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September Rainfall Deficits Growing, Adding to Drought

September Rainfall Deficits Growing, Adding to Drought:

Since last week’s WeatherTalk Blog spotty rains have continued this week around the state. Those climate observers who reported rainfall found mostly 0.1 to 0.3 inches in their gages. A few spots reported over half an inch of rain. Temperatures since last Friday have averaged from 4 to 6 degrees above normal, and many climate stations have reported daytime high temperatures ranging from the mid 70s to upper 80s F. Though not record-setting a few climate stations reached the 90s F this week:

91°F at Milan (Chippewa County) on September 19
93°F at Browns Valley (Traverse County) on September 20
91°F at Marshall (Lyon County) on September 20
90°F at Wheaton (Traverse County) on September 20

Many regions of the state have already reported significant rainfall deficiencies this month, having received less than half an inch of rain. This amounts to 1.5 to 2.5inches below normal for many areas of the state. Combined with the accumulated year deficit in precipitation some areas of the state are now 7 to 12 inches below normal for the year. In this context the Drought Monitor this week shows continued areal expansion of the Severe, Extreme, and Exceptional Drought categories across the state. Over 64 percent of the state landscape is in Severe Drought or worse, and 26 percent of that is designated to be Extreme to Exceptional Drought. According to the USDA close to 20 percent of the state’s corn and soybean crops were rated to be in poor to very poor condition, as the harvest season approaches.

Should rainfall become more abundant yet this autumn it will have little impact on agricultural production this year, but may help restore inadequate soil moisture levels, and recharge volume flow in many Minnesota watersheds.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

This week’s AGU-EOS Bulletin highlights some recent research that addresses how to estimate what extreme precipitation events might be under continuing climate change. The researchers combined traditional statistical approaches (using history climate data) along with numerical storm simulations. This approach which focused on central Europe geography showed that near future extreme precipitation events might be as much as 30 to 40 percent higher than what has been measured in the past.

The BBC reported this week that remnants of Hurricane Lee brought high seas, strong winds (75 mph) and heavy rains (3-6 inches) to parts of Wales and northwest England this week. Power outages were common, and flood warnings were issued, as some roads in Wales were totally underwater.

The Weather Underground reported that the “U.S. is establishing an American Climate Corps, aimed at recruiting and training young people for jobs focused on the environment and climate, the White House announced Wednesday.” It is hope that this new program will put 20,00 young adults on a career path in professions related to clean energy, conservation, and climate resilience. The climate corps is being formed from an Executive Order from President Biden.

MPR listener question:

With the drought persisting well into the autumn season and an El Nino episode in play, what does the climate outlook show for Minnesota over the remainder of 2023 (October, November, and December)?


Of the 8 climate models used by the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, it appears that 7 of them favor a warmer than normal conclusion to 2023. This is pretty emphatic to say warmer than normal temperatures will be more common during the October through December conclusion to the year. With respect to the Drought and precipitation outlook, only 1 of the 8 climate models favors wetter than normal conditions for Minnesota to conclude the year. This clearly implies that the 2023 Drought will carry over into 2024, not a good signal for our agricultural economy or for the watersheds of our state.

Twin Cities Almanac for September 22nd:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 71 degrees F (plus or minus 10 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 52 degrees F (plus or minus 8 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for September 22nd:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 95 degrees F in 1936; lowest daily maximum temperature of 49 degrees F in 1983; lowest daily minimum temperature of 26 degrees F in 1974; highest daily minimum temperature of 73 degrees F in 2017; record precipitation of 2.80 inches in 1895. No snow has fallen on this date.

Average dew point for September 22nd is 45°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 73°F in 2017; and the minimum dew point on this date is 20 degrees F in 1974.

All-time state records for September 22nd:

The state record high temperature for this date is 101 degrees F at Ada (Norman County) in 1936. The state record low temperature for this date is 10 degrees F at Thorhult (Beltrami County) in 1974. The state record precipitation for this date is 4.84 inches at Cambridge (Isanti County) in 1968. The state snowfall record is 2.0 inches at Baudette (Lake of the Woods County) in 1995.

Past Weather:

The community of Hallock in Kittson County holds the record for the wettest ever September in northern Minnesota. In September of 1900 the observer there recorded a total of 15.30 inches of rainfall, most of which came during seven different thunderstorms. Flooding occurred along the Two Rivers that runs into the Red River of the North to west of town, but there were few farms dotting the Minnesota landscape back then.

September 22 in 1936 was the hottest in state history as most Minnesota climate stations reported afternoon temperatures ranging from 85°F to 95°F. Seven western counties reported temperatures of 100°F or greater.

September 22 of 1974 was the coldest in state history with most Minnesota climate stations reporting morning temperatures in the teens and twenties F. Thorhult in Beltrami County reported only 10°F. The afternoon high temperature at Brainerd only reached 41°F.

September 21-22 of 1995 brought snow to many parts of the state. Baudette near Lake of the Woods reported 2 inches of snow, while many other places reported a half inch to an inch.


Mostly cloudy skies with chances for showers and thunderstorms over Saturday and Sunday. Temperatures will generally remain warmer than normal for this time of year. Somewhat cooler (still above normal) and drier most of next week with many sunny days.

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