A blast of heat and humidity hit the Twin Cities and much of Minnesota on Monday, just before a cool front and the remnants of Tropical Storm Cristobal were expected to converge and possibly wring out several inches of rain and rounds of severe weather overnight.
With the aid of gusty southerly winds, the mercury hit 95 degrees at 3 p.m. at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, making it the warmest reading of the year.
Other readings in the metro area were similar, including 95 degrees in Lakeville and Eden Prairie and 94 degrees in Crystal, the National Weather Service said.
Temperatures in the 90s were common across the southern two-thirds of the state. Granite Falls was the state’s hot spot at 96 degrees, only a few degrees lower than the 100-degree reading recorded there Sunday.
It was a relatively mild 91 degrees Monday in Madison, Minn., west of Montevideo near the South Dakota line, where the mercury soared to 102 degrees Sunday.
With swimming pools closed until Wednesday due to COVID-19 restrictions, Dan Kelly of New Brighton pulled out the wading pool for his 4-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter.
“I let them freeze their tails off, then they can run into the sun and get warm,” Kelly said.
The punishing heat came with a reminder from the Weather Service to “stay hydrated and take breaks from the heat.”
With theaters and some shopping centers still closed, Hennepin County posted a map of places to go to cool off but advised people to check with each location before visiting.
Cooling centers were not needed near Duluth harbor, where at 2 p.m. it was jacket weather. The temperature registered just 52 degrees, tying Grand Marais for the coolest spot in Minnesota. Temperatures along the North Shore were in the comfortable 70s and low 80s, the Weather Service said.
Thunderstorms were expected to develop across northwestern Minnesota on Monday evening, with the area from Thief River Falls to Ortonville targeted for the greatest chance of severe weather and heavy rain. Hail 2 inches in diameter, damaging wind gusts up to 75 miles per hour and a tornado are possible, the Weather Service said.
“Have a way to receive warnings, be weather aware, and be ready to act should a warning be issued for your area,” said the Weather Service’s Grand Forks, N.D., office.
Heavy rain was forecast to fall Tuesday and Wednesday across central and eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin, as the remains of Tropical Cyclone Cristobal shift north from the Gulf of Mexico and a cool front sweeps across the state.
Multiple rounds of showers could bring 1½ to 3 inches of rain everywhere in Minnesota but the far northwestern corner, the Weather Service said.
“This may lead to isolated flooding concerns and river rises,” the Weather Service said. A flood watch was in effect for Winona and Houston counties in southeastern Minnesota.
Behind the heat, temperatures in the metro area were forecast to drop to a high of 83 degrees on Tuesday and a mild 69 degrees on Wednesday. Sunny conditions with temperatures in the mid-70s were expected for the weekend, the Weather Service said.