Severe Storm Watch until 1 AM (includes Twin Cities metro)
May 7, 2014 — 7:02pm
Severe Storm Watch Until 1 AM Thursday. Conditions are ripe for strong to severe storm over much of southern Minnesota as warm, moisture-laden air surges northward, coupled with powerful jet stream winds aloft. The watch includes Mankato, Rochester, Hutchinson and the Twin Cities. The greatest risk is large hail, but a few isolated tornadoes can't be ruled out, along with training echoes capable of flash flooding in some communities. Details from NOAA:
URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH NUMBER 126 NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK 645 PM CDT WED MAY 7 2014 THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A * SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF SOUTHERN MINNESOTA EXTREME WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN * EFFECTIVE THIS WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND THURSDAY MORNING FROM 645 PM UNTIL 100 AM CDT. * PRIMARY THREATS INCLUDE... SCATTERED LARGE HAIL AND ISOLATED VERY LARGE HAIL EVENTS TO 2 INCHES IN DIAMETER POSSIBLE ISOLATED DAMAGING WIND GUSTS TO 70 MPH POSSIBLE A TORNADO OR TWO POSSIBLE THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 55 STATUTE MILES NORTH AND SOUTH OF A LINE FROM 20 MILES SOUTHWEST OF REDWOOD FALLS MINNESOTA TO 30 MILES NORTH NORTHEAST OF ROCHESTER MINNESOTA. FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU6). PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... REMEMBER...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN AND OCCASIONALLY DO PRODUCE TORNADOES.
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We will see cold relapses into March and April, but nothing bitter/arctic is on the horizon looking out 2-3 weeks. A mild bias continues with temperatures 10 F. above average today and Tuesday. After cooling off late in the week 50s may return next weekend. No headline-grabbing storms (you remember those) on tap, just a little rain tomorrow. Winter is winding down faster than expected...
Natural variability, El Nino kicking in - many factors may explain why it's been in the 70s and 80s out east (with tornadoes in unusual places for February). Minnesota just experienced the warmest, most prolonged February warmth on record (since 1871). A fluke? Perhaps, but what we're witnessing is consistent with a slowly warming planet. Hate to keep banging the drum, but ignoring the trends won't make them go away.
How did you cope with the (fake) Blizzard of '17? Residents of the metro are rolling their eyes, but 75 miles southeast of MSP it was a full-blown blizzard with a foot of snow, ice and high winds creating treacherous travel conditions. Which is vaguely interesting, but it didn't happen in my yard, so it doesn't matter, right? I get it: all weather, like politics, is local. The sun comes out today with less wind; temperatures moderating into the low 40s early next week.
Back on Monday I predicted "a couple of inches" for today. Then some of NOAA's models began showing crazy amounts of snow, as much as 12-15" in the immediate metro, so I ratcheted up expected snowfall amounts (you can't ignore the NAM model, right?) Turns out my initial instincts were closer to the mark. Heaviest snow bands set up south of the metro with a full-blown blizzard over southern Minnesota. Yet another example where the ECMWF (European) outperforms NOAA's models. Which doesn't make me happy, btw.