Potential for rain Saturday night, but dry forecast next week

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Aug. 5—MANKATO — A decent chance for rain comes to the area Saturday night, but the forecast next week offers little promise of relieving the drought in south-central Minnesota.

Paige Marten, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, said two fronts should move into the state — one Friday night and another Saturday afternoon and night.

"Unfortunately, the latest runs show less (rain) for the Twin Cities metro and show it shifting south. So it could be good for (the Mankato) area," she said. "But it could shift more."

Models weren't showing much rain for the parched Mankato area from the first front. "The Twin Cities and southern Minnesota have the best chance for rain overnight Saturday," Marten said.

"We're seeing some rain everywhere, but not what we need with the deficit in moisture we're seeing this summer."

Models are showing the potential for an inch or more for the Mankato region by Sunday morning, with the possibility of heavier localized rains.

Marten said there doesn't appear to be much potential for severe weather from the fronts.

The drought gripping south-central Minnesota is likely to remain.

Since June, Mankato has received 2.75 inches of rain, far below the normal summer rainfall. Without substantial rains in the next three weeks, the area could set an all-time low for summer rainfall.

The record minimum rainfall for June through August was 6.29 inches in 1998, which is 3 1/2 inches more than Mankato has received so far this summer, Marten said. (The wettest summer on record locally was 1993, when 25 inches of rain fell.)

Even after the severe drought that hit the region last spring and early summer, rains in August ended up brining a total of 6.9 inches of rain last summer.

The near-term forecast isn't hopeful.

"Unfortunately, it looks quiet after (Sunday)," Marten said.

Monday will be cool, with highs in the 70s, with the temps warming throughout next week and no signs of significant rain in the forecast.

The latest Drought Monitor map, released Thursday, shows the moderate drought grew significantly. It now stretches from near St. Cloud to the southern tip of Nicollet County and from the Twin Cities all the way to the South Dakota border near Pipestone.

Meanwhile severe drought is reaching ever farther southwest and now covers Sibley County, northern Nicollet County and a slice of Brown County in this region.