After launching into the month of May as if it was the start of meteorological winter, conditions will only slowly improve though the weekend. Hard to believe we are in the last month of meteorological spring.
By this date a year ago, the Twin Cities had already experienced 16 days of 70 degrees or greater. Thus far, in 2013, the mercury has reached or exceeded 70 F only five times.
Records are still being sorted out for the snowfall in southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin. If you are interested in details, you can explore this site from NWS LaCrosse, Wis.
Reports from the National Weather Service in the Twin Cities layout these statistics for Eau Claire, Wis.
Including this historical fact for Eau Claire: The 8.7" of snow that fell on May 2, 2013 was the single snowiest calendar day during the month of May on record.
Here is an amazing temperature record for Rochester, Minn., for May 2:
...COLDEST HIGH TEMPERATURE FOR MAY 2 AND FOR THE MONTH OF MAY...
ON MAY 2...THE HIGH TEMPERATURE AT ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
ONLY CLIMBED TO 33 DEGREES. THIS WAS THE COLDEST HIGH TEMPERATURE
FOR THE DATE. THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS 39 DEGREES IN 1935 AND 2011.
IN ADDITION...THIS HIGH TEMPERATURE WAS THE COLDEST EVER RECORDED
DURING THE MONTH OF MAY. THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS 35 DEGREES ON MAY
3 IN 1940.
In case you missed it, while the snowstorm was raging and setting records in southeast Minnesota, the Red River crested at Fargo, N.D. The hdyrograph from this afternoon shows the river slowly falling.
The late snow melt, sent the runoff, in large part, into the dry soil and lead to a lower crest than originally predicted. It has been a relatively dry spring in northwest Minnesota, while southeast Minnesota has been getting bouts of significant precipitation.
Here's the precipitation map for our neck of the woods through April 30, 2013.
The amazing story here, I think, is the fact that the Red River crested at Fargo above major flood stage when the region was still considered in a moderate drought!
Soil moisture is more than adequate to our south and may be troublesome for the agricultural community with regard to planting. It is starting to get relatively late in the season and additional moisture in the next 36 hours is not necessarily welcome.
A slow moving weather system will eventually clear our region on Sunday. There is a sharp cutoff to the clouds and dampness through Minnesota as shown on the visible satellite image from 3 p.m. CDT Friday. Unfortunately for those looking for sunshine, this weather system is actually moving the clouds from east to west.
Radar depicts the cold rain. mixed with wet snow at times over Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Heavy precipitation will drenched parts of Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee this weekend. Moisture on Saturday will dampen mainly eastern Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Brightness (do I dare promise sunshine?) appears on Sunday. Temperatures still come up short of seasonal high temperatures that are in the middle 60s in the Twin Cities.
Runoff of the excessive snowfall will result in rises in streams, creeks and river levels into early next week. The water content of the heavy snow was likely on the order of an inch and a half to two inches where the greatest accumulations were measured.
Craig Edwards(1 Comments)
64F high temp at MSP Wednesday at 2:59pm
70s return by Friday
0" GFS rainfall forecast through next Thursday
Winners in drought of 2012 - see below
"Outlier" models nailed the drought forecast in 2012 where others failed
93% chance 2012 will end as the hottest year on record in USA
MSP quick look forecast:
Arizona, with lakes:
If you've ever wondered what January in Arizona is like, now you know.
Sunny cool days, clear chilly nights. Desert dry dew points in the 20s & 30s. Little chance for rain. That's the Sonoran Desert in January.
Our desert air mass lingers into next week, and temps will warm into the 70s by Friday and into the weekend.
Chances for a much needed soaking? Slim and none, and slim took the train to Missouri last week.
The next best hope for any rain appears to be next Friday October 5th.
Drought 2012 has... winners?
Remember that old saying..."there really is no bad weather, just different kinds of good weather?"
It appears to apply in the drought of 2012.
