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Sunny, windy and warmer; Red Flag warning includes the metro area this afternoon

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It'll be windy all across Minnesota and western Wisconsin this Sunday afternoon and evening.

Strong winds and low relative humidity levels will create dangerous fire weather conditions in eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin this afternoon and early this evening.  Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly, so outdoor burning is not recommended.

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag warning from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. for eastern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metro area, and western Wisconsin:

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NWS Twin Cities
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NWS Duluth

Details of the Red Flag warning:

URGENT - FIRE WEATHER MESSAGE

National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN

342 AM CDT Sun Apr 29 2018

...CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS LIKELY THIS AFTERNOON ACROSS

EASTERN MINNESOTA AND FAR WESTERN WISCONSIN...

.Dangerous fire weather conditions are likely over much of

eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin this afternoon. South

winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts of 30 to 35 mph are expected as

humidity levels drop to less than 25 percent. A Red Flag Warning

is in effect for these areas.

Western Minnesota will have stronger winds with gusts around 40

mph, but minimum RH may not drop as low as 25 percent. A Fire

Weather Watch is in effect due to the possibility of lower

humidity values materializing.

MNZ043>045-050>053-059>063-068>070-076>078-084-085-093-WIZ014-

023>026-291800-

/O.UPG.KMPX.FW.A.0002.180429T1800Z-180430T0000Z/

/O.NEW.KMPX.FW.W.0002.180429T1800Z-180430T0000Z/

Morrison-Mille Lacs-Kanabec-Benton-Sherburne-Isanti-Chisago-

Wright-Hennepin-Anoka-Ramsey-Washington-Carver-Scott-Dakota-

Le Sueur-Rice-Goodhue-Waseca-Steele-Freeborn-Polk-St. Croix-

Pierce-Dunn-Pepin-

342 AM CDT Sun Apr 29 2018

...RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 7 PM

CDT THIS EVENING FOR STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY...

The National Weather Service in Twin Cities/Chanhassen has issued

a Red Flag Warning, which is in effect from 1 PM this afternoon

to 7 PM CDT this evening. The Fire Weather Watch is no longer in

effect.

* AFFECTED AREA...Eastern Minnesota and far western Wisconsin.

* WIND...South 15 to 20 mph with gusts near 30 mph.

* HUMIDITY...Minimum RH of 18 to 25 percent.

* IMPACTS...any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly.

Outdoor burning is not recommended.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions

are either occurring now....or will shortly. A combination of

strong winds...low relative humidity...and warm temperatures can

contribute to extreme fire behavior.

Here are details of the Red Flag warning that covers portions of northern Minnesota:

URGENT - FIRE WEATHER MESSAGE

National Weather Service Duluth MN

414 AM CDT Sun Apr 29 2018

MNZ010-011-018-019-025-026-033>038-WIZ006-291715-

/O.UPG.KDLH.FW.A.0002.180429T1800Z-180430T0000Z/

/O.NEW.KDLH.FW.W.0002.180429T1800Z-180430T0000Z/

Koochiching-North St. Louis-North Itasca-Central St. Louis-

North Cass-South Itasca-South Cass-Crow Wing-Northern Aitkin-

South Aitkin-Carlton/South St. Louis-Pine-Burnett-

414 AM CDT Sun Apr 29 2018

...RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 7 PM

CDT THIS EVENING FOR LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITIES AND GUSTY WINDS...

The National Weather Service in Duluth has issued a Red Flag

Warning for low relative humidities and gusty winds, which is in

effect from 1 PM this afternoon to 7 PM CDT this evening. The Fire

Weather Watch is no longer in effect.

* Affected Area...In Minnesota, Koochiching, North St. Louis,

North Itasca, Central St. Louis, North Cass, South Itasca,

South Cass, Crow Wing, Northern Aitkin, South Aitkin,

Carlton/South St. Louis and Pine. In Wisconsin, Burnett.

* Winds...South 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph.

* Relative Humidity...As low as 20 percent.

* Temperatures...In the mid 60s.

* Impacts...Any fires which develop may spread quickly through

dry vegetation and quickly grow out of control.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions

are either occurring now....or will shortly. A combination of

strong winds...low relative humidity...and warm temperatures can

contribute to extreme fire behavior.

Fire danger high to extremely high

The Sunday morning fire danger map from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources shows high to very high fire danger conditions over most of Minnesota:

rt0429fire
Minnesota DNR

Here are the fire danger categories used by the Minnesota DNR:

Low

Fires are not easily started. Fuels do not ignite readily from small firebrands, although a more intense ignition source, such as lightning, may start many fires in duff or punky wood. Fires in open cured grassland may burn freely a few hours after rain, but fires burning in forested areas spread slowly by creeping or smoldering, and burn in irregular fingers. There is little danger of spotting.

