First Tornado Watch of 2013 (posted until 9 pm - includes Twin Cities). Significant Risk of Flash Flooding
May 19, 2013 — 3:34pm
* Doppler estimates: 1" diameter hail pushing into St. Paul and suburbs.
* Tornado Watch posted for the southern half of Minnesota, including the Twin Cities and suburbs, until 9pm.
* A few isolated tornadoes are possible into the evening hours; most locations will see hail, straight-line wind gusts to 65 mph, and localized flash flooding from very heavy rain falling in a short period of time. The vast majority of us will not see tornadic storms.
* 1-3" additional rain possible into the evening hours - falling on saturated soil, resulting in flooding of streets, basements and small streams. If you live in a flood-prone region stay alert.
Ripe. May is peak month for tornadoes across much of the Upper Midwest, so we should take the latest Tornado Watch seriously; an enhanced risk of rotating "supercell" thunderstorms capable of spinning up tornadoes into the evening hours. A stalled storm system aloft is funneling moisture northward - enough wind shear, instability and atmospheric spin for a couple of EF0-EF2 tornadoes.
Monitoring Doppler. Radar is hinting at storms producing 1/2 to 1" diameter hail near Lakeville. The storms to the south of MSP are pushing north, and intensifying. The most dangerous period will be 3:30 pm to 7 pm this evening. NWS Doppler at 3:33 pm.
5 PM This Afternoon. High-resolution HRRR models show the best chance of strong to severe T-storms in the metro between 4 pm and 6 pm, the entire swarm of storms pushing steadily north.
Summary: The first tornado scenario of spring is shaping up over the next couple of hours from St. Cloud and the Twin Cities southward to Mason City and Waterloo, Iowa. I expect a handful of tornadoes into the evening hours, with a 1 in 3 chance of at least one EF-2 or stronger tornado. Stay alert to rapidly evolving conditions and Severe Storm and Tornado Warnings - with the greatest potential for wind damage between now and 8 pm.
Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 35 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist and Founder of Media Logic Group. Douglas and a team of meteorologists, engineers and developers provide weather services for various media at Broadcast Weather, high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster and weather data, apps and API’s from Aeris Weather. His speaking engagements take him around the Midwest with a message of continuous experimentation and reinvention, no matter what business you’re in. He is the public face of “SAVE”, Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education, based in Bloomington. Send Paul a question.
Mark my words: many of us will soon look back fondly on this spell of relatively cool, crisp, comfortable weather. Long-range models are still printing out sustained heat for much of July; more lake-worthy temperatures are less than a week away, and I suspect another run of 90s by mid-July. In the meantime take something waterproof today because showers and T-storms are likely, some heavy, but the best chance of severe weather passes just south and east of the MSP metro.
Soaking rains arrive Tuesday night and Wednesday. Some lawns and gardens could get a healthy drink as models are suggesting nearly 1 inch of rain in a few spots. A few sputtery rain showers will be possible on Friday and Saturday, but it won't be a washout. Hot and sweaty weather looks to return by July 4th.
Yes, I know. It's too cool for the lake. I feel your pain - there were whitecaps on my lake too, and only the brave and foolish were in the water. This cool spell isn't sustainable. The sun is too high in the sky - there is too much overheated air over the southern USA. At some point it will warm up. Probably overnight. Like turning on a light switch. Might I recommend that you embrace the comfortable readings, because within 1-2 weeks young and old alike will be muttering about the heat and humidity. Wait for it.
Saturday was interesting, more early October than late June. Instability showers and T-storms dropped small hail, sparking wind gusts over 40 mph. Today should be a notch better with more sun and fewer showers popping by afternoon. Temperatures mellow a bit this week, but I don't see 80s until the latter half of next week. A lot of people are whining about the lack of lake-worthy heat, but I don't mind the free A/C one bit.
Just think of all the cold cash you're going to save on cold pop, ice cream and A/C this weekend! I know - not funny. Minnesotans get indignant when their summer weekends don't match what they were daydreaming about a few months ago. The weather won't be lake-worthy, but at least we're not suffering through a dangerous heatwave, like much of the southwestern USA and southern Plains. Be careful what you wish for...