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Showing posts from May, 2018

Hot, with a Dry Pattern Emerging in the North

Hot, with a Dry Pattern Emerging in the North: Nearly through the month of May now and a pronounced dry pattern has emerged in the northern part of Minnesota. Some climate stations are 1.5 to 3.0 inches below normal for the month and 3 to 5 inches below normal since April 1st. Over 50 percent of the state’s landscape is abnormally dry, while portions of Beltrami, Lake of the Woods, Roseau, and Koochiching Counties are in moderate drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Persistent warmer than normal temperatures for the balance of May will exacerbate the dryness, as daytime highs consistently reach 85 to 100 degrees F in many parts of the state. In fact based on the forecasts through May 31 the state will record one of the hottest months of May in history ranking with 1977, 1934, and 1988. Though statewide temperature records have not been broken, Fairmont, Tracy, Worthington, Canby, and Madison have all seen the mercury rise to 100 degrees F this month (on the 27th). T

Warm May Continues

Warm May Continues: Temperatures continue to average well above normal this month. May 16th brought daytime temperatures of 85 to 90 degrees F to over 60 communities across the state, topped by 91 degrees F at Montevideo (Chippewa County) and 90 degrees F at Artichoke Lake (Big Stone County). So far this month temperatures are averaging 4 to 6 degrees F warmer than normal in most places and at least a dozen climate stations have reported one new daily record high. The warm weather combined with several dry days allowed for Minnesota farmers to catch up a bit on planting crops. Over 50 percent of the roughly 7 million acres of corn has been planted. But in southeastern Minnesota counties where over 6 inches of rain has fallen so far this month, there are still fields too wet to plant. Undoubtedly over the next week as corn planting wraps up, farmers will move onto planting soybeans. Weekly Weather Potpourri: Nearly a month’s worth of wildfires has plagued portions of eastern Si

Warm Start to May, But Way Behind on Planting

Warm Start to May, But Way Behind on Planting: So far temperatures are averaging above normal for the month of May. Over the first ten days average daily temperature is 1 to 3 degrees F above normal in the north, and 5 to 8 degrees F above normal in southern counties. On May 7th it was as warm as 89 degrees F at Crookston, Wheaton, and Granite Falls. Except for the far north, few places have reported a frost in May. For the Twin Cities it is the warmest first ten days of May (ave temp about 64°F) since the year 2000. As a result of the warmth, more lakes are expected to lose ice before the Fishing Opener on Saturday, but some in the far north will obviously still have ice. Thunderstorms have brought heavy rains to southern parts of the state. Already places like Caledonia, Houston, Harmony, and Lanesboro have seen over 4 inches for the month. At least 16 daily rainfall records have been tied or broken within the Minnesota climate network, including 2.23” at Harmony on the 2nd

Time for Farmers and Gardeners

Time for Farmers and Gardeners: As the soil has warmed up, and fields have dried out, many Minnesota farmers are just starting to take equipment out into the fields to prepare for planting, one of the latest planting seasons in state history. The latest planting season in my memory as Extension Climatologist was 1979, when half of the state’s corn acreage (about 7 million acres) did not get planted until May 21st, and half of the soybean crop until May 27th. That made for a late and wet fall harvest season in 1979 because farmers had to wait for the corn crop to mature. Perhaps modern corn hybrids dry down faster than the old ones, but it still makes farmers antsy to be planting so late. I suspect farmers will be working 20 hour days until they get their crops in the ground. Gardeners who are eager to get going should probably begin to remove mulch, fertilize, plant seeds, and transplant those seedlings that were started indoors. There is little threat of frost on the horizon,