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Late summer hot front ahead for Minnesota State Fair?

Models suggest near 90 degrees during the State Fair

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Minnesota State Fair
Crowds pack the streets and the sky ride on the first day of the Minnesota State Fair in Falcon Heights on Aug. 23, 2018.
Evan Frost | MPR News 2018

It’s almost like weather clockwork. 

Minnesotans can usually count on a late-summer surge of warmth during the 12-day Minnesota State Fair run. And some of the early forecast models appear to be ready to drizzle some weather hot sauce on your favorite Fair fare.

Warm, dry bias?

It’s still early and medium-range forecast models can swing wildly as we approach September. But early indications suggest the jet stream may meander north of Minnesota well into late August. That would hold late summer warmth in place for most of the 12-day Fair run.

Upper air map for 7 pm CDT Thursday August 22
Upper air map for 7 pm CDT Thursday August 22

Monday’s 16-day Global Forecast System model run suggests several days in the upper 80s to near 90 degrees during the State Fair. 

16-day NOAA GFS model temperature output for Minneapolis
Sixteen-day National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Global Forecast System model temperature output for Minneapolis
NOAA via Meteostar

The other notable trend is dryness. NOAA’s GFS run prints out just just .07 inch of rainfall during the State Fair run. I’m not buying into that low rainfall total yet. Precipitation trends show far less skill than temperatures trends in the one to two week range. And one good localized thunderstorm can drop an inch or more in a hurry.

First 90 in six years?

It will be no surprise if we see at least one 90-degree day during the State Fair. We recorded six days at or above 90 degrees in 2013. However it’s interesting to note there hasn’t been a 90 degree high temperature during the State Fair since 2013! 

Here’s more on State Fair weather from the Minnesota DNR Climate Working Group

There can be some spells of hot weather during the Minnesota State Fair. The hottest day in the history of the Minnesota State Fair was on September 10, 1931 with 104 degrees. The hottest average high temperature for the duration of any State Fair back to 1885 is also 1931 with 92.6 degrees. Note that the Minnesota State Fair in 1931 ran eight days from September 5-12. The 2013 Fair was the third warmest on record with 88.2 degrees and also had the most 90-degree high temperatures on record with six days. 2012 had the sixth warmest average maximum temperature with 87.1 degrees. The coolest Minnesota State Fair was during the six-day run of the Fair from September 5-10 1898 with an average maximum temperature of 64.2 degrees. The coldest maximum temperature for the Fair is 52 degrees on September 7, 1911, and the coldest minimum temperature is 33 degrees on September 13, 1890. The coolest Fair morning in recent years was a chilly 36 degrees on September 1, 1974. The last four State Fairs have seen an absence of hot weather. There wasn’t a 90 degree high temperature during the State Fair from 2014-2017. The last 90+ degree temperature was August 29, 2013. The 2018 Minnesota State Fair runs August 23-September 3.