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Some Rain, But Not Enough Statewide

Some Rain, But Not Enough Statewide:

Welcome rains occurred in portions of western and southern Minnesota this week. Some areas received over 1 inch of rainfall, and portions of Houston, Chisago, McLeod, Anoka, Hennepin, Wright, and Carver Counties reported over 2 inches. A few places reported record daily rainfall for July 14 or July 15, including:
Caledonia 1.93”
Wells 1.92”
Lester Prairie 2.55”
Hokah 2.67”

Many areas were missed by the rains and the US Drought Monitor updated on July 15th showed an increase in the state landscape designated to be in Severe or Extreme Drought (now over 52 percent of the landscape). The Extreme Drought category presently encompasses much of Beltrami and Hubbard Counties in northern Minnesota and a portion of Stearns County in central Minnesota. Overall close to 98 percent of the state is in at least the Moderate Drought category.

You can find more drought details about the state at the DNR web site.

After a drier than normal June, some areas of the state have reported less than two tenths of inch in rainfall so far this month. Of further note, some areas of the state show precipitation deficiencies for the year (departures from normal) than range from minus 7 to minus 9 inches.

The outlook for the remainder of July shows few chances for rainfall, except briefly during the last week of the month.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The BBC reported this week on flooding in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands where many roads were washed out and people had to evacuate their homes. Record-setting rainfalls over a 48-hour period surpassed the normal July monthly totals ( 4-6 inches) in many areas as a slow-moving low-pressure area brought continuous rain. Over 100 deaths were blamed on the storms.

The AGU-EOS Bulletin this week featured an article about the IPCC future scenarios for climate change mitigation. An excerpt includes “the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change showcased 50 scenarios to limit global warming to 1.5°C above preindustrial temperatures. A new study finds that only half of those scenarios are realistic.” Even during the COVID epidemic, global carbon dioxide emissions were only reduced by about 6 percent, and the future pace of reductions has to accelerate to limit global climate change.

MPR listener question:

Has there ever been a place in Minnesota that received virtually no rainfall during July? Where and when?


The driest July in state history was in 1936 when the statewide average rainfall was only 0.81 inches. That July Little Falls reported no measurable rainfall, only a trace, while Cambridge reported only 0.01 inches. Other communities, including Milan and Fergus Falls reported less than a tenth of an inch. Bear in mind too that July of 1936 was the hottest in state history as well.

Twin Cities Almanac for July 16th:

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 65 degrees F (plus or minus 6 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for July 16th:

MSP records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 102 degrees F in 1926; lowest daily maximum temperature of 66 degrees F in 1900; lowest daily minimum temperature of 51 degrees F in 1958; highest daily minimum temperature of 80 degrees F in 1931; record precipitation of 1.28 inches in 1908. No snowfall has occurred on this date.

Average dew point for July 16th is 62°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 77°F in 2011; and the minimum dew point on this date is 42 degrees F in 2009.

All-time state records for July 16th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 113 degrees F at Wheaton (Traverse County) in 1936. The state record low temperature for this date is 32 degrees F at Sawbill Camp (Cook County) in 1940. The state record precipitation for this date is 6.38 inches at Moorhead (Clay County) in 1993. No snowfall on this date.

Past Weather Features:

July 16, 1936 was right in the middle of the worst Heat Wave in state history. Over 50 communities reported afternoon high temperatures of 100°F or greater. The overnight low at Albert Lea was 80°F. The cool spot was Grand Marais harbor with a reading of 69°F.

Campers in northern Minnesota campgrounds were begging for a hot cup of coffee on the morning of July 16, 1979. Many areas were reporting morning temperatures in the 30s F. It was only 33°F at Tower, but later rose to an afternoon high of 73°F.

July 16, 1993 brought heavy thunderstorms to northwestern Minnesota. Record-setting rains fell on Becker, Clay, Beltrami, and Clearwater Counties. Many climate stations reported 5-6 inches of rain. Campers in Itasca State Park were drenched as campgrounds flooded.


A mostly sunny weekend ahead with temperatures warming up to above normal values. Skies may still be hazy due to smoke from wildfires. Continued warming next week with many areas seeing afternoon highs from the mid 80s to mid 90s F. Chance for widely scattered showers in northern sections of the state on Wednesday, but little or no rain expected elsewhere around the state next week.

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