We've talked a lot this year about the "losers" and negative effects of drought...and there are many.
Here's a list of some who are drought "winners" this year, and have come out ahead this year. In some cases, way ahead.
-Homeowners and insurance companies: 2012 is the quietest tornado season in 24 years in the USA. After the devastating losses in the 2011 "Metronadoes" in Joplin and Tuscaloosa, insurers have suffered lower losses from tornadoes in 2012.
SPC reports 724 tornadoes so far in 2012. That's the fewest since 702 in 1988, another drought year. It's also way below the 1,691 tornadoes last year and the 3 year average of 1,382. 2012 looks like it will go down in the lowest 10% of all tornado years barring major fall outbreaks.
-Farmers who have a good corn crop: It's the "perfect storm" in a good way for many Minnesota farmers this year. Many had a good crop, and the drought that grips the central & southern corn belt sent corn prices soaring to record highs. If you have a crop, you're getting record prices this year.
-Ag companies who develop drought resistant seeds: This is a growing area of demand as drought increases.
-Builders, painters & landscapers have all benefitted from less rain and more work days. Jobs move along faster meaning more money in a shorter period of time. Landscapers report increased business from checking & replacing drought stressed plants.
-Heating & AC companies: The long summer heat wave produced high demand for AC sales, install and repair crews.
-Ice cream vendors & Laundromats? Yes it was a busy year at your local DQ, and for your local ice cream truck. And apparently many small town laundromats saw a boom in business as rural residents came "into town" to do laundry and take stress of of household well systems.
ClimateCast: 93% chance 2012 will go down as hottest year ever in USA
That's the hottest year on record in the USA. At least for another 3 months.
USA temps in 2012 are running a full 3F above the record pace of 1998 so far. It will take a remarkably cold shift the last 3 months to keep 2012 from going down as the hottest year on record.
The details from Climate Central, who cites The Weather Channel analysis putting the odds at 93% it will happen.
According to the National Climatic Data Center, 1998 was the warmest year on record in the U.S., with an average temperature of 55.08°F. So far, 2012 has been on track to smash that record by about 3°F. This Climate Central graphic illustrates that in order to avoid setting the record for the warmest year, the period of September through December would need to be exceptionally cold, ranking in the coolest third of average temperatures for the period.
Additionally, according to The Weather Channel, taking only the years since World War II, the odds of not surpassing the warmest year are just 7 percent. So while it's certainly possible that 2012 won't be a record-breaker, it would take a heck of a cold snap to pull that off.
85% of Minnesota's corn crop in "fair-good or excellent" condition
92% of the "small grain" harvest complete (Oats, spring wheat & barley)
17% of small grains harvested last year at this time
50% of Minnesota topsoil rated "short or very short"
50% of Minnesota topsoil rated "adequate or surplus"
"Dual Pol" up and running - Twin Cities NWS completes Dual Polarization upgrade
Minnesota Crops: Island in the drought
It's a pretty good year for most Minnesota farmers in 2012. And for those that have a decent corn crop to sell, it's going to be a really good year with record corn prices.
A chunk of northwest and southwest Minnesota is still dealing with drought this year, and that is affecting some Minnesota farmers.
But the majority of Minnesota's corn and soybean crops are in pretty good condition according to Monday's Minnesota Crop Report.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows 35% of Minnesota in "drought>" You can see how drought conditions have been focuses in northwest, southwest and far southern Minnesota this summer.
The bigger picture shows how lucky Minnesota has been in 2012.
We started out in drought in the spring, but ample spring rains lifted most of Minnesota from drought conditions, boosted lake levels and produced a bountiful crop.
The rest of the Midwest was not so lucky, and is suffering through the worst conditions since the 1930s in some areas. Withered corn has been plowed under in many areas of the Midwest.
Much of Minnesota and northern Wisconsin has remained an oasis in the midst of drought in 2012.
