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.
Let. It. Snow. Old Man Winter will assist you in your attempt to get into the holiday spirit over the next 36 hours with a long-duration period of wet snow. Roads will be mainly wet today, but snow will start to stick on area highways by late afternoon; by tomorrow it will actually look like winter out there. About time.
Shocking: meteorologists actually have something to do, which may be an anomaly in this El Nino-warmed winter that's setting up. A surge of southern moisture will spark steady, slushy snow - resembling something we might experience in March vs. December. By the time the flakes stop flying late Tuesday much of the area will have 5-8", a few towns may boast up to 10" of heavy, wet snow. Hey, it's winter in Minnesota. It's supposed to snow!
Well this is unusual: a risk of an actual "storm"? I'm sorry, an inch of snow in late November doesn't qualify. But a slow-moving surge of moisture approaching from the south may drop enough snow to shovel and plow late Monday into midday Tuesday. It's still premature to lob around inch-amounts, but on our (patented) scale from nuisance to plowable to crippling this could definitely wind up in the plowable category. Stay tuned...
Well, we had our Thanksgiving excitement: 1.3" of slush at MSP International Airport; more south and east, less north and west. Just enough to remind us that the start of meteorological winter is a few days away. On paper. There still isn't much in the way of bitter air showing up within a few thousand miles of Minnesota; I see a mild bias continuing into mid-December, possibly longer. We'll see snow and cold fronts, just not the volume we're accustomed to.
Somewhere along the way an inch of snow became a "storm". BREAKING NEWS! When temperatures are near 32F as they will be today an inch of snow is a nuisance, most major roads stay wet with accumulation on lawns, fields, and slow-moving relatives. There probably will be some slippery roads by late afternoon and evening, especially south/east of MSP, where a couple inches may pile up. Since we've all forgotten how to drive on snow please be careful out there! Better yet, stay home, have an extra plate of food and ponder the many things we all have to be thankful for.