Storms likely Wednesday night; high heat, humidity expected Thursday

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We're in for a lot of changing weather the next few days.

"Over the next 72 hours, Minnesota savors a weather smorgasbord. Our buffet features fog, sun, thunder, rain and tropical humidity," meteorologist Paul Huttner wrote on MPR News' Updraft blog.

Dense fog blocked views in much of central and southern Minnesota Wednesday morning, but skies are expected to clear up making way for a sunny afternoon. Thunderstorms and locally heavy rainfall are possible overnight Wednesday.

It's expected to be hot and humid behind the storms. The National Weather Service says heat indices of 95 to 100 degrees are possible by Thursday afternoon as "heat and humidity surge" – keep this in mind if you're going to the opening day of the State Fair.

Weather timeline

Wednesday started out mild and muggy, with patchy fog in some areas, which reduced visibility in central and southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Skies started to clear out by 9 a.m. and "abundant sunshine" is expected Wednesday with highs in the mid-80s, KARE 11 reports.

After a dry spell for much of July and the start of August, the unsettled stormy weather returns to Minnesota, Huttner says. "Rain-bearing low-pressure systems" and warm fronts are expected for the next two weeks, he notes.

The next warm front is expected to sweep through Minnesota late Wednesday night into Thursday morning, bringing a line of thunderstorms across the state. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting up to 1.5 inches of rain in parts central Minnesota. (see rain total map here.)

Locally heavy rainfall is also expected in northern Minnesota Thursday, the weather service says.

Storms are expected to move out of the state in the late morning Thursday, and with that comes a wave of heat and humidity – the high in the Twin Cities is 91 degrees, the weather service says. (See map at right.)

"If we get any sun at all [Thursday] it will turn opening day at the 2014 Minnesota State Fair into a free sauna," Huttner wrote.

Temperatures in northern Minnesota won't be as hot, highs are expected to be in the 70s for most of the week.

Paul Douglas wrote on the Star Tribune's weather blog that Friday will be a better day to "graze the healthy food choices" at the fair. The weather service says the high is 87 degrees and it'll be mostly sunny, with a slight chance of rain late Friday night.

There's a chance of spotty thunderstorms this weekend, KARE 11 says, with temperatures in the 80s. Douglas says temperatures could reach 90 degrees again Sunday.

If that's too hot to go to the fair, it's expected to feel more like September next week. Forecasts predict highs in the 70s with low dew points – it may even dip into the upper 40s in the Twin Cities Tuesday morning, Huttner says.

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