Significant rainfall is looking more likely by the hour in Minnesota’s extreme drought zone.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale model forecasts bands of heavy rainfall accumulating over the next 84 hours (see map above).
Soaking rainfall in the drought zone
Much of central Minnesota including the Twin Cities area dipped into extreme drought this week. Friday’s latest forecast model runs have shifted to lay out a potential multi-inch corridor of rainfall right over the worst of the drought zone.
Keep in mind that rainfall in these systems is often highly localized and can vary over just a few miles. But the trend is encouraging to see some soaking, potentially multi-inch rainfall totals this weekend.
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The most encouraging forecast models crank out anywhere from 1 to as much as 5 inches of rainfall locally this weekend.
In the map below, check out the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts model output through Monday. It lays out a wide area of multi-inch rains across Minnesota.
It suggests anywhere from 2 to as much as 4 or 5 inches around much of Minnesota including parts of the greater Twin Cities area.
So it’s possible we can go from extreme drought to some local flash flooding this weekend in some places. There’s also a risk for severe storms favoring southwestern Minnesota on Saturday.
For the Twin Cities, rainfall looks occasional and spotty for most of Saturday. The heaviest cells likely arrive Saturday evening.
Let’s see how the forecast models handle this system as rainfall increases this weekend.