Minnesota desperately needs rain. The outlook is spotty next week

Also: More 90-degree days ahead.

Severe weather risk areas Friday
Severe weather risk areas Friday

The steamy summer of ‘21 is turning in some impressive weather numbers:

  • Sixteen days of 90-degree heat at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport so far

  • Eleven days is the annual average for 90-degree days

  • Seven days of measurable rainfall at MSP Airport between June 1 and July 21

  • Eight days of measurable rainfall is the record for least days (1988)

Ninety-eight percent of Minnesota is now in drought according to this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor update — 72 percent in severe drought and 18.5 percent now in extreme drought.

Drought report released Thursday morning
U.S. Drought Monitor/USDA/NOAA/University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Our thirsty lawns, fields, ponds, rivers and lakes desperately need rainfall. Preferably, widespread, sustained, heavy rainfall. That’s hard to come by in late summer in Minnesota.

Here’s a look at our chances for rainfall and temperature outlooks into next week:

Rain chances

A weak low-pressure system crosses northern Minnesota Friday. This typically weak summer feature will cut through a warm sticky summer air mass. It appears there will be enough instability to trigger a broken line of thunderstorms Friday afternoon and evening.

NOAA’s NAM 3 km resolution model develops scattered storms early Friday afternoon in northern Minnesota. Those clusters should attempt to form a line as it moves eastward. The strongest storms favor northern Minnesota. The Twin Cities may ride the more spotty southern end of the developing line, with the best storm and rainfall chances late Friday evening.

NOAA NAM 3 km model Friday
NOAA NAM 3 km model from 1 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday.
NOAA via tropical tidbits

There is a slight severe risk across northern Minnesota Friday. The Twin Cities rides the edge of a lesser marginal risk zone favoring Friday evening.

Unfortunately, rainfall totals look spotty. Most areas favor less than 0.25 inch, but some lucky areas may pick up between 0.5 and 1 inch Friday.

Rain next week?

Forecast models suggest additional rainfall chances next week. Right now, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday appear to be the best chances for catching some rainfall.

Overall rainfall totals next week look patchy again. Some spots may pick up an inch or more, and some spots may get skunked. It’s like a rainfall lottery this summer. Here’s the statewide European rainfall output through next Friday.

European model (ECMWF) rainfall forecast through Friday, July 30
European model (ECMWF) rainfall forecast through July 30
ECMWF via pivotal weather

More 90s ahead

Forecast models still vary on the magnitude of heat next week. But they agree on this: Much of Minnesota will see multiple 90-degree days next week.

Again, the core of this heat wave centers over the Dakotas next week. But highs in the mid- to upper 90s appear ready to push further east into Minnesota.

Forecast high temperatures Tuesday
Forecast high temperatures Tuesday

I’ll keep scanning the maps for rain chances and cooler weather. In the meantime, I hear Lake Superior is nice this time of year.

Stay cool, and stay tuned.

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