Minnesota drought conditions widen with dry May, June

More 90-degree days likely next week; above-average temps into mid-June

May temperature ranking
May temperature ranking.
European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, via Brian Brettschneider

It was a long winter.

But the weather pattern in the Upper Midwest shifted dramatically warmer last month and persistent warmth and dryness seem likely for the next few weeks. That will likely push big parts of Minnesota rapidly into drought for the third straight year.

Warm May

May was remarkably warm across western Canada and parts of Minnesota. It was the warmest May on record across most of western Canada and among the warmest on record for Minnesota (check the map above).

As you can see on the map below, the warmest areas compared to the average are in northwest Minnesota over the past 30 days. Temperatures are running eight to more than 10 degrees warmer than average in northwestern Minnesota over the past 30 days.

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Temperature departure from average this month
Temperature departure from average in the past 30 days.
Midwest Regional Climate Center

May temperatures in the Twin Cities were 4.7 degrees warmer than average. So far in June, temperatures are running an astounding 14 degrees warmer than average in the Twin Cities.

Canada, recorded the warmest and seventh driest May since 1940.

The persistent warmth and dryness are why wildfires are so intense across parts of Canada. And that’s why we’re seeing multiple smoke episodes in the skies above Minnesota this year.

Persistent pattern

Looking ahead, it appears our warm dry pattern will persist across most of Minnesota. Forecast models and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration temperature outlooks suggest more 90-degree heat next week, and above-average temperatures in the eight to 14-day range.

NOAA 8 to 14-day temperature outlook
8 to 14-day temperature outlook.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

We’ll see a few localized pop-up thundershowers, but coverage looks limited. The outlook favors below-average rainfall next week.

NOAA 6 to 10-day precipitation outlook
6 to 10-day precipitation outlook

So for now it appears our rapid descent into drought will continue across much of Minnesota for the third straight summer.

Stay tuned.