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Good Weather for Farmers

Good Weather for Farmers:

Winds have generally diminished from the powerful ones of last month, soil temperatures have warmed into the 50s and 60s F, soils have dried enough to be suitable for planting, and Minnesota farmers are making significant and rapid progress in getting seed in the ground, working 16-20 hour days. Lots of progress on getting this year’s crops planted this week, but this progress will be interrupted Friday through early Sunday by a variety of showers and thunderstorms. Nevertheless, farmers are optimistic that the overall planting season this year will not be as late as it was last year.

It looks like a generally warmer and drier than normal weather pattern will prevail after this weekend, and last through the balance of May. With adequate to surplus stored soil moisture from the first few months of the year, soils should be able to support sustained and rapid growth of planted crops even scarce rainfall the rest of the month. With this context farmers should feel good at this time about prospects for the 2023 growing season.

Next Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership (MCAP) Webinar:

Ariane Laxo from HGA and UMN Master’s of Science in Sustainable Design and Architecture student and MCAP intern Patrick Cipriano will present on a new study from MCAP and HGA to understand current Architecture and Engineering (A&E) professional practices related to the use of climate projection data; challenges encountered accessing understanding, and applying these data to inform design, and applying these data to inform design; and opportunities to advance climate resilience services and expertise in the A&E industry. The Webinar will be May 16th from noon to 1pm, and you can find more detailed information and register for it at the MCAP web site:

Exceptionally rare date in Minnesota Weather History:

Today, May 12th is exceptionally rare in Minnesota weather history because the same community holds the statewide record for high temperature and for low temperature. Hallock in Kittson County (far northwestern MN) was 98°F on May 12, 1900. On May 12, 1946 Kittson reported a low temperature of just 11°F. Both remain statewide records.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

The BBC reported this week that for the first three months of the year wind turbines have generated more electricity than gas across the United Kingdom. In addition, monitoring energy distribution on the national grid in April showed a record period for solar energy generation. The UK is striving to achieve net zero emissions from power generation by the year 2035.

Earlier this week, May 9th, marked the 161st anniversary of the famous balloon ascents of British scientists James Glaisher and Henry Coxwell. They made 18 ascents in a gas filled balloon, the first of which was on May 9, 1862. They were the first to carry meteorological instruments aloft to make measurements of the character of the atmosphere. They established that nocturnal inversions were common and that lapse rate (change in temperature with altitude) can vary dramatically. They read their instruments on night ascents by wearing miner's lamps (the balloon was filled with highly combustible hydrogen!). In one famous ascent to an altitude of 30,000 ft, Glaisher lost consciousness and Coxwell,who was groggy and had numb, frozen hands, still found a way to pull the valve-cord hard enough with his teeth so that enough gas was released to allow them to descend back to Earth.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts that Tropical Cyclone Mocha will bring high winds, 100-120 mph, heavy rains (8-12 inches) and significant storm surge to portions of Bangladesh and Myanmar this weekend. It is the first named storm of the Tropical Cyclone Season in the Indian Ocean Basin and has generated wave heights of 45 feet.

MPR listener question:

When is the peak of the hail season in Minnesota?


According to historical data from the NOAA Storm Prediction Center this date varies around the state, but in general the data show the peak period for hail to occur is the last week of May through the first week of June. Recall too that just last May brought some of the worst hail storms in state history leading to thousand of property damage insurance claims on both homes and motor vehicles.

Twin Cities Almanac for May 12th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 68 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 49 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for May 12th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 90 degrees F in 1961; lowest daily maximum temperature of 40 degrees F in 1888; lowest daily minimum temperature of 28 degrees F in 1946; highest daily minimum temperature of 62 degrees F in 1944; record precipitation of 1.52 inches in 1906. Record snowfall is 0.2 inches also in 1946.

Average dew point for May 12th is 40°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 67°F in 1983; and the minimum dew point on this date is 10 degrees F in 1989.

All-time state records for May 12th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 98 degrees F at Hallock (Kittson County) in 1900. The state record low temperature for this date is 11 degrees F at Hallock (Kittson County) in 1946. The state record precipitation for this date is 4.48 inches at Warroad (Roseau County) in 2004. Record snowfall is 2.5 inches at Babbitt (St Louis County) in 1953.

Past Weather:

Full-scale summer temperatures arrived on May 12, 1900 as over 40 communities reported afternoon high temperatures in the 90s F. The overnight lows in Murray and Martin Counties of southern Minnesota never fell below 65°F.

May 12, 1946 brought the coldest Mother's Day ever to Minnesota. The early part of the month had been favorable for grass, gardens, and farm crops, but on that Sunday, morning lows from the teens to the 20s F brought a hard and damaging freeze. Many grain crops suffered from frost, vegetables and fruits were killed, and garden flowers were frozen. A state record low of just 11 degrees F was set at Hallock in Kittson County. Though afternoon highs reached the 50s F most places, low winter-like clouds brought sprinkles and even some sleet and snow to places. The Twin Cities reported a record 0.2 inches of snowfall during the early morning hours. It was a good day for soup or stew indoors and certainly not a good day to take mom out for a picnic.

A large, slow-moving area of low pressure brought heavy rains and snow to portions of western and northern Minnesota over May 11-12 of 2004. Some climate stations in northwestern Minnesota reported 4 to 5 inches of rainfall filling up many drainage ditches. Near Lake of the Woods and along the Canadian border many places reported 4 inches or more of snowfall.


Generally cloudy with chances for rain and thunderstorms early in the weekend (especially southern counties), except for northern areas which will remain dry. Then, it will be generally dry and cooler statewide on Sunday. Much of next week will see temperatures that are above normal, with increasing cloudiness later on Wednesday and a chance for showers and thunderstorms continuing into Thursday.

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Mark Johnson said…
Dear Mark,

Your very old tree trimmer/ Former Sunfish Lake City Forester Mark Johnson here,stil, in Stockholm Sweden. I love your reports They are wonderful. They give me a connection to back home! Thanks a lot! Wishing you the best. Sincerely Mark Johnson. Tack så mycket😊