Spring is arriving and so will the rains

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This climate normals map shows that everyone in the Upper Midwest has their dryest month in the winter... most of the time occuring in January or February.  Map courtesy of Brian Brettschneider...

Winter in Minnesota is by far the driest season of the year, on average.  In many years, it doesn’t seem that way because there is seemingly always snow on the ground, which is literally moisture.  But despite the perception, it is totally true.  The Twin Cities only averages about 2 and a half inches of liquid moisture in the winter months.  That’s less than 9% of the overall liquid precipitation we average for the year.  Once we get to spring though, the amount of moisture arriving in our state really starts to climb.  It only takes 4 months for the state to go from our typically driest month of February, to our wettest month as a whole, which is June.  For the metro, it’s close, but July actually beats out June as the wettest month, but only by a quarter inch on average.  So, the typical spring-time snow melt comes in tandem with quickly rising rainfall totals.  This creates massive runoff into area rivers which will cause them to flood… hence why we often have a spring flood season.  The bright side with our mild and melty winter this year is that we don’t have any snow to melt away, so when the rains eventually hit, the amount of water going into area rivers will be far lower, which is why most of Minnesota is not likely to have any river flooding this spring… barring any unforeseen substantial storms.