Up and Running: "Dual Pol" upgrade complete
The Twin Cities NWS has completed the upgrade to Dual Polarization at the Chanhassen NWS/Doppler site.
Radar data is flowing again, and the new upgrade should help us with precip intensity and differentiating between different winter precip types this winter.
The Doppler radar upgrade at your National Weather Service Forecast Office is complete. Although minor calibrations will be made in the coming days to ensure optimum accuracy, the upgrade is complete and radar data is now available.
•Better estimation of total precipitation amounts
•Better estimation of the size distribution of hydrometeors (raindrops, snowflakes, hailstones, drizzle)
•Much improved ability to identify areas of extremely heavy rainfall that are closely linked with flash floods
•Improved detection and mitigation of non-weather related radar echoes (chaff, smoke plumes, ground clutter)
•Easier identification of the melting layer (helpful for identifying snow levels in higher terrain)
•Improved ability to classify precipitation type
The full benefit of dual-pol radar, however, will not be fully realized until NWS forecasters and research meteorologists develop real-time expertise.
Close enough 99 in Eden Prairie and 98 at MSP Airport Monday
100F at Madison & Canby Monday afternoon
21 days at or above 90 degrees so far this summer
5 years since we've sweated through more 90 degree days
(27 days in 2007)
-Complete Listing of 90 degree days for Twin Cities since 1873
8 heat related deaths in Wisconsin since July 1st
Cool front easing into Minnesota Tuesday
Back to the 80s for high temps Tuesday through Thursday
91% of Minnesota's corn & soybean crop rated "fair" "good" or "excellent" this week
74" average corn height in Minnesota on July 15th
50" average corn height last year on about July 15th
61% of the USA in "drought" - a record high
$7.72 per bushel price of corn at close Monday - Daily change of +32.25 ( +4.36% )
5 weeks from Thursday- 2012 Minnesota State Fair begins!
Close Enough: Temps tease 100 degrees in metro
Did we really need to hit 100 again "officially" at MSP?
Temps topped out at 100 degrees in western Minnesota at Madison & Canby late Monday. The mercury in the metro nudged 100 (99 officially) at Eden Prairie and came very close at MSP Airport with a high of 98. In fact 90+ degree heat dominated much of tha nation again Monday.
We don't typically hit 100 every year in the metro. Looking back at records since 1873, the mercury has touched 100 degrees 65 times in the metro. That's about every 3 to 5 years on average...though the spacing and frequency of 100 degree days is very sporadic, so it's hard to come up with a meaningful "average" number of years between 100 degree days.
Take a look at the frequency of 100 degree temps in the Twin Cities since 1980. Here's a more complete listing dating back to 1873 from the MN Climate Working Group.
(Data is from July 6th)
A History of 100 Degrees in the Twin Cities
For the second time in a week, the mercury hit 100 degrees or higher at the Twin Cities International Airport. The last time there were two 100 degree maximum temperatures in the Twin Cities was 1988, when there were four.
July 1-6, 2012 will also finish the warmest first six days of July on record in the Twin Cities with a preliminary average of 87 degrees F, higher than the next closest average (July 1-6 1949) with 84.2 degrees F.
It's been relatively uncommon to see the mercury reach 100 at the Twin Cities International Airport in recent years. Before 2011, the last time the maximum temperature was 100 degrees or more was on July 31, 2006 when the air temperature reached was 101 degrees. Looking back to 1873, the maximum temperature at the Twin Cities official measuring site has reached 100 or more on 64 occasions. The most was in 1936 with nine days. The last year with more than one 100 degree temperature was in 1988 with four.
Below is a table of all the dates since 1873 of days where the temperature was 100 or more at the official Twin Cities observing site.
