2 waves of strong storms expected to advance on lakes area

Widespread wind damage expected with Friday’s severe storm. “This is probably going to be the worst storm the Northland sees this summer,” said Joe Moore, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth.

By Saturday morning, July 18, the full breadth and power of a severe summer storm should be visible — and whatever that storm leaves is expected to be followed by a second storm wave.

“This is probably going to be the worst storm the Northland sees this summer,” said Joe Moore, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth. Moore spoke Friday afternoon during an online media briefing on the approaching storm.

Temperatures were in the 90s with nearly 50% humidity Friday, giving the day a hot muggy feel that seemed ripe for storm development.

Moore pointed to the strong winds expected with the first round of storms as the main driver of damage potential. In isolated areas, there could be hail of 1-1.5 inches.

“We are expecting a widespread damaging wind storm with widespread power outage,” Moore said, adding the storm had the potential to blow down a lot of trees. The cone of anticipated severe weather stretched from north of Bemidji to south of St. Cloud with the Brainerd lakes area in the center of the red zone where widespread storms were likely Friday.


With the wind, large hail, torrential rainfall, which may cause localized flooding, and frequent cloud-to-ground lightning were listed as secondary threats.

The weather service predicted the storm’s arrival on Friday between 8-11 p.m. across Todd, Wadena, Cass, Crow Wing and Morrison counties and between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. for Aitkin and Mille Lacs counties, noting it could shift to be earlier or later. .

“We may see a few brief weak tornadoes,” Moore said, but he reiterated the winds of 75 mphs or more may inflict widespread damage as it bears down on the lakes area. That could leave people without power for extended periods, Moore said.

“We are going to get a downpour of rain with this but this is going to be a wind event,” Moore said.

The biggest risk for life and property is for people camping, be it a tent or recreational vehicle, that would not be adequate for Friday’s storm.

“Any mobile housing is not going to be safe tonight,” Moore said.

The weather service was advising campers to consider spending the night in a motel or making other plans for stronger shelter. Large hail may also be part of this system. In posts designed for campers Friday, the weather service stated, “Be especially cautious in the Brainerd lakes region and Boundary Waters Canoe Area!” The risk area with the Brainerd lakes region was listed through 7 a.m. Saturday.

Saturday should bring the second wave of storms with more isolated strong to severe storms with 65 mph winds. Moore said the Saturday storms are not anticipated to be as widespread as Friday but could produce 2 inch hail or greater. East central Minnesota and farther east is primed for large hail, Moore said, and the potential for an isolated tornado.


With heavy rain there could be localized flash flooding and motorists should be aware of conditions before driving and never drive on a flooded roadway. Timing for storms Saturday was expected to be 4-7 p.m. for the Brainerd lakes area.

Moore described Saturday’s storms as being more typical of a pop-up summer storm that isn’t expected to last all night but some areas will receive heavy rainfall.

“The severe weather threat is somewhat conditional based on how early the overnight storms clear the area and how long the clouds linger during the daytime,” the weather service reported for Saturday’s volatility. “Large hail, damaging wind gusts, torrential rainfall, and tornadoes are possible.

“There will be additional chances of thunderstorms during the upcoming week. The highest chance of widespread thunderstorms will be Tuesday afternoon and evening. A few storms may be strong, but widespread severe weather is not anticipated at this time.”

Renee Richardson, managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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