Isolated Tornado Threat Minnesota to Nebraska

By By: Mark Miller, meteorologist
May 03, 2012, 3:24:06 AM EDT

LATEST: 5:32 p.m. CDT: "Funnel cloud headed toward I-94 with poor visibility reported," Stearns Co., MN police scanner. 5:30 p.m. CDT: "Golf ball-sized hail right now," from Stearns Cunty, Minn. police scanner 5:05 p.m. CDT: Two tornado reports are coming out of Pope County, Minn., near Brooten and in Sedan as storms heat up across the Upper Midwest. 4:20 p.m. CDT: Hail with diameters up to 1.25 inches covered the ground with drifting reported.

Severe thunderstorms will ignite across the upper Mississippi Valley later this afternoon and tonight.

Places that will need to keep an eye out for damaging severe storms include St. Cloud, Minneapolis and Mankato, Minn., Sioux Falls, S.D., and Omaha, Neb.

The greatest risks will be large hail, locally damaging wind gusts, flash flooding and a few tornadoes.

Hail the size of baseballs and wind gusts to 60 mph can cause significant damage to automobiles, homes, trees and power lines.

Torrential downpours are capable of causing flash flooding. Heavy rain that falls in a short amount of time can lead to roadways becoming submerged in quickly rising water, especially in low-lying and poor drainage areas.

Never drive on a roadway that has been completely covered with water. Turn around and seek a safer alternative route to your destination.

There will also be the threat for isolated tornadoes. Heed all watches and warnings and be prepared to take action if a warning is issued for your area.


A storm system will move eastward from the northern Rockies into the northern Plains later today. Out ahead of the storm, warm and moist air will stream northward into the region, creating an atmosphere conducive for explosive thunderstorms.

Later in the afternoon and at night, after daytime heating has taken place, a cold front will slice into the region from the northwest.

The cold front will act as a trigger for damaging severe thunderstorms to erupt.

Strong to severe storms will also fire across parts of western Texas this afternoon.

While the threat is much more isolated today, some places that were hit with severe storms on Monday will be in store for another round this afternoon.


Cities in the threat zone include Amarillo, Lubbock and Midland.

Residents in this area should be on the lookout for thunderstorms capable of producing large hail and strong, potentially damaging winds.

A boundary separating very dry air from very moist air, also known as a dry line, will provide the spark for thunderstorms to ignite later this afternoon.

Keep checking back with for the latest severe weather updates.

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