Soaking overnight rains, Friday severe risk. Tropical Storm Karen in Gulf?

Overnight rainfall totals are impressive in southern Minnesota.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport picked up .90 inch last night, with Alexandria coming in at .94 inch.

The Twin Cities Doppler storm total rainfall display shows bands of 1 to 2 inches plus across southern Minnesota. Areas near Zumbrota may have picked up close to 3 inches last night into early this morning.

Image: Weather Underground

The season’s first major fall-like storm is on the maps and moving into Minnesota. This storm comes in pieces, with several waves of rain (and some breaks in the rain) the next few days.

(Image: Twin Cities NWS)

The big picture? Expect much cooler temps with periods of rain, wind and some thunder into Sunday. The rain may be heavy at times, and a gentle soaker at other times. After months of drought, the potential for some badly needed multi-inch rainfall totals will help ease Minnesota’s drought. Thirsty trees, lawns, fields, rivers and lakes will get an overdue shot of rainfall.

Here’s the latest read on the system as it moves in.

Short term

The first waves of rain have already invaded Minnesota, and are working south and east.

-Updated Twin Cities radar loop.

Friday and the weekend: Main body of storm arrives

The center of the storm and the main waves of rain should move into Minnesota Friday and Saturday. Here’s a look at overall rainfall totals from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Weather Prediction Center.

(Image: NOAA)

I don’t know if 3-inch totals will be quite this widespread, but the potential for local 3- to 4-inch rainfall totals with this system is there. Glad I cleaned my gutters!

Severe Friday?

This system looks plenty strong enough to produce some severe weather on Friday. The only question appears to be where and where. Forecast models are still divergent on the exact track of the surface low. The farther north and west, the better chance for severe storms in the metro. here’s the ‘risk area’ from NOAA’s SPC Friday.

(Image: NOAA SPC)

The storm lingers close enough to keep showers in the forecast — and a chilly northwest breeze on Sunday.  The European model keeps rain in the forecast right through Sunday.

(Image: European model data via Weatherspark)

We need the rain, but I am grateful for our recent stretch of warm sunny days. We may all need to keep those blissfully mild sunny days in mind, and a sense of humor as our weather changes the next few days!

Tropical Storm Karen a threat to Gulf?

All signs point to Tropical Storm karen developing and moving north into the Gulf of Mexico in the next 48 hours. The outflow and storm structure is impressive on this NOAA enhanced infrared (IR) shot from Wednesday evening.

(Image: NOAA)

Intensity forecast call for Karen to reach tropical storm status — and possibly approach Category 1 hurricane strength over the next few days.

(Image: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee)

Storm tracks favor a landfall between New Orleans and the Florida Gulf Coast by this weekend.

(Image: South Florida Water Management District)

Heavy rainfall in excess of 5 inches looks likely along the Gulf Coast with Karen in the coming days.