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June Starts Cool and Dry

June Starts Cool and Dry:

With vivid memories of last June (2021) which was the 3rd warmest in state history, Minnesota citizens have been somewhat surprised to witness the first 9 days of this June with average temperatures that are 2 to 5 degrees F cooler than normal. So far climate stations in Tower, Cotton, Brimson, Embarrass, and Hibbing have reported frosts this month, while many other locations in Minnesota have reported some lows in the 30s F as well.

With the cooler temperatures, Minnesota crops are emerging and growing at a slower pace than normal. Hopefully with warmer than normal temperatures expected for the second half of the month, crop growth and development may catch up to near normal pace by the July 4th holiday.

Most climate stations are reporting less than normal rainfall for the month so far. Some areas of west-central and northwestern Minnesota have only reported a trace (Warroad, Browns Valley, and Baudette for example), while a few spots in southeastern counties have seen over 1 inch. At least stored soil moisture is adequate or surplus in most areas of the state for this time of year, so that serves as a buffer for crops to not suffer from moisture stress. It is too early in the season to assess whether or not drought will emerge in the state this summer. 

Remembering Minnesota’s Hottest June:

June of 1933 remains as a unique anomaly in the state climate history as the only month to ever bring
two six-day Heat Waves of equal intensity and duration. It presented a special challenge to Minnesota
farmers in producing both drought and two Heat Waves that abruptly diminished any hopes of good crop yields that year. Average monthly temperatures ranged from 2°F to 9°F above normal. June of 1933 was fully 4 degrees F warmer than June of 2020 which most farmers will remember as very hot indeed. There are still many daily high temperature records across Minnesota that remain unbroken from that month.

The first six-day Heat Wave began on June 15 with four counties reporting afternoon temperatures of 100°F or greater. Each day brought more widespread hot temperatures to the state, peaking on the 19th with temperatures of 100°F or greater affecting 23 counties. Daily maximum temperatures in portions of western and southern Minnesota ranged from 101°F to 109°F. Many overnight low temperatures remained in the 70s F, and the reading of 81°F on the morning of June 19th at Morris remains as the highest minimum temperature for that date in Minnesota history. The last day of the Heat Wave, June 20th brought cloudy skies and a few thunderstorms with welcome rainfall amounts of a quarter to half an inch. These storms were followed by a cool front which brought a few days of temperatures in the 80s F and low 90s F.

The second six-day Heat Wave began on June 25 in just three western Minnesota counties where the afternoon temperatures topped 100°F. The hot weather spread across the state during the last week of the month bringing temperatures over 100°F to 18 counties in western and southern Minnesota. Daily temperatures rose to as high as 109 degrees F. Again, many overnight low temperatures remained in the 70s F during this spell which lasted until June 30th when thunderstorms again brought welcome rains of 0.25 to 0.75 inches to some areas of the state.

Overall, 41 Minnesota climate stations reported temperatures of 100 degrees F or greater during the two Heat Waves. Rainfall in June of 1933 was sparse, falling on only 5 or 6 days. Twenty-nine Minnesota counties reported less than 1.5 inches of rainfall that month. According to historical records from the National Climate Data Center portions of 28 Minnesota counties were listed in severe to extreme drought by the end of June 1933. This drought area expanded to 56 Minnesota counties by August of 1933 and many state and federal programs were initiated to bring some financial relief to Minnesota farmers.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The Weather Underground features a good description of the new NOAA-National Weather Service HeatRisk Forecast that is being issued as an experimental product this season. This forecast provides a risk level with both a color and numeric value for the next seven days. The levels are designed to better assess what actions, if any, a particular group and area should take. This forecast product also incorporates heat-health data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) into the thresholds.

Recent research by the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and published in Nature Geoscience documents the more widespread appearance of taliks, layers of unfrozen ground that lie within areas of permafrost, across interior portions of Alaska. Many of these areas were initiated during the mild winter of 2018 and preserved by the added insulation of deep snow cover during cold snaps. These areas are expected to grow with the continuing impacts of climate change.

This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin features an interesting article about volunteer efforts to unearth historical climate records from a variety of handwritten archives dating back to the 17th Century. Thanks to volunteer efforts data reconstructions of climate have emerged in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and New Zealand. There are also efforts to transcribe data from ships logs traveling in the Southern Hemisphere. These older data help to tell the tale about weather extremes of the past and fill in gaps about previous century climate behaviors.

MPR listener question:

We farm near Fairmont in Martin County and represent one of the few areas in Minnesota that has reported relatively little precipitation this year, about 60 percent of normal. So far this June only a quarter inch of rain. We are nervous about having another dry summer. What is the record driest June for our area?


Fairmont has a rich climate record back to 1887. The driest June was in 1933 when just 1.02 inches of rainfall was measured. Albert Lea only reported 0.23 inches that same June. The driest June in state history was 1910 when the statewide average rainfall was only about 1.5 inches, and Rochester only reported a trace. The worst drought in history gripped the state in 1910.

Twin Cities Almanac for June 10th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 78 degrees F (plus or minus 9 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 59 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for June 10th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 99 degrees F in 1956; lowest daily maximum temperature of 55 degrees F in 1955; lowest daily minimum temperature of 40 degrees F in 1877; highest daily minimum temperature of 73 degrees F in 1973; record precipitation of 1.77 inches in 1874. No snow has been reported on this date.

Average dew point for June 10th is 54°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 73°F in 2002; and the minimum dew point on this date is 20 degrees F in 1972.

All-time state records for June 10th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 106 degrees F at Fairmont (Martin County) in 1933. The state record low temperature for this date is 22 degrees F at Remer (Cass County) in 1985. The state record precipitation for this date is 6.05 inches at Agassiz Refuge (Marshall County) in 2002. No measurable snowfall has occurred on this date.

Past Weather Features:

By far the warmest June 10th in state history was in 1933 when most of the state was blanketed by temperatures of 90°F or greater. Observers in 10 counties reported temperatures of 100°F or greater. The morning low temperature at Milan was 77°F.

Morning frosts were reported in St Louis, Kooochiching, Cook, Lake, Roseau, and Lake of the Woods Counties on June 10, 1980. Tower and Meadowlands both reported morning temperatures in the 20s F.

A large and slow-moving complex of thunderstorms brought flooding rains to many portions of northwestern Minnesota over June 9-10 of 2002. Many climate stations reported 3 to 9 inches of rainfall, with all of Lake of the Woods County reporting 8 inches or more. One observer along the Roseau-Lake of the Woods County boundary reported 14.55 inches. A massive flash flood crest went down the Roseau River. Some communities reported extensive flooding damage. This was reported in detail by the Minnesota State Climatology Office.


After a cooler than normal start to the month, warmer than normal temperatures will begin to prevail across the state on Saturday, especially in the southern half of the state. This warming trend will continue through much of next week, but also bring chances for showers and thunderstorms almost daily.

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