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August warm start, but spotty rains continue

August warm start, but spotty rains continue:

First 10 days of the month have brought above normal temperatures to all parts of the state, with several climate stations reporting daytime high temperatures in the 90s F on at least a couple of days. Coldest temperature so far this month was 38°F at Brimson (St Louis County) on the morning of August 10th.

Rainfall has continued to be spotty and consequently highly variable as it was in July. Some climate stations have reported over 2 inches of rain this month thanks to a couple of thunderstorms. St Peter (Nicollet County) has reported 3.77 inches and St James (Watonwan County) has reported 2.39 inches. The climate station at Leech Lake (Cass County) reported a record daily rainfall of 1.22 inches on August 7th, the only record amount reported so far around that state. Spotty thunderstorms brought up to an inch or more of rainfall to portions of western and southern Minnesota on Thursday afternoon and evening, but again many areas were missed. There are still many climate stations that have reported less than a tenth of an inch of rainfall through the first 10 days of the month, and some have reported only a trace. Thankfully more frequent chances for rainfall will start to emerge as we head into the coming weekend.

The areal coverage of drought across Minnesota changed little over the past week. Much of the Severe to Extreme Drought (roughly 34 percent of the landscape) remains in the central and southeastern counties. Moderate drought encompasses about 46 percent of the landscape. USDA estimates from earlier this week suggest that 51 percent of the corn crop and 51 percent of the soybean crop are in poor to fair condition, while two-thirds of the soil moisture storage estimates are rated short or very short of normal.

The weather-proof Nebraska Soddy:

Early pioneer settlers in Nebraska dotted the landscape with many homes made out of sod. Lacking timber resources, pioneers would cut strips of sod from the native prairie grasses using a plow-like blade called a sodbreaker. The ribbons or bricks of sod would be stacked to form walls. Because the native buffalo grass and big blue stem grass had such intertwined root systems, then tended to reinforce the brick structure and last for many years. A few timbers were often used to reinforce the roof.

The thick-walled structures with few windows were well adapted to the climate of the prairie. They would tend to stay cooler than the outside air in the summer, and warmer than the outside air in the winter. In addition, they were very strong and even provided protection from tornadoes. The roof and walls would readily absorb precipitation, preventing leakage to the interior. Sometimes flowers would even be planted in the roof! The National Sod House Society promotes the preservation of sod houses in many of the prairie states and there is a Sod House Museum in Gothenburg, NE.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

According to the BBC this week tour operators are seeing some impacts of climate change in booking holidays for their customers Europe. TUI Group of Germany, one of the largest vacation booking firms reports that many customers are looking at different calendar periods and different destinations for next year in order to avoid heat waves and wildfires ruining their vacations. Some travelers are looking to book more northerly destinations or book vacations for the autumn rather than the summer months.

In the Western Pacific Ocean, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center was carefully monitoring Typhoon Lan this week as it was headed towards Japan. At mid-week it was producing wind gusts well over 130 mph and sea wave heights up to 40 feet. It is expected to come ashore near Kyoto on Monday of next week.

MPR listener question:

I have heard you say that summer frosts are common in northern counties like St Louis, Beltrami, Koochiching, and Itasca. But are there summer dates that have remained frost-free across those northern areas throughout their climate history?


On a statewide basis it is quite difficult to find any dates on the calendar that show no frost measurements (temperatures of 32 F or colder). I can only find two. There has never been a frost documented anywhere in the state on July 21 and August 8th. My opinion is that there probably have been frosts somewhere in the state on those dates, but we have not had instruments there to record them.

Twin Cities Almanac for August 11th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 82 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 64 degrees F (plus or minus 6 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for August 11th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 97 degrees F in 1947; lowest daily maximum temperature of 65 degrees F in 2004; lowest daily minimum temperature of 47 degrees F in 2004; highest daily minimum temperature of 77 degrees F in 1947; record precipitation of 1.73 inches in 2007. No snowfall on this date.

Average dew point for August 11th is 57°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 74°F in 2007; and the minimum dew point on this date is 32 degrees F in 1999.

All-time state records for August 11th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 105 degrees F at Wheaton (Traverse County) in 1947. The state record low temperature for this date is 28 degrees F at Embarrass (St Louis County) in 1997. The state record precipitation for this date is 8.06 inches at Hastings (Dakota County) in 1945. No snowfall has been reported on this date.

Past Weather:

Thunderstorms brought very heavy rainfalls to southeastern portions of Minnesota over August 10-11, 1945. Many areas reported over 3 inches of rainfall, while Red Wing reported 6.64 inches and Hastings reported 8.34 inches. Both the Cannon River and Vermillion River flooded and washed out some nearby farm fields.

During the August Heat Wave of 1947 Minnesota recorded its hottest August 11th, with a majority of climate stations reporting daytime temperatures in the 90s F. At least a dozen counties saw the thermometer climb to 100°F or greater. The overnight low temperature at Windom was 81°F.

The coldest August 11th was in 1997. That morning much of northern Minnesota awoke to temperatures in the 30s F. It was only 28°F at both Tower and Embarrass.


 Cloudy with a chance for showers in northern areas this weekend, but in southern counties it will be sunny, with near seasonal temperatures on Saturday. Increasing cloudiness on Sunday with a chance for showers and thunderstorms, continuing into Monday. Somewhat cooler than normal temperatures next week, with chances for scattered showers each day.

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