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Dry in Unusual Spots

Dry in Unusual Spots:

Earlier this month I wrote about how normally cold spots in the state, Tower and Gunflint Lake for example, were recording daily high temperatures in the 90s F and setting records. Always looking for the unusual weather situation, I also find that the weather pattern this month so far has produced significant rainfall deficiencies in some spots that are normally among the wettest in the state: Waseca and Faribault.

Currently the July total rainfall at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center at Waseca is only 0.79 inches, while at Faribault (Rice County) it is only 0.66 inches. This is well over 2 inches short of normal. Recall that Waseca has reported over 45 inches of annual precipitation in 4 of the past 5 years, with a record 56.24 inches (2016, then a state record), and Faribault has reported 40 or more inches of annual precipitation in 4 of the last 5 years, including 50.55 inches (a local climate record) just last year. So these are typically wetter areas of the state. With the forecast for some intense rainfalls over the state this coming weekend, both Waseca and Faribault could make up for their July rainfall deficiencies in one serious thunderstorm.

In stark contrast, almost all the climate stations in Kittson County of northwestern Minnesota, historically one of the driest areas of the state, are reporting record or near record-setting July rainfall totals. Karlstad has reported 9.47 inches, already a monthly record for July, while Lake Bronson Dam has reported 6.90 inches, and Hallock has reported 6.58 inches. Across mostly northern and central Minnesota there have been 31 new daily record rainfalls so far this month.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The NOAA-National Hurricane Center expects Tropical Storm Gonzalo in the Central Atlantic Ocean to develop into a hurricane over the weekend. It would be early in the season for such a storm. It is unclear whether Gonzalo would remain a hurricane for long or degrade back to Tropical Storm status as it passes south of Jamaica early next week. The BBCWeather Centre offers an interesting perspective.

In the Pacific Ocean Hurricane Douglas is expected to track towards Hawaii over the weekend. It may bring heavy rains and high winds to the big island by Sunday.

In this week’s AGU-EOS newsletter we learn that Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Chicago, Ill., are using NASA Earth observations to map, monitor, and forecast water and air quality, urban heat island effects, landslide risks, and more. This seems like appropriate application of NASA technology that may be picked up by other cities.

MPR listener question:

We live near Huddle’s Resort on Leech Lake in northern Minnesota and we have measured over 7 inches of rainfall so far this month including 2.5 inches just last Saturday. Can you tell us what the July rainfall record is for Leech Lake?


The all-time record July rainfall at Leech Lake (1887-present) is 12.27 inches in 1949. So you still have a long ways to go to break that record. BTW the all-time July rainfall record for the state is from just north of Isle in Aitkin County where 22.70 inches fell in 1972, including 18.45 inches in one week (July 17-23).

Twin Cities Almanac for July 24yh:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 83 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 64 degrees F (plus or minus 6 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for July 24th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 104 degrees F in 1941; lowest daily maximum temperature of 65 degrees F in 1915; lowest daily minimum temperature of 49 degrees F in 1891; highest daily minimum temperature of 78 degrees F in 1934; record precipitation of 1.69 inches in 2012. No snowfall has been reported on this date.

Average dew point for July 24th is 61°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 78°F in 1941; and the minimum dew point on this date is 39°F in 1946.

All-time state records for July 24th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 110 degrees F at New London (Kandiyohi County) in 1901 and at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1940. The state record low temperature for this date is 29 degrees F at Kelliher (Beltrami County) in 2003. The state record precipitation for this date is 5.80 inches at Rosemount (Dakota County) in 1987. No snowfall has been reported on this date.

Past Weather Features:

Probably the hottest ever July 24 on a statewide basis was in 1901 when over 30 Minnesota climate stations reported an afternoon high temperature of 100°F or greater. Even the overnight low temperature only dropped to 82°F at Faribault.

July 24, 1913 brought record low temperatures to the Red River Valley with many Minnesota climate stations reporting morning lows in the low to mid 30s F. Hallock started out at just 35°F but rose to a high of 78°F by the afternoon.

Striking during in the middle of what was regarded as a drought-prone year around Minnesota, the flash flood of July 23-24, 1987 is still vividly remembered by many eastern Minnesota residents, especially those in the Twin Cities Metro Area. As much as 5-10 inches of rain inundated the landscape, flooding roads, highways, and thousands of basements. At the MSP airport 10 inches of rain was measured in just 6.5 hours. Portions of the Interstate Highway system in and around the Twin Cities were closed due to flooding for days.


Warm and muggy weekend with dew points in the 70s F, perhaps even reaching 80°F in some places on Saturday. Widespread showers and thunderstorms, some very heavy Saturday afternoon and night. A cold front will pass on Sunday bring temperatures by evening closer to normal. Temperatures will run near seasonal normals Monday through Wednesday, then warmer and a chance for showers and thunderstorms by Thursday.

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Unknown said…
To my eyes, the sky was bluer in April than I had ever noticed before. It seems less deep blue now. Is that true? How is sky color measured?