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Widespread frosts May 14-18

Widespread frosts May 14-18:

A persistent dry high pressure system brought repeated frosts to many parts of Minnesota over the period May 14-18 this week. Many farmers have assessed the damage to crops, but in most cases corn was not significantly damaged because it was early enough in the growth cycle that the growing point was below the soil service. There was some damage to early planted soybean fields, but that represents a relatively small percentage of the acreage. Elsewhere some spotty damage to apple trees, grape vines, and fruit were reported.

In fact those 5 days also produced over 30 new daily record low temperature values across the observational climate networks in the state. A sampling of some of these new record low temperatures by date includes:
May 14: 22°F at Thief River Falls; 23°F at Ada and Red Lake Falls; 27°F at Long Prairie; 28°F at Walker; and 29°F at Collegeville and St Cloud.
May 15: 20°F at Hibbing (also coldest in the nation); 24°F at Orr; 26°F at Zumbrota; 27°F at Eveleth; 28°F at Caledonia; and 29°F at Austin.
May 16: 25°F at Kabetogama; 29°F at Litchfield; and 31°F at Forest Lake and Winona
May 17: 25°F at Isabella; and 28°F at Ely.
May 18: 31°F at Preston and Theilman

The dry air mass and absence of clouds produced some remarkable daily ranges in temperature this week: On May 16 Breckenridge (Wilkin County) reported a low of 32°F and a high of 72°F; on May 17th Baudette (Lake of the Woods County) reported a low of 27°F and a high of 66°F; and on May 18th Brimson (St Louis County) reported a morning low of 25°F and an afternoon high of 70°F.

New Seasonal Climate Outlooks:

The NOAA Climate Prediction Center released new seasonal climate outlooks on Thursday of this week (May 19). They called for warmer than normal temperatures to prevail across most of Minnesota over the June-August time period. Precipitation for the three months has equal chances of being above or below normal values over most of the state. Trends of recent years favor warmer and wetter than normal growing seasons across the state.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Tropical Cyclone Roanu brought from 12 to 20 inches of rain earlier this week to portions of Sri Lanka where massive mudslides occurred. The storm moved up along the east coast of India and was churning off the coast of Bangladesh later this week producing waves up to 20 feet and wind gusts over 90 mph. This storm is expected to bring significant rains to coastal areas of Bangladesh and Myanmar over the coming weekend.

In addition that part of the world was experiencing a deadly Heat Wave this week with daily high temperatures in parts of India reaching 115°F and higher. In fact in the western state of Rajasthan, the town of Phalodi reported a high of 124°F on May 19th setting an all-time high temperature record for the country of India. The India Meteorological Department expects the Heat Wave to continue into next week.

This week NOAA features an article about the Fort McMurray Fire in Alberta, Canada and recent climate patterns there. Prior to the fire April snow cover in northern Alberta was well below average, and the vegetative fuels on the landscape dried out rapidly with warmer temperatures earlier this spring.

Recent studies by the University of East Anglia suggest that poor countries in the Horn of Africa and East Africa may experience a high frequency of heat stress sooner than other wealthier counties. These countries are also populated by cultures and societal infrastructure that are less capable of coping with the stresses of climate change.

Minnesota Public Radio aired a program on "Climate Change and Your Health" this week as part of MPR News Presents. This program was recorded live at the Rochester Civic Theater back on April 26th and is hosted by Cathy Wurzer. I was one of many guests interviewed there.

MPR listener question:

I have been a reader of your weekly blog "Minnesota WeatherTalk' for years and I also have a copy of your book Minnesota Weather Almanac (2n ed.). I wondered if there are any dates on the calendar where the same community holds the record for the all-time statewide high temperature and low temperature? It seems a very remote possibility.


Indeed. There are two dates on the calendar when the same Minnesota community holds the statewide high and low temperature records. One is May 12th where Hallock (Kittson County) reported an all-time state high of 98°F in 1900 and an all-time state low of just 11°F in 1946. The other is September 27th when Beardsley (Big Stone County) reported an all-time state low of just 13°F in 1893 and one year later, 1894 an all-time state high of 97°F. Obviously citizens in Hallock and Beardsley need to be careful with their gardening plans!

Twin Cities Almanac for May 20th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 71 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 50 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 20th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 94 degrees F in 2009; lowest daily maximum temperature of 45 degrees F in 1931: lowest daily minimum temperature is 31 degrees F in 1892; highest daily minimum temperature of 69 degrees F in 2009; record precipitation of 1.14 inches in 1937; and record snowfall is 3.0 inches in 1892.

Average dew point for May 20th is 46 degrees F, with a maximum of 69 degrees F in 1974 and a minimum of 19 degrees F in 1954.

All-time state records for May 20th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 100 degrees F at Fairmont (Martin County) in 1934. The state record low temperature for this date is 16 degrees F at Embarrass (St Louis County) in 2002. State record precipitation for this date is 4.83 inches at Winton (St Louis County) in 1970; and record snowfall is 4.8 inches at Virginia (St Louis County) in 1931.

Words of the Week: acclimate and acclimatize

These words are often used synonymously to refer to the process by which a living organism adapts to a change of environment. Sometimes acclimatize refers to the use of human ingenuity in adaptation, such as the utilization of air conditioning in the desert southwest or employing special diets to survive on polar expeditions. And on the other hand acclimate is sometimes used to refer to natural adaptation, such as the adjustment in the eyes which takes place in moving from inside a somewhat darkened building out into the bright sun, or a change in our respiration (breathing) when we are exposed to a hotter, more humid environment.

Past Weather Features:

Widespread snow and snow flurries were observed around the state on May 20, 1892. With morning temperatures in the 20s and 30s F many observers reported 1 to 4 inches of snow before the noon hour.

On a statewide basis the coldest May 20th occurred in 1907. Morning low temperatures fell into the 20s F causing a widespread hard freeze and damage to many crops. Hallock in the Red River Valley reported just 18°F, while in the south both Grand Meadow and Zumbrota reported 25°F.

Winter returned briefly to northern Minnesota over May 20-21, 1931. With temperatures in the 30s F many observers reported from 1 to 6 inches of snow. Temperatures rebounded into the 50s F the next day, quickly melting the snow.

May 20, 1934 was the hottest in state history. Most communities reported record-setting high temperatures for the day and at least 30 climate stations reported afternoon temperatures of 90°F or higher. Six more record-setting hot days occurred before the end of the month.

Heavy rains prevailed across the state over May 20-22, 1953. Many areas received 1-2 inches of rainfall, with some thunder and hail in places. Litchfield, Moose Lake, Cloquet, and Elk River reported over 3 inches of rain with some localized flooding.


Mostly sunny weekend with above normal temperatures. Increasing cloudiness on Sunday night with a chance for showers and thunderstorms on Monday. Continued chance for showers through the middle of next week with temperatures closer to normal for this time of year.




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