Flash drought? Weekend heat pushing 100 Sunday?

So much for average.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport recorded nearly 5 inches of rainfall in May. Parts of the eastern metro and Wisconsin were even wetter. As much as 6 to 9 inches of rain fell in May east of the Twin Cities urban core.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration precipitation map for May.

Lightswitch drought

Most of May’s rain fell in the first 20 days of the month. Since May 20, MSP airport has logged just .09 inch of rain.

Here’s a look at rainfall for the past 14 days. Notice most of southern Minnesota has recorded less than one-quarter inch of rain in the past 14 days. The average rainfall this time of year is about 1 inch per week.

NOAA precipitation analysis for the past 14 days.

Flash drought?

We’re not there just yet, but you may start hearing the term “flash drought” tossed around in the coming days. The combination of meteorological conditions I’m seeing are textbook for descending rapidly into drought in some locations in Minnesota.

  • Sunny, warm breezy days.
  • Very dry dew points in the 30s and 40s.
  • Little or no rainfall for two to three weeks.
  • Weekly evaporation rates over 1 inch from soils.
  • High June sun angle and intensity to bake soils.

The combination of these weather conditions is rapidly drying soils that were waterlogged just two weeks ago. With spotty rains expected this week, many areas may go without significant rainfall for another week. We could be looking at pre-drought in some areas of southern Minnesota by early next week.

I’m hoping one of those spotty thundershowers find your back yard (and the Weather Lab) this week.

Spotty thundershowers

Our relative weather bliss continues this week, with a few spotty shower chances. The best chance for a few (welcome) showers are Wednesday evening, Thursday, and overnight Friday night into early Saturday morning.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale Forecast System 12 km resolution model picks up on the notion of a band of spotty thundershowers moving across Minnesota Wednesday evening, and another thunderstorm cluster riding the warm front Friday night. There are basically two chances for rain this week.

Few, and far between.

NOAA, via tropical tidbits

Weekend hot front

The upper-air pattern over North America evolves into a building heat dome by this weekend.


The latest model runs crank up the heat Saturday and Sunday. NOAA’s suite of models cranks out highs in the low- to mid-90s for the Twin Cities. Expect to add to the three 90-degree days we’ve recorded so far in the Twin Cities.

NOAA, via Weather Bell

A shot at 100?

Canada’s GEM model is much more aggressive, with highs between 95 and 100 degrees across southern Minnesota Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Canadian GEM model 2-meter temperatures Sunday, via tropical tidbits

It’s not the heat…

The difference between this weekend’s heat wave and last weekend? It feels like Guam. Dew points will soar into the 70s this weekend. Welcome to our first free (wet) sauna of the year.

NOAA GFS 2-meter dew points Sunday, via tropical tidbits

Stay tuned as we tweak the magnitude and duration of the coming weekend heat wave.

  • Scott Nagel

    What should be talked about is this heat for early June. If predictions hold through June 15, we are averaging 14 degrees higher than the average high!!

  • Presley Martin

    Do the now rapidly drying soils (and small corn plants) limit the ability of dew points to reach into the 70’s?