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MN CropCast: Kenny Blumenfeld on the 2024 spring - Is this normal Minnesota weather?

This week’s University of Minnesota Extension Minnesota CropCast has as its guest Dr. Kenneth Blumenfeld, Senior Climatologist, Minnesota State Climate Office. Kenny provides an update about this season’s unusually excessive precipitation and its effect on the state’s field crops. In addition, Kenny discusses in detail that this winter and spring’s weather represents some unusual extremes not only in precipitation but also in atmospheric temperatures. Kenny also reviews how the warm but very dry conditions across Minnesota in January and February of 2024, led to a more active pattern and brought much wetter conditions to the state during the spring, along with continued warmth. Meteorological Spring, March through May, exceeded the 1991-2020 average (or "normal") precipitation across all of Minnesota, with about half the state exceeding normal precipitation by over 50%.

March began on a very dry note, with extreme warmth. Kenny points to several excellent examples of the extreme variability of recent weather events such as in the Twin Cities, where a run of 33 days with no measurable precipitation that began on February 16th and continued through March 20th . This became the 2nd longest streak without measurable precipitation on record and lead to the opportunity for early season spring field work in out-state, Minnesota. 

More recently, the proportion of Minnesota with above-normal precipitation grew to about 90% during April, with only the far north and a small part of the southeast coming in dry. However, by contrast, only 14 out of 30 days with measurable precipitation in the Twin Cities were warmer than normal for the date, meaning that wet days were slightly more likely to be cool. Season long, spring was warm, but it likely would have been even warmer without the switch to wet conditions, thus explaining the recent slower emergence of weeds and some field crops due to lower temperatures.

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What is Minnesota CropCast?

Hosts David Nicolai and Seth Naeve discuss the progress and challenges of Minnesota's agronomic crops in this new podcast. They are joined by a diversity of specialists representing all crops and agronomic disciplines to discuss their research and its impact on future Minnesota crops. Dave Nicolai is a crops Extension educator and Seth Naeve is the Extension soybean agronomist.

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You can subscribe and listen to Minnesota CropCast using one of many popular podcasting apps or directories. Learn more.

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