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Showing posts from April, 2019

April weather update

April weather update: Rains continued to fall over the past week, especially in southwestern counties. Many areas have accumulated over 6 inches of precipitation so far this month. Lake Wilson (Murray County) has seen nearly 7 inches. In fact the southwestern counties with an average total over 4.30 inches are already in the top ten wettest Aprils in that part of the state. Yet more precipitation is expected on Saturday, and again on Sunday night and Monday before we close out the month on Tuesday.
Things I thought I would never see: At some recent public meetings about climate change in Minnesota I was asked by members of the audience to describe some characteristic changes in weather and climate that I never thought I would see. After contemplating for a while I came up with a brief list:

A 100°F reading at Ada, MN on April 21, 1980, along with zero precipitation that month
80°F dew points in MN, starting in 1983
10” of rain in six hours at MSP, July 23, 1987
44 days of 90 F …

Wet April Continues

Wet April Continues:



According to the Minnesota State Climatology Office the first widespread heavy rain event of 2019 produced minor flooding, rapid stream rises, and even a road-closing mudslide in southern Minnesota on Wednesday April 17, 2019. The heaviest rainfalls occurred in a swath from New Ulm to Hastings, but many other climate stations reported significant rainfalls from 1 to 2 inches. A mudslide along Highway 169 north of St Peter caused the highway to be closed for a while.

Many climate stations reported new daily record rainfall values that day including: 1.24” at Lake City, 1.28” at Jordan, 1.30” at Zumborta, 1.49” at Red Wing, 1.60” at Minnesota City, 1.73” at Owatonna, 1.95” at Rosemount, 2.39” at Faribault, 3.08” at Hastings, 4.18” at St Peter, and 4.45” at Northfield. There were also widespread reports of thunder and lightning.

With this additional moisture at least 35 climate stations now report over 3 inches of precipitation for the month so far. With 4.63 …

A Significant Mid-April Winter Storm

A Significant Mid-April Winter Storm: A large and deep low pressure system crossed the plains from Colorado to Wisconsin during the middle of the week bringing a mixture of precipitation along a 900 mile frontal boundary, and producing widespread winds of 40 to 50 mph. The winds ushered in a great deal of dust and soils from the southern states, notably TX and NM, such that many in the region observed a brownish or yellow tinge to the snow that fell. And plenty of snow fell over April 10-12 this week. Many areas of the state picked up from 6 to 20 inches. Some of the snowfall totals from this storm were quite impressive, including

20.0 inches at Madison (Lac Qui Parle County)
18.0 inches at Ortonville (Big Stone County)
17.0 inches at Canby (Yellow Medicine County)
14.0 inches at Milan (Chippewa County)

Even larger numbers were observed in eastern South Dakota with Watertown reporting 23.2 inches and Clear Lake reporting 26.3 inches.

This snow had a high water content as well, be…

A Miraculous Melt

A Miraculous Melt: Since March 31st most rivers in southern Minnesota have been falling, with peak flow volumes reached during the last week of the month. For many areas this meant not major flooding, only moderate flooding. In the Wahpeton-Breckenridge area the Red River flow has begun a slow decline, but further north through Fargo-Moorhead the Red River is expected to continue to rise and peak near 35 feet by the end of the weekend. This would barely make the top ten flood crests list at Fargo, but it still represents major flood stage for the Red River there.

As the classic Minnesota expression goes “could have been worse.” In fact much worse, but since mid-March we have experienced a miraculous melt period, primarily because of two favorable characteristics of the weather: (1) less than a tenth of an inch of precipitation over the past 20 days; and (2) as many as 18-19 freeze-thaw cycles, allowing melting during the day and refreezing at night, thereby metering out the snowm…