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May Starts Hot, Then Goes Cold

May Starts Hot, Then Goes Cold:

After starting the month with record or near-record setting maximum temperatures on May 1st, the weather pattern has cooled considerably and dried out as well. Most places in the state saw daytime highs reach the mid 70s F to upper 80s F on May 1st. Over 20 climate stations (mostly western and southern Minnesota) reported afternoon maximum temperatures of 90°F or greater. At least 23 climate stations set or tied record high temperatures including:

Granite Falls 95°F
Artichoke Lake and Winnebago 94°F
Worthington and Redwood Falls 93°F
St James and Windom 92°F
Rochester, Albert Lea, and Austin 91°F
Grand Meadow and Brainerd 89°F
Hastings and Browns Valley 88°F
Floodwood 83°F
Thorhult 82°F
Hibbing 81°F

Following the hot start to the month, a series of cold fronts and northwesterly flow brought temperatures down dramatically to cooler than normal levels. By May 4, 5, and 6 a majority of Minnesota counties had seen frost occur, with many places reporting morning lows in the 20s F. Parts of St Louis County in northeastern Minnesota (Brimson) were as cold as just 19°F, and frosts were reported as far south as Fillmore, Mower, and Nobles Counties.

Rainfall has been light for most places in Minnesota during the first week of May, except for far southeastern counties (Houston, Fillmore, Winona, and Mower Counties) where 1-2 inches fell on May 3rd. La Crescent reported a new daily record rainfall of 2.01 inches on May 3, while Preston reported a record rainfall of 0.98 inches for that date.

New Climate Normals Released by NOAA:

This week NOAA released the new climate normals (averages) for thousands of climate stations throughout the country, including over 270 climate stations in Minnesota. The new averages replace those from 1981-2010 as a frame of reference for the normal climate. In most cases around the state the new normals are warmer than the previous ones overall. There are a few months that are marginally cooler like April and February. December, September, and January are significantly warmer than the past, having recorded some of the warmest monthly values in history over the past decade. With respect to precipitation the months of April. May, and June are considerably wetter than the past and in most places the average annual precipitation has increased. In a few areas of the state the new annual precipitation normals are less than the old ones. With respect to season snowfall averages it is a mixed bag. Some areas have seen an increase in their averages, while others have seen a decrease. You can read more from the Minnesota State Climatology Office.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

In this week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin there is an interesting article about how scientists have discovered a methane reservoir below the permafrost seabed of the Laptev Sea off the north coast of central Russia. With continued climate change in the Arctic Region this reservoir could suddenly release large amounts of the potent greenhouse gas and amplify the pace of change.

The Australian government announced the formation of a new Climate Service Agency this week, funded by a 209 million dollar allocation. The Director of Meteorology, Dr. Andrew Johnson made the announcement: "The new Australian Climate Service will help Australians better prepare for natural disasters well before they occur, by not just looking days ahead but years and decades. It will also enhance the Australian Government's response during times of extreme weather, letting the community know much earlier what is coming, what's in its way, how it will be affected and the consequences of that for the businesses and households." You can read more from the Bureau of Meteorology.

The NOAA Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma documented over 60 tornado reports over May 3 and 4 this week, one of the busiest weeks of the year so far. Most of the storms occurred across the southern states from Texas to South Carolina. Severe weather of this type has yet to appear in the Great Lakes Region this season, as the atmosphere remains too cool and dry.

MPR listener question:

Has this Spring been much windier than normal? It sure seems like it.


Indeed, both March and April were very windy. If we look at the frequency of wind gusts over 35 mph, fully a third of the days in March produced such winds, and nearly half of the days in April brought such winds. So far in May the persistent strong winds of March and April have diminished somewhat. In recent years many MPR listeners have commented about the stronger winds and the climate data substantiates this in most places. As to the cause, it may be a symptom of climate change, but comprehensive research to document this is still lacking.

Twin Cities Almanac for May 7th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 67 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 46 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 7th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 92 degrees F in 1963; lowest daily maximum temperature of 38 degrees F in 1907; lowest daily minimum temperature of 27 degrees F in 1885; highest daily minimum temperature of 68 degrees F in 1896; record precipitation of 1.31 inches in 1933. Record snowfall is 0.1 inches in 1885.

Average dew point for May 7th is 37°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 70°F in 1916; and the minimum dew point on this date is 15 degrees F in 1945.

All-time state records for May 7th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 95 degrees F at Maple Plain (Hennepin County) in 1934 and at Rosemount (Dakota County) in 1990. The state record low temperature for this date is 13 degrees F at Hallock (Kittson County) in 1907. The state record precipitation for this date is 3.74 inches at Rosemount (Dakota County) in 2012. Record snowfall is 5.0 inches at Gonvick (Clearwater County) in 1924.

Past Weather Features:

May 7, 1907 brought a chilly day to most of the state as morning low temperatures bottomed out in the 20s F. It was 29°F as far south as Grand Meadow, while up north Hallock saw a state record low of just 13°F. The afternoon high temperature only rose to 32°F at both Morris and Duluth.

May 8, 1910....111 years and one day ago...Governor Adolf Eberhart declared Minnesota’s first Mother’s Day…..HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO EVERYONE....Looks like most places around the state will experience a cool, but sunny Mother’s Day this weekend.

A slow-moving Alberta Clipper Storm brought mixed precipitation to the state on May 7-8, 1924. Many areas of the state saw 1-3 inches of snow, while Red Lake Falls measured 6 inches and Two Harbors measured 8 inches.

May 7, 1990 brought mid-July temperatures with 20 counties reporting afternoon high temperatures in the 90s F. The overnight low temperature only dropped to 60°F at Gaylord and Redwood Falls.


Generally, a cool and dry weekend coming up with somewhat more sun on Sunday than on Saturday. Continuing cooler than normal next week in most places with slight chances for showers on Wednesday and Thursday. A warming trend back towards normal temperatures by next weekend.

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