Scattered showers tonight; Wildfire smoke lingers tonight — Air Quality Alert in effect until 6 AM Friday; Dry and warmer this weekend but turning much cooler near Lake Superior Sunday

6:33 PM Thursday, May 18, 2023

Scattered showers continue across the Northland tonight.

Overcast skies on Friday with increasing amounts of sunshine from north to south Friday afternoon.

Highs Friday in the mid 50s to low 60s in the Northland with northerly winds gusting to 25 mph.

Wildfire smoke lingers tonight but smoke should clear late tonight into Friday morning.

Warmer temperatures Saturday with highs in the low to mid 70s.

Highs in the Northland on Sunday ranging from the upper 60s to middle 70s, but much cooler temperatures are likely near Lake Superior including in Duluth due to winds shifting to the northeast once again.

HRRR model radar forecast through 1 PM Friday.

HRRR model rainfall forecast through 1 PM Friday.

Highest rain totals are forecast to be across parts of northern Minnesota tonight into Friday morning.


A mid/upper level low currently over southeast Manitoba will continue to move off to the east-southeast tonight and Friday exiting the Northland to the east by Friday afternoon. This upper-level system will bring some more showers to the Northland tonight, with showers lingering during the day Friday mostly over the Arrowhead with isolated showers farther to the south.

Goes-16 visible satellite loop from Thursday, May 18, 2023 (loop time ends 5 PM CT)

Goes-16 water vapor loop from Thursday, May 18, 2023 (loop time ends 5 PM CT)


Here’s a look at radar rainfall estimates for today (thru 5 PM)

Rainfall Reports from May 18, 2023
Source: MesoWest

Note: Totals below are through 4 PM Thursday

Orr, MN: 0.41″
Deer River, MN: 0.32″
Bigfork, MN: 0.21″
Littlefork, MN: 0.18″
Grand Rapids, MN: 0.14″
Longville, MN: 0.14″
Chisholm-Hibbing Airport: 0.14″
Eveleth-Virginia, MN: 0.13″
Cloquet, MN: 0.13″
Hill City, MN: 0.13″
Hayward, WI: 0.12″
Walker, MN: 0.11″
Two Harbors, MN: 0.11″
Winter, WI: 0.11″
Saginaw, MN: 0.10″
Clam Lake, WI: 0.09″
Ely, MN: 0.09″
Spooner, WI: 0.09″
International Falls, MN: 0.08″
McGregor, MN: 0.07″
Washburn, WI: 0.07″
Webb Lake, WI: 0.07″
Ashland, WI: 0.06″
Duluth Airport: 0.06″
Moose Lake, MN: 0.05″
Brainerd, MN: 0.05″
Pine River, MN: 0.03″
Hinckley, MN: 0.03″
Minong, WI: 0.03″
Cass Lake, MN: 0.03″
Esko, MN: 0.03″
Duluth Sky Harbor Airport: 0.02″
Superior Airport: 0.01″
Solon Springs, WI: 0.01″
Isabella, MN: 0.01″


The other story today besides the scattered showers has been the wildfire smoke which has been making it down to the surface leading to a smoke smell, and also reducing visibilities to <5 miles in parts of Minnesota today.

Here’s a look at the air quality as of 4 PM Thursday.

Red — Unhealthy air quality

Orange — Unhealthy air quality for sensitive groups

Yellow — Moderate air quality

An Air Quality Alert is in effect until 6 AM Friday for all of Minnesota.

Note — Smoke is expected to clear rapidly overnight tonight into Friday morning.


A chilly air mass behind today’s system over northwest Minnesota and in parts of North Dakota with temperatures only in the 40s this afternoon.

Looking ahead to next week features a bit of a pattern change as we get rid of the northwest flow across the upper Midwest with winds aloft turning more to the west or southwest the way it looks now.

Warmer than average temperatures are expected in the Northland next week with the greatest above average temperature anomalies covering the Dakotas into western and southern Minnesota.

Note — Lake breezes will occur at times near Lake Superior next week, and on those days with an east wind expect much cooler highs in the 40s and 50s near Lake Superior, but on days which feature an offshore wind, highs will likely be in the 70s and possibly even in the 80s.


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