Mild Thursday, but cooler and breezy near Lake Superior (NE wind) Very warm and dry this weekend with record/near record warmth possible

It’s getting to be that time of the year where a northeast wind coming off Lake Superior isn’t quite as chilly as it would be say just a few weeks to a month ago, and this is thanks to much warmer water temperatures on Lake Superior as we head deeper into the summer.

Check out the surface water temps at the head of Lake Superior as of June 30, 2021 – Generally in the mid to upper 60s (balmy!) with even some 70s showing up right at the southwest arm of Lake Superior today.

Looking further out over Lake Superior shows surface water temps generally in the mid 50s to mid 60s. A northeast wind over the next 24 hours will cause some upwelling which will lead to some cooling of the water temps over Lake Superior, but since this NE wind event will be pretty brief, I don’t think the water temps will drop a whole lot.


…Record Warmth possible in the Northland this 4th of July weekend…

Record Highs for July 3

Duluth, MN: 93 set in 2020

International Falls, MN: 92 set in 2020

Hibbing, MN: 92 set in 1990

Record Highs for July 4

Duluth, MN: 95 set in 1881

International Falls, MN: 90 set in 2020

Hibbing, MN: 90 set in 1988


The heat is on starting Friday, but more so Saturday and Sunday, this is when we should see widespread mid 80s to mid 90s for daytime highs in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, while overnight lows only drop to around 65 to 70, and it might even be warmer than that especially in the urban heat islands like in Duluth and Superior.

Rain chances are slim to none from Thursday through most of the day Sunday, but a cold front approaching from the NW could produce a few isolated showers or thunderstorms Sunday night or Monday.

High temperature forecast valid from Thursday, July 1, 2021 through Monday, July 5, 2021.

June 2021 is one for the record books as it will finish as the hottest June ever at Duluth, Minnesota. Weather records for Duluth go back to 1874.

25/30 or 83% of days this month had an above average temperature in Duluth, with just 5/30 or 17% of days being below average.

June 2021 finished in the top 10 warmest Junes on record in many climate districts from the Northern Plains to upper Midwest (darker red colors)

Rainfall totals varied considerably in June 2021, with much of the Northern Plains and upper Midwest remaining very dry with several climate districts recording a top 10 driest June on record (darker brown colors) While wetter conditions were found over the Midwest (green colors) with a few climate districts in Lower Michigan recording their wettest or a top 5 wettest June on record.


Several wildfires continue to burn across central and western Canada today, and smoke plumes off those fires to our NW have been drifting south into parts of Minnesota today, and we may be dealing with additional wildfire smoke at times across the area over the next few days.

Active fires burning over parts of eastern Manitoba and western Ontario province (yellow outlined area) today.

Other large wildfires continue to burn over southern British Columbia today, with even some pyrocumulus clouds exploding this afternoon (yellow outlined area) due to strong upward motion near those fires.


A look at July climate normals and records at Duluth, Minn; Long range forecast for July 2021

July Climate Normals and Records for Duluth, Minnesota

Normal high on the 1st: 76 degrees
Normal high on the 31st: 78 degrees

Normal low on the 1st: 54 degrees
Normal low on the 31st: 57 degrees

Average temperature: 67.0 degrees
Warmest: 71.9 degrees set in 2006
Coldest: 59.4 degrees set in 1992

Normal precipitation: 3.92″
Wettest: 10.83″ set in 1909
Driest: 0.47″ set in 1875

On average Duluth has 11 days in July with a high of at least 80 degrees (record is 25 days set in 2012)

On average Duluth has 1 day in July with a high of at least 90 degrees (record is 9 days set in 1936)

Astronomical Data for July at Duluth, Minnesota

Sunrise on the 1st: 5:19 AM CDT
Sunrise on the 31st: 5:47 AM CDT

Sunset on the 1st: 9:06 PM CDT
Sunset on the 31st: 8:41 PM CDT

Here’s the outlook for July 2021 per CFS model.

For northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin: Above average temperatures.

For northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin: Below average precipitation.


Warm Wednesday with isolated afternoon-evening showers possible; Breezy and cooler near Lake Superior Thursday; Very warm and dry 4th of July weekend

The average temperature so far this month at Duluth, Minnesota is 66.3 degrees (+5.5 degrees above average)

The warmest June on record in Duluth is 65.5 degrees which was set in 1910. Note: June 2021 is on track to become the warmest June on record in Duluth, with records going back to 1874.

Looks like will add one more 80 degree day to this month’s total which is currently sitting at 13 days at or above 80 in Duluth. If we do hit 80 on Wednesday, this would put June 2021 at 14 days at or above 80, and this would tie with June 1933 for 2nd place for greatest number of 80 degree days in the month of June. The record is 17 days set in 1910. By the way Duluth typically only gets 5 days at or above 80 in June, so we’re well above normal this June!

Note: Normal highs in Duluth from June 30th to July 9th ranges from 76 to 77 degrees, with a normal low of 55 degrees.

Several wildfires (orange and yellow icons) are burning across western Ontario province, and smoke plumes from those fires may drift over parts of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin Wednesday and Thursday.

The HRRR smoke model forecast does show higher levels of wildfire smoke moving south/east across the Northland on Wednesday.


The mega ridge which has brought very hot temperatures and record breaking heat to the Pacific Northwest the last few days will be moving east-southeast into the Northern Plains and upper Midwest late this week into this weekend. The 4th of July weekend is looking very warm across the Northland as this ridge moves over us.

500mb Height Anomaly Forecast through 7 AM Sunday, July 4, 2021.

Temperature Anomaly Forecast valid from Friday, July 2, 2021 through Monday, July 5, 2021 — Red and White colors on the animation below represent well above normal temperatures, while green and blue colors represent well below normal temperatures.

High Temperature Forecast valid from Wednesday, June 30, 2021 through Sunday, July 4, 2021.

Wednesday is looking warm across northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin with highs mainly in the 80s.

Thursday will feature much cooler temps near Lake Superior (60s) along with a gusty NE wind, but farther inland expect another mild day with highs in the 70s to lower 80s.

Mid 70s to mid 80s for highs Friday, and then will see mid 80s to low 90s for Saturday and Sunday, while parts of southwest Minnesota could be up close to 100 Sunday afternoon.

Note: It doesn’t look too humid Friday or Saturday with dew points generally in the 50s, but humidity levels could climb a bit on the 4th of July with dew points possibly getting into the 60s.


Another day of scattered downpours and thunderstorms across northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin with rainfall totals today ranging from a half inch to nearly 2″ (purple colors) per radar estimates.

…24 Hour Rainfall Reports


Note: Totals listed below are for the 24 hour period ending 4 PM Tuesday, June 29, 2021.

  • Saginaw, MN: 1.31″
  • 1 W Washburn, WI: 1.10″ (Rainfall total in 15 minutes from 2:40-2:55 PM 6/29)
  • Moose Lake, MN: 0.70″
  • Hayward, WI: 0.34″
  • Isabella, MN: 0.33″
  • Two Harbors, MN: 0.29″
  • Hinckley, MN: 0.22″
  • Ashland, WI: 0.20″
  • Siren, WI: 0.20″
  • Cloquet, MN: 0.13″
  • Aitkin, MN: 0.13″
  • Solon Springs, WI: 0.06″
  • Clam Lake, WI: 0.04″
  • Duluth Airport: 0.03″
  • Superior Airport: 0.03″
  • Ely, MN: 0.03″
  • Grand Marais, MN: 0.02″

Radar loop from Tuesday, June 29, 2021 (Loop time 9:23 AM to 5:09 PM)

A quiet early morning in the Northland which was followed by a blossoming of scattered showers and thunderstorms with torrential downpours in spots along with some cloud to ground lightning. Shower and thunderstorm coverage will diminish this evening and will end overnight.

