By Mark Seeley

Although May has been predominately warm and windy, Mother Nature has delivered frost, snow and severe weather to portions of Minnesota.

Frosts were reported across the northern counties on May 16 from International Falls to Two Harbors.

Frosts were more widespread on May 17 across the north and even down into the southeast, from Waseca to Preston. Little crop damage was reported.

On May 20, east to northeast winds ushered in much cooler air and brought both frosts and snow.


Many northern locations reported lows in the upper 20s to low 30s. Grand Marais reported the lowest temperature in the 48 contiguous states with 28 degrees.

Snow fell in some areas, including a trace at International Falls, 0.5 inches at Two Harbors, and 0.1 inches in Duluth.

It was the latest measurable snowfall in May at Duluth since May 19, 1971, when 0.6 inches fell, and the latest for Two Harbors since 1953.

On May 23, thunderstorms brought numerous reports of hail, some up to tennis ball size diameter, and strong damaging winds to various areas.

More than 14,000 customers around the Twin Cities were left without power for a time.

Two tornadoes were reported late in the day across Goodhue County, one near Dennison (confirmed at an EF-0), and one near Wanamingo (yet unconfirmed). These were the first of the year in Minnesota.

It appears that the second half of the month will bring more frequent rainfall helping to nourish recently planted crops and bringing some alleviation to drought-stricken northern counties.

For those wondering if May has been more windy than normal, the long-term mean wind speed for May in the Twin Cities area is about 11.5 mph.


So far this month, 16 days have registered maximum wind speeds in excess of 20 mph and three days have brought peak wind gusts of 40 mph. Most of the strongest winds have come from the south.

Seeley is a professor in the University of Minnesota Department of Soil, Water and Climate and the Extension climatologist/meteorologist.

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