Friday, December 2

Tornado warnings in Twin Cities metro expire after storms hit

Large hail and lots of rain hit Minnesota on Wednesday and more rough weather will make its way through the Twin Cities tonight and Thursday.

A tornado warning for areas of Dakota County, including Eagan, Lakeville and Burnsville, as well as one for Anoka, Hennepin and Ramsey County expired just before 9 p.m., the National Weather Service said.

Parts of Waseca and Blue Earth counties in southern Minnesota were under a tornado warning until 9:15 p.m., according to the service. A series of thunderstorm watches and warnings were in effect around southern Minnesota, with more being added across the St. Croix River, now including areas of northwest Wisconsin.

The storms were bringing heavy rain and winds as well as small hail. Storms sirens went off across the metro, including in Minneapolis. Widespread power outages were reported, with about 75,000 Xcel Energy customers without service. The heavy rain flooded streets around the Twin Cities.

A flash flood warning was called for cars stalled and partially submerged in Minneapolis at 50th Street and Nicollet Avenue, 28th Street and Lyndale Avenue, 38th Avenue, East 42nd Street, and 78th Street at Gleason Road in Edina. Flooding at the Mall of America also caused the light rail to temporarily stop service.

“This will be a good night to have a way to receive weather warnings,” said meteorologist Chris O’Brien, who works in the Weather Service’s Chanhassen office.

Earlier Wednesday, a tornado watch was issued for southeastern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metro, and northwest Wisconsin until midnight. Another was in effect until 9 p.m. in southwestern Minnesota covering an area from Mankato south to the Iowa border and west to Mitchell, S.D. The watch also covers northwestern Iowa, the National Weather Service said.

Rounds of severe thunderstorms dropped heavy rain and hail across a large portion of southern and central Minnesota on Wednesday with winds of up to 80 mph, the National Weather Service said.

“The metro escaped the first round,” he said. “Later today, we expect a more impactful storm,” with its arrival in the metro forecast between 6 and 9 p.m. Rain, high winds, hail and tornadoes are possible, O’Brien said.

Earlier Wednesday, storms dumped more than 3 inches of rain near Waseca and hail 1 inch in diameter or greater was reported in Plainview, Kasson, Pine Island, St. Michael and Cottonwood. The largest stones — 2½ inches in diameter or the size of a tennis ball — fell in Oronoco, a town north of Rochester, the weather service said.

Some Xcel Energy customers lost service in the St. Cloud area after morning storms rolled through Stearns County.

Wednesday’s wild weather comes two days after powerful storms ripped down power lines, toppled scores of trees and damaged buildings in Chisago County and in Polk County in western Wisconsin. Residents in Lindstrom, Minn. were still cleaning up damage Monday’s storms. There was damage throughout Chisago County, the sheriff’s office said.

Near-record highs of 90 degrees and humid conditions will likely fuel more storms Thursday when most of the state will be under an enhanced risk for severe weather — including another possibility of tornadoes.

“We’re expecting severe weather (tomorrow) – strong damaging winds, large hail and possible tornados,” said Melissa Dye, meteorologist at the weather service.

Behind the storms, temperatures will fall back into the upper 70s Friday and low 70s Saturday and Sunday.

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