A cold front will move south across the Northland Wednesday afternoon and evening, but there won’t be a whole lot of moisture, lift or instability in place as this front moves through, so we’re only looking at a chance for a few isolated showers or thunderstorms in our area Wednesday afternoon and evening.

18z NAM 3km model simulated radar forecast valid from Noon Wednesday to Midnight Wednesday.


Mild temps with more chances for scattered showers and thunderstorms Monday and Tuesday

…Local Storm Reports from Sunday, June 27, 2021…


  • 6:18 PM: Flood – 1 mile east-northeast of West Duluth, MN (St. Louis County) Localized intersection flooding in West Duluth. Water up to axles of some vehicles.
  • 6:26 PM: Hail 0.25 inch – 1 mile west of Superior, WI (Douglas County)
  • 6:29 PM: Hail 0.25 inch – Superior, WI (Douglas County)
  • 6:30 PM: Hail 0.25 inch – 1 mile southwest of Superior, WI (Douglas County)
  • 7:23 PM: Heavy Rain. 1.25″. Superior, WI (Douglas County) Fell over 45 minutes to an hour between 6 and 7 PM.
  • 7:34 PM: Hail 0.25 inch – 3 miles south-southeast of Bovey, MN (Itasca County) Pea-sized hail for about 5 minutes.

Very little change in our weather is expected for Monday and Tuesday with more chances for scattered showers and thunderstorms across the Northland with the best chance for thunderstorms coming during the afternoon and early evening when instability will be at its peak. Still not looking at any threat for severe weather, however, since there is very little wind shear to speak of, this combined with poor mid level lapse rates will likely keep these storms below severe criteria, but a few instances of small hail and or gusty winds are possible in the strongest storms Monday and Tuesday, and like we saw today, torrential rainfall will also occur in spots since there is a decent amount of moisture in the atmosphere, while very weak low/mid level winds result in very slow moving storms.

Radar simulated forecasts valid from 7 AM Monday to 7 PM Monday.

18z NAM 3km model

18z HRRR model

Rainfall totals will continue to vary considerably in short distances throughout the Northland over the next few days. On average we’re looking at about a tenth to half an inch of rain in much of the Northland through Tuesday evening, but there will be localized higher amounts of over an inch.


A small cluster of strong thunderstorms blew up in a span of about 20 minutes right over portions of the Twin Ports late this Sunday afternoon – These storms produced torrential downpours, cloud to ground lightning and some gusty winds.

Here are a few radar grabs from late Sunday afternoon showing how quickly these thunderstorms developed over Duluth and Superior.

Check out these one hour rainfall estimates from late Sunday afternoon, June 27, 2021 – Ranging from over an inch from the southern portions of Duluth through the city of Superior, while rainfall totals of generally <0.10″ were found across the northern portions of Duluth.

Note: The distance from Superior Airport to Duluth Airport is about 16 miles, and wow what a range in rainfall totals in that short distance! About an inch difference in rainfall amounts today!

…24 Hour Rainfall Reports through 7 PM Sunday, June 27, 2021…


  • Superior Airport: 1.18″
  • Littlefork, MN: 0.94″
  • Brainerd, MN: 0.61″
  • Bigfork, MN: 0.56″
  • Hill City, MN: 0.46″
  • Cloquet, MN: 0.40″
  • Minong, WI: 0.40″
  • Isabella, MN: 0.31″
  • Aitkin, MN: 0.28″
  • Two Harbors, MN: 0.25″
  • International Falls, MN: 0.21″
  • Duluth Airport: 0.17″
  • Solon Springs, WI: 0.17″
  • Siren, WI: 0.17″
  • Moose Lake, MN: 0.12″
  • McGregor, MN: 0.11″
  • Walker, MN: 0.11″
  • Grand Marais, MN: 0.09″
  • Hayward, WI: 0.08″
  • Ashland, WI: 0.05″
  • Chisholm-Hibbing Airport: 0.05″
  • Clam Lake, WI: 0.04″
  • Washburn, WI: 0.04″
  • Ely, MN: 0.02″

Goes-16 water vapor loop from Sunday, June 27, 2021 showing a monster ridge poking well north into northwest Canada today with troughing downstream of that ridge across the upper Midwest and Great Lakes.

