Skip to main content

Climate Summary for May of 2022

Climate Summary for May of 2022:

Full of dramatic and damaging severe weather episodes, the month of May has thankfully passed us by. Before accounting for the episodes of severe weather, a few general statements about the climate imprint for the month.

Most climate observers reported a mean monthly temperature that was 1°F either side of normal, while some climate stations reported a value that was 1 to 2 degrees F above normal. This is a break from the trend of below normal temperatures that dominated the first four months of the year. Extremes for the month were 97°F at St James (Watonwan County) on May 13th, and 21°F at Eveleth, Seagull Lake, and Brimson on May 3rd and 4th. There were 45 high daily maximum temperature records set or tied within the state climate observation network, and 39 warm minimum temperature records set or tied. On the other hand, there were only 10 record daily cold minimum temperature records set or tied within the state observing network, and 33 low maximum temperature records.

Minnesota reported the nation’s lowest temperature only once during the month, 30°F at Hibbing and Silver Bay on May 30th. MSP reported two 90°F days during the month on the 12th and the 28th. The reading of 90°F on the 28th was unusual in that it occurred between 6pm and 7pm in the evening. MSP also reported several days with dew points above 60 degrees F, and a couple of record setting high dew points.

Rainfall in May was above normal for most locations in the state. The wettest areas were generally in central and eastern sections of the state. Sartell and Collegeville (Stearns County), along with Pelican Rapids (Otter Tail County) reported over 9 inches of rainfall. The 9.04 inches at Collegeville was the wettest May in history there (back to 1892). Mora reported its 3rd wettest May in history (back to 1904) with 8.04 inches. Across the state climate observing network 83 daily record rainfall values were set or tied during May, including 4.68 inches at Granite Falls on May 11 and 5.00 inches at Collegeville on May 12th both of which were new statewide rainfall records for the date. A record rainfall of 2.25 inches fell at International Falls on May 31st. International Falls reported 5.79 inches of rain in May, their 5th wettest May in history. International Falls has received 17.05 inches of precipitation for the first 5 months of the year, and the Rainy River Basin has been flooding for weeks.

The real climate story for May of 2022 involved several days of severe weather, most of which occurred on
May 8
May 9
May 10
May 11
May 12
May 19
May 28
May 29
May 30

Over those 9 dates, 44 tornadoes were reported, there were 338 reports of large hail (1” diameter or larger), and 339 reports of damaging winds (50-95 mph). Ongoing floods prevailed in a number of watersheds, and there were several episodes of flash flooding as well. Some form of severe weather occurred in almost all parts of the state.

Of all those dates, perhaps the worst two were on May 12th when there were reports of 19 tornadoes, 49 reports of large hail, and 133 reports of damaging wind, and then again on May 30th, the observed Memorial Day, May 30th when 15 tornado reports, 27 reports of large hail, and 122 reports of damaging winds were filed with the NOAA Storm Prediction Center. Many Minnesota citizens will spend the month of June and beyond trying to recover and perhaps rebuild. The insurance industry in Minnesota has been buried in claims for property damage, perhaps unlike any period in history. There is a tremendous backlog in hail claims, for both homes and autos.

Overall, the National Weather Service has done an excellent job in providing watches and warnings for this severe weather. Kudos to them.

Many climate stations reported at least 30 mph wind gusts on over half of the days during the month, with multiple gusts over 50 mph, following the same trend set by the first four months of the year. A list of number of days with wind gusts of 30 mph or greater for some locations:

MSP 21 days
Brainerd 19 days
Rochester 18 days
Redwood Falls 17 days
St Cloud 17days
Moorhead 16 days
Hibbing 15 days

Despite all the weather hurdles, Minnesota farmers did their best to get fields planted in May. By the end of the month over 85 percent of the corn acreage was planted and over 60 percent of the soybean acreage.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

NOAA recently revised the climate outlook for June. It shows that cooler than normal temperatures are favored for the month in the Western Great Lakes area, including Minnesota. There are equal chances for above or below normal precipitation during the month.

An article in this week’s Science Magazine lays out some options for the USA to achieve a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Much of the strategy involves accelerated efforts to convert to clean energy for the electric power grids and move towards electric vehicles more rapidly.

NASA and NOAA recently released some informative video about how the lightning mapper on the new GOES-18 satellite is working. It presents much more detail on the evolution of convective storms and the threat of lightning, as well as tornadoes.

MPR listener question:

We live in International Falls, MN where we have seen flooding prevail on the Rainy River for weeks. Our gage has recorded nearly 18 inches of precipitation so far this year. What is the record annual amount for our area of the state?


The record annual precipitation at International Falls is 34.35 inches back in 1941. You are 10 inches above normal and about halfway there, with 7 months to go. Certainly, you may be approaching that record by the end of 2022.

Twin Cities Almanac for June 3rd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 75 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 56 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for June 3rd:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 92 degrees F in 1923; lowest daily maximum temperature of 53 degrees F in 1990; lowest daily minimum temperature of 34 degrees F in 1945; highest daily minimum temperature of 70 degrees F in 1898; record precipitation of 1.71 inches in 1914. No snow has been reported on this date.

Average dew point for June 3rd is 51°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 73°F in 1965; and the minimum dew point on this date is 24 degrees F in 1929.

All-time state records for June 3rd:

The state record high temperature for this date is 98 degrees F at Canby (Yellow Medicine County) in 1940. The state record low temperature for this date is 19 degrees F at Ely (St Louis County) in 1947. The state record precipitation for this date is 7.10 inches at Pine River Dam (Crow Wing County) in 1898. No measurable snowfall has occurred on this date.

Past Weather Features:

The month of June started very wet in 1898 with rains over the first four day, especially in northern counties. Many climate stations reported rainfall totals from 2 to 3 inches. Pine River Dam in Crow Wing County reported nearly 9 inches of rain.

The morning of June 3, 1964 brought frost to many parts of northern Minnesota, including the Red River Valley where small grain crops were damaged. Seventeen Minnesota counties reported frost with readings from 26°F to 32°F. The daily high only reached 52°F at Grand Marais.

June 3, 1968 was the warmest in state history. Over 40 climate stations reported afternoon highs in the 90s F. The overnight minimum temperature at Hutchinson (McLeod County) was a warm 76°F. Coldest spot was Duluth Harbor with a high of only 54°F.


Cooler than normal with chances for showers on Saturday and Sunday, mostly in the southern portions of the state. It will be partly sunny and mostly dry up north. Monday through Wednesday looks to be a cloudy period, cooler than normal, with chances for scattered showers. Warming back to near normal temperatures by Thursday and Friday.

Print Friendly and PDF