Minnesota Weather Briefs: July saw record warm temps in parts of stateMinnesota Weather
-- July was a near-record hot month in some areas of Minnesota when it comes to average temperatures. Assistant state climatologist Pete Boulay says 2012 rivaled some Julys of the Dust Bowl era in the 1930s.
July was a near-record hot month in some areas of Minnesota when it comes to average temperatures. Assistant state climatologist Pete Boulay says 2012 rivaled some Julys of the Dust Bowl era in the 1930s.
Boulay says the Twin Cities had its second-warmest July on record -- Rochester its fourth-warmest. He says Duluth actually tied its all-time highest average temperature for July -- but notes that readings were taken closer to the Shore back in the 1930s. The month-just-ended was cooler up north, however: Boulay says International Falls didn't even crack the top-ten of its warmest Julys on record.
It's been hot across most all of Minnesota this summer but several areas of southeastern Minnesota actually experienced record heat last month. The National Weather Service reports July's average temperature was 74-and-a-half-degrees west of Rochester in the city of Byron, while Theilman averaged nearly 77-degrees -- and readings at the Winona Dam registered a record 78-point-seven. Those are all-time high temperature records for any month. Even warmer spots which set records for the warmest month ever include readings at the Minnesota City Dam and the La Crescent Dam -- both over 80-degrees during the month of July.
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (DFL-Plymouth) and Al Franken (DFL-Minneapolis) along with House member Chip Cravaack(R-Duluth) are urging President Obama to reconsider a recent decision by FEMA, denying individual assistance for flood-stricken homeowners and businesses in northeastern Minnesota. In a letter to the president, the three echo Governor Dayton's argument that it was a 500-year flood event and 93-percent of homeowners in the affected area did not have flood insurance. The governor in his appeal letter to FEMA says low-income homeowners "are discouraged and disheartened...feel hopeless, abandoned by the federal government." Dayton adds "many victims are beginning to believe that abandoning their homes is their only option."
It's not looking good that a new Farm Bill will be passed in the U.S. House -- and that has some lawmakers scrambling to help those in need of disaster assistance. U.S. Senator Al Franken has introduced a new bill to restart funding for disaster relief programs that expired last year. He says the bill would retroactively help farmers affected by drought. A vote on disaster assistance could come today. The current Farm Bill expires at the end of September.
Scattered rain in the past week did not help ease Minnesota's drought situation. The just-released U.S. Drought Monitor shows one area of extreme drought now -- in a small portion of southwestern Minnesota's Rock County. Meanwhile, severe drought is eating up more acreage across the southern third of the state and in northwestern Minnesota. More than 52-percent of the state is now considered to be at least abnormally dry.
Minnesota's drought situation is having an effect on the state's biggest waterway. Army Corps of Engineers' Lock and Dam Regulator Farley Haase says, along the Mississippi River, flows are less than normal in the southern part of the district -- but in the upper part, flows are above normal because of big rain events in northern Minnesota in June. Haase says the river continues to see lower-than-normal water flow as you head south toward St. Louis. That shallow situation is making cargo operators lighten their loads on the lower Mississippi.