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June 2014 Climate Summary

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Source/Author: Natalie Umphlett - High Plains Regional Climate Center 07/03/14

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June 2014 Climate Summary  

For a printable version of the climate summary which includes more figures, data tables, and state summaries, click here

Temperature Summary

While most of the country had temperatures which were near normal, the upper Missouri River Basin was the cool spot in the nation with temperature departures generally up to 4.0 degrees F (2.2 degrees C) below normal. These lower temperatures were common across much of Montana, northern Wyoming, and the western sides of the Dakotas. Elsewhere in the High Plains Region, temperatures hovered around 2.0 degrees F (1.1 degrees C) above or below normal. Only a few locations in southern Colorado made it into the 2.0-4.0 degrees F (1.1-2.2 degrees C) above normal range.

Most areas did not experience record breaking temperatures, but a few isolated locations did break into the top 10. One of the cooler locations this month was Pierre, South Dakota. With an average temperature of only 64.4 degrees F (18.0 degrees C), Pierre had its 9th coolest June on record (period of record 1933-2014). The coolest June occurred in 1945 with 60.1 degrees F (15.6 degrees C). On the warm side was Trinidad, Colorado which had its 6th warmest June with 70.7 degrees F (21.5 degrees C). The record of 73.8 degrees F (23.2 degrees C) set in 2002 held (period of record 1899-2014).

Precipitation Summary

The month of June brought a wide variety of weather to the High Plains Region. Much of southern Wyoming and western and central Colorado was dry with precipitation totals reaching 50 percent of normal at most. Alamosa, Colorado, located in the southern part of the state, had its 4th driest June on record with only 0.02 inches (1 mm) of precipitation. Only 3 other times had June been drier, with just a Trace, in 2011, 1980, and 1946 (period of record 1906-2014). Areas to the north and east, however dealt with multiple rounds of severe weather and heavy precipitation. In some areas, precipitation was quite welcome as this helped improve or eliminate drought and helped create excellent grazing and pasture conditions. However, areas with excessive rainfall dealt with flooding which washed out roads and bridges and inundated farmland. Some areas along the Missouri, Big Sioux, Souris, and Red Rivers experienced at least minor flooding. One example was the Big Sioux River which crested at 105.6 feet (32.2 m) at Sioux City. Luckily, this was lower than expected. A levee upstream failed and enough water flowed through the failure that flooding was not quite as bad as originally predicted. The record was 108.3 feet (33.0 m) set in 1969. Although not as bad as feared, buildings, houses, and farmland were inundated and a section of I-29 was closed several days.

The majority of Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas were extremely wet this month with precipitation totals well over 150 percent of normal. The western half of Kansas, much of Nebraska, and northwestern and southeastern South Dakota had totals over 200 percent of normal with some locations even topping 300 percent of normal. Numerous locations ranked in the top 10 wettest Junes on record and flash flooding was common. Sioux Falls, South Dakota was one of these extremely wet locations with a June total of 13.70 inches (348 mm) which was 9.78 inches (248 mm) above normal, or 349 percent of normal precipitation. The old record of 8.43 inches (214 mm) set back in 1984 was absolutely crushed (period of record 1893- 2014)! Sioux Falls experienced 19 days with measurable precipitation, of which there were 9 consecutive days of precipitation. This tied for the 2nd longest streak of measurable precipitation for any period. Only March of 1987 claims more, with 12. Preliminary data also suggest that Canton, South Dakota, located on the Big Sioux River just south of Sioux Falls received an incredible 19.65 inches (499 mm) of rain this month (period of record 1896-2014). According to the South Dakota State Climate Office, this is possibly the most rain ever received in one month in the whole state of South Dakota since records began. More details on the historic rainfall will be forthcoming, but more June precipitation rankings from around the Region are on page 5.

As mentioned earlier, June was an active month and has been the most active severe weather month this year in the U.S. - more than doubling the number of storm reports from May. Severe weather was a major issue in the High Plains Region with 1,681 total storm reports including 156 tornado reports, 794 hail reports, and 731 wind reports. Severe weather was reported somewhere in the Region every single day this month with the most reports occurring on the 3rd and 14th. The town of Pilger, Nebraska took a direct hit by an EF-4 tornado on the 16th. According to the National Weather Service Office in Valley, Nebraska 5 tornadoes were confirmed in the Pilger area, 4 of which were rated as EF-4 tornadoes and one as EF-0. Another EF-4 tornado occurred near Alpena, South Dakota on the 18th. In addition to the structural damage from the severe weather, agriculture also took a hit. Damage to crops, irrigation equipment, and grain storage occurred and livestock losses were reported as well. In regards to crops, some producers have been able to replant, however others were still making those decisions at the end of the month.

Climate Outlook

ENSO-neutral conditions held on this month; however it is likely that El Niño conditions will develop with increasing chances through the fall and winter. For the next three months, the temperature outlook indicates that a higher probability of below normal temperatures exists for the Dakotas and much of Wyoming, Nebraska, and northern Colorado. Only the southern half of Kansas has an increased probability of above normal temperatures. Meanwhile, the precipitation outlook shows a higher probability of above normal precipitation for a large area of the Region including Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, most of South Dakota, western Nebraska, and far western Kansas. All other areas in the Region have equal chances of above, near, or below normal temperatures and precipitation. The seasonal outlooks combine the effects of long-term trends, soil moisture, and when applicable, the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle (ENSO).More information about these forecasts can be found here.

Drought Watch

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, major improvements in drought conditions occurred in the High Plains Region this month as heavy precipitation helped eliminate or ease drought conditions. Approximately 23 percent of the Region was in moderate (D1) to exceptional (D4) drought at the end of June, down from 33 percent at the end of May. The extreme precipitation in South Dakota allowed for the elimination of all drought conditions there. Only a bit of abnormal dryness (D0) remained. In Nebraska, drought conditions were eliminated in the east and reduced in the central and southern parts of the state. Meanwhile in Kansas, all D4 was eliminated and a 25 percent reduction occurred in the extreme drought (D3) coverage. Parts of eastern Colorado also received ample precipitation and drought conditions were eased there as well. Other drought areas of Colorado persisted. According to the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook released June 19th, current drought conditions are expected to improve or be removed in Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado.

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