As public interest peaks this weekend in the PGA Golf Championship in Chaska, MN many worry about the threat of weather disruption, especially with huge crowds expected. Considering the recent climate history of rainfall,, particularly thunderstorms, associated with August 14-15 it would not be surprising to see some rather significant storms develop.
In 1978, strong thunderstorms delivered 2.5 to 5 inch rainfall amounts across sections of western and central Minnesota. Again in 1981, this time in southern and central counties 2 to 5 inch rains were produced by intense thunderstorms, with Gaylord reporting a record 5.29 inches on the 14th. In 1993 thunderstorms were even more widespread across central and southern Minnesota releasing 2 to 5 inch amounts of rainfall and adding to the ongoing flooding that year along the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. In 1997 a narrow band of intense thunderstorms moved across southern Minnesota producing over 8 inches of rainfall in Steele County over the 14th and 15th. And as recently as 2000, thunderstorms produced 2 to 4 inch amounts of rainfall across central Minnesota counties.
As a low pressure system passes over our region this weekend watch to see if the dewpoints climb into the upper 60s F or even 70 degrees F. At that level the potential for thunderstorm rainfall to be excessive really increases. In any event, both spectators and golfers at the PGA this weekend may need to be patient and resilient when it comes to dealing with Minnesota’s fickle weather.