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Wet Pattern Continues

Wet Pattern Continues:

Normal May rainfall values around the state range from a little under 3 inches to a little over 4 inches. Yet, after the first three weeks of the month over 110 climate stations report a total of over 4 inches for this month. Climate stations at Kimball and Melrose (both in Stearns County) report over 6 inches for the month so far. Earlier this week on Sunday, May 19th the observer at Grand Meadow (Mower County) in southeastern Minnesota reported rainfall of 3.25 inches, a new statewide daily record amount for that date (breaking the record of 2.90 inches at Littlefork back in 2007).

Year-to-date precipitation totals are getting to be quite impressive in many areas of the state. Let’s take a few examples to illustrate. Marshall (Lyon County), Lake Wilson (Murray County), Faribault (Rice County), and Caledonia (Houston County) all report over 16 inches of precipitation so far this year (January 1 – May 22). Here are their normals for the January-May period historically, along with the total annual average for precipitation:

Marshall normal precipitation Jan-May = 9.48”; average annual precipitation 28.28”

Lake Wilson normal precipitation Jan-May=9.78”; average annual precipitation 28.82”

Faribault normal precipitation Jan-May=10.38”; average annual precipitation 32.63”

Caledonia normal precipitation Jan-May=11.92”; average annual precipitation 36.93”

With the year 2019 off to such a wet start it may be wise to remember that last year was the first time in history Minnesota climate stations measured a total annual precipitation value of 60 inches or greater. This occurred at Harmony (Fillmore County), MN which reported 60.21” Looks like another wet year may be in store.

Report on Lake Ice-Out:

Pete Boulay of the Minnesota State Climatology Office filed a report this week on 2019 lake ice-out dates around the state. In general ice-out dates were later than average, generally from 3-7 days later. The range in ice-out dates this year was March 28th for Lake Pepin and May 18th for Greenwood Lake in Cook County.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

It was a busy week for NOAA’s Severe Storms Prediction Center. Over the period from May 17-23 over 170 tornadoes were reported mostly in OK, AR, MO and KS. Seven deaths were attributed to these storms. There were also reports of flashfloods from heavy thunderstorms, mostly in Oklahoma. You can find these reports at the SPC web site.

A new study of UK lake sediment records stretching back over several centuries has found that the floods that hit Northern England in 2009 and 2015 ('Storm Desmond'),were the largest in 600 years, pointing to the impact of climate changes on the frequency and magnitude of these extreme events. You can read more at the Science Daily web site.

Arctic sea ice extent during April 2019 was the lowest in the 41-year satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), and was at record-low levels every day of the month. The previous low April extent occurred in 2016. However, springtime sea ice conditions are usually not a strong predictor of the summer ice cover because atmospheric circulation patterns in summer can flip; relatively cool and cloudy weather this summer would prevent a record-low summer for sea ice extent. NSIDC also reported that Antarctic sea ice extent during April 2019 was the second lowest in the 41-year satellite record, behind the record-low year of 2017.

MPR listener question:

I heard that Duluth set a new monthly snowfall record this month. What was it, and by how much did it break the old record?


Duluth has reported 13.3 inches of snowfall so far this May, a new record. The old record was 8.1 inches in May of 1954.

MPR listener question:

We are traveling north for the Memorial Weekend and I see that the forecast calls for morning lows in the 30s F across the north on Memorial Day. Has it ever snowed on Memorial Day in Minnesota?


Indeed, it has. There have been at least two documented occurrences of Memorial Day snows. One was on May 30, 1897 at Bemidji (Beltrami County) and one was on May 25, 1992 at New Ulm (Brown County). The one in New Ulm was a real surprise, as late May snowfalls were more common in the distant past and not in the modern era.

Twin Cities Almanac for May 24th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 72 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 51 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 24th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 95 degrees F in 2010: lowest daily maximum temperature of 49 degrees F in 1893; lowest daily minimum temperature is 32 degrees F in 1925; highest daily minimum temperature of 72 degrees F in 2010; record precipitation of 1.27 inches in 1937; and there was a record snowfall of 0.1 inches in 1925.

Average dew point for May 24th is 48 degrees F, with a maximum of 71 degrees F in 1989 and a minimum of 20 degrees F in 1934.

All-time state records for May 24th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 98 degrees F at Beardsley (Big Stone County) in 1928. The state record low temperature for this date is 18 degrees F at Mora (Kanabec County) in 1988. State record precipitation for this date is 4.91 inches at St Francis (Anoka County) in 2012; and record snowfall is 1.0 inches at Pigeon River Bridge (Cook County) in 1930.

Past Weather Features:

A very hot day on May 24, 1926 with over 20 climate stations reporting daytime highs in the 90s F. Morris, MN residents had a “maximum wardrobe day”, starting out at 29°F in the morning and climbing to 90°F by 4pm in the afternoon on May 25th.

On May 24, 1988 brought a frost to many parts of northern Minnesota where morning temperatures ranged from 24°F to 32°F. After starting out at just 18°F, the Mora climate station warmed up to 71°F by the late afternoon.

Waves of thunderstorms brought heavy rains to many eastern sections of the state over May 23-24, 2012. Up and down the eastern half of the state observers reported rainfall totals of 2-4 inches. Andover (Anoka County) and Montrose (Wright County) reported over 5 inches. There were also reports of thunderstorm winds as high as 75 mph.


Mostly sunny on Saturday and Sunday with temperatures near seasonal normals, widespread 70s F. Increasing cloudiness later in the day on Sunday and a chance for showers and thunderstorms on Memorial Day (Monday). Cooler than normal temperatures prevail the rest of next week with chances for widely scattered showers and thunderstorms Tuesday and Wednesday.

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