Sunday is expected to close out the second-driest September on record in the Twin Cities.

The 0.3 inch of rain was the stingiest for any September since 1882, although it was only 0.06 less than last September's. September 2011 now drops from second to third on the all-time driest list.

Normal September rain in the Twin Cities is 3.08 inches.

September was expected to finish as the driest of any month on record at Morris (0.03) and Collegeville (0.08), according to Mark Seeley, University of Minnesota Extension Service climatologist.

Drought described as extreme expanded across northwest and southwest Minnesota in the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor posted Tuesday.

But while most of the state has been dry since midsummer, the drought picture is nuanced.

Since April 1, most of the metro region has received normal or slightly above normal precipitation. A band from the Brainerd area east to Duluth received 8 to 10 inches above normal during that period, though that was largely due to the devastating storms of June 19-20.

St. Cloud was even drier in the month, receiving 0.24 inches of rain. It was the second-driest September there, as well.

Minnesota was the driest of nine Midwestern states in the month, as areas south and east got rain early in the month from the former Tropical Storm Isaac.

The first week of October doesn't promise to be much different. Sunday will bring bright sunshine and a high in the mid-70s, and showers aren't considered possible until late Wednesday and Thursday, when temperatures will dip back into the 50s and 60s.

Bill McAuliffe • 612-673-7646