6th driest October on record? Twin Cities drought expected to worsen

Light rain Monday, little or no rainfall likely the rest of October

A dry waterfall seen above a stagnant creek bed
The bed of Minnehaha Creek is seen below a dry Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis on Sept. 27. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report on Thursday is expected to show drought in the Twin Cities region continuing to expand and deepen.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

Here we go again.

September was the driest on record for the Twin Cities with just 24 one-hundredths (.24) of an inch of rainfall. Now, October looks very likely to be among the top 10 driest on record in the Twin Cities and much of Minnesota.

As of this post, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has picked up just 3 one-hundredths (.03) of rainfall with our light showers Monday. That makes just 19 one-hundredths (.19) for the month of October to date.

The forecast maps look mainly dry for the rest of this week into Halloween. It looks very likely that we’ll finish October with somewhere around two-tenths (.2) of an inch of rainfall in the Twin Cities. That would be the sixth driest October on record dating back to 1871.

Create a More Connected Minnesota

MPR News is your trusted resource for the news you need. With your support, MPR News brings accessible, courageous journalism and authentic conversation to everyone - free of paywalls and barriers. Your gift makes a difference.

10 driest Octobers
October weather records for the Twin Cities.
Minnesota DNR Climate Working Group

Monday afternoon’s European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts model run lays out very little precipitation for Minnesota over the next 10 days.

European model (ECMWF) precipitation output
Precipitation output through Nov. 2
European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, via Pivotal Weather

10-inch precipitation deficit

Less than one-half inch of rain has fallen in most of western and southern Minnesota in the past 30 days.

30-day precipitation
30-day observed precipitation
Midwest Regional Climate Center

We’re down nearly 10 inches below average precipitation in the Twin Cities and much of southern Minnesota this year. The 30-year average is more than 28 inches for the Twin Cities year to date. We’ve recorded just over 18 inches so far in 2022.

This week’s U.S. Drought Monitor update on Thursday will show expanding and deepening drought once again. I won’t be shocked to see parts of the Twin Cities go from extreme (D3) to the exceptional (D4) drought category in the coming weeks.

A map of Minnesota showing areas that are in drought
The U.S. Drought Monitor's Oct. 20 update for Minnesota, showing areas considered to be abnormally dry or in drought.
U.S. Drought Monitor

Stay tuned.