|HydroClim Minnesota - January 2006
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
compiled 1/4/06 (early distribution by one day)
WHAT HAS HAPPENED
- precipitation totals for December 2005 were above normal in many locations. Precipitation in northeastern, west central, central, and southwestern counties topped historical averages by more than a half an inch. Well over two feet of December snow fell in many northeastern Minnesota locales.
- two major winter storms affected Minnesota during the month of December. On December 13 and 14, a complex area of low pressure converged on Minnesota. This storm system dropped four to eight inches of snow in many areas, and deposited more than 20 inches of snow in the Lake Superior highlands of northeastern Minnesota. Another winter storm swept through the state on December 29 and 30, dropping a swath of snow across much of the state. The highest snow total for this event was 11 inches in Madison of Lac Qui Parle county.
- December 2005 temperatures were much above average in northern Minnesota, near average in southern Minnesota. For some locations in northern Minnesota, the December 2005 monthly mean temperature topped the historical average by six to eight degrees. Cold temperatures early in the month were more than counterbalanced by warm weather later in the month. Temperatures during the last ten days of December were consistently 15 to 25 degrees above average. The temperature extremes for December ranged from 50 degrees at Canby (Yellow Medicine county) on the 23rd, to -21 degrees at Wild River State Park (Chisago county) on the 19th.
WHERE WE STAND NOW
- the snow depth map to be prepared on January 5 will show that much of Minnesota has five to ten inches of snow on the ground. Locations south and east of a line from the Twin Cities to Fairmont report less snow cover, generally one to two inches. Snow depths along the Lake Superior highlands are greater than 18 inches.
- as of December 27, the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) - U. S. Drought Monitor indicated that all Minnesota counties are free of drought designations. The NDMC index is a blend of science and subjectivity where intensity categories are based on six key indicators and numerous supplementary indicators.
- in their final soil moisture status summary of the year, the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service reports that the state's topsoil moisture was 0% very short, 5% short, 86% adequate, and 9% surplus. The late-autumn soil moisture condition is indicative of the conditions to be expected at the start of the 2006 growing season.
- soil frost is very shallow to nonexistent across much of southern Minnesota. An early snow cover and recent mild temperatures kept frost from penetrating into the soil. In northern Minnesota, soil frost depths are generally less than 12 inches. Soils in areas of northern Minnesota where snow can be trapped (forests and swamps) have even less frost. Historically, soil frost reaches maximum depth in late February.
- the U.S. Geological Survey reports that stream discharge values, for locations where winter measurement are possible, are near or above the median for the date across Minnesota. Stream discharge values for roughly one-third of Minnesota's streams are above the 90th percentile for this time of year.
- due to the recent mild weather, ice thickness on Minnesota's lakes is highly variable and ice safety is marginal in places. Those venturing onto the state's water bodies should utilize caution and common sense.
- the January precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center indicates no significant tendencies away from climatological probabilities across Minnesota. January precipitation normals range from near one half inch in western Minnesota to just over one inch in eastern sections of the state. The median snow cover at the end of January ranges from near 5 inches in the southwest Minnesota, to over 15 inches on the ground in northeastern Minnesota (greater than 24 inches in the Lake Superior highlands).
- the January temperature outlook indicates a tendency towards above-normal conditions throughout Minnesota. Normal January high temperatures range the low-teens in the north to near 20 in the south. Normal January lows range from near minus 10 degrees in the far north to the single digits above zero in southern Minnesota.
- the 90-day precipitation outlook for January through March indicates no significant tendencies away from climatological probabilities across Minnesota. The January through March temperature outlook also indicates no significant tendencies away from climatological probabilities.
- the National Weather Service produces long-range probabilistic river stage and discharge outlooks for the Red River, Minnesota River, and Mississippi River basins. These products are part of the National Weather Service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS).
FROM THE AUTHOR
NOTES FROM AROUND THE STATE
- Dr. Mark Seeley of the University of Minnesota prepared the following annual climate synopsis for 2005:UPCOMING DATES OF NOTE
2005 was a warmer than normal year for Minnesota. Most locations report mean annual temperatures that range from 2 to 5 degrees F warmer than average (1971-2000). On a statewide basis 2005 will rank among the warmest 20 since 1895. Despite this signature of warmth, Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the 48 contiguous states on at least 35 occasions during the year.
2005 was also another wetter than normal year, ranking in the top ten wettest since 1895 with a statewide average precipitation of over 31 inches. There were some dry areas such as the northeastern counties, where a few communities reported total precipitation that was several inches below normal. Conversely, some southern locations reported total precipitation for the year in excess of 40 inches. These included Fairmont, Windom, Spring Valley, and Winnebago among others.
2005 brought plenty of severe weather to the state. A total of 68 tornadoes were reported, most of them F0 or F1 intensity (winds less than 112 mph). This was the 2nd highest annual number behind the 74 tornadoes of 2001. Scores of damaging hail reports were filed as well, including the grapefruit-sized hail stones that fell near Fergus Falls on August 9th and severely damaged a number of vehicles. A number of flash floods occurred during the summer months and even as late as October 4-5 when east-central communities received 5 to 6 inch amounts.
- January 19, Climate Prediction Center releases 30/90 day temperature and precipitation outlooksWEB SITES FEATURED IN THIS EDITION
- January 31, Interagency Flood Planning Coordination Meeting, Corps of Engineers - St. Paul
http://climate.umn.edu - Minnesota Climatology Working Group
http://www.drought.unl.edu - National Drought Mitigation Center
http://www.nass.usda.gov/mn/ - Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Enforcement Division
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov - Climate Prediction Center
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ncrfc/ - National Weather Service, North Central River Forecast Center
- Dr. Mark Seeley, Professor of Climatology/Meteorology, University of Minnesota - St. Paul
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