Cold summer ready to make records in Duluth, International Falls
The numbers don't lie, but it's not as if we needed graphs to show us.
It's been cold. It's been windy. It hasn't been the greatest summer. Especially if you live in the Icebox of the Nation.
International Falls is about to set a record for the coldest July since records have been kept. The National Weather Service in Duluth said the average monthly temperature so far is 58.7 degrees, 7.3 degrees below normal and on pace to beat the 59.4 degree coldest July set in 1992.
Every single day this month has been at or below average in the Falls, and there has yet to be an official 80-degree day in July, although there were several in June.
Since Memorial Day weekend, International Falls has seen seven morning low temperatures at or below freezing, and morning lows of 35 degrees on July 12 and 13 set new daily low marks.
International Falls' high of 53 on July 16 was the lowest high temperature for that date. Duluth is on pace to break into its 10 coldest Julys since 1871, but not the all-time record. The average temperature of 62.3 so far is 3.1 degrees colder than normal.
Why so cold?
Dan Miller, National Weather Service meteorologist in Duluth, said a persistent upper air pattern across all of North America has kept the Northland unusually cool this summer.
The jet stream, which Miller said shows little sign of changing for the next week or two, has been running directly from the Northwest Territories to the Northland and then on to the northeast U.S.
"The source region for our airmasses this summer has been the cool and relatively dry confines of northern Canada,'' Miller said.
The nation's hot weather remains locked to the southwest.
While a couple of big rains in the past two weeks have quenched a developing drought, Duluth remains nearly 3 inches below normal for rainfall since June 1 and 4 inches below normal for the year.
Vegetables doing OK
Janaki Fisher-Merritt at the Food Farm in Wrenshall said a few vegetables are behind normal. Most affected by the lack of heat are outdoor-grown tomatoes and summer squash, he said. But the cool temperatures may have helped preserve soil moisture during the very dry period in June and July. Moreover, after last year's cold-wet spring, this growing season may be closer to normal than last, he said.
Snap peas, he noted, are two weeks ahead of last year.
"And it's been nice working in the fields when it's in the 70s,'' he said. "But you can tell things are generally behind. You can tell it's been cooler. I wouldn't mind a few more 80 degree days to really get things kick-started out here.''
But not blueberries, not yet
Bears and berry pickers have been lamenting the slow pace of Northland wild blueberries. Especially up north.
"They're about two weeks behind usual up here because of the cold,'' said Tawnya Schoewe, chief of interpretation for Voyageurs National Park. "Normally we'd be picking blueberries already. But there aren't many yet and they are very small. ... We do still have big raspberries to pick and usually they would be done by now.''