Duluth finally got its drought-busting rainfall Wednesday and early Thursday, with 1.48 inches falling in thunderstorm downpours, the heaviest rain of the season.

The same system of intense thunderstorms that spawned a deadly tornado Wednesday evening in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, and reports of funnel clouds near Brainerd and Ashland overnight, also dumped heavy rainfall across much of Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin.

There was one report of a roof blown off a house near Pine Center in Crow Wing County, possibly related to tornado sightings in that area.

There were no reports of widespread damage in the area covered by the Duluth office of the National Weather Service, senior meteorologist Linda Engebretson said. Hail up to 1.75 inches in diameter was reported near Bennett, Wisconsin, and three-fourths-inch hail was reported in several areas, including Virginia. Winds gusted to 60 mph at the Ashland airport and 51 mph at the Duluth airport.

“We had reports of water over the road in some areas near Iron River in Bayfield County, but no washouts were confirmed as of now, which is kind of surprising considering how hard it came down at times,’’ Engebretson said Thursday morning.

Duluth had been more than 7 inches short for rainfall for 2020 heading into July, with one of the driest Junes on record. But the hit-and-miss thunderstorms that had been missing the area finally arrived this week.

As an example of how varied rainfall can be in thunderstorms, Engebretson said that while 1.48 inches fell at Duluth International Airport's automated weather station — Duluth's official total — the Weather Service office less than a mile away received 1.67 inches.

Storm rainfall totals by Thursday

  • 6.7 inches in Lake Nebagamon.
  • 5 inches in Mason.
  • 4.5 inches in Aitkin.
  • 3.25 inches in Bayfield.
  • 3.16 inches just north of Drummond.
  • 2.94 inches in Oulu.
  • 2.8 inches in Ashland.
  • 2.5 inches in Herbster and in Duluth's Lester Park neighborhood.
  • 2.15 inches in Superior.
  • 2 inches in Kettle River.
  • 1.94 inches in Cloquet.
  • 1.33 inches in Two Harbors.
  • 1.24 inches north of Hayward.
  • 1.07 inches near Minong.

This story was updated at noon and 8:55 a.m. July 9 with additional rainfall totals. It was originally posted at 7:53 a.m. July 9.