Skip to main content

More Record Rainfalls

 More Record Rainfalls:

August 14-15 brought more thunderstorms to Minnesota. Widespread rains of 1-2 inches were reported and some record daily rainfalls as well. Some of those climate stations reporting new record rainfalls included:

Grand Rapids 4.17”(5th larges rain in history there)
Alexandria 3.58”
Melrose 3.21”
St Cloud 3.09”
Pokegama Dam 2.89”
Ottertail 2.85”
Hibbing 2.60”
Long Prairie 2.44”
Milaca 2.17”

In addition, the National Weather Service reported several tornadoes across the state on August 14th and did damage surveys of several of them. Most of them were classified as EF-0 (winds of 65-85 mph), but one near Glencoe (McLeod County) and one near Cushing (Todd County) were rated EF-1 (winds 86-110 mph) and produced some damage. No deaths were reported. 

As a result of these recent thunderstorms and earlier ones in the month some observers in Aitkin, Cass, Itasca, Carver, and Clearwater Counties now report over 7 inches of rain for the month. Longville (Cass County) has reported nearly 8.5 inches. As a contrast, Caledonia (Houston County), usually one of the wetter spots in the state has reported just 0.28 inches so far this month.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Earlier in the week NOAA reported that Death Valley, CA tied the all-time North America high temperature record with a reading of 130°F on Sunday, August 16. This is also reputed to be the hottest temperature ever measured on Earth, as some earlier reported records (134°F at Death Valley in July 1913 and 131°F Kebili, Tunisia in July 1931) are thought to have been erroneous.

This is certainly the highest temperature ever measured in the month of August. The next day, Death Valley reported a high of 127°F and a low of 104°F for a daily mean temperature of 115.5°F. This is the second highest daily mean temperature ever reported then (records extend back to 1911), topped only by a mean of 117.5°F on July 12, 2012.

Science Daily web site reported this week that a team of international scientists studying the Greenland ice sheet found that a new record loss of ice mass occurred in 2019. The total loss amounted to 532 billion metric tons, more than in the previous record year 2012 (464 billion metric tons), which equates to an average global sea-level rise of 1.5 mm. This accelerated ice loss is expected to continue.

There is an interesting article in this week’s AGU-EOS bulletin about the Heat Wave in Japan during July of 2018 when several days brought temperatures of 95°F or greater, topped by a reading of 106°F at Kumagaya, a suburb of Tokyo. Over a thousand citizen deaths were blamed on this Heat Wave and in 2019 the Japanese Meteorological Service researchers documented that it was the result of climate change.

MPR listener question:

We live in Caledonia, MN and have received very little rain this month. All of the storms have gone either north or south of us. Our backyard rain gage has caught just 0.33 inches of rain. Can you tell us what has been the driest August in our area of the state?


The climate records at Caledonia go back to 1892. The driest August was in 1969 with just 0.71 inches of rain. In fact, several other Minnesota climate stations report 1969 as their driest August in history. That year Beardsley (Big Stone County) reported a total August rainfall of 0.01 inches.

With ten days left in the month, I would guess that you will end up with a few more rainy days, especially the last week of the month, and double or triple that measly total of a third of an inch so far.

Twin Cities Almanac for August 21st:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 80 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 61 degrees F (plus or minus 6 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for August 21st:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 98 degrees F in 1947; lowest daily maximum temperature of 59 degrees F in 1966; lowest daily minimum temperature of 44 degrees F in 2004; highest daily minimum temperature of 74 degrees F in 1968; record precipitation of 3.64 inches in 1924. No snowfall has been reported on this date.

Average dew point for August 21st is 58°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 78°F in 1903; and the minimum dew point on this date is 34°F in 2004.

All-time state records for August 21st:

The state record high temperature for this date is 103 degrees F at Milan (Chippewa County) in 1976. The state record low temperature for this date is 23 degrees F at Tower (St Louis County) in 2004. The state record precipitation for this date is 8.17 inches at Byron (Olmsted County) in 2007. No snowfall has been reported on this date.

Past Weather Features:

An F-5 (winds over 260 mph) tornado struck Rochester about 5:30 pm on August 21, 1883, killing 37 people and injuring 200. This tornado also lifted a train off the tracks and tipped it over. Attending to the injured and rebuilding the city resulted in the formation of the Mayo Clinic.

August 21st in 1947 and 1976 brought plenty of heat to Minnesota with widespread readings of 90°F or higher. Many western communities reached 100°F in the afternoon.

Strong thunderstorms brought heavy rainfall to western and southwestern Minnesota over August 20-21, 2002. Portions of Lac Qui Parle, Yellow Medicine, Chippewa, Meeker, and Rock Counties received over 5 inches of rain. Dawson, Madison, Montevideo, Litchfield, Pipestone, and Amboy all reported daily record rainfalls.

August 21, 2004 brought very cold temperatures to the state. Many observers reported a morning low in the 30s F. Observers in Hubbard, Itasca, Cass, and St Louis Counties reported frost with temperature readings in the 20s F. Ground frost was reported as far south as Mower County.


Temperatures will remain warmer than normal for Saturday through Wednesday. There will be a chance for showers and thunderstorms, mostly in central and northern counties on Saturday, and then again later on Wednesday. Temperatures will cool closer to normal for the end of next week.

Print Friendly and PDF