Moderate

Fires start easily and spread at a moderate rate. Fires can start from most accidental causes, but with the exception of lightning fires in some areas, the number of starts is generally low. Fires in open-cured grassland will burn briskly and spread rapidly on windy days. Woods fires spread slowly to moderately fast. The average fire is of moderate intensity, although heavy concentrations of fuel may burn hot. Short-distance spotting may occur, but is not persistent. Fires are not likely to become serious, and control is relatively easy.

High

Fires start easily and spread at a fast rate. All fine dead fuels ignite readily and fires start easily from most causes. Unattended campfires are likely to escape. Fires spread rapidly and short-distance spotting is common. High-intensity burning may develop on slopes, or in concentrations of fine fuel. Fires may become serious and difficult to control unless they are hit hard and fast while small.

Very High

Fires start very easily and spread at a very fast rate. Fires start easily from all causes, spread rapidly, and intensify quickly. Spot fires are a constant danger. Fires burning in heavy fuels may quickly develop high-intensity characteristics, such as long-distance spotting and fire whirlwinds. Direct attack at the head of such fires is rarely possible after they have been burning more than a few minutes.

Extreme

The fire situation is explosive and can result in extensive property damage. Fires under extreme conditions start quickly, spread furiously, and burn intensely. All fires are potentially serious. Development into high-intensity burning will usually be faster and occur from smaller fires than in the very high danger class (item 4). Direct attack is rarely possible, and may be dangerous, except immediately after ignition. Fires burning in heavy slash or in conifer stands may be unmanageable while the extreme burning condition lasts. Under these conditions, the only effective and safe control action is on the flanks until the weather changes or the fuel supply lessens.

Temperature trends

We'll have plenty of sunshine all across Minnesota today, and temps will be warmer than they were on Saturday. Highs could creep into the lower 70s over parts of western and southern MN, with some 60s in north-central and northeastern Minnesota. Many spots in the Twin Cities metro area should reach 70 degrees.

Monday will be the warmest day of the coming week, with some spots in southern Minnesota and the metro area reaching 80 degrees:

rt0430h4

Twin Cities metro area highs are expected to be in the 70s on Tuesday, followed by 60s Wednesday and Thursday.

Rain opportunities 

Minnesota could see scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms after midnight tonight and into early Monday morning.  Periods of showers and thunderstorms are expected late Monday night and on Tuesday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast System model shows the potential precipitation pattern from Sunday night through Tuesday night:

rt0429rad
NOAA GFS precipitation rate (mm/hour) from Sunday night through Tuesday night, via tropicaltidbits

The color chart to the right of the loop refers to the precipitation rate (mm per hour), not to the total amount of rain.

A severe thunderstorm is possible Monday night, mainly in southwestern Minnesota:

rt0429svr
NWS Twin Cities

It also looks like there will be a chance of a severe thunderstorm in southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area on Tuesday.

Spring flooding update

River levels are high in many parts of Minnesota due to our rapid spring snowmelt.

Flood warnings have been issued for the green-shaded areas on the following maps, which can be found on the home pages of the National Weather Service Twin Cities office and Grand Forks office:

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NWS Twin Cities
rt0429gfk
NWS Grand Forks

You can click on areas of interest on the NWS home pages for the latest river forecasts.

Here's the most recent flood warning info for the Mississippi River at St. Paul:

MNC037-123-163-300730-

/O.EXT.KMPX.FL.W.0016.180429T2100Z-180505T1200Z/

/STPM5.2.ER.180429T2100Z.180501T1800Z.180504T1800Z.NO/

830 PM CDT Sat Apr 28 2018

The Flood Warning continues for the Mississippi River at St. Paul

from Sunday afternoon and then continuing through the week ahead.

* At 7:00 PM Saturday the stage was 13.4 feet.

* Minor flooding is expect to begin Sunday afternoon...Moderate flooding is

forecast to begin Monday morning.

* Flood stage is 14.0 feet.

* Forecast...Rise above flood stage by Sunday afternoon and continue to rise to

near 15.1 feet by Tuesday afternoon. After that the river is expect to fall

below flood stage Friday afternoon.

* Impact...At 14.0 feet...Portions of the Lilydale park area begin to

experience flooding.

* Impact...At 13.3 feet...Water begins to encroach on Water St.

An updated flood warning is expected later this morning.

You can also click on any location on the NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service site to get hydrographs of recent and forecast river levels.

Here’s the Sunday morning hydrograph for the Mississippi River at St. Paul, which is expected to rise slightly more than 1 -and-one-quarter additional feet between this morning and Tuesday afternoon:

rt0429stp
NOAA/NWS/USGS

River levels and forecasts are updated on a regular basis, so check for updates.

Programming note

You can hear my live weather updates on Minnesota Public Radio at 7:49 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and at 7:35 a.m., 9:35 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday.