Warm and Humid with scattered showers/t-storms thru Friday night (A few strong to severe storms possible Friday) >70% of Minnesota in Severe Drought; Warm pattern sticks around through next week

Rain chances continue across the Northland through Friday night, so hopefully a lot of us will get at least some rain over the next 24-36 hours since this is the best setup we’ve seen around here in weeks. Will have a few sources of lift (fronts) moving through the area while we also have a lot of juicy air in place (high dew points) But as is often the case in the summer, these thunderstorms and rainfall patterns have a mind of their own, setting up where they want to setup, while missing other areas, and this setup should produce similar rainfall patterns, where some locations get quite a bit of rain, while others end up with very little to even no rain at all.

24 Hour Rainfall Reports from around the Northland ending 5 PM Thursday, July 22, 2021

Source: https://mesowest.utah.edu/

  • Solon Springs, WI: 0.27″
  • Brainerd, MN: 0.08″
  • Eveleth-Virginia, MN: 0.08″
  • Littlefork, MN: 0.07″
  • Aitkin, MN: 0.04″
  • Chisholm-Hibbing Airport: 0.03″
  • International Falls, MN: 0.02″
  • Moose Lake, MN: 0.02″
  • Two Harbors, MN: 0.02″
  • Grand Marais, MN: 0.02″
  • Glidden, WI: 0.01″
  • Duluth Airport: Trace

There is a chance for isolated to scattered strong to severe thunderstorms across northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin for Friday and Friday night. The risk for severe weather is highest across north-central into northeast Minnesota (yellow area) where there is a slight risk for severe thunderstorms.

Primary severe weather hazards on Friday include — Damaging wind gusts to 60 mph and large hail to quarter size (1″ diameter) Torrential downpours and frequent lightning are also possible with these storms on Friday.

Stay Weather Aware!

Setup for Friday includes a warm front (red) and cold front (blue) moving across the Northern Plains and upper Midwest.

One round of scattered storms are possible Friday morning-early afternoon with a warm front as it lifts NE across the Northland, and then we may see another round of storms develop or move into the area from the west later Friday afternoon or Friday evening.

Severe weather parameters still don’t look overly impressive to me on Friday, but we should have ample amounts of moisture in place and a fair amount of instability (CAPE) which are both needed for storms, but for severe weather we need other ingredients to be in place, including wind shear, stronger winds aloft and steep lapse rates.

Will have stronger upper level winds over the area on Friday, but low and especially mid level winds don’t look very strong. Mid level lapse rates also don’t look too impressive, generally peaking ~6.5-7.0 c/km — So will see how this all plays out Friday into Friday night as we have a few ingredients in place for stronger storms, while other ingredients are pretty marginal.

A look at two computer model solutions as to how things could play out through Friday night.

Between the two models shown below, the HRRR is most bullish on how widespread convection will be across the Northland on Friday, while the 3km NAM model shows a bit of a spilt job, with one area of storms up north, and another area of storms farther south. Will see how this plays out.

18z NAM 3km model

18z HRRR model


A much more humid air mass covered the upper Midwest today and this will stick around through Saturday morning before much drier air moves in Saturday afternoon into Sunday.

Dew points this afternoon are generally in the 60s to around 70 degrees in Minnesota and Wisconsin, with low 70s dew points extending north into southern Manitoba Canada today.

Here’s a look at the dew point forecast thru 7 PM Saturday.

A muggy day on Friday with dew points in the mid 60s to low 70s across the Northland, but much lower dew points in the 50s return by Saturday afternoon, but along with that comes gusty winds and increased fire danger depending on how much/widespread the rains are on Friday.


Latest Drought Monitor as of July 20, 2021 – Drought has worsened across Minnesota this week.


  • 18% of the state is in D3 or Extreme Drought (red) this is up from 3% last week.
  • 71% of the state is in D2 or Severe Drought (dark orange) this is up from 52% last week.
  • 98% of the state is in D1 or Moderate Drought (light orange) this is unchanged from last week.
  • 100% of the state is Abnormally Dry, this is unchanged from last week.


  • 2% of the state is in D2 or Severe Drought (dark orange) this is down from 3% last week.
  • 28% of the state is in D1 or Moderate Drought (light orange) this is down from 31% last week.
  • 52% of the state is Abnormally Dry (yellow) this is down from 58% last week.
  • 3% of the Midwest is in D3 or Extreme Drought (red) this is up from 0.87% last week.
  • 15% of the Midwest is D2 or Severe Drought (dark orange) this is up from 13% last week.
  • 27% of the Midwest is in D1 or Moderate Drought (light orange) this is down from 28% last week.
  • 35% of the Midwest is Abnormally Dry (yellow) this is down from 40% last week.
  • 8% of North Dakota is in D4 or Exceptional Drought (dark red) this is up from 7% last week.
  • 48% of North Dakota is in D3 or Extreme Drought (red) this is up from 47% last week.
  • 96% of North Dakota is in D2 or Severe Drought (dark orange) this is up from 91% last week.
  • 100% of North Dakota is in Moderate Drought and is Abnormally Dry.

0-100 cm Soil Moisture shows extremely dry conditions continuing across a large portion of Minnesota, with soil moisture percentiles ranging from <2% to 5% in the dark red and red colors on the map.


It’s been an interesting temperature pattern this month, not only in the Northland but elsewhere across the U.S.

Average temps this month (thru the 21st) range from nearly 2 degrees below average at Ashland, Wisconsin to over 3 degrees above average at International Falls, Minnesota – See list below

International Falls, MN: +3.5 degrees above average

Hibbing, MN: +1.0 degree above average

Brainerd, MN: +0.5 degrees above average

Duluth, MN: +0.3 degrees above average

Ashland, WI: -1.7 degrees below average

Note: The area outlined in black has seen the greatest departures from normal in the temperature department this month.

Friday is looking pretty warm in the Northland, but how warm will depend on cloud cover, thunderstorm timing and any possible effects from wildfire smoke/haze.

At the very least we’re looking at highs in the mid 70s to mid 80s on Friday, but 90s are possible especially over western and southern portions of the Northland. Note: Some locations in southwest and central Minnesota could make a run at 100 degrees Friday afternoon.

This warm pattern looks to stick around through much of next week.


Numerous fires continue to burn across Ontario Canada with yellow icons indicating new fires, and orange icons indicating active fires.

Wildfire smoke (mostly aloft) will continue to impact the Northland at least through Saturday, with higher quantities of smoke represented by the orange and red colors on the loop below.


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