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Heatwave ties, breaks Sunday records across North Dakota

While 100-degree temperatures are not uncommon in North Dakota, it is rare for June, meteorologist says.

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Annalee Neugebauer from West Fargo cools off at the Shadow Wood Splash Pad in West Fargo on Monday, June 20, 2022.
David Samson / The Forum
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FARGO — The heatwave that moved through North Dakota over the weekend tied and broke decades-old records on Sunday, June 19.

Fargo and Jamestown tied the June 19 record set in 1933, according to numbers compiled by WDAY StormTracker meteorologists. Fargo hit 101 degrees Sunday, while Jamestown climbed to 97 on the thermometer.

Several North Dakota cities broke their longstanding records. Bismarck and Grand Forks hit 100 degrees, rising above the 1933 record of 97 degrees and the 1988 high of 95 degrees, respectively.

At 97 degrees, Minot also sneaked past its 1911 record of 96 degrees.

It’s not uncommon to see the mercury climb above 100 in North Dakota, but it is rare for that to happen in June, WDAY meteorologist Jesse Ritka said.

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Matthew Benjamin and his son, Hudson, 2, of Fargo beat the heat at the Shadow Wood Splash Pad in West Fargo on Monday, June 20, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum

“We had two of them (100-degree days) last year on June 4 and June 5, but before then, you had to go all the way back to 1995 to see a 100-degree temperature in June,” she said of Fargo, adding the high heat is more typical in July and August.

A ridge of high pressure in the upper atmosphere moved from the south into North Dakota over the weekend, bringing with it hot temperatures.

The Red River Valley also got a late start on its planting season due to flooding, Ritka noted. Instead of being covered with green crops, black soil is exposed.

“That kind of helps enhance those temperatures,” Ritka said, explaining darker things absorb heat more quickly. “It helps them climb a little faster.”

Temperatures climbed into the 90s on Saturday but didn’t quite reach record highs.

Monday had the opportunity to hit record temperatures in Fargo, Ritka said. The city set a high of 98 degrees in 1910. As of 3 p.m., it had hit 95 degrees.

Still, the Fargo area was “saying goodbye” to the heatwave, Ritka said. Highs will drop into the low-to-mid-80s Tuesday and Wednesday, according to meteorologists at WDAY. Hotter temperatures are expected to return Thursday and Friday with highs in the 90s.

The weekend should bring some relief with highs falling into the high 70s, WDAY meteorologists said.

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Thunderstorms are expected to develop in the Red River Valley Monday evening, they said. The main threat is hail up to 2 inches and strong winds, possibly 60 to 70 mph.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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