Tuesday's storms: 8 tornado reports, flash flooding, no injuries

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Severe storms swept through southern Minnesota Tuesday afternoon and evening, leading to reports of multiple tornadoes and flash flooding, especially in the Mankato area. There were no reports of injuries.

The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center tallied eight reports of tornadoes in Minnesota Tuesday (but note these are preliminary, not confirmed), plus another four just over the border in South Dakota. Here's the map:

One that was confirmed by the National Weather Service touched down just outside of Pipestone, in the state's southwestern corner, at about 2 p.m.


Blake Jasper, a volunteer firefighter who shot the above video, tells KARE 11 the tornado was on the ground for 15 or 20 seconds. It was in an open area, though, and the sheriff's office tells the station there was only moderate damage to a farm building.

More than one spotter also reported a tornado touching down near Vernon Center, which is just outside of Mankato in south central Minnesota.

In that area the storms took down trees, flooded roads, and knocked out power.

The Weather Service says towns in the area got two to six inches of rain.

The Mankato Free Press says a spotter reported that two inches fell in less than half an hour near Madelia. The paper says the sheriff's office closed three Blue Earth County roads overnight but other highways were reopened after a few hours.

Likewise, power was restored within a few hours to nearly all of the 1,000 customers who lost electricity, the Free Press says.

Here's a chronology of how things unfolded through the day:

6:00 p.m.

More than FIVE inches of rain is estimated to have fallen in Blue Earth County, prompting a warning to drivers from the NWS.


Here's a taste of what that looks like.


5:30 p.m.

Here it comes. Thunder, lightning and heavy rain are moving into the metro area from the southwest – just in time for the evening commute.


There are reports of roads flooding in the Mankato area as well, and there has now been 70 mph wind gusts reported in the Rice County area.



5 p.m.

Yikes! Here's how the radar looks for the metro/southeast Minnesota area right now – courtesy of Accuweather.

Oh – and the wind's kicking up as well.


4:30 p.m.

It's not just possible tornadoes that metro area residents need to be aware of, as heavy rainfall will also hitting the Twin Cities, the National Weather Service says.

Another tornado has been confirmed west of Faribault.


There are also warnings out on the southwestern Minnesota border with South Dakota – including for the wonderfully-named Yankeetown.


4:10 p.m.

There's now a severe thunderstorm warning in place in Nicollet, Renville and Sibley County until 4:30 p.m.

Le Sueur and Rice counties are under tornado warnings till 4:45 p.m.

Meanwhile, MPR are reporting this:


3:45 p.m.

Blue Earth County is the latest to be subject to a tornado warning as the storm system makes its way slowly northeast.

KARE 11 is reporting a tornado has touched down near Vernon Center.

Meanwhile, students at MSU Mankato have been taking cover till the warning is over.


By the way, the tornado watch for southern Minnesota – including the metro area – will be in place till 10 p.m.

3 p.m.

The National Weather Service says the storm system will be moving northeast through early evening. It's expected to reach the Twin Cities between 5-8 p.m., bringing strong winds and hail with them.

Thunderstorm warnings are in place until 3:45 p.m. for Fairmont, St. James and Madelia.


Here's a shot of the possible tornado seen in Pipestone County.


2:30 p.m.

Weather watchers were reporting a tornado in Pipestone, located in southwestern Minnesota, just after 2 p.m. Tuesday.

This comes as severe weather is expected to impact much of southern Minnesota Tuesday afternoon.





A tornado warning was issued for far southwestern Minnesota until 2:45 p.m, while a tornado watch is in effect for much of the southern third of the state, including the Twin Cities, St. Cloud, Willmar, Fairmont and Albert Lea. For the latest severe weather alerts, click here.

11:30 a.m.

Storms – some of them severe – are expected to move into southern Minnesota Tuesday afternoon.

A "potent low-pressure system" is moving north, bringing a warm front with it, the National Weather Service says. This will create some thunderstorms in southern Minnesota, with additional storms expected to move west to east through Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Here's a look at the timing:

There's an "enhanced risk" of severe weather for much of southern Minnesota, including Albert Lea and Mankato. That means numerous severe storms are possible, and they could be more persistent and/or widespread. For more information on the thunderstorm risk categories, click here.

The Twin Cities, Alexandria and St. Cloud are in the "slight risk" range, the weather service says.


Large hail, damaging winds and heavy rain, with the chance for some localized flooding, are the main threats with this storm, although some tornadoes are possible, the weather service says.

Eight counties in southwestern Minnesota are under a severe thunderstorm watch until 9 p.m. Tuesday. There's also a flash flood watch in effect for parts of far southern Minnesota until 1 a.m. Wednesday. (For the latest watches and warnings, click here.)

Rain is expected to taper off by Wednesday morning. Much of the area could see 1-2 inches of rain by the time the storm moves out.

A high-pressure system returns Thursday, which brings back the dry weather. Expect mild temperatures through then, ranging from the mid-60s in northern Minnesota to the low-80s in the southern part of the state, the weather service notes.

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