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News and Information

Minnesota WeatherTalk Newsletter for Friday, August 20, 2010

To: MPR Morning Edition Crew
From: Mark Seeley, University of Minnesota Extension
Dept of Soil, Water, and Climate

Subject: Minnesota WeatherTalk Newsletter for Friday, August 20, 2010


-Comparing 1993 and 2010 Summer Rainfall
-June 17 Tornado Summary Available
-State Fair Weather Quiz on August 26th
-Climate Adaptation and Clean Water Summit
-Weekly Weather Potpourri
-MPR listener questions
-Almanac for August 20th
-Past weather features
-Mushroom weather

Topic: Comparing 1993 and 2010 Summer Rainfall

Recent media coverage on the flooding in Iowa has highlighted some similarities between the summers of 1993 and 2010 in terms of heavy rainfall. You can find more at... (the Weather Channel) (the Minnesota State Climatology Office)

I thought it might be useful to do a similar comparison for Minnesota since most of our weather observers have seen above normal rainfall this summer as well. Normal total rainfall for June through August ranges from 10 inches in the far northwest to nearly 14 inches in southeastern Minnesota. So rainfall totals of 18 inches or greater over the three months represents 150 percent or normal or greater in terms of departures.

Back in 1993 much of central and southern Minnesota reported 150 percent of normal or greater for the summer months (June-August), with many areas reporting well over 20 inches. The average summer rainfall that year across southwestern Minnesota was over 22 inches, while the averages across south-central and southeastern counties were 23 and 21 inches respectively. Wettest ever summers were recorded at Lake Wilson with 26.90 inches, Albert Lea with 27.01 inches, Fairmont with 28.63 inches, and Bricelyn with 30.31 inches. Region-wide there were many reports of flooding on watersheds of all sizes.

In 2010 some Minnesota observers have already reported summer rainfall totals that exceed 18 inches, and there are still 11 days to go in August. But the huge surplus of rainfall is not as widespread across the state as it was in 1993. In fact areas of greatest surplus on rainfall this summer are widely dispersed. For example both Hinckley and Winona have seen rainfall totals of nearly 20 inches this summer, while Hampton (Dakota County), Farmington (Dakota County), Blue Earth (Faribault County), Lanesboro (Fillmore County), and Kinglsley Corner (Olmsted County) have already reported over 20 inches. Waseca, Winnebago, and Rosemount are not far behind having already reported over 18 inches of summer rainfall. Great as these numbers are they are no where near the record quantities of rainfall reported from Des Moines (27.89 inches), Ames (26.89 inches), or Otummwa (27.89 inches) in Iowa. Yet, there are still 11 days to go in August and the outlook calls for above normal rainfall during this period. So we may see some records approached in Minnesota as well.

Topic: June 17, 2010 Tornadoes Summarized

Todd Krause, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, MN has posted a summary of the tornado events of June 17th. He reports that 24 of the 25 tornadoes reported within the Chanhassen forecast jurisdiction were videotaped. In total it appears that there were about 40 tornadoes statewide that day. There have been many more since and Krause thinks the record annual number of Minnesota tornadoes, 74 in 2001, will likely be exceeded. Read more at...

Topic: 14th Annual Minnesota Weather Quiz on MPR's Midday, August 26th

Minnesota Public Radio's Midday program will be the first MPR broadcast from the State Fair again this year on Thursday, August 26, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. During the first hour we will host the 14th Annual Minnesota Midday State Fair Weather Quiz. If you are curious about weather events and headlines from the past year and want to learn something, please tune in to MPR that day.

Topic: Clean Water and Climate Adaptation Summit, September 16-17, 2010

Earlier this month, United Kingdom Environmental Secretary Caroline Spelman spoke about the need to prepare for climate change across all sectors of government and within the business community. "We know that some level of [climate] change is now unavoidable and it is the responsibility of us all to think about what a changing climate will mean for our health, our businesses and our way of life. By planning for the adaptation we need now we can ensure that the UK is best placed to meet the challenges of climate change head-on. A warmer climate will bring both opportunities and challenges for businesses of all sizes. I want to ensure that UK businesses are well placed to take advantage of the new opportunities that arise as well as ensuring they are ready for the difficulties that higher temperatures and more adverse weather could mean for their staff and working practices. In the United States according to the Pew Center for Global Climate Change at least 38 states have already documented comprehensive climate action plans, and at least 21 states have Climate Adaptation Plans to adjust to changes anticipated or already occurring in their respective climate patterns. Minnesota is working in this direction as well. The University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska is hosting a two-day event next month (Sept 16-17) called Clean Water and Climate Adaptation Summit 2010. Anyone can register for this program and to learn more about it you can go to the web site...

