|HydroClim Minnesota - April 2004
A monthly electronic newsletter summarizing Minnesota climate conditions and the
resulting impact on water resources.
Distributed on the Wednesday following the first Monday of each month.
State Climatology Office - DNR Waters
WHAT HAS HAPPENED
- March 2004 precipitation totals were somewhat below normal across southwestern, west central, and central Minnesota. Elsewhere, precipitation totals were near normal to as much as one half inch above normal.
- the most significant precipitation event of March occurred on the 4th and 5th when a late winter storm dropped four to eight inches of snow on south central, southeastern, and east central Minnesota. The storm was also responsible for heavy rains of one inch or more in far southeastern Minnesota. Significant rain also fell on March 27 in the southern one third of Minnesota and far northwestern counties. Rainfall totals ranged from one half inch to just over one inch in these areas. The rain in northwestern Minnesota coincided with a rapidly melting snow pack. This led to some flooding along the Red River and its tributaries.
- March 2004 mean monthly temperatures were approximately one degree above normal in the northern one third of Minnesota, three to five degrees above normal in the southern two thirds of the state. March extremes ranged from a high of 74 degrees at Worthington on March 24, to a low of -9 degrees at International Falls on March 4.
WHERE WE STAND NOW
- patchy snow cover remains in portions of Koochiching, St. Louis, Lake, and Cook counties. Some locations in the Lake Superior highlands report eight or more inches of snow on the ground.
- as of March 30, the National Drought Mitigation Center - U. S. Drought Monitor indicated that most of Minnesota was judged to be in the "D1 - Moderate Drought" category. This marks an improvement in southeastern and south central Minnesota counties from last month when these areas were rated in the "D2 - Severe Drought" classification. The NDMC index is a blend of science and subjectivity where intensity categories are based on six key indicators and numerous supplementary indicators.
- except for far north central and northeastern Minnesota, most soils are now free of frost.
- larger lakes in the southern one third of Minnesota and in portions of west central Minnesota are now free of ice. Some smaller lakes just to the north and east of these areas are also ice free. Thus far this spring, lake ice-out has been a week, to a week and a half, earlier than average. Historically, average lake ice-out occurs during the first week of April in the southern tier of Minnesota counties; near the end of the second week of April in the Twin Cities metropolitan area; towards the end of the third week of April for Brainerd, Alexandria, Detroit Lakes area lakes; and during the final week of April in far northern Minnesota.
- the potential for wildfires is rated by DNR Forestry as "high" across much of Minnesota. The southwest corner of the state falls in the "very high" fire danger category. Fire danger in most locations north of U.S. Highway 2 is classified as "low" or "moderate".
- the April precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center shows no significant tendencies away from climatological probabilities. April precipitation normals range from one and one half inches in northwestern Minnesota to around three inches in southeastern counties.
- the April temperature outlook indicates a tilt towards above normal temperatures in the eastern one half of Minnesota. Elsewhere, no significant tendencies away from climatological probabilities are indicated. Normal April high temperatures are in the low to mid 40's early in the month, rising to near 60 by month's end. Early April normal low temperatures are near 20 in the north, near 30 in the south. By month's end, low temperatures average in the low 30's in the north, near 40 in the south.
- the 90-day precipitation outlook for April through June shows no significant tendencies away from climatological probabilities. The April though June temperature outlook indicates a tilt towards below normal temperatures in the western one half Minnesota. Elsewhere, no significant tendencies away from climatological probabilities are indicated.
- the National Weather Service produces long-range probabilistic river stage and discharge outlooks for the Red River, Minnesota River, and Mississippi River basins. A hydrologic model is initialized using current conditions of stream flow and soil moisture across a basin. The model is allowed to run into the future with multiple scenarios using multiple years of historical climatological data. The climatological data are weighted by 90-day climate outlooks for temperature and precipitation trends. Model output offers a complete range of probabilistic values of stream stage and discharge for numerous forecast points. The product provides a risk assessment tool which can be used in long-range planning decisions involving flooding or low flow concerns. These products are part of the National Weather Service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) and are produced near the middle of each month.
FROM THE AUTHOR
NOTES FROM AROUND THE STATE
UPCOMING DATES OF NOTE
- April 15, Climate Prediction Center releases 30/90 day temperature and precipitation outlooksWEB SITES FEATURED IN THIS EDITION
http://climate.umn.edu - Minnesota Climatology Working Group
http://www.drought.unl.edu/ - National Drought Mitigation Center
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/ - Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - Forestry
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov - Climate Prediction Center
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ahps - National Weather Service, Central Region Headquarters
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