Skip to main content

An unprecedented mid-December severe weather outbreak will take place Wednesday across Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, where widespread damaging winds and "at least a few tornadoes" are likely, according to the National Weather Service. 

The messaging from the Storm Prediction Center is alarming, noting that damaging winds could reach 100 mph and strong tornadoes are possible: 

"Widespread severe wind gusts of 60-75 mph along with at least a few tornadoes are likely from late afternoon through this evening across the Mid-Missouri Valley to the Upper Mississippi Valley. Embedded gusts of 80-100 mph and a nocturnal strong tornado or two are also possible, particularly across western to northern Iowa and southeast Minnesota."

The SPC has placed a sizable area of southeast Minnesota in a rare moderate risk (level 4 of 5) for severe storms. Tornadoes will be possible even as far north as the Twin Cities. 

Tab2FileL (14)

Weather is sponsored by All Energy Solar: get a free installation quote now!

The tornado threat appears to be maximized from north-central Iowa into southeastern Minnesota and far western Wisconsin. It includes Albert Lea, Mankato, Rochester and Red Wing. The hatched area in the yellow zone below is where strong tornadoes are most likely to form, though the entire area can't rule out damaging twisters. 

Screen Shot 2021-12-15 at 7.23.18 AM

The primary severe threat will be damaging straight-line winds, which could reach 100 mph in the strongest bursts. Keep in mind that these storms will be moving at 60-70+ mph, so it won't be difficult for those stronger winds aloft to reach the ground in downbursts. 

Screen Shot 2021-12-15 at 7.23.37 AM

Here's a look at the 7 a.m. updated HRRR radar simulation. It shows an arcing line of supercells blasting through the risk area and reaching the Twin Cities between 7-10 p.m. 


You can see heavy, wet snow and mixed precipitation falling in western and northern Minnesota along the backside of the low-pressure system. Snow could accumulate to a few inches in some areas, but perhaps the bigger concerns are the winds whipping the snow around and the extreme temperature drop that will lead to flash freezing overnight. 

The high temp in the Twin Cities is forecast to reach 61 on Wednesday, then plummeting to an overnight low of 23. All of the rain that falls could wind up rapidly freezing, causing dangerous travel conditions. 

Tab4FileL (1)

Overall, the messaging from the NWS Twin Cities sums up today's insane weather like this: "TODAY'S VOLATILE DAY OF WEATHER HAS NOT BEEN SEEN BEFORE IN MID-DECEMBER..." 

Screen Shot 2021-12-15 at 7.37.45 AM

We'll have updates throughout the day from meteorologist Sven Sundgaard and Novak Weather. Check back for more and stay weather aware today. 

Next Up


Man dies after being 'punched in the head' during altercation in Duluth

A 46-year-old man is in custody and facing 1st-degree manslaughter charges.

Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders says Zimmer, Spielman hadn't spoken 'in months'

Sanders' comments revealed some of the Vikings' issues last season.

police tape, crime scene

Brooklyn Park man pleads guilty in 2020 fatal drive-by shooting

Devon Manley will be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 7.48.35 AM

Man gets 10 years for fatal pawn shop fire during Minneapolis riots

The incident, which took place during riots in May 2020,  resulted in one man's death.

Rep. Ilhan Omar

Election officials dismiss conservative group's complaint against Rep. Ilhan Omar

The group alleged that she used campaign funds on her future husband's consulting firm.

Screen Shot 2022-01-15 at 9.53.04 AM

Reports: 6 names surface in Vikings' search for new head coach

Six names have surfaced Saturday in the Minnesota Vikings' hunt for a new head coach.

Pexels - face mask covid holding

Minnetonka approves mask mandate in emergency ordinance

The mandate officially goes into effect Monday night.

snow, measuring snow, snow totals

Here are the snow totals from Friday's winter storm in Minnesota

There was a sharp gradient around the Twin Cities, with the highest amounts in southwestern Minnesota.

Mats Zuccarello

Zuccarello scores twice, Wild win third straight

A team effort helped Minnesota dispatch the Ducks.

Rep. Tou Xiong

State lawmaker Tou Xiong apologizes after driving under the influence

The state representative was pulled over on the night of Jan. 8.

St Lukes Duluth GSV Pro

Duluth hospital requiring visitors to show vax proof, neg. test

The health care system is also tightening visitor guidelines.

ridgeview urgent care facebook

Ridgeview halting urgent care at a Twin Cities site 'until further notice'

The organization cited "growing emergency medical needs" at the facility.


Screen Shot 2021-12-14 at 8.28.52 AM

Damaging winds, tornadoes possible with 'rare weather setup' Wednesday

Ten days before Christmas and there could be tornadoes in Minnesota.


Weather with Sven: Tornadoes, very large hail possible Friday

Sven Sundgaard and Novak Weather are closely monitoring the situation.

Screen Shot 2019-07-19 at 8.39.54 AM

Tornado watch issued for large area of MN, including Twin Cities

Damaging winds, very large hail and strong tornadoes are all possible.

storm, severe weather, derecho

Rare moderate risk – level 4 of 5 – for severe storms in MN, WI

"Have a way to receive warnings and be prepared to seek shelter quickly with these fast moving storms," says the NWS.

Screen Shot 2021-08-24 at 5.47.03 AM

Damaging winds possible as severe storms to hit Twin Cities this morning

There were reports of trees down in Glenwood, Minnesota, earlier this morning.

Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 7.01.25 AM

6 tornadoes confirmed in July 28 severe outbreak in MN, WI

The strongest tornado hit near Silver Lake, Minnesota.

storm, severe weather

Twin Cities under slight risk for severe storms Tuesday

Damaging winds and tornadoes are the main threats.