The 18th Annual Kuehnast Lecture Program will be part of this event on the evening of September 16, starting at 7:00 pm. Speakers this year are Dr. Ben Santer from Lawrence/Livermore National Laboratory in California, and Dr. Eileen Shea from NOAA Climate Services. They will present modeling and data tools for assessing climate adaptation strategies. More about the Kuehnast Program at...

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

Recent reports from NASA scientists reveal the extent of declining Mangrove Forest ecosystems in the tropics and subtropics. The rate of loss in these ecosystems is higher than expected and likely related to changing climatic patterns. You can read more at...

With a few months to go in the tropical storm and hurricane season for the North Atlantic Basin, the National Weather Service in Miami, FL has published a nice summary of August storm climatology. It makes for some interesting reading. You can find it at..

After months of oppressive heat, drought, and wildfires, Russia was receiving some relief this week associated with a large-scale mid-latitude cyclone moving across the country. A wide cloud shield with significant rainfall was bringing much needed moisture to many areas, and behind the front was much cooler and drier air which was expected to bring widespread relief, especially to citizens without the benefit of air conditioning. Temperatures there over the weekend were mostly expected to be in the 50s and 60s F.

MPR Listener Question: Can you tell me how many Twins games have been postponed due to weather during the first season at Target Field?

Answer: I checked with friend Craig Edwards who is the game-day meteorologist for the Twins. So far only two games have been postponed due to weather. The game against Baltimore on May 7th was called off even before it began due to rain. It was played the next day as part of a double-header. The game against the Yankees on May 25th was postponed in the middle innings and resumed the next day as part of a day-night double-header. That's pretty good luck with the weather so far this year.

Almanac for August 20th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 80 degrees F (plus or minus 7 degrees standard deviation), while the average low is 60 degrees F (plus or minus 5 degrees standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for August 20th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 97 degrees F in 1976; lowest daily maximum temperature of 62 degrees F in 1966; lowest daily minimum temperature of 40 degrees F in 1950; highest daily minimum temperature of 74 degrees F in 1906, 1955, and 1959; record precipitation of 2.23 inches in 1891.

Average dew point for August 20th is 58 degrees F, with a maximum of 78 degrees F in 1959 and a minimum of 28 degrees F in 2004.

All-time state records for August 20th:

Scanning the state climatic data base: the all-time high for this date is 105 degrees F at Campbell (Wilkin County) in 1976; the all-time low is 25 degrees F at Alborn (St Louis County) in 1934. The all-time record precipitation amount for this date is 8.00 inches at Worthington (Nobles County) in 1913.

Past Weather Features:

On August 21, 1883 an F-5 tornado (winds greater than 260 mph) passed through Rochester, MN damaging or destroying more than 300 homes. It was on the ground for 25 miles and derailed a train causing many injuries and killing a crew member. Over the period from 3:30 pm to 7:30 pm other tornadoes were observed elsewhere in SE Minnesota that day. In total 40 lives were lost.

On the evening of August 20, 1904 strong winds and tornadoes struck in parts of Carver, McLeod, Hennepin, Ramsey, and Washington Counties. Waconia was hit by an F-4 tornado (winds 207-260 mph). A section of the high bridge over the Mississippi River near St Paul was blown down, and the Tivoli Concert Hall in downtown St Paul was heavily damaged. In total the storms killed 15 people.

Overnight on August 19-20, 1913 heavy thunderstorms with frequent lightning strikes caused considerable damage near Worthington, MN. Rainfall totaled 8 inches, the greatest single day amount for that location. Many fields were flooded.

By August 20, 1959 a heat wave had its grip on Minnesota. Many observes reported temperatures in the 90s F with oppressive dewpoints in the 70s F. For residents of Tracy, MN it was the 13th day in August with a temperature of 90 degrees F or greater. Heat Index values ranged from 100 degrees F to 108 degrees F.

Word of the Week: Mushroom weather

A term used sometimes in Europe to describe warm and damp conditions that favor the emergence and development of mushrooms, especially the edible kinds that are hunted. Certainly our weather in Minnesota this month fits this criteria, but I don't get many reports of mushrooms.


Warming trend into the weekend with highs reaching the mid 80s to low 90s F by Sunday. Chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms by Monday, then better chances on Tuesday. Cooler temperatures by mid-week and drier too.

Further Information:

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