2016 Summer Wrap-Up

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Boy, it sure is hard to believe that the warmest months of the year are behind us! Time sure has flown, and with the passing of Meteorological Summer, I wanted to review the summer months and see how they shored up.

Overall Conditions Summary

Overall, temperatures this summer were near to above average for many areas. A small area in central Minnesota averaged slightly-below for the three month period, largely due to more frequent rainfall in these areas. Despite a very dry June for most areas, save for the southeast and parts of central Minnesota, July and August were exceptionally wet in many areas. All-in-all, well-above average rainfall occurred over a large portion of the region with as much as 200% of the average summer-time rainfall in some areas. The exception to this was in the far southwest where less than ten inches of rain fell in some areas, or roughly only 50-75% of the average rainfall for June thru August.

Most Notable Events

Here are five of the most notable events from this summer…

  1. July 11-12 Flooding & Tornado Event; This was given the number one rating due to the strongest tornadoes of the season touching down, a strong EF-2 in Watkins and Litchfield. This was a very active event with two other tornadoes reported, as well as widespread flash flooding over the northern half of the region.
  2. July 5 Severe Storms & Flooding Event; This event produced widespread severe weather, with large hail, damaging winds, and a couple of brief tornadoes. In addition, flash flooding was common as storms were slow moving and trained over the same areas, resulting in over 6 inches of rainfall in isolated locales.
  3. June 14 Severe Storms & Heavy Rain; This event produced several brief tornadoes, including one brief EF-0 tornado near Pipestone, as well as several reports of wind damage. This event also produced widespread rainfall totals of 0.50-1.0″ with isolated amounts up to 6 inches, resulting in localized flash flooding.
  4. August 10-11 Flooding Rainfall; Widespread flooding rainfall occurred during this event, with totals of 1-4 inches common. Higher rainfall totals of 4-8 inches were common in Kandiyohi, Renville, McLeod, and Wabasha counties which resulted in severe areal and flash flooding in many locations within these counties.
  5. July 23 Heavy Rainfall; Widespread rainfall of 0.50-2.0″ rain fell over a large portion of the area with localized amounts of 2-5″ which resulted in flash flooding.

KMSP2016plotOverall, we saw a very active summer with repeated rounds of heavy rainfall and above-average temperatures. Both of these features can largely be attributed to the El Nino which was rapidly fading in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Historically speaking, following a moderate or strong El Nino event, the pattern tends to favor above-average temperatures, precipitation, and severe weather for the Upper Midwest. This was most certainly the case this year, with the Twin Cities already well-above average total precipitation for the year.

So will the “typical” pattern of a dying El Nino continue into this Autumn and Winter months? Only time will tell, but I have a feeling we are not done with the active pattern!

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