Dry July 2021

The drought of 2021 expanded and intensified throughout July, which finished as Minnesota's second-driest on record.

Statewide-average rainfall for the month was about 1.75 inches. Small parts of far southeastern Minnesota actually had above-normal precipitation, but these areas accounted for only about 2% of the state; an overwhelming majority of Minnesota was drier than normal, and about half of state failed to receive 50% of normal July precipitation. The National Weather Service cooperative observer at Hokah recorded the highest monthly total, with 6.22 inches. At the other extreme, Red Lake Falls finished the month with just 0.23 inches of rain.

July also was warm, and finished in the upper fifth of the record, though relative to what's typical for the month, the warmth was toned down from what Minnesota experienced during June. The average station finished the month just over 2 degrees F warmer than 1991-2020 normals, with the warm conditions were more pronounced in the north than in the south.  The state had no shortage of hot days, with numerous stations in southern, central and western Minnesota recording highs of 90F or higher at least 10 times during July. Granite Falls topped the list, with 16 such days, including a high temperature of 102 F for Independence Day celebrations on July 4th.

The state, also, however, saw a smattering of cool days during the early-middle portion of July, as well as a significant cooling effect from widespread wildfire smoke that blew into the region frequently from Canada. Indeed, the smoke caused several days to remain 5-10 degrees cooler than forecast, and undoubtedly kept the month from being much warmer than it was.

The dry and warm conditions further aggravated the ongoing drought, with each new week yielding expansion and/or degradation  of drought categories on the US Drought Monitor.

The following table summarizes basic climate values and departures at Minnesota's five major climate stations.


July 2021 average daily high, daily low, and daily mean temperature (degrees F), plus monthly total precipitation (inches). Departures from 1991-2020 normals shown in parentheses.




80.0 (+ 2.3)

56.5 (- 0.3)

68.2 (+ 1.2)

2.75 (- 1.17 )

International Falls

82.7 (+ 5.0)

54.0 (+ 2.0)

68.4 (+ 3.5)

1.35 (- 2.62)


81.5 (+ 1.2)

61.3 (+ 0.5)

71.4 (+ 0.9 )

4.13 (- 0.06)

St. Cloud84.9 (+ 3.3)

58.5 (- 0.4)

71.7(+ 1.4)

0.83 (- 2.77)

Twin Cities86.1 (+ 2.7)65.9 (+ 0.6)76.0 (+ 1.7)0.87 (- 3.19)


Updated September 10, 2021

Back to top