HydroClim Minnesota - January 2008
A monthly electronic newsletter summarizing Minnesota's 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 1/8/2008 (released one day early)
What happened in December:
- December 2007 precipitation totals were above historical averages across Minnesota. Monthly precipitation totals topped normal by roughly one half inch in most locations. Monthly snowfall totals exceeded one foot in nearly all locations. Some locations in northeastern Minnesota received two to three feet of snow in December.
[see: December 2007 Climate Summary Table]
- In the snowiest December since 2000, Mother Nature conjured up a number of winter storms. On December 1, nearly every Minnesota county received at least three inches of snow. Some locations in northeastern Minnesota reported over 12 inches of snow during this event. Another snowstorm followed shortly behind, dropping three to nine of snow across much of central and northern Minnesota on December 4. A strong winter storm moved through the Midwest on December 22 and 23, assuring a white Christmas, but creating significant hardships for holiday travelers.
[see: December 1 Storm Summary | December 4 Storm Summary | December 22-23 Storm Summary]
Monthly mean temperatures for December 2007 were generally one to three degrees below the historical average. Cold weather early in the month was counterbalanced by seasonal to above-normal temperatures in the second half of December. Extreme values for December ranged from a high of 40 degrees in Canby (Yellow Medicine County) on the 19th and in Grand Marais on the 20th, to a low of minus 32 degrees at Embarrass (St. Louis County) on the 9th.
[see: December 2007 Climate Summary Table]
Where we stand now:
- The snow depth map prepared on January 3 shows that nearly all Minnesota counties have at least four inches of snow cover. Many central and northern Minnesota locations report more than eight inches of snow on the ground. Much of Minnesota's Arrowhead region is covered by more than 18 inches of snow.
[see: January 3 Snow Depth Map]
- The U. S. Drought Monitor, released on January 3, continues to place a relatively small area of west central and central Minnesota in the "Moderate Drought" category. Portions of northwestern and north central Minnesota remain designated as "Abnormally Dry". This is an acknowledgement of some lingering precipitation deficits. All other Minnesota locales are deemed to be free of drought conditions. The U. S. Drought Monitor index is a blend of science and subjectivity where intensity categories are based on several indicators.
[see: U.S. Drought Monitor]
- The U.S. Geological Survey reports that stream discharge values, for observation points where winter measurements are possible, are near to above the median for the date in most locations.
[see: USGS Streamflow]
- The Lake Superior water level is up six inches from last year at this time. While the Lake Superior water level is no longer near the all-time seasonal low, it remains below the long-term average.
[see: Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Water Levels]
- In their final report of 2007, the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service reported that despite the dry November weather, mid-November topsoil moisture was "Adequate" across 83% of Minnesota's landscape. Topsoil moisture deficits should not be a concern in most areas when we enter the 2008 growing season.
[see: Ag. Statistics Service Crop Progress and Condition]
- Due to the early and enduring snow cover, frost depths across Minnesota are quite shallow for this time of year. Frost depths under sod range from just an inch or two under deep snow cover to around 20 inches under surfaces without the insulating benefit of a snow blanket.
[see: U of M Climate Observatory | Ag. Statistics Service Ag News | MnDOT Road Frost Depths]
- All of Minnesota's lakes are ice covered. Freeze-up occurred during the last few days of November and first few days of December. The ice was relatively thin just before being covered with snow from early December storms. Therefore, ice thickness is highly variable and ice safety is marginal in places. Those venturing onto the state's water bodies should utilize caution and common sense.
[see: DNR Enforcement Conservation Officer Reports]
- 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 southwest Minnesota, to over 15 inches on the ground in northeastern Minnesota (greater than 24 inches in the Lake Superior highlands).
[see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook | January Precipitation Normal Map]
- The January temperature outlook tilts towards above-normal conditions in southwestern Minnesota, and offers no significant tendencies away from climatological probabilities elsewhere. 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.
[see: Climate Prediction Center 30-day Outlook | January Temperature Normal Maps]
- The 90-day precipitation outlook for January through March indicates no significant tendencies away from climatological probabilities across Minnesota. The January through March temperature projection suggests near-normal conditions in most Minnesota counties.
[see: Climate Prediction Center 90-day Outlook]
- 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).
[see: National Weather Service River Forecast Center]
From the author:
- The State Climatology Office has prepared a look back at the weather of 2007.
[see: Minnesota Weather Review for 2007]
- In his December 28 "WeatherTalk" narrative, Dr. Mark Seeley of the University of Minnesota highlighted the major weather headlines of 2007.
[see: Minnesota WeatherTalk for December 28, 2007]
Notes from around the state:
Upcoming dates of note:
- January 17: National Weather Service releases 30/90 day temperature and precipitation outlooks
- January 30: Interagency Spring Flood Outlook Meeting
- Dr. Mark Seeley, University of Minnesota Extension Service
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