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First Half of July: Warm With Mixed Rainfall

First Half of July: Warm With Mixed Rainfall

Through the first half of July average temperatures from around the state have been running 3-5 degrees F above normal, with widespread 90°F temperature readings. Across the Minnesota climate station network there have been 21 daily record maximum temperatures set or tied and 23 daily record warm minimum temperatures set or tied. These include normally some of the coolest locations in the state such as Cass Lake (with a record warm minimum temperature of 72°F on the 1st) and Gunflint Lake (with a record high maximum temperature of 92°F on the 5th.

It is unusual that Minnesota has not reported the nation’s lowest temperature since May 30th when it was 30°F at Hibbing and Silver Bay.

Minnesota’s northwestern most county, Kittson has been the wettest area in the state this month with rainfall totals so far on a record-setting pace: Karlstad 8.59 inches, Lake Bronson Dam 6.19 inches, and Hallock 5.70 inches. The number at Karstad is already a monthly record for July and will just grow the rest of the month. The monthly records at Lake Bronson (8.29 inches in 1982) and at Hallock (7.28 inches in 1982) are likely to be challenged before the end of July as well. All three of these locations had record rainfall on July 14th this week:
Karlstad 3.23 inches
Lake Bronson Dam 2.53 inches
Hallock 2.02 inches

These heavy rains caused the National Weather Service to issue a somewhat rare mid-summer flood warning for the Two Rivers in Kittson County.

In contrast Dawson, MN (Lac Qui Parle County) has seen just 0.26 inches of rain so far this month. Much of central Minnesota has seen less than normal amounts. However, the second half of July is expected to bring more than average rainfall to much of the state.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

NOAA scientists report that June of 2020 was the third warmest in history globally. In Russia, parts of Siberia reported the warmest June in history, For the USA June of 2020 was in the upper third of the historical distribution temperature-wise, but no where near record-setting.

The NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory reported earlier this week that Great Lakes water temperatures are running from 6 to 11 degrees F above normal this summer. Lake Michigan surface temperatures are in the 70s F. Even along part of the shoreline of Lake Superior, some surface waters are flirting with the 70 F mark. The Weather Underground web site features an interesting report on this.

The BBC reported that a strong low-pressure system has produced massive waves and a great deal of coastal erosion in New South Wales north of Sydney. Waves as high as 36 feet have tempted surfers but have also eroded a great deal of land around expensive shoreline homes in the area.

July 9-15 was the hottest week of the season in Death Valley, CA. Daily maximum temperatures reached as high as 128°F and on two consecutive nights (July 12-13) the overnight low did not fall below 100°F. The weekly average temperature was 107°F, hot even for Death Valley, about 5-6 degrees F above normal for this time of year.

MPR listener question

Out here in Lac Qui Parle County we have had a lot of heat, but very little rain this month, just three-tenths in my farm rain gage. Has there ever been July without any rainfall?


I examined three locations in Lac Qui Parle County with long-term climate histories: Dawson, Madison, and Montevideo. The lowest total July rainfall I could find was in 1975 when Dawson reported 0.31 inches and Madison reported 0.42 inches; and in 1936 for Montevideo with just 0.12 inches. There have been a few other regions of the state that have historically been dry for the entire month of July. For example, Blooming Prairie (Dodge County) recorded no rainfall in July of 1894, while Little Falls (Morrison County) recorded no rainfall in July of 1936.

Twin Cities Almanac for July 17th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 84 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 17th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 99 degrees F in 1936; lowest daily maximum temperature of 65 degrees F in 2009; lowest daily minimum temperature of 52 degrees F in 1976; highest daily minimum temperature of 79 degrees F in 2011; record precipitation of 3.71 inches in 1997. No snowfall has been reported on this date.

Average dew point for July 17th is 62°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 81°F in 2011; and the minimum dew point on this date is 38°F in 1911.

All-time state records for July 17th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 110 degrees F at Worthington (Nobles County) in 1936. The state record low temperature for this date is 33 degrees F at Bigfork (Itasca County) in 1971. The state record precipitation for this date is 5.90 inches at Gull Lake (Cass County) in 1952. No snowfall has been reported on this date.

Past Weather Features:

July 17, 1936 was the hottest in history with 25 Minnesota communities reporting afternoon temperatures of 100°F or greater. It was the middle of the deadly Heat Wave from July 5-19 that killed hundreds of Minnesota citizens.

Strong thunderstorms dropped 2-5 inches of rain across portions of central Minnesota over July 16-17, 1952. Gull Lake reported nearly 6 inches which washed out a number of roads in the area.

Campers in northern Minnesota woke up to temperatures in the 30s F on July 17, 1971. At Big Fork (Itasca County) the temperature started out at 33°F but rose by 40 to 73°F by 4pm.


Warm and humid through Saturday night with a Heat Advisory and an Excessive Heat Warning issued for portions of the state. There will be a chance for showers and thunderstorms, some of which could be severe. Mostly sunny and cooler with near normal temperatures for Sunday and Monday. Near normal temperatures continue through Thursday, with slight chances for showers and thunderstorms. Then a warming trend for the end of next week as temperatures return to above normal.

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