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NWS: Lakes area weathering moderate drought from late June into late-July

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A farmstead on Highway 18 is partially obscured by heavy rain and hail during the storm Wednesday, July 8, east of Brainerd. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

The storm that passed through the lakes area Wednesday, July 8, may represent only a short respite from a month that’s been consistently hot and dry.

In talks with the Dispatch, Josh Sandstrom, a meteorologist with the Duluth Office of the National Weather Service, said the area has clocked the 16th hottest two week stretch on record going back to 1898. That, he noted, coupled with precipitation at 2.65 inches since June 30, means the area is experiencing temperatures in the high 80s to low 90s while enjoying roughly half the typical rainfall this time of year. The area experienced record-tying temperatures in the early parts of June, when June 1 clocked in at 92 degrees, and monthly temperatures peaked at 96 degrees on June 8.

As such, Sandstrom said, while the Brainerd lakes area avoided heat advisories across much of the southern half of the state, the region is still suffering through a moderate drought, which looks to continue mostly uninterrupted, with a small chance for further thunderstorms, over the next couple weeks.

“We’re really hurting for rain, so hopefully we’ll get some now,” Sandstrom said while thunderstorms rolled through the Brainerd lakes area Wednesday. “We're not really looking at too much of a pattern change. We're going to be sticking with this kind of hot and mostly drier air, with intermittent chances for showers and thunderstorms.”

Sandstrom said temperatures may dip minimally Wednesday night into Thursday, but he noted the next best chance for thunderstorm activity is Friday going into Saturday. For the most part, he said, temperatures will likely remain in the high 80s for much of the coming month.

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Sandstrom observed that lately there’s been a high propensity for storms moving west to east out of the Dakotas that seem to gain steam, yet ultimately dissipate in central Minnesota — a phenomenon, he said, which can be chalked up to a number of factors.

Perhaps most prominently, he said, is the factor of blind chance, as the volatile conditions that create these storms aren’t present in this area of the country. The major stabilizing effect in the region is the cooling effect off Lake Superior, he noted, which may further quell these violent systems as they roll off the plains.

GABRIEL LAGARDE may be reached at gabe.lagarde@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5859. Follow at www.twitter.com/glbrddispatch .
Related Topics: DROUGHT
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