Precipitation Deficits - Spring 2003
Last updated: June 3, 2003. The following text and maps will be updated as the situation warrants.
Surface water levels in some northern Minnesota counties are well below historical values. This can be attributed
to precipitation deficits that have accrued over a 7-month period across most of Minnesota, and a 17-month period
of dryness in north central and northeastern Minnesota, as well as scattered areas in the south.
November 1, 2002 through June 2, 2003
The shorter of Minnesota's dry spells commenced in mid-October 2002. The period November 2002 through March 2003 was among
the driest five-month periods in Minnesota's climate history
(see Dry Winter). Five-month precipitation
totals were under two inches for large areas of Minnesota, and under four inches for almost the entire state.
Mid-April rains in excess of two inches helped to
ease moisture deficits across much of the southern two thirds of Minnesota. However, many areas in far northern
Minnesota failed to receive substantial April rain.
Precipitation totals since November 1 fall short of the historical average across essentially all of Minnesota
(see map). Deficits exceeding three inches are common in many areas, and precipitation shortfalls in excess of four inches are
noted in some north central and northeastern Minnesota counties.
When compared with all other November 1 through June 2 periods in the historical data base, November 1, 2002 through June 2,
2003 precipitation totals rank below the 50th percentile nearly everywhere in Minnesota, below the 10th percentile in many areas, and
below the 5th percentile in a number of northern Minnesota counties (see map). A ranking in the 5th percentile indicates that
the November 1, 2002 through June 2, 2003 precipitation total was a one in twenty year occurrence.