Fifth straight wet May in Minnesota, dry weekend

Call it Minnesota's May Monsoon.

The 5th consecutive wetter than average May in Minnesota goes into the weather books this weekend.

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Paul Huttner/ MPR news

In fact it was the wettest May on record for several locations in west-central Minnesota. Monthly rainfall totals of 7 to 9 inches has effectively wiped out drought in western Minnesota. Most of Minnesota soaked up above average rains again this May.

Here's a look at rainfall totals over the past 30 days from NOAA's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.

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NOAA

Mark Seeley fills in details on some locations that recorded the wettest May ever in Minnesota.

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So far May of 2015 has been one of the wettest 15 in Minnesota history, and marks the 5th consecutive year that the state has seen above normal rainfall in May. Some climate stations have reported monthly total rainfall in excess of 7 inches (over twice normal).

Here is a list of the wettest places in Minnesota for May of 2015, along with the inches of total rainfall and the historical ranking for all Mays at that location (with variable length of climate records among these cities).

Location County Amount Historical Rank

Backus Cass 7.24” Wettest ever

Ottertail Otter Tail 8.41” Wettest ever

Hewitt Todd 9.11” Wettest ever

Menahga Wadena 7.67” Wettest ever

Deer Creek Otter Tail 7.01” Wettest ever

Cass Lake Cass 7.76” 2nd wettest

Park Rapids Hubbard 7.82” 2nd wettest

Morris Stevens 7.33” 3rd wettest

Moorhead Clay 7.03” 3rd wettest

Montevideo Chippewa 7.06” 6th wettest

Mark also has some interesting perspective on Minnesota May rainfall compare to the epic flooding in Texas.

May 1-29 2015 rainfall in Minnesota (climate stations with roughly twice normal)

7.03" at Moorhead

7.02" at Cass Lake

7.19" at Park Rapids

7.01" at Montevideo

8.41" at Ottertail

7.31" at Morris

6.05" at Collegeville

6.50" at Brainerd

6.68" at Lake Wilson

May 1-29, 2015 rainfall in Oklahoma (climate stations with roughly 4 times normal)

McAlester 22.25"

Blanchard 23.91"

Norman 22.68"

Lehigh 24.10"

Anadarko 20.99"

May 1-29, 2015 rainfall in Texas (climate states with 3-4 times normal)

Muenster 20.13"

Gainesville 21.43"

Kendalia 20.83"

Houston (Sugarland) 18.03"

All of the reports from Oklahoma and Texas are either new record amounts for the month of May, or new record amounts for any single month of the year. Widespread, destructive flash flooding has occurred in both Texas and Oklahoma.

You can read more Minnesota climate news in Mark's weekly Weather Talk post.

Climate trend?

When does a short term pattern become a long term climate trend?

Our string of wet Mays in Minnesota fits the overall emerging climate trends predicting wetter springs. Researchers like Dr. Peter Snyder at the University of Minnesota have modeled and identified a shift toward a wetter "early warm season" in Minnesota. Something seems to be enhancing the moisture-delivering efficiency of the low level jet stream in Minnesota in springtime.

126 early warm season precip trends 2100
Dr. Peter Snyder University of Minnesota.

Just as eye opening, there is also a recent trend toward sudden "flash drought" rapidly developing in late summer and fall. It's as if the hose is on full from April through June, then somebody shuts off the faucet in July and August.

Rescue rains in spring? Flash drought in late summer and fall? New terms in Minnesota's weather lexicon in a changing climate.

Minnesotans increasingly live in a land of all or nothing weather. A mean between extreme extremes. Normal weather in Minnesota? Good luck defining that as our climate seems to be shifting faster than the latest set of 30 year averages.

Dry spell ahead

We come up for air and sunshine the next few days in Minnesota. A dry and cool Septemberish weekend features a touch of frost up north. Temperatures mellow next week as we march toward 80 degrees, sticky 60s dew points and shower chances once again.

A string of three to four dry days in a row? What a concept.

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Weatherspark-NOAA GFS output

Temps bottom out in the 30s this weekend up north. That means a late May frost, which is not unusual in northern Minnesota into early June.

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NOAA

Enjoy the break in rainfall as we head into June.