Dry and Hot Finish to the Summer of 2003
August 2003 ranked among the driest Augusts in Twin Cities history. The August rainfall total at
the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport was 1.12 inches, the ninth driest in the modern Twin
Cities record, and the driest since 1969. The driest August on record for the Twin Cities is .20
(two tenths of an inch) in 1925.
The dry August weather was not limited to the Twin Cities. Some other August rainfall totals include
0.34 inches at Rochester (2nd driest on record), 0.32 inches at Winona (2nd driest on record, and the
driest in over 100 years), 0.20 inches at Dodge Center, and 0.28 inches at Alexandria. Paradoxically,
Alexandria received 12.43 inches of rain in the month of June. Preliminary estimates of STATEWIDE
average rainfall indicate that August 2003 will finish as one of the driest Minnesota Augusts ever,
and the driest since 1976.
The July PLUS August rainfall total for the Twin Cities was the driest in 41 years. The
two-month total of 3.18 inches will be the ninth driest in the modern record, and 4.91 inches below
normal. The driest July PLUS August rainfall total on record for the Twin Cities was 0.58 inches in
1894. 1894 was a remarkably dry year throughout Minnesota. The parched conditions in 1894 led to the
devastating Hinckley fire.
In addition to the shortage of rainfall, August was also quite warm. Despite cooler weather at month's
end, the average August temperature for the Twin Cities finished the sixth warmest on record with an
average temperature of 75.3 degrees, 4.7 degrees above normal. There were seven August days in which
the mercury climbed to 90 or above in the Twin Cities. This was the most August 90 degree days recorded
in the Twin Cities since 1988. The average number of August days with a maximum temperature of greater
than or equal to 90 degrees in the Twin Cities is four. For the season, the temperature in the Twin
Cities has reached or exceeded 90 degrees on 11 days. The long-term average number of days of 90-plus
degree days is 15. Despite the warmth, no new record highs have been set in the Twin Cities during
the month of August.
Minnesota Climatology Working Group Main Page
Last modified: September 3, 2003