Fog, smoke and rain chances over the next few days (greatest rain chances south and north of Duluth)

There hasn’t been a whole lot of change in the rainfall pattern this summer as western and southern parts of the Northland have seen above normal rainfall, while below normal rainfall continues near Lake Superior, in fact Duluth continues to run well below normal in rainfall this summer by nearly 3″.


This rainfall forecast is laughable, but really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given how the pattern has been since June.

One area of rain tonight through Monday night from southeast North Dakota through central Minnesota into central Wisconsin, followed by a second area of rain Tuesday night and Wednesday across northern Minnesota into the Arrowhead, and you guessed it both areas of rain are expected to miss Duluth and Superior, although I can’t completely rule out our typical 5-10 minute rain shower on Monday, and again Tuesday night.


Rainfall totals from June 1 thru August 22, 2020

Hibbing: 12.52″ (+1.74″ above normal)

Brainerd: 11.88″ (+1.58″ above normal)

International Falls: 10.33″ (+0.73″ above normal)

Ashland: 9.92″ (-0.89″ below normal)

Duluth: 7.89″ (-2.77″ below normal)


There’s been two dry areas this summer, one across parts of southwest Minnesota, and the other has been over the Arrowhead of Minnesota. Note: The preferred storm track for Summer 2020 has been from northwest and west-central Minnesota east-southeast through central Minnesota into north-central areas of Wisconsin.

Precipitation deficits since January 1st, 2020 continue to be greatest at Duluth -6.16″ below normal, with Brainerd at -2.34″ below normal, and -1.62″ below normal at International Falls. Note: Duluth is still roughly 2 months worth of precipitation below normal for the year, that’s quite a bit to erase. It will take a very persistent wet weather pattern to get us back to normal for the year, something we haven’t seen a whole lot of so far this year.


Rainfall totals from August 20-22, 2020

Hibbing: 0.61″

International Falls: 0.12″

Duluth: 0.04″

Ashland: 0.02″

Brainerd: Trace

Rainfall totals over the last few days are a perfect example of what has been happening more times than not since June – But it also doesn’t help when you have scattered thunderstorm activity which is what we have seen the last few days, some locations get dumped on for a brief time, others get a brief shower or miss out completely, expect more of the same this week.


Storm Reports from around the Northland


8:30 PM 8/22: Funnel Cloud. 4 NE Kimberly, MN (Aitkin County)

4:59 PM 8/22: Thunderstorm Wind Gust 47 mph. 5 ESE Hibbing, MN (St. Louis County)

4:49 PM 8/22: Hail 1.00 inch (Quarter sized) 3 E Hibbing, MN (St. Louis County)

4:45 PM 8/22: Hail 1.50 inch (Ping Pong ball sized) 3 SSW Chisholm, MN (St. Louis County) Hail began around 4:36 PM and ended at 4:45 PM.

4:40 PM 8/22: Hail 1.50 inch (Ping Pong Ball sized) Chisholm, MN (St. Louis County)

4:37 PM 8/22: Hail 0.25 inch. 6 W Greaney, MN (Koochiching County)

4:35 PM 8/22: Hail 1.25 inch (Half dollar sized) 1 NW Chisholm, MN (St. Louis County)

1:23 PM 8/22: Heavy Rain 2.00 inches. Lake Nebagamon, WI (Douglas County) Fell in one hour.

9:22 AM 8/22: Hail 0.50 inch. Garrison, MN (Crow Wing County)

3:28 PM 8/21: Hail 0.50 inch. Webb Lake, WI (Burnett County)


We’ve seen quite a bit of fog over the Northland the last few days, and today was no exception as widespread fog blanketed the area this morning, but skies did clear up a bit this afternoon, except closer to Lake Superior where fog and low clouds continued at times.

With east winds continuing around Lake Superior over the next few days there is a chance that will see more fog at times, although on Monday it does look like will have more of a variable wind direction so fog may not be much of an issue by the lake, but on Tuesday a stronger NE wind is expected to develop so fog could become more of an issue again at that time.

Source: Goes-16 visible satellite loop from Sunday, August 23, 2020;

Another thing will be seeing the next few days will be some wildfire smoke as the western U.S. continues to burn. Smoke from those fires will make its way into northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin this evening, and expect some wildfire smoke to stick around at least through Tuesday. Note: Most of this smoke is expected to remain in the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere creating some hazy skies along with vibrant sunrises/sunsets (assuming there are no clouds around during those times)

Here’s a look at the 12z HRRR model smoke forecast valid at the times listed on the maps.

The yellow, orange and red colors on the maps indicate thicker smoke compared to the blue colors.



I see blue colors! Yes, some snow is possible on the last day of August in parts of Montana and Idaho (higher elevation areas)

Source: 12z GFS model 8.23.2020;

Thanks for reading!


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