Year Month Day Precip High Low Average
1980 7 11 0.3 100 72 86
1982 7 5 0 100 78 89
1985 6 8 0 102 64 83
1988 6 24 0 101 70 86
1988 7 15 0.06 102 79 91
1988 7 31 0 105 72 89
1988 8 1 0 101 74 88
1990 7 3 0 100 72 86
1995 7 13 0 101 75 88
2006 7 31 0.09 101 80 91
2011 6 7 0 103 78 91
2012 7 4 0 101 81 91
2012 7 6 0 102 78 90*
*as of 5pm July 6
Here the history of 90 degree days in the Twin Cities. With 21 in the books so far as of Monday, we've now sweated through the most 90 degree days in the metro in 5 years, since we logged 27 days in 2007.
Twin Cities Days with Maximum Temperature Greater than or Equal to 90 degrees F (Going back to 1988 which holds the record of 44 days)
Year # days at or above 90F
1993 0 (Mt. Pinatubo?)
2012 21 (through July 16th)
A little perspective: Is all this extreme heat caused by climate change?
I'm asked everywhere I go these days if out non-winter and extreme summer is caused by "climate change." The simple is answer is probably "yes."
I've used the analogy before of a baseball player on steroids. You can't say any one home run was caused by taking steroids, but the player's overall "enhanced base state" makes him more likely to hit home runs, and to hit more of them in a season.
Here's a great animation of this analogy from NOAA/UCAR.
ABC's Bill Blakemore also has a great piece on easy ways to explain why climate change is having an impact on the increased "frequency and intensity" of heat waves and extreme weather.
You hear phrases like "loading the dice" in favor of warmer weather extremes. That analogy came from NOAA's James Hansen in 1988 when he used to "loaded dice" to testify before congress. His words from 1988 are simply prophetic given today's observed trends.
Here's a good explanation from an interview with the NYT's Andrew Revkin.
Tuesday's cold front will bring some relief to Minnesota for most of this week.
It's not a strong front by any means, but the cooler northeast breezes should be enough to hold high temps in the upper 80s this week, and keep dew points down around 60 in the south, with comfy 50s dew points up north.
There will be a slight chance for a few cooling T-Storms as the front lingers Tuesday into mid-week.
Temps may nudge 90 again by Friday...and push well into the 90s next weekend.
I don't know about you...but I'm now looking forward to that first strong cool front in late August that usually blows in during the State Fair with fresh northwest breezes, whitecaps on once again blue lakes and temps in the 70s. Ahhhh.
Minnesota Farmers 2012: The "Perfect Storm" for many?
Let me first say that I know there is still some drought (and significant crop stress) in parts of Minnesota, especially northwest and in the south. Check out the latest Drought Monitor.
That said, this is looking like a great year for many Minnesota farmers as we head into late July.
Monday's Minnesota Crop Report shows that 91% of Minnesota corn & soybeans are rated in fair (24%), good (56%) or excellent (11%) condition.
Heat and abundant rainfall in most of "the middle" of Minnesota has promoted crop growth that is way ahead of 2011.
Looking at the latest maps two weeks out, it looks like most of Minnesota's crop regions will see enough rainfall (1"+ in many areas) and some temperature relief that most of the crops may mature nicely.
That should mean a strong crop for many (but not all) Minnesota farmers, especially in the fertile regions between Rochester, Mankato, Willmar, St. Cloud and the Twin Cities. These areas have fared the best for timely summer rainfall this year.
When you combine a good Minnesota crop with the deepening drought and resulting lower yields in the southern Midwest "vowel states" of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio...and then throw in record crop prices... it's going to mean bank for those Minnesota farmers that can bring a good crop to market this fall.
How are crops doing in your areas in Minnesota? Is this a good year for you and your neighbors? Or are crops still stressed in your area? What will the next two weeks mean?
52.56% of the Midwest now in moderate to extreme drought
41.2% - spike in corn prices in past several weeks on drought concerns
Next 2 weeks - critical period for crop development & yield
"Vowel States" - Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio hardest hit by drought
1" to 2" rains? NAM model hinting at 1-2" of rain near Indianapolis Friday?
