Saint Cloud State University logo Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department
Saint Cloud Forecasts
National Weather Service logoNWS SCSU Big C logo SCSU/Weisman
SCSU Home
SCSU NWA Chapter
Weisman Home
Climate
Weather
Making a Forecast
Alumni
Research
Courses
Handbook
Eighth Northern Plains Winter Storm Conference: Coming October 28-29, 2013 in Saint Cloud!


Another Summer-Fall Rain Shortfall

Sixth Driest July-September

September 2013 Saint Cloud Weather Summary

September had a major rain event in mid-month, but continued the dry conditions since the start of July. September rainfall in St. Cloud was 1.87 inches, 1.59 inches short of the September average. The rain shortfall spans the months of July, August, and September. During that three-month period, St. Cloud has had only 4.15 inches, the sixth lowest total for July through September. Overall, St. Cloud is 6.41 inches short of rain since the start of July. Last year's June-October shortfall was worse (9.08 inches below average), but the past three months ranks as the second worst in this series of dry spells during the growing season, which has involved 5 of the past 6 years.

The result of the rain shortage is statewide topsoil that ranks as being short of moisture over 60% of Minnesota. About two-thirds of the sub-surface moisture is ranked as being short. The low water supply has led the upper portion of the Mississippi River to rank among the 10 percent of lowest stream height, according to both the USGS Minnesota River Gauge Network and the Minnesota DNR map. The worst conditions are from Brainerd and Aitkin upstream past Leech Lake and Grand Rapids.

The water level at the Mississippi River level below the University Bridge dam is only 4.4 feet. The three lowest river stages at that dam begin at 3.76 feet. The Sauk River at Rivers Edge Park in Waite Park is only at 1.6 feet. The record low is 0.05 feet in 1936.

However, the first major rainfall since the heavy rains ended in June developed on September 14. The 1.23 inches that fell on that day was more than a quarter of the precipitation over the past 3 months. There was, in addition, some major September rainfall in west central Minnesota and along the Canadian border. The rain to our north eased the drought conditions defined in the US Drought Monitor to the north of Little Falls, Milke Lacs Lake and Detroit Lakes.

The rest of the southern two-thirds of Minnesota and a good chunk of northwestern Minnesota still have drought conditions. The conditions are worse across central Minnesota from Willmar and Litchfield through nearly all of Stearns County, Annandale, Clearwater, Clear Lake and to Foley and Milaca. The biggest rain shortfalls are now along the Iowa border and especially in southeastern Minnesota in counties bordering the Mississippi. These areas are as much as 7-10 inches short of rain since the last week of June.

Temperature-wise, September was a roller coaster month with cooler than average weather during the first week of the month, and during September 13-21 (first 30-degree low since May; 6 days with highs in the 60's). However, this was balanced by a hot period in early September (2 90-degree highs, 4 lows of at least 60) and more warmth over the last 10 days of the month. Overall, September 2013 ranks as tied for the 17th warmest September on record (62.9°F). While there have been 4 warmer Septembers in the past 15 years, 2009 (63.3°F), 2005 (63.2°F), 2004 (64.1°F), 1998 (62.9°F), the other 14 warmer Septembers were earlier than 1948. Record warm temperatures were set twice on September 28 (record warm low of 65, record warm average of 73).

The first few days of October will continue the warmer than average weather that finished September. However, a major West Coast storm has the potential to produce widespread significant rain during Thursday through Saturday. This storm will push into the southwestern US by mid-week, then push northeastward rapidly by Friday. That will really pull a lot of Gulf of Mexico moisture into this storm, so there will be the potential for another half inch, inch, or even more rainfall over at least parts of Minnesota during the end of the week. It's still a bit early in the week to be sure about the late week, but it will have the potential of widespread rain.

 

    September 2013 Statistics

Temperatures (°F)
September 2013
Normal
Average High Temperature (°F)
75.2
70.3
Average Low Temperature (°F)
50.6
46.8
Mean Temperature for September (°F)
62.9
58.6
Saint Cloud's Ten Warmest/Coldest Septembers
Temperature Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
September 2013 Days with High Temperature of At Least 90°F
2
0.99
2013 Total Days with High Temperature of At Least 90°F
15
11.58
September 2013 Days with Low Temperature of 32°F or lower
0
1.70
September Temperature Extremes
Temperature(°F)
Date
Warmest High Temperature for September 2013 (°F)
92
September 7
Coldest High Temperature for September 2013 (°F)
63
September 21
Warmest Low Temperature for September 2013 (°F)
66
September 6
Coldest Low Temperature for September 2013 (°F)
36
September 16
Record Temperatures in September 2013
Temperature(°F)
Date
Old Record
Daily Record Warm Average 73°F September 27 72°F set in 1956
Daily Record Warm Low
65°F September 27 60°F set in 1901
       
