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Preliminary Climate Summary for May 2019

Preliminary Climate Summary for May 2019:

Cool and wet characterizes the month of May. On a statewide basis May of 2019 will rank among the 20 wettest in state history and among the 20 coolest in state history. This pattern has had significant impact on Minnesota agriculture, with only 66 percent of the state’s corn acreage planted by May 26th and only 35 percent of the soybean acreage planted. This marks the latest planting season in Minnesota on a statewide basis since 1979.

For most of the state two-thirds of the days were cooler than normal. Most climate stations reported an average monthly temperature that ranges from 3 to 5 degrees F cooler than normal. Extremes for the month range from 91°F at Moorhead on the 30th to just 18°F at Brimson and Cotton (St Louis County) on the 7th.

Precipitation was mixed with rain and snow during the month. Many areas of northern Minnesota reported from 1 to 6 inches of snow, while Duluth had the snowiest May ever with 13.3 inches. Rain dominated the southern half of the state, as most areas received from 4 to 6 inches. At least a dozen climate stations reported 7 inches or greater, while Rochester recorded 9.42 inches, their 2nd wettest May in history, only surpassed by 12.26 inches in 2013. Grand Meadow (Mower County) reported the wettest May 19th in state history with 3.25 inches in the rain gage.

All of the rain kept flow volume in most of Minnesota’s watersheds at very high levels during the month. May 24th and May 27th brought the first tornadoes of the year to the state. On May 24th two short-lived tornadoes occurred, one in Norman County and the other in Mahnomen County (produced some tree damage). On May 27th five tornadoes were reported, one in Freeborn County and four in Fillmore County, but all were short-lived. May also brought several days that produced wind gusts over 40 mph. You can read more about these storms from the State Climatology Office web site.

Recent Interview with Mary Hanson:

I am informed that a recent interview I did with broadcast journalist Mary Hanson will begin to air on the Metro Cable Network (MCN, Channel 6) on Monday, June 3 at 9pm. The interview is titled “Mark Seeley on Minnesota’s Changing Climate.” At various times over the next weeks and months it will air also on PACT in Duluth/Superior, as well as TPT 2.2. It is also available for viewing on Youtube.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The NOAA Storm Prediction Center received reports of over 250 tornadoes across the nation during the week of May 23-29. This pushed the monthly national total number of tornadoes for the month of May 2019 to close to 450, a very large number indeed.

A record or near-record amount of May rainfall across Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas has caused widespread and near-record flooding on many rivers there. So far, eight locations have set new record river levels during this prolonged siege of heavy rain. You can read more from the Weather Underground web site.

New research reveals that recent changes in the movement of North Atlantic right whales is associated with decreased food availability and rising temperatures in Gulf of Maine's deep waters. Right whales have been showing up in unexpected places, putting the endangered species at increased risk. The study provides insights to this key issue complicating conservation efforts. This study comes from the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and is described on the Science Daily web site.

MPR listener question:

What are the fewest number of days in May with a high temperature of 70 degrees F or greater at Waseca? (from Jeff Vetsch at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Station)


Not exactly good corn growing weather this May! Before this year the fewest number of 70°F days in May at Waseca was 7 days in both 1968 and 1983. The average number at Waseca over the 105 year climate record is 15 days. This year, including today (May 31st) it looks like it will only be 5 days, a new low.

Twin Cities Almanac for May 31st:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 74 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 54 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 31st:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 106 degrees F in 1934: lowest daily maximum temperature of 55 degrees F in 1962; lowest daily minimum temperature is 33 degrees F in 1889; highest daily minimum temperature of 75 degrees F in 1934; record precipitation of 2.39 inches in 1965; and no snow has fallen on this date.

Average dew point for May 31st is 50 degrees F, with a maximum of 73 degrees F in 1961 and a minimum of 27 degrees F in 2009.

All-time state records for May 31st:

The state record high temperature for this date is 112 degrees F at Maple Plain (Hennepin County) in 1934. The state record low temperature for this date is 19 degrees F at Pokegama Dam (Itasca County) in 1889. State record precipitation for this date is 4.92 inches at Maple Plain (Hennepin County) in 1888; and record snowfall is 4.6 inches at Virginia (St Louis County) in 1946.

Past Weather Features:

May 31, 1897 brought a hard freeze to many areas of the state. Over 30 climate stations reported morning low temperatures in the 20s F, 22°F at Milan and Campbell. It was in the 20s F as far south as Grand Meadow and Fairmont. A good deal of crop damage was reported. The high temperature at Park Rapids never rose above 44°F.

By far the warmest May 31st in state history was in 1934. Over 50 climate stations reported an afternoon temperature of 100°F or higher. Even the nighttime temperature never fell below 82°F at Redwood Falls.

On May 31, 1946 a rare Memorial Day snow storm dumped 1 to 4 inches on northeastern Minnesota communities. The morning temperatures were in the 20s and 30s F, but by the next day they climbed into the 60s and 70s F.


Mostly sunny skies over the weekend, but with temperatures a few degrees cooler than normal to start out the month of June. It should be dry until later in the day on Tuesday when there will be increasing cloudiness and a chance for showers and thunderstorms. A warming trend early next week will bring temperatures back closer to normal, and above normal by later in the week..

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Unknown said…

Could you please include all the produce crops & small grains & forages in your weather report? Not all farmers plant just corn & SBs and it does a disservice to both the missing farmers and the public when the sole focus is just C/S farmers.