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Weather Talk: Triple digit temperatures, dry soils go together

The last time it was 100 degrees in Fargo Moorhead was five years ago today.

Prior to that, there were two days in the 100s in the summer of 2006, and those are the three days with century mark temperatures in Fargo Moorhead in this century.

There is a close relationship between summers with 100 degree temperatures and summers that have much below average rainfall. Dry soil heats up efficiently in the sun and warms the air several degrees more than wet soil. During most of the 1900s, when average rainfall was lower than today, temperatures reaching 100 degrees were much more common than they have been in recent decades. The summers of 2006 and 2012 were both dry summers.

Fingers of drought have been waving through the candle flame this summer as well. Our hottest day so far has been 96 degrees. But August is coming. If the soils remain fairly dry, the chance of a 100 degree day or two will increase.

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