|HydroClim Minnesota - February 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 2/7/06 (early distribution by one day)
WHAT HAS HAPPENED
- precipitation totals for January 2006 were below average in most Minnesota locations. Precipitation generally fell short of average by one third to one half inch. January snowfall was light nearly everywhere in the state. Only in the far northern reaches of Minnesota, along the Canadian border and the Lake Superior highlands, did monthly snowfall totals top ten inches. Some southern Minnesota communities set records for the least amount of January snowfall ever.
- January 2006 was Minnesota's warmest January of the modern era. The state-averaged mean monthly temperature for January was approximately 25 degrees, an astounding 17 degrees above the long-term average. The 17 degree deviation from the long-term average marks the largest positive monthly temperature departure found in the state-averaged data set for any month. The temperature extremes for January ranged from 53 degrees at Winona on the 26th, to -22 degrees at Embarrass (St. Louis county) on the 21st.
WHERE WE STAND NOW
- the snow depth map prepared on February 2 shows that the southern one third of Minnesota has two or less inches of snow cover at this time. The central third of Minnesota reports four to eight inches of snow on the ground, and the northern one third of the state is covered by more than eight inches of snow. The far northern tier of Minnesota counties, and areas along the Lake Superior highlands, have 12 to 24 inches of snow on the ground. Snow cover across most of the state is below the historical median for the date. Near-median snow cover can be found only in west central, northwest, and northeast Minnesota.
- as of January 31, 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 2005, the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service reported 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 remains very shallow across Minnesota. An early winter snow cover and mild January temperatures kept frost from penetrating into the soil this season. Across the state, frost depths are generally less than 18 inches. Some soils in southern Minnesota, and in areas of northern Minnesota where snow is easily trapped (forests and swamps), have frost depths of six or less inches. This week's frost depths are less than half of what would be typically expected in early February. Historically, soil frost reaches maximum depth in late February.
- the U.S. Geological Survey reports that stream discharge values, for locations where winter measurements are possible, are well above the median for the date across Minnesota. Stream discharge values at many sites are 200% to 500% above the median. This is due to increased winter flow resulting from the extraordinarily warm January, and to enhanced base flow caused by the wet autumn weather.
- the February precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center indicates no significant tendencies away from climatological probabilities across Minnesota. Historically, February is Minnesota's driest month with precipitation normals ranging from near one half inch in northwestern Minnesota to just over one inch in far eastern sections of the state. The median snow depth at the end of February ranges from under 5 inches in southwest Minnesota to over 18 inches on the ground in northeastern Minnesota (greater than 30 inches in the Lake Superior highlands).
- the February temperature outlook indicates a tilt towards above normal conditions statewide. Normal February high temperatures range the low-teens in the north to near 20 in the south early in the month, climbing to the mid-20's to low 30's by month's end. Normal February low temperatures range from near minus 10 degrees in the far north to the single digits above zero in southern Minnesota early in the month; ascending to the low single digits in the north, mid-teens in the south by the end of February.
- the 90-day precipitation outlook for February through April indicates no significant tendencies away from climatological probabilities across Minnesota. The February through April 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
- noneUPCOMING DATES OF NOTE
- February 16, Climate Prediction Center releases 30/90 day temperature and precipitation outlooksWEB SITES FEATURED IN THIS EDITION
- February 24, River Forecast Center releases probabilistic spring flood outlooks
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
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov - Climate Prediction Center
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ncrfc/ - National Weather Service, North Central River Forecast Center
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