Thunderstorms at times overnight and early Sat.; severe weather is possible

Flood watch Friday night/early Saturday in central Minnesota

Parts of Minnesota saw strong thunderstorms and heavy rain Thursday night, and another batch of strong to severe thunderstorms is expected to spread across Minnesota Friday night into early Saturday.

This is an excerpt from the Minnesota State Climatology Office post about the Thursday night downpours in central Minnesota:

The storms built southward slowly, with new cells forming on the west side of the complex and moving over previously-hit areas. This led to prolonged and recurrent episodes of intense rainfall, with rain totals well in excess of three inches northwest of Little Falls, and also in St. Cloud and neighboring communities. A small area near Randall and Cushing received extraordinary rainfall totals, leading the closure of US Highway 10 in both directions because of flooding in the area. 

The highest rainfall total received came from Soil & Water Conservation District rain gauge reader near Cushing, and will be marked as "11 inches," because the observer had noted that the rain had reached the gauge's 11-inch capacity and that additional rain was simply pouring out of it. It is not known how much more rain actually fell. Another observer from the same network in Randall recorded 7.40 inches.

In the St. Cloud area, a CoCoRaHS observer in Sartell reported 7.11 inches,  with 5.93 inches reported northwest of town, 5.50 and 4.86 inches in Sauk Rapids, 4.61 inches reported in St. Joseph, and 4.20 inches reported in St. Cloud proper. Through 9 AM, the St. Cloud airport, which is several miles east of the city, recorded 3.81 inches.

Here’s additional info on the heavy rain that fell Thursday night:

With saturated soils in central Minnesota, it wouldn’t take much additional rain to cause new flooding. There is a flood watch for several central Minnesota counties from 10 p.m. this Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday:

Flood watch (green) from 10 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday
National Weather Service

Friday night/early Saturday severe weather outlook

A cold front will be moving out of the Dakotas Friday night, and it’ll ignite areas of thunderstorms that will spread eastward Friday evening and overnight, lingering in eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin into early Saturday morning. Some severe weather is expected, with the highest chances of severe weather in the west.

A severe thunderstorm watch continues until 9 p.m. this Friday in much of North Dakota plus northwestern Minnesota:

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I expect additional severe weather watches to be issued by the NWS Storm Prediction Center Friday night.


7:30 p.m. Friday update

The NWS Storm Prediction Center has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for much of western, central and northern Minnesota until 3 a.m. Saturday:

Here are details of the severe thunderstorm watch:

URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED Severe Thunderstorm Watch Number 409 NWS Storm Prediction Center Norman OK 715 PM CDT Fri Jun 24 2022 The NWS Storm Prediction Center has issued a * Severe Thunderstorm Watch for portions of Northern, central and western Minnesota Southeastern North Dakota Eastern South Dakota * Effective this Friday night and Saturday morning from 715 PM until 300 AM CDT. * Primary threats include... Widespread damaging winds and isolated significant gusts to 80 mph likely Scattered large hail and isolated very large hail events to 2 inches in diameter possible A tornado or two possible SUMMARY...Multiple clusters of strong-severe thunderstorms initially over watches 407 and 408 are expected to coalesce, with additional development possible as the activity spreads across this watch area. The main threat will be severe gusts -- potentially 75 mph or higher locally -- but sporadic large hail may still occur. A tornado also cannot be ruled out, especially in northern areas near a retreating outflow boundary. The severe thunderstorm watch area is approximately along and 100 statute miles east and west of a line from 40 miles south southwest of Mitchell SD to 70 miles northwest of Ely MN. For a complete depiction of the watch see the associated watch outline update (WOUS64 KWNS WOU9). PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... REMEMBER...A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area. Persons in these areas should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements and possible warnings. Severe thunderstorms can and occasionally do produce tornadoes. && OTHER WATCH INFORMATION...CONTINUE...WW 407...WW 408... AVIATION...A few severe thunderstorms with hail surface and aloft to 2 inches. Extreme turbulence and surface wind gusts to 70 knots. A few cumulonimbi with maximum tops to 600. Mean storm motion vector 27035.

Additional severe weather watches may be issued by the NWS Storm Prediction Center Friday night.


The Storm Prediction Center of the National Weather Service shows an enhanced risk of severe weather Friday evening and through Friday night (which ends at 7 a.m. Saturday) in northwestern and west-central Minnesota, with a slight risk (shaded yellow) of severe weather from north-central through southwestern Minnesota:

Severe weather outlook Friday night, early Saturday morning
NWS Storm Prediction Center

The threat assessment and the details on what to expect and what to do are provided by the Twin Cities office of the NWS.

Enhanced risk means that numerous severe thunderstorms are possible, slight risk means that scattered severe thunderstorms are possible:

Severe weather risk categories
NWS Storm Prediction Center

Most of the Twin Cities metro area, plus the remainder of eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin, have a marginal risk of severe weather Friday night into early Saturday; which means that an isolated severe thunderstorm is possible. Our best chance of thunderstorms in the metro area arrives sometime after midnight Friday night, with thunderstorm chances lingering into early Saturday morning.

You can hear updated weather information for Minnesota and western Wisconsin on the Minnesota Public Radio News network, and you can see updated weather info on the MPR News live weather blog. It’s good to have a NOAA weather radio or a trusted weather alert app available to wake you up when warnings are issued for your area while you are asleep.

Saturday highs will be in the lower 80s in the Twin Cities plus southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin, with 70s elsewhere:

Saturday forecast highs
National Weather Service

Saturday afternoon dew points will be in the sticky 60s southeast, with more comfortable 50s to the northwest:

Saturday 1 p.m. forecast dew points
National Weather Service

Sunday highs will be in the 60s in roughly the northern third of Minnesota, with 70s elsewhere:

Sunday forecast highs
National Weather Service

Sunday dew points will be in the very comfortable 40s:

Sunday 1 p.m. forecast dew points
National Weather Service

Back to forecast high temps, Twin Cities metro area highs are projected to reach the lower 80s Monday and Tuesday, followed by upper 80s Wednesday and Thursday and then lower 80s on Friday.

Programming note

You can hear my live weather updates on MPR News at 7:35 a.m., 9:35 a.m. and 4:39 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday.