Posted at 4:12 PM on September 24, 2010
by Paul Huttner
This may be the best weekend for leaf peepers in northern Minnesota.
The Minnesota DNR is reporting that fall colors are near peak now in north central Minnesota. Many locations in the northern half of Minnesota are reporting bright fall color displays now, with 50% to 75% color in many areas along the North Shore (especially inland) and Iron Range.
Here are some details from the Minnesota DNR:
Grand Portage State Park:
The Maples inland from Lake Superior have really changed a lot in the past week and about half of them are very close to their peak color. The Maples at higher elevations have amazing color right now, while the Maples at lower elevations still have some green on them. Aspen and Birch are starting to change now as well. Wildflowers currently in bloom include Black-Eyed Susans, Ox-Eye Daisies and Asters.
Gooseberry Falls State Park:
Colors are starting to progress rapidly, being much more advanced inland. On the shore we are starting to see good color in the Birches, Balsam Poplar, Aspen, Mountain Maple, Sumac, Honeysuckle and Sugar Maple.
Lake Bemidji State Park:
Most park trails are showing some signs of fall. Color is working it's way down from the canopy. 9/22 update The best trail to walk this weekend is to Sundew Pond. The entrance road is also prime.
Trees in the southern half of Minnesota are generally showing 25% to 50% color right now. I've noticed some bright red sugar maples popping near the Huttner Weather Lab this week.
Flood in perspective:
The Minnesota Climate Working Group has a good write up here about this week's flood event in historical perspective.
The highest two-day rainfall total reported so far through the MNGage volunteer network was 11.06 inches near Winnebago in Faribault County. The official National Weather Service observer at Amboy in Blue Earth County reported 10.68 inches. Other higher amounts include 10.20 inches at Truman in Martin County, 9.26 inches at Windom in Cottonwood County, and 8.57 inches at Theilman in Wabasha County.
Flood focus shfits to Minnesota River:
Much of the rainfall that fell on southern Minnesota this week is flowing into the Minnesota River watershed. In an unusual event for September, the Minnesota is expected to reach major flood stage in the southwest metro next week. This could force the closure of river crossing that affect thousands of metro commuters.
Keep an eye out for road closings next week along the Minnesota.
Sunday: Better day of the weekend
Saturday brings another shot of rain to Minnesota. A fast moving upper air disturbance riding south from Canada will bring a batch of showers spreading from northwest to southeast across the state Saturday. Rainfall amounts look lighter...no big flooding rains, but many areas may pick up another .25" Saturday.
Sunday looks like the drier sunnier day of the weekend.
Warm dry pattern ahead?
Sunday kicks off what looks to be a warm dry weather pattern setting up for the next two weeks. A ridge of high pressure over the western states should keep Minnesota on the drier, sunnier side the next few days. Temperatures may push 70 early next week, and that's good news for rain soaked farmers whose fields are under water after flooding rains this week.
Enjoy the weekend!