Precipitation (in)
This Year
Normal
September 2013 Precipitation (in)
1.87
3.46
Saint Cloud's Ten Rainiest/Driest Septembers
2013 Growing Season (April 1- September 30) Rainfall (in)
17.79 (-2.46 from average)
20.25
2013 Wet Period (April 1 - June 30) Rainfall (in)
13.64 (+3.95 from average)
9.69
2013 Dry Period (July 1- September 30)
4.15 (-6.41 from average)
10.56
2013 Total Precipitation (in) (January 1 - September 30)
22.20
23.04
Precipitation Thresholds
Number of Days
Normal
September 2013 Days with Measurable (>= 0.01 inch) Precipitation
11
8.7
September 2013 Days with >= 0.10 inch Precipitation
3
5.6
September 2013 Days with >= 0.25 inch Precipitation
1
3.5
September 2013 Days with >= 0.50 inch Precipitation
1
2.0
September 2013 Days with >= 1.00 inch Precipitation
1
0.8
September Precipitation Extremes
Precipitation (in)
Date
Most Daily Precipitation in September 2013
1.23 inch
September 14
Record Precipitation in September 2013
Precipitation (in)
Date
Old Record
No records set
 
Saint Cloud's Driest Summer/Early Fall

July-Sept

(Average Rainfall: 9.96 inches)

July-Oct

(Average Rainfall: 12.02 inches)

Rank
July-Sept Rain (inches)
Year
Rank
July-Oct Rain (inches)
Year
1 2.76 1922 1 4.33 1976
2 3.18 1981 2 5.13 1922
3 3.53 1894 3 5.48 1894
4 3.89 1976 4 5.61 1923
5 3.97 1950 5 5.78 2012
6 4.15 2013 6 6.56 1992
7 5.05 2012 7 6.85 2001
8 5.19 1923 8 6.97 2000
9 5.20 1943 9 7.37 1953
10 5.37 2000 10 7.38 1947

 

Recent Summer-Fall Dry Periods
Year
Dates
Rainfall Departure from Average (inches)
2008 June 15 - Sept 10 -4.00
2009 April 1 - Sept 30 -4.91
2011 Aug 21 - Oct 31 -4.66
2012 June 1 - Oct 31 -9.08
2013 July 1 - Sept 30 -6.41
     
1987 Apr 1 - Oct 31 -6.17
1988 Apr-Oct -7.11
1989 Apr 1 - Oct 31 -5.17

 



Return to top of page
All climate data provided courtesy of NOAA/NWS
National Weather Service logoNOAA logo
and Minnesota Climatology Working Group, including the Minnesota State Climatologist's Office, University of Minnesota-Saint Paul Campus.

Interested in an undergraduate degree in meteorology?


Send comments to: raweisman@stcloudstate.edu
Last updated: October 1, 2013
Background courtesy of aaa-backgrounds.com

The low rainfall is quite evident in the river level reports issued this week. The weekly DNR map shows streamflow in the lowest 10% from St. Cloud through most of Sherburne and Benton Counties. Currently, the Mississippi River level at St. Cloud is 4.17 feet, among the 5 lowest stages seen at this gauge (note that the third lowest levels were seen in September 2007, which isn't listed in the records). The Sauk River in Waite Park is down to only 1.17 feet, the sixth lowest stage seen on that river. (In August 2007, the Sauk River was down to 0.37 feet) The streamflow from the USGS shows that the Mississippi River basin is now below the 25% mark in the Mississippi River basin at most stations from Aitkin to the Twin Cities, in the St. Croix basin, and in the central and lower Minnesota River basin. Stream flow is now in the lowest 10% in north central Minnesota, including the Duluth, Grand Rapids, and Ely areas.

Meanwhile, temperature data shows that this September is the summer we didn't have. So far , St. Cloud is working on the warmest September in more than 70 years. Through yesterday, the average St. Cloud temperature has been 65.5F, 7.1F warmer than normal. If we remained this warm, this September would be the third warmest September in St. Cloud records and the warmest since 1931.