Stormy week ahead in Valley

It looks like a wet week ahead for the St. Croix Valley with thunderstorms forecast to develop late tonight into early Tuesday morning and a cold front expected to bring more storms to the region Wednesday.

Light northwest winds brought little relief to a sunny, hot and humid afternoon today, with highs reaching the low 90s.

National Weather Service meteorologists said isolated afternoon thunderstorms were possible from south central to west central Minnesota, bringing the risk of large hail and damaging wind gusts of 60 mph.

Forecasters, however, said thunderstorms were expected to rapidly expand tonight along and west of the Mississippi River.

“These storms will have the potential to produce very heavy downpours along with a small threat for hail and strong straight line winds,” said an NWS statement.

Showers and thunderstorms are likely after 1 a.m. Tuesday in the Valley with rainfall amounts between a quarter- and half-inch possible. Tonight’s low is expected to fall to the upper 60s.

There is a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1 p.m. Tuesday, giving way to partly sunny skies with a high of 86, according to the NWS. New rainfall amounts of less than one-tenth of in inch are possible.

“The threat of thunderstorms will continue through Friday afternoon of this week,” the NWS said. “The best chances for thunderstorms look to be Tuesday night into Wednesday as a cold front works through the area and again Thursday afternoon as a strong upper level system moves across the region.”

Highs Wednesday through Friday are forecast to range from 86 Wednesday to the low 80s to upper 70s Thursday and Friday.

The region should see a short break from storms Friday before the threat of new thunderstorms enters the Valley for the weekend.

“Thunderstorm chances will return Saturday night into Sunday,” the NWS said.

But forecasters believe conditions mid-week could lead to a chance of severe weather.

“The best chance for severe weather with all of this activity will come with the passage of the cold front Wednesday.