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More record heat blankets North Dakota; Dickinson hits 100 degrees

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Autumn colors in the Captains' Landing Township line the bank of the Missouri River on Wednesday morning in this view from Memorial Bridge.

Record heat blanketing western and central North Dakota early in the workweek reached historic levels Tuesday, with the temperature in Dickinson soaring to 100 degrees.

It appears to be the latest in the year that any weather station in the state has recorded a triple-digit temperature, according to the National Weather Service.

Dickinson's Tuesday reading was 2 degrees higher than the city's Sept. 28 record, set in 1905. The city on Monday tied its Sept. 27 record of 96 degrees set 123 years ago, in 1898.

Bismarck on Tuesday also had a record high -- 98 degrees -- besting the city's 1905 record for the date by 1 degree. It was the 50th day this year that the capital city has had a high of at least 90 degrees, according to the weather service. The most on record is 53 days in 1936. That was during the Dust Bowl, a period of prolonged dryness and dust storms that the National Drought Mitigation Center says is widely considered to be the "drought of record" for the nation.

Minot on Tuesday reached 96 degrees, besting the city's 1905 record of 94. The city also set a record on Monday, at 93 degrees.

The temperature reached 95 degrees in Williston on Tuesday, 3 degrees higher than the city's 1897 record of 92 degrees. However, the weather service qualified that the city's record readings from its old airport do not apply to the new airport that opened two years ago.

The hot weather also covered eastern North Dakota. Grand Forks eclipsed its century-old record with a high of 91 degrees.

The heat that AccuWeather said was "more representative of July or August, as opposed to the end of September" was the result of warm, dry air being pushed into the Northern Plains and southern Canada by a storm system in the Pacific Northwest.

It was eclipsed Wednesday by a cold front moving through the region, bringing more seasonable temps in the 60s and 70s along with scattered showers. The cooler weather is forecast to continue through the weekend. However, the latest drought briefing from the weather service says "October is favored for continued above-average temperatures" across the state.

"Confidence continues to increase that La Nina will develop during the late fall and early winter, which would be the second La Nina winter in a row," the weather service said, referring to a cooling of the waters in the tropical Pacific Ocean that influences weather in the continental U.S. "This would favor a mild fall before a transition to near normal or colder than normal temperatures during the winter and early spring."

Reach Blake Nicholson at 701-250-8266 or blake.nicholson@bismarcktribune.com.

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