Less humid weather on the way for Thursday; turning more humid again Friday-Saturday; rain chances return Friday night-Saturday

We’re certainly at the time of the year where we could easily be talking about frost and freeze headlines in the Northland, but that hasn’t been the case so far this September. Record warmth was reported in parts of the Northland on Tuesday with International Falls, Brainerd and Ashland setting a new record warm low temperature for September 17th, while Brainerd also set a new record high temperature for September 17th, see list below.

Record Events for September 17, 2019

International Falls, Minnesota

Record warm low temperature of 65 degrees on September 17, 2019; previous record was 62 degrees set on September 17, 1925.

Brainerd, Minnesota

Record high temperature of 87 degrees on September 17, 2019; previous record was 86 degrees set on September 17, 1948.

Record warm low temperature of 70 degrees on September 17, 2019; previous record was 67 degrees set on September 17, 2003.

Ashland, Wisconsin

Record warm low temperature of 66 degrees on September 17, 2019; previous record was 65 degrees set on September 17, 1925.

Note: Duluth Airport hit 80 degrees today (September 18th) for the first time since August 20th. By the way the average date for last 80 degree temperature in Duluth is September 11th. In 2018 the last 80 degree temperature was on September 16th.


An impressive stretch of muggy weather is coming to an end this evening as less humid air arrives from the northwest following the passage of a cold front. Thursday will be less humid in the Northland, but muggy weather returns for Friday and Saturday.

Source: https://www.spc.noaa.gov

One of the big weather stories around here this month has been the amount of rain that has fallen across the Northern Plains and upper Midwest. The map below shows percent of normal precipitation during the last 2 weeks with the blue colors representing rainfall totals that have been 3 to 5 times more than what typically falls from September 4 through 18.

Source: https://lab.weathermodels.com

The pattern has been locked and loaded with frequent storm systems tracking across the northern tier of the U.S. so far this month while much of the southern/eastern U.S. has been very dry.

One of the reasons behind the stormy pattern in our area is due to the widespread intense heat that has blanketed much of the U.S. so far this month. The cool pockets have been confined to the far northern U.S. where it’s been very wet this month.

24-Hour Rainfall Reports

Source: https://www.weather.gov/dlh/

Note: Totals listed below are from 7 AM Tuesday, September 17 through 7 AM Wednesday, September 18, 2019.

  • 1.4 SW Tamarack, MN: 1.89″
  • 25 E Ely, MN: 1.51″
  • 3 E Wright, MN: 1.42″
  • Babbitt, MN: 1.41″
  • 10 W Gunflint Lake, MN: 1.31″
  • 0.2 W Culver, MN: 1.20″
  • Hibbing, MN: 1.13″
  • Cotton, MN: 1.04″
  • Embarrass, MN: 0.95″
  • International Falls, MN: 0.77″
  • Brainerd, MN: 0.72″
  • Kabetogama, MN: 0.70″
  • 4 E Island Lake, MN: 0.64″
  • Duluth, MN (Airport) 0.48″
  • 1.1 ENE Esko, MN: 0.45″
  • 2 E Celina, MN: 0.43″
  • Cass Lake, MN: 0.36″
  • Cook, MN: 0.34″
  • 12 N Grand Rapids, MN: 0.33″
  • 3 E Orr, MN: 0.29″
  • Wolfridge, MN (ELC) 0.28″
  • Grand Marais, MN: 0.20″

Low temperature forecast for Thursday morning, September 19. Source: https://graphical.weather.gov

High temperature forecast for Thursday, September 19

The next best chance for rain in the Northland comes on Saturday as a large scale trough swings out of the Northern Plains. Southerly flow ahead of the approaching trough will draw humid air north into our area while lift increases with the approach of the trough and cold front.

Source: 12z NAM model 9.18.19; https://weather.cod.edu

Long range computer models continue to back away from a pattern change for late this month. Prior model runs showed cooler risks developing across the upper Midwest and Great Lakes later in the month as a north to northwest flow aloft was forecast to develop which would’ve pushed the real warm air into the western U.S. Over the last several days, long range models have changed quite a bit as they now show the cooler risks remaining over parts of the western U.S. while the rest of the U.S. has above normal temps. Basically a west coast trough/east coast ridge type of pattern for next week. What this type of pattern means for the Northland is milder than normal temps, really no risk of a frost and wet weather at times for next week.

Source: 12z European Ensemble model 9.18.19; https://weathermodels.com


…Weather Summary…

A cold front has been moving slowly east through the area today. Showers and thunderstorms were found in parts of the Northland earlier in the day due to this cold front which is moving through the area today.

Lingering cloud cover in wake of the morning rain has led to a slow destabilization process ahead of the cold front this afternoon, in other words we haven’t seen any showers and thunderstorms redevelop near the cold front this afternoon which as of 5 PM extended from northeast Minnesota to southern Minnesota. The airmass along and ahead of the cold front has CAPE to around 1500 J/kg and mid level lapse rates of around 7.0 C/km per meso-analysis page, so it is unstable enough for convection to develop, but so far that hasn’t been the case.

For tonight, a few showers or thunderstorms might still develop this evening in parts of northwest Wisconsin, otherwise it looks generally dry in the Northland tonight under partly to mostly cloudy skies with lows in the 50s to lower 60s. Winds will be out of the southwest at 10 to 20 mph. Will see the cold front over eastern Minnesota late this afternoon wash out as it moves into central Wisconsin by daybreak.

Less humid weather on Thursday as dew points fall back into the 50s to lower 60s. Still mild with highs mainly in the 70s with west or northwest winds. Isolated showers are possible in far northern Minnesota, dry elsewhere. Will see another cold front approach far northern Minnesota on Thursday while tonight’s cold front stalls out in southern Minnesota, this front will then turn into a warm front by Thursday night while it begins to lift north out of southern Minnesota.

Friday will see the east wind return which could bring some fog into areas around Lake Superior, similar to what we saw the last few days by the lake. Mild temps continue away from the lake on Friday with highs in the 70s to around 80 while near Lake Superior highs will be in the 50s and 60s.

Chances for showers and some thunderstorms increase Friday night but more so on Saturday.


Forecast for Duluth and Superior

.Tonight… Partly cloudy. Low 55 to 60. Wind southwest 10 to 20 mph.

.Thursday… Less humid. Partly to mostly sunny. High 74 to 79. Wind west 10 to 20 mph.

.Friday… Cooler. Partly to mostly cloudy. Patchy fog possible. High 60 to 65. Wind east 10 to 20 mph.

Normal temperatures for Thursday

  • High 64
  • Low 45
  • Sunrise Thursday 6:51 AM CDT
  • Sunset Thursday 7:13 PM CDT

Thanks for reading!

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