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June 2014: Wettest month in Minnesota history

Climate Observations: Record-setting rains brought flash flooding 10 years ago.

Mark Seeley

May 17, 2024

2 Min Read
storm clouds over open field
STORM BREWING? Will this June bring rain events that rival those of 10 years ago to replenish soil moisture deficits? Farm Progress

June 2014 is well remembered for being wet. It is the only time in state history that the statewide average monthly rainfall exceeded 8 inches (8.07 inches was the average from more than 530 climate stations). The previous wettest months in state history were July 1897 and June 1914, when the statewide average rainfall was 7.32 inches.

For many agricultural areas of the state, there were few to no field working days, as more than half of the days in June 2014 brought measurable rainfall across much of Minnesota. Strong thunderstorm systems brought heavy rains to parts of the state over June 1-2, June 11-12, June 15-19 and June 26-27. All of these storms brought flash floods, with amounts of rainfall ranging from 3 to 4 inches in many areas. Within the statewide climate observation network, more than 160 new daily rainfall records were set during the month.

Across the state, the extremes of monthly rainfall ranged from 17.30 inches at Belle Plaine (Scott County) and 16.51 inches at Edgerton (Pipestone County) to 3.73 inches at 10.7 miles north of Roseau and just 4.14 inches west of Warroad. More than 50 climate stations reported over a foot of rainfall for the month, and more than 40 long-term climate stations set a record for their wettest month in history, most with double-digit amounts.

In the context of the May-September growing season for 2014, the statewide average rainfall was slightly more than 20 inches, so June alone contributed over 40% of the seasonal rainfall that year.

Big rains, little hail

The largest single-day rains in June 2014 were 5.10 inches at Big Falls (Koochiching County) on June 2 and 5.10 inches at Redwood Falls (Redwood County) on June 19. Thankfully, hail was not widely observed, but many corn and soybean fields were flooded or ponded for days at a time.

Among other eye-catching statistics from that month was the fact that observers at both Springfield (Brown County) and Redwood Falls (Redwood County) reported two days that delivered 3 or more inches of rainfall, a rare occurrence in history. The 3-inch rainstorms at Springfield were only three days apart, keeping farm fields drenched for well over a week.

Given the warm start to the growing season in 2024, as well as the carryover drought impacts from the past three years (low soil moisture, low lake levels, low volume of stream and river flows), a wetter-than-normal June would likely be welcome this year. Even half of what fell in 2014 would help mitigate any leftover drought effects.

More on Minnesota’s weather history is available in my book, Minnesota Weather Almanac: Second Edition, available at most bookstores or through the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

About the Author(s)

Mark Seeley

Mark Seeley is an Extension professor emeritus of meteorology and climatology at the University of Minnesota.

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