MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Parts of Minnesota got some much-needed rain Thursday evening — but it didn’t stop there.

Some communities in southeastern Minnesota were battered by huge chunks of hail, especially in Rice and Goodhue counties.

In Lonsdale, WCCO crews didn’t see any serious damage, but homeowner Mike Breyer captured a bunch of golf ball-sized hail that had pelted his yard. He says it started coming down at about 7 p.m. and held steady for about 15 minutes — and it sounded like someone was hitting his house with a hammer.

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“We’ve got a family of geese, Canadian geese in the backyard, and we looked out and they huddled together, and we thought they were going to get killed by this hail,” Breyer said. “And they’re alright I guess, so everything turned out well.”

There were also reports in the Lonsdale area of tennis ball-sized hail that was even approaching the size of baseballs.


Most storm warnings expired in the state by midnight. While there were only a few sprinkles in the Twin Cities, communities like Elko New Market, Cannon Falls, Farmington, Northfield and Eau Claire in Wisconsin got some coveted rainfall Thursday evening, ranging from a third of an inch to almost three-quarters of an inch.

WCCO Meteorologist Chris Shaffer says drought conditions have gotten worse in Minnesota, with about half of the state experiencing moderate drought. Parts of the state will be under a Fire Weather Watch Friday, including much of the Twin Cities, due to the threat of brush fires from the mix of dry conditions and heavy winds.

Dew points will continue to drop through mid-Friday, when temperatures will approach 90 degrees in much of the state. Widespread sunshine is expected Saturday, which is shaping up to be a #Top10WxDay, and the next shot of widespread rain is coming Sunday, including possible thunderstorms earlier in the day.

Below-average highs are then in the forecast for early next week, something Minnesota hasn’t experienced since late May.