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Tornado reported as wind and hail rip through central Minnesota

If it's confirmed, the March 6 tornado would be the earliest on record in Minnesota.
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Talk about weird weather.

Within hours, Minnesota saw temperatures climb to near 70 degrees, thunderstorms, a tornado, and then a fresh coating snow.

Most of the storm damage that happened occurred between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday, with the National Weather Service saying damage to buildings and uprooted trees were reported near Clarks Grove in Freeborn County, and there were reports of large trees and power lines down in Sherburne County.

The Freeborn County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday businesses along Main Street, including the fire department, fertilizer plant and some residences saw the most damage. Officials do say that there were no storm-related injuries in Freeborn County, though.

The National Weather Service has confirmed at least one tornado hit Minnesota Monday, breaking the record for the earliest tornado in Minnesota. The previous record was March 18, 1968.

Weather officials will be out Tuesday to survey damage, and are expected to give an update later in the day.

Here's video of a possible tornado (be aware, there's some strong language):

And here's video of an insane lightning strike (there's strong language in this video, too).

Expect strong wind gusts to continue through the day, as the majority of the state is under a wind advisory through Tuesday night.

For Monday night's updates from the severe weather, read below. 

8:15 p.m.

60 mph winds and nickel-sized hail led the National Weather Service to call another severe thunderstorm warning for southeastern Minnesota. It includes Winona, Houston, and Fillmore Counties and continues through 9 p.m.

The Weather Service says just after 7:30 the north-south line of severe storms stretched across much of the middle of the country – from Wisconsin through Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas to the Oklahoma state line.

Images of this evening's damage in Sherburne County are showing up on social media. Forecasters identified a tornado moving across the southern edge of Princeton from Zimmerman a little before 6 p.m. says the footage it posted to YouTube is from east central Minnesota.

7:30 p.m.

A severe thunderstorm warning covering Fillmore County in southeastern Minnesota and three northern Iowa counties (Howard, Winneshiek, and Chickasaw) goes until 8:30. The Weather Service says that line of storms has 70 mph winds and quarter-sized hail.

Meanwhile, there are unofficial reports the tornado that passed between Princeton and Zimmerman may have caused some damage on the ground.

7:20 p.m.

A tornado watch continues until 10 p.m. but it now includes only the far eastern part of central and southern Minnesota, as well as western Wisconsin.

7:00 p.m.

A severe storm warning for Goodhue County in southeastern Minnesota also includes Pepin, Pierce, and Dunn Counties in western Wisconsin. It's in effect until 7:30.

6:50 p.m.

Here's a look at some of the hail that pelted western Minnesota in the late afternoon. It's from John Markuson of Redwood Falls

6:40 p.m.

The newest severe thunderstorm warning is for Wabasha County until 7:15. The Weather Service says it includes 60 mile-an-hour wind gusts that could damage roofs and trees. There's also penny-sized hail. These are fast-moving storms. Forecasters say they're headed northeast at 70 mph.

6:30 p.m.

Midwest Storm Chasers posted video from the Sherburne County area between Princeton and Zimmerman where the tornado was spotted.

Tornado Warned Storm between Zimmerman and Princeton MN. Video Credit: Jim Gram.

Posted by Midwest Storm Chasers on Monday, March 6, 2017

6:20 p.m.

Tornado warnings have expired and been replaced by three severe thunderstorm warnings in east-central and southeastern counties.

A tornado watch continues until 10 p.m.

One of the severe storm warnings is for Goodhue and Rice Counties in the southeast until 7 p.m. Another is for Dodge County until 6:45. Farther north, there's a warning for Chisago, Isanti, and Kanabec Counties.

6:00 p.m.

The Weather Service confirmed a tornado in the air over the south side of Princeton, Minnesota.

The storm was moving northeast at 40 miles an hour. People in Mille Lacs, Isanti, and Sherburne Counties were urged to take cover.

The March 6 tornado is said to be the earliest to arrive in Minnesota.

Find an up-to-date list of warnings and watches for Minnesota here.

There's a map showing wind and hail damage reports from across the state here.

Update: 5:35 p.m. Tornado warning

A tornado warning was issued for Wright and Sherburne Counties in central Minnesota until 6 p.m. Monday evening. It was then updated to Sherburne, Isanti and Mille Lacs counties until 6:15 p.m.

The National Weather Service says a storm that was over Monticello just before 5:30 was capable of producing a tornado and hail the size of ping pong balls.

Hail pelted Wright County as a strong line of storms moved through in the late afternoon. Cokato was hard hit.

2:45 Tornado Watch issued

The National Weather Service Twin Cities said the watch is in effect for the southeast corner of Minnesota until 10 p.m. It ranges from Alexandria down to the Iowa border, all the way east into Wisconsin.

Here's the map, and there's also a written list of counties affect here:

"A couple" of tornadoes are possible, the weather service says. There's also a danger from wind gusts up to 65 mph and isolated hail, possibly the size of ping pong balls.

A watch means conditions for tornadoes are favorable. It actually stretches down through Iowa and into Missouri, too.

A Tornado watch in Minnesota during this month isn't common.

The National Weather Service Twin Cities says that last time the state got one in March was in 2007.

Here's the earlier story about a watch likely being issued.

Minnesota's first tornado watch of 2017 will likely be issued in the next couple of hours for a large chunk of the state, including the Twin Cities metro area.

According to the Storm Prediction Center, there's an 80 percent chance a watch is issued in the area outlined by the red box below.

In addition to tornado potential, severe storms are capable of producing large hail and damaging winds, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

For more on today's severe weather potential, check out our earlier story.

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