90s and even near 100 degree temps this afternoon well north into western Canada, with widespread 100s in Washington and Oregon, big time heat wave!

High Temperature Forecast valid from Monday, June 28, 2021 through Sunday, July 4, 2021.

Looking at highs in the middle 70s to middle 80s in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, this will be followed by a cooler Thursday, especially near Lake Superior (highs in the 60s) After that it looks like will be warming up again in the Northland for the Fourth of July holiday weekend as highs could reach well into the 80s, and maybe even up close to 90 next weekend.


Mild and a touch humid with some haze and chances for scattered showers into midweek

If you like clouds, a little humidity, mild temps and daily chances for scattered showers, well then this forecast is for you! A stagnant weather pattern for the most part. I guess we jumped into an August like weather pattern here in late June.

Will have to keep an eye on air quality issues the next few days since winds will remain pretty light, not much mixing happening in the atmosphere, and the HRRR model smoke forecast does show higher amounts of wildfire smoke drifting south out of Ontario province and into parts of the Northland Sunday and Monday, so air quality could worsen a little bit in parts of the area over the next few days.

There are chances for rain showers in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin from tonight through Tuesday, but this rain will likely be scattered in coverage where some locations get hit, others not so much. Showers that occur will be slow movers due to weak winds in the low/mid levels of the atmosphere, and this could lead to some locations getting a decent amount of rain, possibly >1″ totals, but again those types of rainfall amounts won’t be widespread in our area.

A few thunderstorms could also develop in the Northland Sunday, Monday and Tuesday as will build up some instability, but these storms will likely be outflow dominant where they develop, reach maximum intensity, then collapse shortly thereafter. No severe weather is expected in our area the next few days, but occasional lightning and some gusty winds will be possible if you get under or near a thunderstorm.

…Rainfall Departures for June 2021 (thru 4 PM on the 26th)…

Brainerd, MN: -2.58″ below normal

Hibbing, MN: -2.18″ below normal

Duluth, MN: -2.13″ below normal

Ashland, WI: -2.10″ below normal

International Falls, MN: -1.78″ below normal


18z NAM 3km model simulated radar forecast valid from 7 PM Saturday to 7 PM Sunday.

18z HRRR model valid from 7 PM Saturday to 7 PM Sunday.

High Temperature Forecast valid from Sunday, June 27, 2021 through Wednesday, June 30, 2021 – Looking at 70s and low to mid 80s for daytime highs in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin over the next few days, with dew points in the 50s and 60s, so it might feel a little muggy at times.


It’s been a rainy late June day today across much of southern Minnesota into central Wisconsin, and this area of rain is lifting generally to the east-northeast. Meanwhile in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, it’s been mostly dry today, with just a few isolated showers at times.

Much of North Dakota and northwest Minnesota received some rain on Friday, while much greater rainfall amounts have occurred farther south/east across parts of the Midwest, with some locales picking up more than 6″ of rain the past few days, but notice how northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin has missed out on the rain up through Saturday afternoon.

A big time ridge with record heat covered the Pacific northwest and southwest Canada today while a trough covered the upper Midwest downstream of that big ridge off to our west.

Water vapor loop from Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Temperatures are already as hot as 105-107 degrees across parts of Washington and Oregon early this Saturday afternoon (pacific time) All this heat is under a very strong upper level ridge with 500mb heights approaching 600 decameters today, incredible!

Very hot temperatures are likely over the Pacific northwest the next several days with highs of 95 to as hot as 115 degrees, including in the Seattle and Portland areas – High temperature forecast valid from Sunday, June 27, 2021 through Friday, July 2, 2021.