May likely to be a few drops short of Twin Cities record

  • Article by: BILL MCAULIFFE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 28, 2012 - 9:00 PM

With just a few days to go and not much rain in sight, this month will be about an inch short of 1906.

It hasn't rained this much in the Twin Cities in May since the U.S. flag had 45 stars, and the Model T was a figment of the future.

But that record is still safe, even after Sunday night's downpours.

Just over half an inch fell overnight in the rain gauge at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, bringing the Twin Cities total to 9.15 inches for the month. Only May of 1906 saw more -- 10.33. The 1.18 inches of rain needed to tie the record doesn't appear in the forecast for the month's final three days.

The Duluth area was hammered by another severe storm Monday afternoon, with large hail shredding trees and causing some street flooding in Duluth as well as in areas south toward Hinckley. To the east, at Bayfield, Wis., the final hours of the three-day holiday weekend were marked by reports of hail that left the ground white.

At the Gull Lake reservoir near Brainerd, nearly 3 inches of rain fell Sunday -- and 7.71 since May 19 -- prompting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to fully open its dam and to warn property owners and area boaters of possibly dangerous rising water and fast currents.

The corps also closed the three Twin Cities locks and dams to recreational boats Sunday because of increasingly high water flows in the Mississippi River. The corps closes the locks when the river flow reaches 30,000 cubic feet per second; the agency indicated it could remain that strong for a week or more.

Other metro rainfall totals from the Saturday-Sunday storms were 1.45 inches in Columbia Heights, 1.53 inches along the southern shore of Lake Minnetonka, and 1.31 inches at Watertown. St. Paul Downtown Airport received .57 inch. But the total at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is the one that counts toward records.

St. Cloud, which had 1.33 inches overnight Sunday into Monday, received another .13 in a quick burst Monday afternoon. It has measured 8.64 for the month, also more than an inch short of its May record of 9.68.

While not records, those rainfall amounts are prodigious -- nearly three times what is normal for May, and Duluth's total was more than twice its normal amount after an inch fell Monday. Rochester's monthly total through Saturday was an inch above the monthly normal, but International Falls and Fargo were about normal.

Sunday-Monday rain fell heavily elsewhere in Minnesota. Montevideo saw the greatest drenching Sunday into Monday, 2.28 inches. Rush City reported 2.1 inches, and locations across the Iron Range got about 1 1/2 inches.

Bill McAuliffe • 612-673-7646

  • 9.15"

    rainfall so far this month, the second highest on record

    10.33"

    record for most rainfall, in May 1906

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