over June 5-8, 1896.  Detroit Lakes reported 5.15 inches, Bird Island 5.78 inches, Fergus Falls 6.11 inches, and Luverne 6.51 inches.  
Cold weather brought frosts to many parts of Minnesota on June 5, 1897.  In the south frosts were reported at Glencoe and Mazeppa, damaging emerged crops there.  In the north temperatures fell into the 20s F at places like Tower and Roseau.

Starting June 5, 1915 the observer at Winton, MN measured 15 consecutive days with rain, one of the longest stretches ever recorded in the state.  In total it rained nearly 7 inches at Winton during the month of June 1915.

June 5, 1968 started a 5-day Heat Wave across the southern half of the state bringing temperatures of 90°F or greater to over 60 communities, topped by 98 degrees F at Lamberton. 

Strong thunderstorms brought wind, hail, and heavy rains to parts of southern Minnesota over June 5-8, 1994.  Mankato received over 4 inches of rain, Farmington over 5 inches, and Rosemount over 6 inches, with some street flooding in all of those communities.


Near normal temperatures over the weekend, but with increasing cloudiness and a chance for showers and thunderstorms later on Saturday and into early Sunday.  Warming trend begins on Monday with temperatures rising to above normal values.  Generally a dry week as well.

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