Rain Today: Weekend heat; Shutdown & climate data

The next weather system is pushing rain into Minnesota Thursday morning. Some numbers:

.95″ NAM model rainfall output for MSP Airport next 60 hours

3″- 4″ NAM rainfall output for areas near Morris, Alexandria & St. Cloud to Hinckley

2″ possible rainfall totals favoring north metro next 48 hours

Finding the “sweet spot”

This is where weather forecasting gets dicey. Specifically, flash flood forecasting.

As hotter, wetter air pushes north over the next 48 hours, the precise location of surface warm frontal positions and upper air low tracks take on added meaning. If the warm front is overhead, and the upper low passes over the top of you…get an ark! You could get 3″ to 4″ of rain.

If you’re 50-75 miles either side….maybe an inch of rain? No big deal.

The latest model trends suggest the “sweet spot” for heavy rainfall may lay out across central Minnesota. A line from Morris through Alexandria, St. Cloud to Hinckley seems like the favored area to pick up a multi inch deluge.

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NAM model paints heaviest rain bands between the metro and Duluth.

Duluth and the Twin Cities lie on either side…maybe an inch of rain or more? Again, this is if things pan out that way. The heavy rain area could easily shift north or south.

Either way, be ready for showers & T-Storms moving into western MN tonight and spreading into eastern MN (including Duluth & the metro) by Thursday morning.

Some of the rain will be heavy. Heavy rain will be the primary threat, with a lower chance for hail and damaging winds.

Latest Twin Cities radar loop

Latest storm total rainfall radar estimates

Up Next: Weekend heat wave

As the hot dome of air pushes north this weekend, temperatures will soar. We’ll see more heat advisories and extreme heat warnings in Minnesota.

Check out some of the forecast heat index values starting Sunday!

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State of Minnesota shutdown affects MN climate info users:

“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.”

That’s how this forecaster and other local “mets” must feel about the shutdown of the Minnesota Climatology Working Group website. It’s a royal pain for us as forecasters not to have the excellent data, but the bigger perspective is that there are several dedicated climate professionals (and thousands of other dedicated state employees) out of work through no fault of their own!

We are so fortunate to have this amazing group of dedicated climate specialists in Minnesota. I know I’m missing somebody but the excellent work of dedicated professionals like Jim Zandlo,Greg Spoden, Pete Boulay, and Dr. Mark Seeley bring our rich Minnesota climate history to life. It is extremely valuable to have a basis for comparison to current weather patterns and records like the one provided by the MN Climate Working Group web site.

The site is currently unavailable due to the government shutdown.

I asked my MPR colleague Dr. Mark Seeley about this today. His reply below.

Hi Paul,

Yes, the DNR-State Climatology Office is closed. The web site is shut down…..no access to the state climate database, no updates of daily data, no computer tool kit (mapping, statistics, etc) to use for assessment. Should there be a disaster that requires climate data documentation for petitioning FEMA or USDA for aid, we don’t have the tools to do it. I have no state partners to work with at the moment. I am lucky to be able to maintain my weekly newsletter “Minnesota WeatherTalk.” My university life goes on, but I sure miss my state colleagues.


There are some other sources available, but none as comprehensive as the Minnesota Climatology Working Group site.

I sure hope it comes back soon!


  • eliot stadler

    I’ll see your record dewpoint of 82, and I’ll raise ya’ two degrees. According to NOAA, St. Paul’s Holman Field weather station recorded a dewpoint of 84 at 14:53, Tuesday afternoon. Does this higher dewpoint not count?