A northward surge of hot air from the Desert Southwest had temperatures in North Dakota on Tuesday feeling more like July or August weather.
The mercury soared into the 90s again across much of western and central North Dakota, and Bismarck, Dickinson and Minot all set record highs for the date, according to the National Weather Service. Bismarck and Minot both hit 91 degrees, and Dickinson reached 93. Minot's Oct. 5 record had stood for only 10 years, but Bismarck's went back 74 years and Dickinson's had lasted for 101 years.
Bismarck has had a high of at least 90 degrees 51 times this year. The most on record is 53 days in 1936, during the Dust Bowl.
The record heat earlier this week follows on the heels of record and even historic heat early last week. The temperature in Dickinson on Sept. 28 soared to 100 degrees, which appeared to be the latest in the year that any weather station in the state had recorded a triple-digit temperature, according to the National Weather Service.
A cooldown late last week brought temperatures back to more seasonal autumn levels, and that pattern is expected to reoccur this week, with highs across the state in the 50s, 60s and 70s through the weekend. The days of record fall heat are likely soon be a distant memory -- AccuWeather is forecasting that parts of the Rockies could see their first accumulating snowfall of the season early next week.
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But the fall wildfire season isn't over yet in the Northern Plains. The weather service warned of critical fire weather conditions across western and much of central North Dakota on Wednesday, with low humidity and winds gusting to 40 mph. The wildfire risk was rated as very high or extreme in the region.
Reach Blake Nicholson at 701-250-8266 or email@example.com.