Isolated downpours Tuesday afternoon; Some more rain possible in eastern MN/northwest WI late Wednesday-early Thursday; Potential Heat Wave ~July 18-25

Rain chances in the Northland this week are greatest Tuesday and Wednesday, after that we go right back into a dry pattern (should be use to that by now)

Rainfall deficits since June 1st: Duluth, MN -4.04″ below normal; International Falls, MN -3.79″ below normal.

Shower coverage Tuesday looks isolated, meaning some locations get hit, others stay dry, but where it does rain a brief torrential downpour will be possible. Note: We might even be able to squeeze out a thunderstorm or two in parts of the Northland on Tuesday since there will be some instability present, but weak winds aloft, not much wind shear and poor mid level lapse rates (story of the summer) means these storms won’t be very organized, and likely won’t be able to survive for very long.

As for timing of these showers on Tuesday – that’s a crap shoot! But those ‘trusty weather apps’ can give you that info. You know 42% rain chance at 1:12 PM, followed by a 1% chance at 1:16 PM, then a 37% chance at 3:33 PM…I think that’s how those things work? But seriously, shower chances would be greatest in the afternoon/early evening which is often the case during the summer.

Rain on Wednesday looks more widespread, but at the moment this rain looks to miss northern Minnesota and possibly the Duluth/Superior area, with eastern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin having the greatest chance for some rain on Wednesday, especially later in the day the way it looks now.

Here’s a look at the 18z NAM 3km simulated radar forecast valid for Tuesday (7 AM to 10 PM)

A very quiet severe weather season continues across northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

So far this year (thru July 12) only 16 severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued in our area, this is the fewest number of warnings thru July 12 since 1993 which had a total of 6 warnings.

The Northland has been in a Slight Risk for severe thunderstorms just 6 times this year (4 times since the start of summer on June 1) So yes it’s been a quiet severe weather season in our area.

Note: Slight risk is a level 2 on the 5 point severe weather scale, with a Marginal risk being the lowest risk at 1, while a High risk is the most extreme risk at a 5.


A very dry weather pattern continues in the Twin Ports, with a total of 31.91″ of precipitation at the Duluth Airport from January 1, 2020 thru July 12, 2021. Normal precipitation during that period is 46.62″.

Note: Duluth is running -14.71″ below normal in precipitation since January 1, 2020.

The brown line on the graph below represents the normal amount of precipitation from 1/1/2020 thru 7/12/2021, while the green line represents actual precipitation totals during that same period.

As you can see from the precipitation graph below, this current drought started to develop back in May of 2020.

Precipitation deficits so far this year (thru July 12)

International Falls, MN: -5.69″ below normal

Duluth, MN: -4.79″ below normal


Could be looking at several days with high temps close to or above 90 in much of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin next week (July 18-23) as a strong upper level ridge sets up across the Rockies and Northern Plains.

7 days at or above 80 in Duluth so far this month (thru July 12) and will be adding several more over the next 10 days. The coolest days this week look to be Wednesday and Thursday, after that things heat up, especially this weekend into next week when we could be up close to 90 on a few days in Duluth.

Note: On average, Duluth has 11 days at or above 80 in July, the record is 25 days set in 2012.


Summer of 2021 ranks in the top 5 driest summers on record (so far) across parts of the upper Midwest (darker brown colors) while parts of Lower Michigan have seen their wettest summer, or a top 5 wettest summer on record so far (darker green colors)

The summer of 2021 ranks in the top 10 hottest summers on record so far across much of the Northern Plains and upper Midwest (darker orange/red colors)


Fire situation which was already bad has gotten worse across southern Ontario Canada where several wildfires are burning today (pink areas on the loop below)

Smoke plume/s from those fires to our north will continue to affect the Northland at least thru Wednesday, and some of this smoke could mix down to the surface at times in parts of the area.

Goes-16 Natural Color-Fire loop from Monday, July 12, 2021.

Red areas on the map below represent fire hotspots as of 3 PM Monday, July 12, 2021.


70s in parts of the Midwest and southeast US today, mid 80s in northern Minnesota and southern Ontario, while the western US continues to fry.

A persistent temperature pattern we’ve seen many times this year where the west and north are warmer than average, while cooler than average temps are found farther to the south.


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