Dry Weather - 1997
(Updated June 30, 1997)
Since early April, much of Minnesota has experienced below normal precipitation. The driest areas are east central, and central Minnesota. Precipitation totals beginning April 1 are less than six inches in many counties. Compared with normal precipitation values of over eleven inches, this means that those counties received only 50 percent of normal precipitation for the period. In a few Minnesota communities, April 1 - June 30 precipitation totals are near or below all-time low precipitation records. A precipitation ranking map shows that roughly one third of Minnesota is at or below the 25th percentile. A community at the 25th percentile means that precipitation totals for this period were this low in 25 of the last one hundred years. The State Climatology Office will update these monitoring products each Monday.
On the Bright Side ...
The late autumn of 1996 was very wet across most of Minnesota, especially eastern sections of the State. This precipitation recharged soil moisture profiles depleted by late summer and early autumn dryness. Overwinter snowfall was much above normal leading to good runoff to surface systems (lakes, wetlands, streams) in the Spring. April and May temperatures tended to be quite cool relative to normal, reducing evaporation demand. While June temperatures have been somewhat above normal, Minnesota has experienced few 90 degree days. This season's dryness evokes memories of the 1988 drought. Recall that the 1988 drought really started with the very dry summer of 1987. The depletion of water reserves (in the lakes, wetlands, and soils) of that prior year combined with very low precipitation and very high temperatures in 1988 to create pervasive conditions of extreme drought.
The Climate Prediction Center of the National Weather Service issues a 30 day climate outlook mid-month. Monitoring day-to-day precipitation totals can be accomplished using radar-based estimates from WSI.
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Last modified: June 30, 1997