Strong and severe thunderstorms are expected in southern Minnesota, northern Iowa and western Wisconsin Thursday afternoon and evening, with the greatest risk of severe storms focused on north-central Iowa into far southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
Hailstones greater than 2 inches in diameter will be possible with the most intense storms, according to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center (SPC), which notes that damaging winds and tornadoes are also possible.
Will the Twin Cities get hit? The metro area is under a slight risk for severe storms, positioned just north of the enhanced risk. A slight risk is level 2 of 5 on the severe scale, while enhanced is level 3.
The SPC had initially forecasted a chance for strong tornadoes in far southeastern Minnesota but has since scaled that prediction back because a line of storms moving through Missouri Thursday morning could prevent moisture from reaching the Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin risk area.
If the moisture return is greater, the risk of tornadoes increases. So that'll be a key to focus on the rest of the day and we'll have an update midday from meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.
The moisture the HRRR model is projecting early this morning matches the lack of moisture the SPC discussed. Dew points in the image below represent moisture pooling along the warm front (the yellow), but dew points in the 40s and 50s elsewhere would not support big-time severe weather.
Sundgaard said Thursday morning the HRRR model is struggling from run to run (they update hourly), so he's hopeful that a clearer picture will be available by about noon. As of 8 a.m., this is the radar simulation from the HRRR.
The NAM 3KM model has much greater and widespread moisture, with dew points in the 60s along the warm front and in southeastern Minnesota. If this verifies, severe weather will have a much better chance of occurring.
Check back for updates.