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Weather Headlines in Minnesota This Week

Weather Headlines in Minnesota This Week:

Drought has spread. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, abnormally dry weather dominates across 77 percent of the state landscape this week. Moderate Drought is affecting portions of 35 Minnesota Counties, while Severe Drought has taken hold across portions of 8 east-central counties (from southern Pine County west to eastern Stearns County.

Despite the overall expansion of drought across the state since last week some isolated heavy thunderstorms brought significant rainfalls to some places over June 10 and 11, when some observers reported amounts ranging from 1 to 2 inches. Areas around South St Paul and Cottage Grove reported over 2 inches of rainfall, as did areas around Bemidji in the north. However, the vast majority of weather observers in Minnesota saw less than two tenths of inch of rain over the past week. Climatologically, June is generally the wettest month of the year for most of Minnesota, yet many climate observers have reported less than half an inch for the first half of the month.

Though temperatures cooled off over the past week, especially over June 10-12 when some temperatures were a few degrees F below normal, average temperatures for the first half of the month have ranged from 4°F to 7°F warmer than normal. With such temperature departures, the first half of June ranks among the 5 warmest in state history. At least there were no more record-setting warming temperatures over the past week.

Lastly, poor air quality remains a frequent visitor to the state, and on Wednesday this week, smoke from Canadian wildfires caused some of the worst air quality measures since the summer of 2021. The MPCA reported that Wednesday, June 14 brought the worst air quality measurements since they have been keeping records (1980), with average readings ranging from 160 to 180 in many areas and some hourly readings well over 200 in the Twin Cities area. A good summery of this episode of poor air quality in the Twin Cities is provided by the Minnesota State Climatology Office.

Outlook models suggest that the above normal temperatures will generally persist through the end of the month and into early July. Regarding the emerging drought, the outlook models suggest more frequent chances for rainfall during the second half of June, but the question remains will it be enough to offset the drought, or just hold it in place.

Next Webinar Sponsored by the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership (MCAP):

The next presentation for the Adaptation in Action Webinar Series sponsored by MCAP will be on June 20, 2023 from noon to 1pm. It is entitled “The Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Potential of Solar" and will be presented by Pat Hamilton, Director of Climate Change, Energy, and the Environment at the Science Museum of Minnesota. To register for this zoon-based presentation, please use the MCAP web site.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

In this week’s AGU EOS there is an interesting article based on a recent study published in Science that explains why flash droughts are becoming more frequent in our changing climate and how they are less predictable than the long-term droughts. One of the factors important to the development of flash droughts is the increasing rate of evaptranspiration brought by warmer temperatures.

The journal Communications Biology reports on new research from the Florida Museum of Natural History that suggests insect populations even as they adjust to changes in climate will be more vulnerable to climate extremes in terms of their mortality. “As temperature goes up over time, the plants and animals in a particular region become active earlier in the spring, delay dormancy until later in the fall and slowly shift their ranges to align with the climate in which they're best suited to survive.” Insects slowly adjust to these changes. But, “the extreme climate events of today are going to become much more extreme in the future, and at some point, the capacity to buffer against these changes (in terms of insect populations) is going to reach its limit."

MPR listener question:

Watching the U.S. Drought Monitor for Minnesota each week and noticed the expansion of drought areas and emergence of Severe Drought in some areas of the state this week. It seems too early in the summer for that. How often does the state see areas of Severe Drought emerge by the end of June?


Checking the NOAA historical Drought Index for Minnesota back to 1895 (128 years), it appears that Severe Drought has taken hold of some part of the state by the end of June a little less than 15 percent of the time, or about one year in seven. When Severe Drought does occur by the end of June, it usually remains in place for the remainder of the summer season.

Twin Cities Almanac for June 16th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 79 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 61 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for June 16th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 97 degrees F in 1933; lowest daily maximum temperature of 60 degrees F in 1972; lowest daily minimum temperature of 43 degrees F in 1961; highest daily minimum temperature of 72 degrees F in 1933; record precipitation of 2.16 inches in 1935. No snowfall on this date.

Average dew point for June 16th is 54°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 74°F in 1947; and the minimum dew point on this date is 23 degrees F in 1972.

All-time state records for June 16th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 106 degrees F at Beardsley (Big Stone County) in 1933. The state record low temperature for this date is 23 degrees F at Embarrass (St Louis County) in 1999. The state record precipitation for this date is 4.98 inches at Willmar (Kandiyohi County) in 1967. No snowfall has been reported on this date.

Past Weather:

June 16 of 1933 was the hottest in state history. Most climate stations reported afternoon temperatures in the 90s F. Fifteen counties saw the thermometer reach 100°F or greater. The overnight low at Winona only dropped to 74°F.

June 16 in 1992 brought one of the worst tornado outbreaks in Minnesota history and the last EF-5 tornado (winds over 200 mph). Between 4:00 and 9:00 pm at least 22 tornadoes touched down across southwestern counties. The strongest and most destructive was an F-5 that traveled 16 miles from near Leota in Nobles County to Chandler in Murray County. Much of Chandler was destroyed, with 40 homes lost and 47 damaged. A check from a Chandler home was later found in Willmar, 95 miles away!

June 16 of 1999 was perhaps the coldest in state history with many northern Minnesota communities reporting frost. Morning temperatures were in the twenties in portions of St Louis, Koochiching, and Beltrami Counties. The daytime high temperature at Grand Marais only reached 52°F.


Warmer than normal over the weekend with a chance for showers and thunderstorms each day. Sunny and even warmer for next Monday through Wednesday, with some days bringing 90°F temperatures to some places. A chance for showers and thunderstorms by Thursday.

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I noticed that several southern Twin Cities suburbs (S. St. Paul, Cottage Grove) have already reported 2"+ of rain for the first half of June, however at my DNR coop. observer station in Mahtomedi (northern suburbs), I've recorded only .02".