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Storms expected to fire in western MN and march east toward Twin Cities

Sporadic damaging winds are the primary threat as the storms form a line.

Much-needed rain is poised to soak most of drought-stricken Minnesota on Friday, though the precipitation comes with a threat of severe weather, including potential for damaging winds, large hail and isolated tornadoes. 

"Thunderstorms will develop Friday afternoon across the eastern Dakotas and western Minnesota, and push eastward into eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin by late Friday evening," says the National Weather Service (NWS). "Damaging winds will be the main threat, though a couple of tornadoes will also be possible. Large hail is a tertiary threat."

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According to the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), "the greater threat for rotating storms and possible tornadoes are in western Minnesota, generally in the late afternoon to early evening time frame."

But as the NWS Twin Cities noted in its forecast discussion Friday morning, tornadoes would likely be brief in nature. 

The simulated future radar from the HRRR computer model shows storms firing in southwest Minnesota between 2-4 p.m. before growing into a broken line of storms that moves east (at about 30 mph), possibly weakening around the time they reach the Twin Cities (around 8-10 p.m.). 

12Z-20210820_HRRRNGP_prec_radar-0-19-10-100

A maximized potential for damaging winds may exist in western Minnesota, according to the SPC, which suggests that a narrow corridor for an enhanced risk of severe storms could be added to its 11:30 a.m. outlook. 

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Meanwhile, one-half to an inch of rain is expected across most of the state, which will help put a small dent in the ever-worsening drought conditions. Unfortunately, the threat for heavy rain in northeast Minnesota where wildfires are burning isn't as high. 

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Friday could be first of many waves of storms next 7-10 days

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