WunderBlog Archive » Weather Extremes

Category 6 has moved! See the latest from Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson here.

Record Wet June for Portions of the Upper Midwest

By: Christopher C. Burt, 7:39 PM GMT on July 01, 2014

Record Wet June for Portions of the Upper Midwest

The wettest June on record has finally come to an end for portions of Minnesota, South Dakota, and Iowa. In a few cases it was not only the wettest June on record but also the wettest single month (any month) as well. Here are a few details.

The focal point of the most anomalous rainfall during June was centered on northwestern Iowa and southeastern South Dakota.

Total precipitation in inches for the region around Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Sioux City, Iowa both of whom established all-time monthly precipitation records. Note the small area east of Sioux City that appears to have had over 20” of rain during the month. The all-time Iowa state record for monthly rainfall (any month) is 22.18” at Red Oak in June 1967. It remains to be seen if this record may have been beaten at some location this past June. Map from NWS-Sioux Falls.

South Dakota

Only the extreme southeastern portion of South Dakota saw exception rainfall this past month. This included Sioux Falls that has established an all-time monthly record (any month) with 13.70”. This crushed (by 45%) the previous wettest month on record of 9.42” in May 1898 (POR began in 1893). The 4.56” of rain that fell in 24 hours on June 14-15 was just short of its all-time 24-hour record for such of 4.59” set on August 1, 1975.

Just south of Sioux Falls, near the Iowa border, an official COOP site near Canton (actually four miles west-northwest of Canton) received 19.65” of rain during the month. This is officially a new state monthly precipitation record according to a press release by the South Dakota State Climatologist's office, surpassing the 18.61” measured in Deadwood (in the Black Hills) during May 1946.


The entire state of Iowa saw much above normal precipitation during June, although only the northwestern section saw record-breaking amounts. Sioux City totaled an incredible 16.65”, almost doubling its previous June record and smashing its previous all-time monthly (any month) record of 11.78” set in May 1903. Seven days of the month saw 1”+ including 5.05” on June 14th which was just short the city’s all-time 24-hour rainfall record of 5.50” set on July 17, 1972. Normal June precipitation is 3.89” for the site.

June record precipitation rankings for both Sioux City and Sioux Falls. It is remarkable to see such a wide margin between first and second place for these sites given their long periods of record (since 1871 in Sioux City and 1893 in Sioux Falls). Table from NWS-Sioux Falls.

Eastern Iowa has also been drenched. Parnell, about 20 miles southwest of Iowa City, picked up 6.20” of rain during a thunderstorm yesterday (June 30th) bringing their monthly total to 14.45”.


Some of the worst flooding in June occurred in Minnesota. Minneapolis received a June record amount of rainfall at its official site at the International Airport with a 11.36” accumulation (previous record 9.82” in June 1990). This has made the period of January 1-June 30 its wettest on record with 25.83” so far (the average annual precipitation for Minneapolis is just 29.96”!).

Accumulated precipitation for Minneapolis so far this year. Note how its running almost 100% above normal at this time. Graphic from NWS-Minneapolis.

Wisconsin has also been extremely wet with Eau Claire getting 9.84” of rain during June, short of their all-time June record of 10.42” set in 1990 and ditto for La Crosse with 10.26” but just short of their record 10.79” set during the June of 1993. Eastern Nebraska has also been soggy with Omaha catching 10.52” (short of the June record 12.70” in 1883) and Norfolk getting 11.39” (short of their June record 12.28” in 1924).

Meanwhile, in California one of the driest water years (July 1-June 30) has come to a close. In fact, for Los Angeles, the back-to-back combined water years of 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 have been THE driest such on record. I’ll blog about this on Thursday.

Christopher C. Burt
Weather Historian

Extreme Weather Precipitation Records

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Well, all that water has to go somewhere. Davenport, Iowa is preparing for a massive flood, installing flood walls and sandbagging at a frantic pace.

Perhaps a comment for the climate blog but your information on Iowa got me thinking. The is a documented uptick in temperature over the last 30 - 40 years. For the lower 48 states, in the aggregate has there been a discernible trend in precipitation one way or another in the same period. California is in extreme drought. The upper Midwest the opposite. If, as a nation we are getting progressively drier, that's one thing. If, on balance we are not, then the concept of a network of pipelines to send the excess to the needy is perhaps at least worth a concept stage look.

On a small scale, Key West already gets much of its water via pipeline. On a larger scale, source points could be major rivers and their primary or secondary tributaries receiving runoff. Destination points could be pre-existing reservoirs. Pumping costs would be borne by the receiving state as would be the treatment expense. O&M costs would have to be worked out, though we seem to have developed a means to do that for the interstate highway system.

Perhaps this is more a climate blog question, but I'll post it here since the stats on Iowa and California you've provided got me thinking here first,

The blog post states that both the new state record for SD and the previous state record for SD are 18.61".
Thanks for catching that error! The Canton amount this past June was 18.75" not 18.61" as I had earlier in the blog.

Quoting 3. DCSwithunderscores:

The blog post states that both the new state record for SD and the previous state record for SD are 18.61".
Looking at the flooding in Minnesota reminds me of the spring floods of 1997. I remember a Minnesota resident on the national news exclaiming "how many hundred-year floods can you have in a decade??"
Prairie flooding prompts evacuations in western Manitoba
Total of 87 municipalities in Manitoba, Saskatchewan declare state of emergency

Fairbanks sees 1/4 of average annual rainfall in 24 hours

“For the third time in two weeks, a rainstorm laden with moisture from the eastern Gulf of Alaska drenched the Fairbanks area Tuesday and early Wednesday, dumping more than 3 inches of rain. Over the last two weeks, Fairbanks has received about half of its average annual rainfall, one of the wettest stretches since Felix Pedro discovered gold in 1902. During a 24-hour period Tuesday and Wednesday, about one-quarter of the average annual rainfall fell.”

N.W.T. experiencing one of its worst forest fire seasons

A major hydroelectric plant has been closed down and a small community evacuated in what officials are calling one of the worst fire seasons the Northwest Territories has ever seen.

So far officials have logged 123 fires this season, at least 92 of which are still burning. Most are caused by lightning striking hot, dry forest that hasn’t seen significant rain since the spring snow melt.

“We’re going through a period of extreme burning conditions across most of the southern N.W.T.,” says Bill Mawdsley, director of forest management with the Department of Environment in Fort Smith. “We’re observing extreme drought. Everything right from the mineral soil right to the top of the trees is burning.”

Precipitation in Reykjavík measured 115.8 millimeters in June, the highest since records began in 1920 and more than three times the June average, according to the Icelandic Met Office.

Quoting 9. ColoradoBob1:

Precipitation in Reykjavk measured 115.8 millimeters in June, the highest since records began in 1920 and more than three times the June average, according to the Icelandic Met Office.


Thanks for the post and your other posts. The article that is linked to has a link to a statement from the Icelandic Met Office, which informs us that even though this is a record rainfall since continuous precipitation measurements began in 1920, precipitation was also measured from 1885 to 1907, and it was higher in June of 1887, at 127 mm.
weatherhistorian has created a new entry.