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Drought update: Bad news for Minnesota as another heat wave looms

Will next week get as hot as the American model suggests it could? It's possible, though unlikely.
Will next week get as hot as the American model suggests it could? It's possible, though unlikely. 

Will next week get as hot as the American model suggests it could? It's possible, though unlikely. 

A storm system that churned through the region Wednesday resulted in boom and bust rain totals across the southern half of Minnesota, including an area of the northwest Twin Cities metro area picking up 3-4 inches compared to just 0.15 inches at MSP Airport. 

Through July 13, a significant portion of Minnesota is in severe drought, while an area of western Stearns County and a swath of northern Minnesota is in extreme drought. 

52% of Minnesota is in severe drought, while 4% is experiencing extreme drought conditions. 

52% of Minnesota is in severe drought, while 4% is experiencing extreme drought conditions. 

Where heavy rain did fall Wednesday, drought conditions likely improved slightly. But for most of Minnesota, drought is worsening in advance of another heat wave that is forecast to deliver a string of days with 90-degree temps and little to no precipitation.

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The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) says the forecast is "worrisome" as the "drought-stricken Northern Plains (+MN) looks extremely hot and dry."  

"Little to no chance of rain in the next week with near normal temperatures today warming to above normal from this weekend through the end of the month," says the Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service. 

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"Afternoon highs will be in the low 90s each day next week, but humidity will be just dry enough to keep heat indices below advisory levels, and just high enough to keep fire weather concerns at bay," NWS Twin Cities said Thursday. 

The weather service said in its forecast discussion that while record heat could impact parts of northern Minnesota next week, temps in central Minnesota and further south, including the Twin Cities, could be "just another long duration period of hot temperatures and dry weather."

Temps reaching triple digits isn't considered the most likely scenario next week, but there is "at least some potential to see those elusive triple digits," according to NWS Grand Forks. 

As Sven Sundgaard has noted numerous times in his daily updates for BMTN, the American model continues to suggest triple-digit heat possible across much of the state next week, including in the Twin Cities. In fact, that model is projecting a high in the Twin Cities of 104 next Thursday. 

However, the American model appears to be the outlier. The European model has high temps right around 90 for the Twin Cities much of next week, as does the Canadian model. Regardless, it's going to be hot and dry. 

Even more concerning is the Climate Prediction Center long-term outlook that suggests drought conditions will persist in Minnesota and much of the western U.S. through the end of October. 

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Walz asks for federal relief to help drought-stricken farmers

Gov. Tim Walz has requested assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help farmers in Minnesota who are currently operating under severe or extreme drought conditions.  

“Agriculture is the past, present, and future of Minnesota’s economy. We must do everything we can to address the challenges our farmers and ranchers are facing due to the severe drought conditions plaguing our state. That’s why I’m asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture for assistance,” said Walz in the letter. 

“The USDA’s ongoing support of Minnesota’s agricultural industry is well-recognized across the state, and with their continued assistance, our livestock producers will have a brighter outlook as we endure these harsh conditions and look forward to a thriving future.”

Walz aims to deliver quality feed to livestock producers, who without federal assistance may be forced to sell animals or purchase hay to be delivered due to their grazing land suffering from drought. 

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