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Climate Summary for May of 2023

Climate Summary for May of 2023:

On a statewide basis May of 2023 was the 6th warmest in history back to 1895. It was the second warmest May in history for portions of the Red River Valley (northwestern MN), and the 4th warmest for the western thumb area of the state (Big Stone and Traverse Counties). At least 15 climate stations reported a day to wo with 90°F or greater. Most climate stations reported a mean monthly temperature that was 3°F to 7°F above normal. With the statewide climate network there were 5 record daily high temperatures reported and 24 record daily warm minimum temperatures reported. Extremes for the month ranged from 18°F at Eveleth (St Louis County) on the 3rd, and 93°F at Red Wing Dam (Goodhue County) on the 24th.

Most of the rainfall in May came during the first two weeks, and much heavier in the southern counties than the rest of the state. During those first two weeks there were 27 daily record rainfall values reported. For the second half of May, rainfall was rare, and when it occurred it was in light amounts.

Except for areas of southern Minnesota, most climate observers reported a drier than normal month of May. Many climate stations, including Duluth and St Cloud, reported less than one inch of rainfall for the month. Conversely, some climate stations in Brown, Watonwan, Redwood, Blue Earth, and Faribault Counties reported over 7 inches of rainfall for the month, mostly thanks to the thunderstorms the second week of May.

Some portions of northern Minnesota reported traces of snow on May 1st, and Ely reported 1.1 inches that day. The state was dominated mostly by high pressure systems which kept the rainfall away and wind speeds lower than they were in April. There were also a number of Air Quality Alerts issued during the month due to pollution of ozone, fine particles, and smoke from wildfires in Canada.

Most major crops were near 100 percent planted by the end of May, while about a quarter of the first alfalfa hay cutting was complete. Drier weather with lighter winds helped farmers finish up field work the last two weeks of the month. Some farmers were concerned about how long the dry weather might last. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows that two-thirds of the state is abnormally dry for this time of year, and that portions of Rock, Nobles, and Pipestone Counties are now in moderate drought. None of the NOAA outlook models favors widespread rainfall soon, and mostly favors warmer than normal temperatures through the first half of June.

Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership (MCAP) call for session proposals and presentation abstracts for the 2023 Midwest Climate Resilience Conference in Duluth, October 25-27, 2023:

MCAP is seeking input on session topics, content, and speakers for this important regional conference.  Please look at thee web site and respond with your ideas by June 9th.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

This week the United Kingdom Met Office announced a new 11 million pounds investment into a program with the National Environmental Research Council that will enhance their ability to predict weather extremes. They will use a variety of atmospheric measurement stems to enhance the resolution of their numerical models and hope to improve their depictions of severe thunderstorms and heavy rainfalls.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued the seasonal forecast for winter (June-August) this week. It calls for a dry and hot winter across most of the country. Because of the drier than normal conditions, there will be an increased risk for repeated frosts in some inland areas. In some areas the expected dry pattern will heighten the risk of bushfires.

This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin features a compelling look at the value of World Heritage Site data sets in documenting the pace of climate change. One of these data sets is the record of observed full flowering dates for cherry trees in Kyoto, Japan, since the 9th century which is showing earlier dates since 1990. Other data sets are highlighted as well for contributing to our knowledge of climate change.

MPR listener question:

We have been watering the garden every other day since we planted in late May, but worried about not getting any rainfall. June is normally one of the wettest months of the year, but what is the longest period we have gone in June without any rainfall?


Not sure if this question implies the Twin Cities or not. If so, in June of 1910 and again in 1912 the Twin Cities went 14 days without any rainfall. Many other western Minnesota communities (Canby, Montevideo, Milan and Beardsley have gone up to 17 consecutive days in June without any rainfall., and in 1913 Rochester went 20 consecutive days without rainfall. Speaking of Rochester in June of 1910 they went the entire month without measurable rainfall, only a trace was reported on June 12th.

Twin Cities Almanac for June 2nd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 75 degrees F (plus or minus 9 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 2nd:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 93 degrees F in 1940; lowest daily maximum temperature of 44 degrees F in 1945; lowest daily minimum temperature of 35 degrees F in 1946; highest daily minimum temperature of 70 degrees F in 1923; record precipitation of 2.00 inches in 1897. No snowfall on this date.

Average dew point for June 2nd is 48°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 73°F in 1944; and the minimum dew point on this date is 22 degrees F in 1994.

All-time state records for June 2nd:

The state record high temperature for this date is 105 degrees F at Fairmont (Martin County) in 1934. The state record low temperature for this date is 20 degrees F at Ely (St Louis County) in 1947. The state record precipitation for this date is 7.02 inches at Wheaton (Traverse County) in 2007. Record snowfall is 5.0 inches at Virginia (St Louis County) in 1945.

Past Weather:

A line of strong thunderstorms brought heavy rains to portions of southern Minnesota on June 2, 1899. Farmers had just recently planted crops and some fields were washed out by rainfalls of 3 inches or greater around Worthington, Fairmont, and Winnebago.

June 2nd of 1934 was the warmest in state history with widespread afternoon high temperatures in the 90s F. Climate stations in Brown, Martin, Lyon, Nicollet, Waseca, Faribault, and Freeborn Counties reported high temperatures of 100°F or greater. The overnight low only went down to 71°F at Morris, MN.

The snow accumulation season of 1944-1945 for Virginia (St Louis County), MN ended on June 2nd with a storm that delivered 5 inches of snow. This is the highest June daily snowfall for anywhere in the state of Minnesota. It was short-\lived as the temperature climbed to 59°F the next day. The snow season, October 1, 1944 to June 2, 1945 delivered 76.3 inches of snow at Virginia.


It will be very warm and humid over the weekend with near-record high temperatures in some areas of the state. There will be a chance for widely scattered showers and thunderstorms as well each day. Cooler by Monday, but still warmer than normal for June. A chance for widely scattered showers and thunderstorms returns for Wednesday and Thursday of next week

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