Drought creates September to remember

It sprinkled parts of Minnesota Monday, but this month could be among the driest Septembers ever. Meanwhile, frost will likely put an end to the growing season in northern parts of the state.
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This month could prove to be the driest September ever in the Twin Cities, Star Tribune reports. The national Climate Prediction Center says there is a strong trend toward lower-than-normal precipitation across much of Minnesota for the rest of the month.

It's also getting chillier – sooner. There's a freeze warning for north and central Minnesota, MPR's Updraft blog says.

That'll likely put an end to the growing season in the northern part of the state, the Pioneer Press reports. University of Minnesota climate data says the median date for the first 28-degree, sub-freezing frost in Duluth is Oct. 10, the newspaper says. In the Twin Cities, it is Oct. 20.

Overnight Monday into Tuesday, temperatures will dip into the 20s in the north and 30s around much of the state (39 in the Twin Cities), WCCO says:

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Dry September parches parts of the state

Last month is among the driest Septembers on record in the Fargo-Moorhead area. The National Weather Service reports the area saw just about a quarter of an inch of rain over the 30 days. Preliminary measurements show that would be the fourth driest. September 1974 had just a little over a tenth of an inch of precipitation for the least amount recorded.

Rain coming, but drought not leaving

Temperatures will drop throughout the day Thursday, and Friday will be sunny and cooler – the Twin Cities will wake up to about 28 degrees. Then rain is likely throughout Saturday, local forecasters say. The parched metro could get the most significant rainfall it has had in two to three months, but that's not saying much – less than an inch is likely.

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There was a big jump in construction activity in the Twin Cities in September, the Business Journal reports, citing figures published by McGraw-Hill Construction. Nonresidential construction in the metro in September totaled $200 million, compared to just $90 million during the same month in 2011. Residential construction totaled $313 million, well above the $123 million in September 2011.

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Climatologists say the state's gone six weeks without a substantial rain at a time when precipitation is key for crops, lawns and trees before the first hard freeze.

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The driest parts of Minnesota were soaked with three or four inches of rain last week. The wet spring has helped make up for the driest autumn on record and a winter of meager snowfall. State officials now say soil moisture is adequate over 89 percent of Minnesota.