It's been an interesting start to the weather of 2011 to say the least.
First, record snows last winter. Next, top 5 floods this spring in the Upper Midwest. Then, the biggest tornado outbreak in U.S. history.
And now, there are literally floods and drought going on at the same time.
First the rain. The latest rainfall system overnight and early Thursday has dropped another .25" to .50" in and around the metro. My La Crosse Technology digital weather station recorded .36" of rainfall in Deephaven in the west metro as of Thursday morning.
To the west an arc of heavier, more persistent rains has dropped anywhere from .50" to 1" from near Redwood Falls (.52") through Hector, Litchfield (1.06") and St. Cloud. (.54")
NEXRAD storm total rainfall shows heavist precip west of metro.
Soil moisture was already high going into last fall. This spring has been wet enough in Minnesota that we're now dealing with a surplus soil moisture in most of the state, and a very late spring planting season.
Check out these numbers form this week's Minnesota Crop Report.
1% of corn planted so far this year
46% of corn planted by this time (5 year average)
84% of corn planted by this time last year
1.3 days suitable for field work last week
In addition 44% of Minnesota's topsoil moisture is listed as "surplus."
Add it all up and you have one of the wettest and latest spring planting seasons in recent memory, and nearly a full month behind last year!
Further south: "Epic Flood" makes rivers flow backwards!
All that water from snowmelt had to go somewhere, and the swollen Mississippi is bursting to the south. Combine the runoff from Minnesota's snowmelt with torrential spring rains and you have a 500 year flood.
Cairo, Illinois is in the unfortunate geographic position of lying at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The result is blown dikes to save the town, and floodwaters so high that tributaries flowing into these rivers are actually flowing backwards!
Meanwhile, drought creeps north
During an April trip to Kansas, I was stunned to see firsthand just how quickly the landscape changed from flood to drought.
Rivers as close as Des Moines and southern Iowa are running low, and a full fledged drought is expanding north from Texas and Oklahoma into Kansas and Nebraska.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows the expanding drought to the south, even as the Mississippi reaches all time flood crests in the southern states.
Adios La Nina!
And should we say good riddance? Today's latest CPC ENSO discussion shows La Nina has faded, and ENSO neutral conditions are returning.
This may be one reason why our cool La Nina spring weather is beginning to turn for the milder. It also may portend a more active hurricane season with more U.S. landfalls this year.
SST's actually above normal now in the eastern Pacific.
Our weather improves:
Rain has tapered in many areas today as the weather system pulls out. Look for a few scattered showers to linger today.
High pressure will bring a return to sunny skies with highs in the upper 60s Friday!
Bye La Nina! Glad to hear SST's are returning back to where they should be.