Mixed bag weekend: Thunder threat returns; Slight severe risk; New “Ice-In” data on Minnesota lakes

Doppler Reboot

Our longest dry streak in the metro since March 19-29th comes to an end this weekend. Low pressure is sliding east from the Dakotas, and scattered rain and thunder return to Minnesota. After a long break from any severe threat, SPC has pasted a slight risk over much of Minnesota Saturday and Saturday night.

The longer range picture looks typically summery…fairly warm and somewhat humid with occasional chances for scattered T-Storms. In fact….I could write that as a “summer forecast” and it would be accurate most years.

We’ve just enjoyed the most amazing run of sunshine, warmth and tolerable humidity in nearly a year in Minnesota going back to early September. And the 4th of July? Simply spectacular.

Now we dodge a few showers and storms for the rest of the long holiday weekend.

Time to reboot the doppler.

Image: NOAA

89F High temp at MSP Friday

6 straight days without measurable rain at MSP Airport

Longest “dry” stretch at MSP in 3 1/2 months

.20″ to .50″ most likely rainfall range (model output) this weekend for southern Minnesota (including the metro)

.50″ to 1″+ likely for northern Minnesota this weekend

511 wxs

Weekend Thunder Threat:

You knew it wouldn’t last forever.

A moderately strong low pressure system is crawling east from the Dakotas into Minnesota this weekend. The system will favor heavy thunderstorms and downpours in northern Minnesota…but a trailing front will also bring scattered rain & thunder bouts to southern Minnesota and the metro.

Here’s the NAM model’s scenario as the low tracks through Minnesota overnight Saturday night into Sunday morning.

NOAA’s NAM model paints scattered rain & T-Storms Saturday night. Image: NOAA

A few T-Storms may fire near the metro and in southern Minnesota during the day Saturday…but the best chance of rain & thunder will roll in overnight into the wee hours of Sunday morning.

here’s the Euro model breakdown of the weekend forecast for the Twin Cities.

Image: Norwegian Met Institute

Rain favors Northland:

The heaviest rainfall will favor northern Minnesota this weekend. Heavy T-Storms could drop 1″+ in some locations.

A more general .25″ to .50″ is likely for southern Minnesota. Rainfall totals may vary widely over short distances…the trademark of scattered summertime convective rainfall.


Weekend rains return to Minnesota. Torrential rains continue to plauge the southeast USA…where over 10″ rainfall totals have already caused flooding this week. Image: NOAA

 Severe Risk: NOAA’s SPC posts “slight risk” for MN Saturday

Time to dust off the weather radio?

The incoming system features enough moisture, heat, and wind shear to produce some scattered severe storms…especially in northern Minnesota. Large hail, damaging straight line winds and possibly a couple of tornadoes are the main threat this weekend.

Here’s the risk area Saturday from SPC.

Slight risk for severe storms Saturday. Image: NOAA SPC

Keep the weather radio handy this weekend…especially if you are at the cabin up north this weekend.

On The Sticky Side: Dew points climb into the 60s to near 70F

It’s been a great run of “windows open” good sleeping weather this week at the Weather Lab. I’ve been resisting the temptation to fire up the AC…but I may be caving this weekend.

Heres’ a look at the dew point trend for the next few days.

Image: NOAA via Iowa State University

Next 7 Days: Typical summertime pattern

The next week looks fairly typical for Minnesota in July. A mix of warm sunny days…with an occasional thunder threat thrown in for good measure. Highs should be in the mid-upper 80s most of the time. Right now Tuesday looks like the next threat for potentially strong/severe T-Storms. Sunday PM, Monday…and Wednesday through Friday of next week look like the best days for that tee time or power lounging at the beach.

Here’s the Euro’s 7 day forecast.

European Model 7-Day forecast. Temps in celsius. 30C = 86F. Image: Norwegian Met Institute

 Seeley: new “Ice-In” data for Minnesota lakes

It’s a popular (and therapeutic?) pastime for Minnesotans in spring. When will the ice go out on my favorite lake?

