Expect a toasty start to July this weekend

Highs soar to near 100 Wednesday in parts of state

By ERIK SANDIN – Stillwater Gazette

Highs soared into the 90s across the state as heat building the last several days southwest of the state moved into the region "in a big way," according to the National Weather Service.

While temperatures are expected to back down slightly across the region, the extended outlook calls for heat to return in the first part of July.

The combination of heat and humidity Wednesday had the St. Croix Valley under a heat advisory for much of Wednesday afternoon and evening. Lake Elmo Airport reported a high of 90 Wednesday.

The hot spot in the state Wednesday was New Ulm, where a high of 99 was reported, the NWS said.

It could have been worse. Western Kansas is baking under temperatures well above 100 degrees, according to the NWS. Hill City, Kan., reported a high of 115 Wednesday, the fifth straight day of highs above 110.

"We will see a small respite from the heat through this weekend, but extended forecasts show the warm dome of high pressure returning next week into the following week, with the first two weeks of July getting off to a rather toasty note across the northern Plains into the Upper Mississippi Valley," the NWS said.

Today started out cloudy across the Valley, but sunny skies are expected with a high near 87 and north to northwest winds around 8 mph. Tonight will be clear and mild with lows falling to the low 60s.

Friday is forecast to be another sunny and hot day with highs near 90 and light west to southwest winds. Friday night will be partly cloudy and mild with lows in the upper 60s.

The next chance of rain in the Valley is Saturday with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Skies will be sunny most of the day with highs in the upper 80s and light northeast winds. The chance of rain lingers Saturday night with partly cloudy skies and lows in the upper 60s.

The forecast leading up to Fourth of July Wednesday calls for mostly sunny skies Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with highs all three days near 90. There is a slight chance of rain Monday night, and lows through the period expected in the upper 60s to low 70s.