Severe spring storms whip through Minnesota

  • Article by: MARY LYNN SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 9, 2014 - 5:50 AM

Problems were especially pronounced in the south as scattered showers, high winds and even a tornado were reported.

Severe springtime storms swept through parts of Minnesota on Thursday, including reports of tornadoes, torrential rains, spurts of hail and high winds that blew down trees and snapped power poles.

The worst of the weather is expected to be long gone by Friday morning with only scattered showers predicted into next week, according to the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.

The Twin Cities and areas south were under a tornado watch through Thursday evening, keeping people wary about outdoor activities.

That, along with heavy rains and high winds, forced the Medtronic TC 1 Mile race in downtown Minneapolis to be canceled.

By early evening, a strong storm pushed up from the southwest in a band to the northeast, spawning a funnel cloud that reportedly touched down in St. James, Madelia and Lake Crystal, southwest of Minneapolis, said Craig Schmidt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. About 8 p.m., Schmidt said, a tornado was sighted near Gaylord, which is about 65 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

No damage was reported during any of the touchdowns, he said.

But a strong thunderstorm roared through the Waseca area, with winds up to 80 mph, knocking down large trees, snapping power poles and blowing out the windows of a couple of cars, he said. Strong winds near Red Wing ripped the roof off a house.

The wave of storms began late Wednesday night and rumbled through parts of Minnesota throughout the day and into the evening Thursday.

Two inches or more of rain fell in some communities, including North Mankato, Nicollet and St. Cloud, Schmidt said.

Winds clocked at 45 mph to 65 mph swept through and dime-size to quarter-size hail pelted communities from southwestern Minnesota to the southern metro.

But Schmidt said the worst of it was expected to clear out by late Thursday night.

The forecast calls for scattered showers and temperatures in or near the 60s through the weekend and into next week.

It may be a bit cooler than normal, Schmidt said. But on the bright side: There’s no snow in the immediate forecast.

For those who prefer to forget, snow fell last May.

 

Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788

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