Toasty but comfy - Winning summer weather streak for MN this week
Deepening drought sends corn prices soaring:
So you want to play the commodities markets huh?
The worst Midwest drought since the infamous summer of 1988 has sent corn prices soaring in the past few weeks.
The hardest hit areas are the so called "vowel states" from Iowa to Ohio in the southern Midwest. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows 52.56% of the Midwest in drought overall, but the Upper Midwest has seen ample rains this summer...while deep drought is locked into the Ohio Valley states.
Check out the percentage of "drought conditions" in the so called "vowel states" which are a major part of the overall corn belt.
I've talked with some agricultural insiders in the past week about the growing drought.
My sources tell me that even though the Upper Midwest (Dakotas, Minnesota & Wisconsin) may produce bumper corn crops, the production in those states cannot make up for huge yield losses in the so called "vowel states" in the southern corn belt.
Think weather forecasts aren't important to commodities markets?
I've been on the trading floors in Chicago as grain prices are set and traders scurry to get the edge. I've seen trading activity come to a screeching halt on the floor while my then WGN colleague Tom Skilling delivers his midday weathercast on WGN TV as it's piped onto the trading floor.
The rapid onset of drought conditions is a big change from forecasts just 2 months ago that hinted at a possible record corn crop this year.
Some rain on the way?
Markets dipped a bit Tuesday on forecast of potential rain in the southern Midwest.
An upper level disturbance spinning through the Ohio Valley may set off some scattered to numerous thunderstorms late this week.
One model (the NAM) is cranking out anywhere from 1" to 2" rainfall around Indianapolis, with some heavier multi-inch rainfall totals further south.
Will it be enough to save part of the withering corn crop in Indiana? Time will tell.
Best week of summer in Minnesota?
After last week's "heat attack" you can make a good case that this week's weather is about the best of summer so far.
With highs in the upper 80s the past few days, plenty of sun and comfy dew points in the 40s & 50s this weather is hard to beat. Watching my son pitch his first complete game last night (an 8-5 victory) in light breezes and 80 degree temps as the sun set on ripening cornfields west of the metro was simply amazing.
Temps will ramp up to near 90 the next few days, but humidity levels will remain comfortable until Friday and the weekend, when dew points will rise into the sticky 60s.
Look for a run on sandals, sunscreen and root beer floats as we head into the weekend.
5:03pm CDT approximate time of the start of Venus "solar transit" Tuesday
6 hours and 40 minutes - duration of the Venus transit
8:56pm sunset in the metro Tuesday (Venus transit still in progress)
95% of Minnesota soils rated with "adequate to surplus" topsoil moisture
Quick look forecast for MSP:
Swift water on many North Shore rivers these days after a wet May
Rare Venus "Solar Transit" Tuesday:
This one may be worth watching with the right "eyewear."
A rare solar transit of Venus across the face of the sun takes place Tuesday evening in Minnesota and much of the USA. You could wait until the next one, but you'll need to be around in another 105 years to see it!
Here's the catch: You can't see it safely without special eye protection, and that may be hard to find. A call to the Science Museum of Minnesota Monday afternoon confirms they do not carry any solar glasses, and they do not know of any place in the Twin Cities to get your hands on protective eyewear in the metro.
Here is everything you wanted to know about the Venus solar transit Tuesday evening from space.com.
Many people are planning to watch the transit of Venus on Tuesday (June 5), but it's extremely important that prospective viewers be warned to take special precautions (as with a solar eclipse) to view the silhouette of Venus against the brilliant disk of the sun.
For the United States and Canada the transit will begin when the dark disk of Venus first touches the outer edge of the sun, an event that astronomers call Contact I. From the Eastern U.S. and Eastern Canada, Contact I should occur around 6:03 p.m. EDT (2203 GMT). From the Western U.S. and Western Canada, Contact I should occur around 3:06 p.m. PDT.
