Warm season heavy rainfall in Minnesota can lead to flooding with serious impacts on life and infrastructure. Situated in a transition zone between humid eastern and semiarid western conditions in the United States, Minnesota experiences large spatial variability in precipitation. Previous research has often lacked spatiotemporal detail important for heavy rainfall analysis for Minnesota. This research used Stage-IV hourly precipitation data with 4-km grid spacing during May–September 2004–20 to analyze Minnesota spatial, seasonal, and event-based characteristics. Rain event frequency, accumulation, hours, and intensities were compared for all rain events (>2.5 mm) and heavy rain events (>36 mm). For all rain events, results showed the highest regional median monthly rain event frequency (>6 events) in June and the lowest (<5 events) in September. Median monthly accumulations were largest (∼75 mm) in June, followed by July and August. Monthly total rain event hours at a point peaked around 20 h in May in southeastern Minnesota. Smaller event accumulations occurred more frequently than larger accumulations, and event mean intensities were higher in summertime (June–August) than in May and September for rain events and heavy rain events. Heavy rain event region-based analyses showed monthly peaks for frequency in July–August, accumulation in July, and event hours in June–July and September. Median heavy rain event durations were shorter during June–August than in May and September. Monthly heavy rain event accumulation as a percent of all rain event accumulation was greatest in September (24%). These results establish a foundation for future research into precipitation patterns and trends.
Climate analysis has indicated that Minnesota is in a region where increases in heavy rainfall are anticipated for the future. Heavy rainfall in Minnesota has led to flooding with severe adverse impacts. This study addresses a gap in information about heavy precipitation in Minnesota and provides heavy rainfall analyses useful for climate-related planning. Stage-IV hourly precipitation data for the warm season (May–September) during 2004–20 enabled the identification of rain events and heavy rain events, as well as their characteristic frequency, rainfall accumulation, duration, and intensity. The results help establish a baseline for past and future analyses of precipitation patterns and trends. They also build a foundation for future research investigating the weather patterns that lead to heavy rainfall.
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