Soggy region, standing water

It sure doesn’t look or feel like the Minot region has been experiencing anything close to average rainfall this year. Soggy fields, wet roads and standing water following a weekend deluge say otherwise. Statistics are somewhat deceiving too, primarily because so much of this year’s rainfall has fallen since the beginning of June.

Until the heavy rainfall received throughout much of the Minot region this past weekend the yearly rainfall totals were well below average. Not so anymore. According to the National Weather Service, weekend rains pushed total rainfall for the year at the Minot International Airport to 13.65 inches through Monday morning. That’s .66 inches more than average but still more than 5 inches less than what was received at that reporting point one year ago by the same date.

Rainfall totals from this past weekend were significant. The Minot International Airport recorded 2.01 inches of rain. The North Central Research and Extension Center south of the city recorded 2.29 inches. Rice Lake received 2 inches, Minot Air Force Base 1.73, Kenmare 2.35, Sherwood 2.30, Garrison 2.17, Mohall 2.08, Kramer 2.24 and Stanley 2.28 inches. Mott had the distinction of the highest reported rainfall with 5.65 inches.

The Associated Press reported that record rainfall fell Sunday at both the Grand Forks airport and the University of North Dakota with 1.15 and 1.83 inches, respectively. Both marks were more than 30 years old. UND was forced to cancel a soccer game due to a flooded field. Minot’s downtown festival and street dance succumbed to the Saturday weather as did Bismarck State College’s 75th anniversary celebration and the Medora Musical in Medora.

The Ward County Highway Department issued a road restriction Monday morning. Due to concerns over increasingly soggy roadways the county placed a 15,000-pound gross vehicle weight restriction on Ward County gravel roads south of U.S. Highway 2. The restriction is to remain in place until 7 a.m. Wednesday, if no more precipitation is received.

Heavy rains received this past weekend changed rainfall totals in the Minot area from below to above normal. Prior to the latest downpour it appeared that precipitation totals for 2014 would come in well below the yearly average at the Minot airport of 17.19 inches. Now, with over 2 inches recorded in 48 hours, the region is on track to reach or surpass the 96-year average. Furthermore, total rainfall since June 1 has reached 2.24 inches above normal.

Rainfall totals over the southern portion of Saskatchewan were generally less than what was recorded in North Dakota with reports ranging from a quarter to just under 1 inch of rain. A rain gauge at the Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge showed 1.85 inches from the weekend storm. Inflow to Lake Darling increased to nearly 600 cubic feet per second, an amount that is expected to diminish nearly as quickly as it increased. According to Tom Pabian, refuge manager, Lake Darling was releasing 440 cfs Monday afternoon and was “not anticipating the need for any increases at this time.”

Minot’s official August precipitation total at the Minot airport was 2.78 inches as of Monday morning. Minot’s normal for August is 2.04 inches. “If” normal precipitation is received in Minot for the remainder of the year it would amount to an additional 3.75 inches and a yearly total of 20.94, nearly 4 inches above average.