It will take about 18 minutes for the black disk of Venus to move completely onto the sun's face; ultimately bringing its black disk just inside the sun's upper left edge. If you imagine the sun's disk as the face of a clock, Contact I will occur between the 11:30 and 12 o'clock position. Venus will then progress along a track that will run diagonally from the upper left to the lower right.
Here's a safe way to use binoculars to project an image of the transit. Mom was right....DON"T look directly at the sun with your naked eyes.
Drought gone; soaked soils now
It took a flood to end the drought in MN...and boy did it work. A full 95% of Minnesota topsoil is now rated "adequate to surplus."
Here's the latest topsoil moisture report from Monday's MN Crop Report.
You can see that our warm (and recently wet) spring has given corn and soybean development a head start vs. the 5 year average.
Europe Shivers: Coldest June weekend in 84 years
Could there be a new wave of Scandinavian immigration to Minnesota soon?
This was the coldest June weekend in Sweden since 1928. Details from Phys.org.
On Saturday, as blustery winds and heavy rain fell on the capital, "Stockholm reported a high of just six degrees. We have not seen such a low June temperature since 1928," the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) wrote in a statement.
And the cold and wet looked to be settling in for the better part of the coming week.
"On Thursday and Friday the weather will stabilize a bit with fewer showers and a little more sun, and temperatures will slowly rise," the institute said, noting however that another rainstorm was due to move in over the country next weekend.
After the long, cold winter, the chilly and wet weather of late has left many Swedes longing for warmer climes.
Charter group Ving said Saturday its tour bookings increased by 31 percent during the past week from the previous week.
"Summer is coming soon and people don't dare take a chance (on the weather in Sweden), they want to make sure they get some sun during their holiday," Ving spokeswoman Magdalena Oehrn told Swedish news agency TT.
North Shore rivers are back:
A big thank you to the North House Folk School (especially Greg Wright and Jessa Frost) and the good people of Grand Marais who came out to share observations and questions during my talk about "Minnesota's Changing Climate" Saturday evening.
It's great to work for MPR and to get the opportunity to meet so many intelligent, curious dedicated MPR listeners. We are Minnesota Public Radio, after all.
At the risk of broadcasting what may be the best kept secret (that many Minnesotans already know) Grand Marais is one of those "secret special places." You just can't find that many spots with the fantastic geography, harbor and scenic views in Minnesota. It's like our own mini our "San Diego of the North" on a really chilly ocean.
It's great to see how the wet spring has the rivers raging on the North Shore again. Allow me to share a few photos from the weekend.
69% of Minnesota reporting "adequate" topsoil moisture
+20% jump from last week's numbers
84% of spring wheat planted in Minnesota as of this week
17% 5 year running average
Rainy week in Minnesota:
Ah, that felt good! That's the first time in months I've been able to type the phrase "rainy week."
Widespread rainfall helped boost topsoil moisture in Minnesota last week. 69% of topsoil is now reported as "adequate" according to this week's Minnesota Crop Report. That's up from 49% last week, or a full 20%.
Some areas have picked up 2" to 3" of rainfall in the past week including.
-North Mankato 2.21"
Our record mild March in Minnesota means filed prep and planting is ahead of schedule. 84% of spring wheat is in the ground now, compared with 0% last year and 17% for the 5 year running average!
Tuesday's Minnesota Crop Report opened some eyes.
Fully 30% of topsoil moisture in Minnesota is now listed as "short or very short." That's up from about 2% at the start of August.
The latest data from the United States Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Dry and warm weather during August has steadily pulled mositure form Minnesota soils. You may notice your garden needs water lately, so do many fileds in Minnesota, Some crops are showing signs of drought stress.
"Average temperatures were 3.4° above normal
this past week and continued a pattern of above
average temperatures and below average
precipitation for several consecutive weeks.
