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Rain and thunder at times on Saturday; Sunday is looking good

Heavy rain possible in the southwest

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Rain and some thunderstorms will spread across much of central and southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin as we go through the overnight hours of Friday night. Periods of rain and thunderstorms will continue on Saturday. One to three inches of rain are possible Friday night into Saturday in parts of west-central and southwestern Minnesota, where flood watches continue into Saturday morning:

Flood watch Friday night and early Saturday parts of southwestern Minnesota
National Weather Service

Updated watches and detailed forecast info can be found by clicking on the map at the NWS site.

As always, updated weather information can be heard on the Minnesota Public Radio Network, and you’ll also see updated weather info on the MPR News live weather blog.

You can see the recent local NWS radar loop here. The recent radar loop for southwestern Minnesota can be found here, and the southeastern Minnesota loop here. The northeastern Minnesota radar loop and the northwestern Minnesota radar loop are also available.

Temperature trends

Saturday highs will be mainly in the 70s across Minnesota and western Wisconsin, with the warmest readings in the north.

Sunday highs will reach the 70s north and lower 80s in parts of the south:

Sunday forecast highs
National Weather Service

Twin Cities metro area highs are projected to reach the mid 70s next Monday and Tuesday, followed by upper 70s next Wednesday.

Highs in the 80s will probably return toward the end of next week. The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center shows a tendency toward warmer than normal temperatures the end of next week through the following weekend:

Temperature outlook August 15-19
NWS Climate Prediction Center

Summer isn’t over.

Monday rain potential

Scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible on Monday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast System model shows the potential rain pattern Monday and Monday evening:

NOAA NAM simulated radar Monday and Monday evening

Duluth radar repair

The Duluth NWS office has announced that the Duluth NWS radar will be undergoing several days of upgrade work, beginning around August 19:

Beginning on or around August 19, 2019, the KDLH WSR-88D operated by the National Weather Service in Duluth, Minnesota will be down for approximately 10 to 12 days for an important hardware upgrade. KDLH is expected to return to full operational service sometime around August 31, 2019. Technicians will refurbish and replace the radar pedestal, which is one of the most critical components of the radar necessary for antenna rotation and elevation positioning to capture accurate weather data in all directions from the radar site. The components are extremely heavy and will require removal of the protective radome by crane, replacement of the radar pedestal assembly, and finally, reinstalling the dome when the work is completed.

The KDLH radar and pedestal were designed to last 25 years when installed in the mid-1990s, and as of 2019 the KDLH radar pedestal has exceeded its original life expectancy. The pedestal replacement is necessary to keep the KDLH radar functioning well into the 2030s.

The pedestal refurbishment is the third major phase of the WSR-88D Service Life Extension Program (SLEP), a series of upgrades that will keep all of our nation’s weather radars viable into the 2030s. The National Weather Service, the United States Air Force, and the Federal Aviation Administration are investing $150 million in the 8-year program. The first phase of the SLEP was the installation of the new signal processor, and the second phase was the refurbishment of the transmitter unit - both of these upgrades have already been successfully completed on the Duluth, Minnesota radar. The fourth phase will be the refurbishment of the equipment shelters, and this should be completed by 2023.

During the radar downtime, data from adjacent WSR-88D radars will be available, including: Grand Forks, ND (KMVX), Twin Cities/Chanhassen, MN (KMPX), La Crosse, WI (KARX), Green Bay, WI (KGRB), and Marquette, MI (KMQT). For direct access to any of these surrounding radar sites, please visit the following web page: https://radar.weather.gov/ -or- any number of websites and mobile/tablet apps where WSR-88D weather radar data is freely available in real time.

The KDLH WSR-88D is part of a network of 159 operational weather radars. The Radar Operations Center in Norman, Oklahoma provides lifecycle management and support this entire network of WSR-88Ds.