Tornadoes touch down in west central MN; rain sweeps through overnight

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A series of tornadoes passed through west central Minnesota Thursday evening, while heavy downpours spread across the state's southern tier.

The first tornadoes were spotted near Sunburg and New London in Kandiyohi County. Funnel clouds then moved toward Stearns County with a tornado reported over the airport in Paynesville, plus another spotted near Hawick (which was captured on video by storm chasers).

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A tornado was also spotted in Yellow Medicine County, where there were reports of damage.

As for the rain, the National Weather Service says totals of 2-4 inches were recorded in a few spots through central and southern Minnesota.

The agency's precipitation map for the past 12 hours shows a band of 3-4 inches of rain in a stretch just south of St. Cloud (that's the yellow on the map below). Just east of Brainerd, between the city and Mille Lacs Lake, also tallied about that amount. A large swath of east-central Minnesota was hit with 1-2 inches.

A number of cities in southwest Minnesota were under flash flood warnings late Thursday, but all had expired by Friday morning.

The storms hit the Twin Cities overnight, but weakened as they went, and the tornado threat dissipated. There was still widespread lightning and occasional hail to go with heavy rain.

The next chance of showers and thunderstorms will be late tonight in the western part of the state, and could hit the rest of Minnesota during the day Saturday.

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