Precipitation ranged from .89 inch in
southeastern areas to .27 inch in west central
areas. Some reporters noted that crops are
beginning to show signs of stress from lack of
moisture. Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 7
percent very short, 23 percent short, 65 percent
adequate, and 5 percent surplus, a slight decline
from the previous week. Statewide, 5.6 days
were rated suitable for fieldwork."
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor for Minnesota confirms the trends.
With a full week of above average temperatures and little or no rainfall ahead, expect the numbers to trend even drier by next week.
There's going to be a lot more yellow on the drought map as September rolls on.
While we are calling this sweltering, oppressive atmosphere a Heat Wave, it equally worthy of being called a High Dew Point Warning. Yesterday afternoon and evening dew points, a very good indicator of the moisture in the atmosphere, were in the lower 80s over a large swath of southern Minnesota. It is very rare to observe sustained high dew points over a broad area this far north.
Dew point measurement can me impacted by the microclimate of the sensors location. We see dew points at their highest in southern Minnesota from mid July through about mid August. A number of us in the weather business believe that these seasonally high dew points are the results of the evapo-transpiration of the maturing corn corps across Iowa and southern Minnesota. Moisture is released back into the low levels of the atmosphere and we feel its affects.
A slight drop in dew points is seen for today. We may well see a few degrees of additional heat on the thermometer. That translates to Heat Index values of 105 to 115, in the shade, during the middle of the day. This is excessively sweltering when you add into the equation direct sunlight. Stay out of the sun today if you can. Unless you are standing in the lake.
Dogs and cats instinctly slow down in this weather. If your dog needs to have a walk, make it a quick trip early in the morning or in the evening. Provide plenty of water for pet during this sultry period.
Follow the advice from health officials with regard to your well being. Apply the number one rule; slow down. Dress in light colors with a brimmed hat.
Heat spell breaks a bit towards the end of the week. Just so you know; the climate records document the next seven to ten days as the warmest period during the calendar year.
The sensible temperature is about fifteen degrees warmer in the direct sunshine.
Think cool thoughts today.
Remember that old saying "Knee high by the 4th of July?"
Compared to last year, "Half as high by the 4th of July" appears to be the mantra in Minnesota cornfields this year.
Our cool wet spring (and chilly first 2 days of summer) has taken a toll on Minnesotans. The latest Minnesota Crop Report shows corn and other crops are feeling the chill too.
10" average height of the corn crop in Minnesota this week
18" Running 5 year average height of corn crop in Minnesota this week
20" average height of the corn crop in Minnesota last year at this time
Also, 25% of the corn crop in Minnesota is rated as "fair" or "poor."
KIMT TV in mason City, Iowa has the story.
One way to measure crop growth is by calcualting so called "Growing Degree Days."
UM's Dale Hicks explains.
"Temperature affects crop growth and development. Accumulation of heat during the growing season can be used as a predictor of plant developmental progress. Growing Degree Days (GDD's) is a calculation to express the heat accumulation. GDD's are calculated using the maximum and minimum daily air temperature to determine the average daily temperature. From the average temperature, the base of 50° is subtracted to arrive at the daily GDD's. There are temperature limits used when calculating GDD's because little or no growth occurs when the temperature is greater than 86°F or less than 50°F. So when the maximum temperature is above 86°, then 86 is used as the maximum temperature and when the minimum temperature is below 50°, then 50 is used as the minimum temperature for the day. Daily GDD's are summed for the season beginning May 1."
So far in 2011, most Minnesota locations are behind average in GDD.
There's no way to say for sure why 2011 is off to a slower crop start that the past 5 years, but our La Nina spring is one possible explanation. Actually this year's crop progress is closer to long term averages for Minnesota.
Pattern Change: Heat builds next week:
The good news is that next week the jet stream finally shows signs of lifting north into Canada. This should bring an extended period of warmer weather, with highs consistently in the 80s, and even a shot at 90 by late next week.
The added heat or "growing degree days" should give crops a boost in the next two weeks.
Hang in there...sunshine returns Friday and warmer weather is just around the corner!