Minnesotans weren’t able to use one of their favorite phrases – “We could use some rain!” – in 2016.
The Twin Cities broke the record for annual rainfall – with 40.3 inches. The year also was consistently warm, with every month being warmer than the 30-year average. In fact, no year on record has been both as warm and as wet.
“That’s the face of climate change,” said DNR Climatologist Kenny Blumenfeld.
The upside was a record growing season (219 days, eight weeks longer than normal) in the Twin Cities, no extreme heat and record crops, some for the second year in a row.
The downside? More than 50 thunderstorm days in the Twin Cities (37 is average) and widespread, extreme rainfalls; numerous damaging (some fatal) thunderstorms across central and northern Minnesota and a warm (2015-16, winter) which hurt the recreation industry.
But by some measures, we got lucky. There were only a few strong tornadoes and comparatively little flash-flood-related damage.
That means we can use one of our other favorite phrases when talking about 2016: “It could have been worse.”
Sources: National Weather Service, State Climatology Office-DNR Division of Ecological and Water Resources