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May and Spring 2014 Saint Cloud Weather Summaries

8th Wettest May on Record

The total rainfall at the St. Cloud Airport in May was 6.74 inches, more than double s above the average of 2.95 inches. This made May 2014 the 8th wettest May in St. Cloud records. While the rain wasn't quite as frequent as during April (14 days with measurable rain in April, 12 days in May), there were five periods with substantial rain. Two major storms triggered heavy rain in thunderstorms during May 7-8 (2.51 inches in St. Cloud) and a second storm on May 11-12 produced over half an inch of rain. The first two days produced two tornadoes in southwestern Minnesota and straight line wind damage in southeastern Minnesota. St. Cloud actually didn't pick up the most rainfall during the May 11-12 period. There were only 5 more days with measurable rainfall after May 12, with 0.95 inch on May 19, and 0.88 inch on May 26 and 27. The latter storm produced a lot more rain in St. Cloud itself (2.15 inches at SCSU) and Sartell (2.23 inches at Sartell), which produced some localized flooding. Finally, 1.78 inch fell on the last two days of the month, including a daily record of 1.68 inch on May 31. Some places in Minnesota saw 3-6 inches of rain during this period.

Most of this rain has come between April 23 and May 31: 11.08 inches of rain, more than 7 inches above average (3.76 inches).

2nd Wettest Spring, Dec-May on Record

The meteorological spring (March 1-May 31) rainfall jumped to 13.84 inches, more than six and three-quarter inches above average. That ranks as St. Cloud's 2nd wettest spring. Only the spring of 1894 (16.02 inches) was wetter. 2001 (3rd place) and 2012 (5th place) are the other recent years in the top 7. None of the other heavy precipitation springs happened after 1965.

This is right on the heels of the 5th highest winter melted precipitation in St. Cloud records. So, in the six months between December 2013 through May 2014, a total of 18.12 inches has fallen, the second highest total in St. Cloud records. That total is only short by .07 inch of the wettest Dec.-May period on record. That was set in 1893-1894 (18.19 inches). Note that 4 seasons in the top 10 have occurred since 2000.

The spring precipitation included 21.2 inches of snow, which was just short of the 10 snowiest springs on record.

The heavy rainfall turned a drought at the end of the March into a rain surplus. Nationally, eastern and southeastern Minnesota into Michigan and Iowa were among the wettest areas of the country, next to the Pacific Northwest Coast and the Central Gulf coast.

Temperature-wise, May had an average temperature of 57.6°F. It marked the first month since November that wasn't at least 3.0°F colder than average and the first month since last September than ended up warmer than average (see below):

St. Cloud Monthly Temperature and Departure from Average
Month Departure from 1981-2010 Average (°F) Average Temperature (°F)
Sept. 2013
Oct. 2013
Nov. 2013
Dec. 2013
Jan. 2014
Feb. 2014
Mar. 2014
Apr. 2014
May 2014

Blue: Colder than average

Red: Warmer than average

Bold: At least 3.0 degrees away from average

This happened despite the cold early start. The first 4 days of May and 12 of the first 17 days of the month were colder than average. The average temperature of 51.0°F (60.6°F avg. high, 41.4°F avg. low) was 5.5°F colder than average. That would have ranked as the 10th coolest May had it continued through the rest of the month.

The milder May kept Spring 2014 (March 1-May 31) from reaching the 10 coldest. The average St. Cloud spring temperature was 40.3°F, 3.2°F colder than the 1981-2010 spring average of 43.5°F. However, it would have taken a spring that averaged nearly two degrees and a half degrees colder, meaning that the early May coldness had to continue all month to reach that extreme. Note that last spring produced the fifth coldest spring in St. Cloud records.

First 50's, 80's Late But Not Record Late

While many of you found the persistently cool weather quite frustrating, the usual spring milestones weren't quite as late as expected. With the persistent snow cover not melting until April 8 (4th latest on record), the first 50 degree high didn't happen until March 30. However, the quick succession of the first 60-degree high (April 6) and the first 70-degree high (April 9) were in the earliest half of St. Cloud dates.

St. Cloud didn't manage to hit 80 degrees until May 24, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. This was the 13th latest date among the 119 years of St. Cloud records. It was the latest since 1995 (May 30) and 1997 (May 31).

Despite a few frost advisories around May 13-15, the temperature at the St. Cloud Airport never got to 32 degrees in May. That means that the last frost was April 25, among the 10% of earliest frost days. The last day with a low of 28 or colder was April 18, among the earliest 5% of final frost dates.

St. Cloud Spring Threshold 2012 Date 2012 Rank 2013 Date 2013 Rank 2014 Date 2014 Rank Average (1896-2014)
First 50-degree high January 5 Earliest April 26 Latest March 30 21st latest March 16
First 60-degree high March 11 6th earliest April 26 Tied with 1947 and 1965 for latest April 6 48th earliest April 4
First 70-degree high March 14 3rd earliest April 27 24th latest April 9 34th earliest April 17
First 80-degree high May 2 50th earliest May 14 36th latest May 24 13th latest May 4
Last 32-degree low April 23 Earliest 10% May 13 Latest 50% April 25 Earliest 10% May 18
Last 28-degree low April 20 Earliest 20% May 12 Latest 20% April 18 Earliest 5% April 30

On the other hand, the wet May has delayed planting and early season grain progress, according to the May 27 Minnesota Weekly Crop Report. The effect of the rain has helped the soil moisture with 96% of surface moisture and 89% of sub-surface moisture rated as adequate or surplus. In contrast, the final Crop Report in 2012 showed 8% of topsoil and 23% of sub-surface soil as being short or very short of moisture.

There has never been a frost in St. Cloud later than June 1, so it should now be safe for all plants.





May 2014 Statistics

St. Cloud Precipitation: December-May
Total Precipitation (inches)









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All climate data provided courtesy of NOAA/NWS
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and Minnesota Climatology Working Group, including the Minnesota State Climatologist's Office, University of Minnesota-Saint Paul Campus.

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Last updated:June 1, 2014
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