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May closes wet for some

May closes wet for some:

The last week of May brought frequent, and sometimes heavy rains to many parts of the state. for some northern Minnesota climate stations it rained each day over the last week of the month. Sotty thunderstorms brought some new record daily rainfall amounts over the last day of May, including 0.99 inches at Lakefield; 1.67 inches at Hokah; 1.29 inches at La Crescent; 1.27 inches at Austin; 1.19 inches at Hallock; and an incredible 4.45 inches at Crookston. That amount at Crookston ranked as the 4th highest daily rainfall in history there.

Thought most areas of the state recorded a drier than normal May, thanks to the high frequency of rainfall during the last week, a few climate stations reported one of their wettest Mays. Some of these included:
Crookston 6.68 inches (3rd wettest)
Lakefield 5.44 inches (5th wettest)
Lamberton 5.56 inches (9yh wettest)
Worthington 6.90 inches (7th wettest)
Hutchinson 7.29 inches (2nd wettest)

Stored soil moisture remains near average or greater for most areas of the state as we head into June.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

A recent paper from researchers at Concordia University in Montreal documents the climate and energy saving benefits from using more reflective roofing materials. Such measures on a broad scale can actually diminish the effects of "urban heat islands."

NOAA news blog ( features an interesting article this week about using climate models to plan for more effective use of Colorado River water and to mitigate the risks of diminished water supply due to a higher frequency of drought.

Michigan State University has developed a classroom activity to help students understand the link between climate and phenology (such as bird migrations). You can find guidance and an outline of activity for this curriculum at their web site.

Southern Germany and central France were plagued by persistent heavy thunderstorms earlier this week dropping 3-5 inches of rain over widespread areas. The resulting floods displace thousands of residents along river flood plains and even caused some removal of art works from the Louvre in Paris which is located along the river Seine.

Similarly in parts of east Texas strong thunderstorms during the last week of May brought heavy rains that produced widespread flooding. Some observers reported 10-17 inches of rain over a 5-day period. This was the 2nd consecutive year that May has brought flooding rains to Texas. Some climate stations recorded over 20 inches of rain for the month.

MPR listener question:

I am training for Grandma's Marathon in Duluth this month and May brought at least two smoky days to Minnesota, with poor air quality. I did not run on those days. Since atmospheric inversions (increase of temperature with height) are often associated with poor air quality, what is the season with the most frequent occurrence of inversions in Minnesota?


A study done at St Cloud State University a number of years ago showed that inversions are far more common during the winter season. This was based on taking historical atmospheric soundings of the National Weather Service (instrumented balloons launched twice each day). Inversions occurred about 90 percent of all days in the winter (Dec-Feb), and about 50 to 55 percent of all days in the summer (Jun-Aug). Inversions were also shown to be far more common in the early morning hours than in the evening hours. I suspect you will have few or even zero occurrences of poor air quality before Grandma's Marathon on the 18th of this month.

Twin Cities Almanac for June 3rd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 75 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 55 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for June 3rd:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 92 degrees F in 1923; lowest daily maximum temperature of 53 degrees F in 1897 and again in 1990; lowest daily minimum temperature is 34 degrees F in 1945; highest daily minimum temperature of 70 degrees F in 1898; record precipitation of 1.71 inches in 1914; and no snowfall has occurred on this date.

Average dew point for June 3rd is 49 degrees F, with a maximum of 73 degrees F in 1963 and a minimum of 24 degrees F in 1929.

All-time state records for June 3rd:

The state record high temperature for this date is 98 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1940, and at several locations in 1968. The state record low temperature for this date is 19 degrees F at Ely (St Louis County) in 1947. State record precipitation for this date is 7.10 inches at Pine River Dam (Crow Wing County) in 1898; and no measurable snowfall has occurred on this date.

Past Weather Features:

On June 3, 1860 an F5 tornado cut a path across Iowa from Dewitt to Comanche, along the Mississippi River near the Illinois border. As described by eyewitnesses, this strong tornado actually formed as a merger of two lesser tornadoes that collided. It remains one of the worst to ever strike the midwest, resulting in 92 deaths and 200 injuries. The town of Comanche, IA was completely destroyed, including 39 businesses and 150 homes. The tornado was 1000 yards wide and cut a path of over 80 miles. When it crossed the Mississippi River and struck Albany, IL it tore up the cemetery and scattered grave stones for miles.

June 3, 1928 brought widespread frosts, with morning lows in the 20s F in many areas. In western counties some crops had to be replanted.

On June 3, 1955 strong thunderstorm winds overturned a boat on Lake Traverse (Traverse County) drowning seven people.

June 3, 1968 was the hottest in history on a statewide basis. Over 80 Minnesota communities reported afternoon highs of 90°F or greater.

June started out very wet in 2002, bringing 3-4 inches of rain to many parts of southern Minnesota. It was a precursor to one of the wettest Junes in state history.


Lingering chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms on Saturday, but a brighter day on Sunday with below normal temperatures. Continuing mild and sunny weather through Wednesday, then increasing clouds, humidity, and temperature by Thursday with a chance for thunderstorms.


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