A major spring storm will impact portions of the region today into tomorrow with very heavy rainfall, some snow, and very high winds. The most significant impacts will occur along and east of I-35 in eastern Minnesota, though the greatest impacts by far being felt in western Wisconsin.
To the left, you will see the progression of the system from this morning into Thursday, click the image to animate it. You will see that the storm which is currently over northeastern Missouri will undergo rapid intensification this evening and tonight, nearly bombing out. This will allow a swath of very heavy rain and snow to develop from southeastern Minnesota, thru western Wisconsin and into northeastern Minnesota. I will outline these areas in greater detail below, but the risk does exist for localized flooding as 1-3 inches of rain could fall in a rather short period. A severe weather episode is likely to the south of the region as well, with very large hail and tornadoes possible.
To the right, you’ll see the latest rainfall forecast, including this morning’s rainfall amounts, indicating that areas along and east of I-35 will see the greatest rainfall totals of 2-3 inches with this system. There is a chance we see localized amounts in excess of 3 inches, but the greatest risk of that looks to be in the western Wisconsin. In addition, this system will produce some very significant snowfall, possibly in excess of one foot, but that threat appears to be greatest in northern Minnesota. Nonetheless, we may see some minor accumulations, generally in the 1-2 inch range, along and north of the I-94 corridor, with less than one inch elsewhere.
The other big story with this storm will be the wind. A high wind watch has been posted for southeastern areas where wind gusts in excess of 60mph are possible this evening into early tomorrow morning. Given the wet soil, at least scattered downed trees and powerlines are possible as some models, such as the GFS to the left, suggests wind gusts potentially in excess of 65mph. Conditions will be breezy elsewhere, but for those along the I-90 corridor from Albert Lea to Rochester, potentially damaging winds are possible tonight.
While some of the area will miss out on most of the hazards with this storm, it will be a wide-reaching storm with a great impact on eastern Minnesota and much of Wisconsin. Unfortunately, I don’t envision this being the last of the major storm systems to impact our region this spring.