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Severe thunderstorm watch now includes Twin Cities

Winds could gust up to 80 mph, the weather service said.
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Wind damage

A severe thunderstorm watch has now been issued for the Twin Cities, as well as parts of Wisconsin and Michigan, as a major system makes its way through Minnesota.

The National Weather Service says wind gusts of up to 80 mph and even a few tornadoes are possible with the storm, which has already hammered parts of northwestern and northern Minnesota.

Severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued for areas including Brainerd Lakes, Alexandria, Osakis, and Staples.

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The picture above was taken by Shelly Safranski, showing bleachers at a football field in Argyle, Minnesota being severely damaged by strong winds.

The NWS says that the Twin Cities is on track to be hit by the storms, which should arrive around midnight. The watch is in place till 6 a.m.

6 p.m.

A rare severe thunderstorm watch has been issued across central Minnesota, with the Storm Prediction Center categorizing it as a PDS watch, which means it's a "Particularly Dangerous Situation." 

"Widespread damaging winds expected with scattered significant gusts to 90 mph likely," the watch reads, adding that scattered large or very large hail up to 2.5 inches in diameter is possible, as are a couple of tornadoes. 

The watch is in effect until 1 a.m. It does not include the Twin Cities, but an extension of the watch later this evening could be necessary. 

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"An intense linear-type complex of storms is expected to evolve into a derecho this evening and produce widespread/significant damaging winds as it accelerates east-southeastward across the region. Isolated large hail is also possible, and a tornado risk cannot be ruled out, particularly near the warm front," the watch language continues.

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A derecho is a long-lived complex of storms that consistently produces damaging winds for at least 250 miles. 

As of 6 p.m., severe storms were blasting into northwestern Minnesota, with more storms firing in North Dakota that are expected to surge to the east-southeast. You can check the latest radar here

The simulated future radar from the HRRR model shows storms ripping through the watch area between now and midnight, and then continuing further south and east. 

21Z-20200717_HRRRNGP_prec_radar-4-18-10-100

The big question will be how far south the line goes, and if it eventually targets the Twin Cities. 

Check back for updates and have a way to receive warnings. 

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