For years the Freshwater Society has kept detailed records of ice out on Lake Minnetonka. The Minnesota DNR keeps detailed ice-out records on many Minnesota lakes.

Now you can check out “ice-in” data for lakes in Minnesota courtesy of a new project from the excellent staff at MN DNR State Climatology Office.

Image: MN DNR

And just a quick note… the MN DNR climate gurus are among the best in the world at providing a wide wealth of valuable climate data for Minnesota. Many sectors of Minnesota agriculture, business and government reap real and tangible financial benefits from the excellent data.

My MPR colleague and resident climate guru Dr. mark Seeley has details on the new program in this week’s Weather Talk.

Topic:  New ice-in data set for Minnesota lakes

The DNR-State Climatology Office has developed a web-based climatology for ice-in dates on Minnesota lakes to match the popular and widely utilized ice-out data set that has been in play for years.  The period of record varies by lake but users can look at average dates in the fall when lakes freeze up, as well as what the historical extreme dates (early and late) have been. For access and further information you can go to the web site at….http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/ice_in/index.html?year=median

(Weather) Balloons: Not just for birthdays

Michelle Margraf, from NOAA’s Twin Cities National Weather Service launches a weather balloon carrying instruments that measure atmospheric variables. Credit: Anthony Zaleski

Recently my MPR colleague Tom Crann found an NWS radiosonde in his backyard. The instrument was one of thousands sent up twice daily around the globe as part of a much larger program that feeds critical data int forecast models.

Mark Seeley has more on the wealth…and regional geographical shortage of global upper air stations.

 Topic:  Global Upper Air Stations

Under the jurisdiction of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Global Observing Systems Information Center (GCOS) a worldwide network of upper air observations provides government weather services and the atmospheric and climate science research communities with profile measurements (temp, dewpoint, pressure, wind speed and direction) of the Earth’s atmosphere.  Many of these measurements are done on a 12 hourly basis to initialize numerical forecast models.  The instrumented balloons, called radiosondes, are launched from a variety of land-based and ship-based stations. 

The WMO has a list of over 1700 such stations worldwide, with most of them located in the countries of the northern hemisphere.  There is great disparity in data coverage, with North America and Europe have a relatively large number of radiosondes launched each day, and Africa having very few.  There is a good article on the NOAA web site this week highlighting the value of these measurement systems, both in weather forecasting and in atmospheric research. You can find it at… http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/news/picture-climate-balloons-aren%E2%80%99t-just-birthdays

(Stormy) Wedding Day Bliss:

Everyone remembers the Great June Storm of  2013.

But can you imagine getting married as the most devastating wind storm in the metro in years moves in? That’s one of the memories MPR’s Andrea Swensson and new hubby Ben will have for a lifetime. Thankfully they got the wedding in just before the storm hit…and were riding in the pedicab on the way to the (indoor) reception when the storm blew in.

Thanks to Andrea for sharing this incredible picture. Remember, rain is good luck on your wedding day!

Image: Leslie Plesser

Wedding photographer Leslie Plesser shares the moment.

Remember that huge storm we had a few weeks back? Yeah, Ben and Andrea here were on a pedicab on the way to their reception when that hit! And I could not have been happier in that moment to have been with these two, as they did nothing but laugh and make the best out of the situation. After all, it’s just another amazing story that they can tell the grandkids about someday.

But besides the storm (and even including it!) it was truly a lovely day, as you can see below. In fact, a few days after the wedding when I was editing these images, I realized that my face hurt from all the smiling. Have you ever seen a couple so happy? I was smiling along with them and not even realizing it!

Enjoy the weekend!

Paul Huttner



  • Starquest

    Bigtime busted precip forecast overnight Sunday. Dry as a bone. To be fair, everyone got it wrong. I think the strength of the capping inversion was underestimated.