The Northland had its first thunderstorm of the year early Tuesday morning. The sky lit up with lightning and hail rained down across the region.

The storm started around midnight and moved out of the region around 2 a.m. Patrick Ayd, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth, said the region received anywhere from 0.31 to 0.84 inches of rain. Hail reports showed the size between a pea and nickel, he said.

Ayd said the wet weather will continue over the next several days.

“Our damp spring weather is here, but spring is also full of fire danger at times as well,” he said. “We’re kind of living both sides of the spectrum here with our fire danger over the past few days and now finally getting into thunderstorms.”

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Ayd said it will be cool and rainy for the next several days but that doesn’t negate the fire danger in the Northland.

“The little bit of rainfall received last night only really temporarily helped things,” he said, adding the trees and fields need to green up to mitigate the risk.

Over the past week, the Northland has seen many small grass fires, including along Minnesota Highway 61 on the North Shore.

A prolonged period of rainfall is set to begin late Tuesday afternoon and continue through Saturday morning. Rainfall totals are expected to be anywhere from 0.5 to 3 inches. Isolated thunderstorms are possible but severe weather is not expected.

Hail from the first thunderstorm of the year covers the ground late Monday, April 5, 2021 in Duluth's East Hillside neighborhood. (Photo courtesy of Jacob Bell)
Hail from the first thunderstorm of the year covers the ground late Monday, April 5, 2021 in Duluth's East Hillside neighborhood. (Photo courtesy of Jacob Bell)