Yes, it is historically wet in Minnesota in 2019

This will likely be our wettest year on record by the numbers

Paul Douglas
October 22, 2019 - 9:32 am

(Getty Images / photovs)


Rain, rain go away.  As Paul Douglas said in his Star Tribune column, "welcome to the land of Lakes, Ponds & Puddles".  

If you're of the mind that it seems much wetter than normal, you're right on the money.  It is wet, it has been wet, and we're setting records all over the state. 

Here are a few numbers to illustrate how we've been drenched so far in 2019:

  • So far we've had 38.87 inches of precipitation (through 10/21 so this doesn't include what is falling Tuesday).  Our average is around 30 inches, going back to Minnesota becoming a state in 1858.  
  • 2019 already ranks 5th for Minnesota (as measured at the airport).  1st is 2016, which had 40.32 inches. 
  • In case you're scoring at home, we have over two months still to go in 2019.  It's the wettest we've ever been at this time of year.  
  • Rochester is about to cross 50 inches of precipitation (they were at 49.88 as of Monday afternoon).  The previous record for Rochester?  43.94 inches.  As far as climate records go, this is an complete obliteration.  These are extreme numbers in the world of weather and climate.  
  • There is currently a flood watch for the Mississippi near Aitkin, MN, and also in Crow Wing County near Fort Ripley.  River flooding you expect in March and April.  You don't expect it in October.  Very strange. 

The pattern does not look to be changing, so expect more rain (and eventually snow) as we go through November.  The National Weather Service is predicting higher than average winter preciptation throughout the Upper Midwest and Minnesota.  Great.  

(Map Courtesy of the National Weather Service)

Why does this matter?  Besides the intensity of preciptation causing more flash flooding, which is expected to happen more frequently, it's causing havoc for Minnesota's agricultural industries.  All this wet weather is making it extremely difficult to get into the fields and get crops out in addition to other issues.  

David Nicolai is an Educator in Crops for University of Minnesota Extension and he told WCCO, "Certainly the farmers in southern Minnesota and southwestern Minnesota that had some prevent planting and really didn't plan in some of their field at all are looking forward to 2020 and putting this year behind them."

RELATED: Minnesota Farmers Battling Mother Nature.

There is some data that points to these wetter years becoming more common as an effect of climate change.  The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says that we should expect as least a "slight increase in projected annual preciptation across the state".  On average, they say summers will be warmer and drier while winters will be snowier (or wetter).  

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