MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Storm clouds are moving into southwestern Minnesota on Thursday morning, prompting severe thunderstorm warnings and watches. Meanwhile, an air quality alert has been issued for parts of northern Minnesota due to wildfires.
The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for a number of counties in southwestern and south-central Minnesota. The watch is slated to last until 3 p.m. Forecasters say the threats include damaging winds, hail and frequent lightning.
Around 10 a.m., a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for areas along the South Dakota border, near Graceville in Big Stone County. According to weather officials, the storms were capable of producing 60 mph winds and brief tornadoes.
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Meteorologist Riley O’Connor says the storms will likely strengthen as they move into Minnesota, mainly impacting the southern-most counties, particularly along the Iowa border.
Even so, the Twin Cities metro is expected to see storms in the afternoon, which could bring damaging winds, hail and urban flooding caused by heavy rain. Those venturing out to the Minnesota State Fair will want to be weather aware.
Storms are expected to continue through the overnight hours, and more rain is in the forecast for Friday.
According to current models, some areas of southern Minnesota could see up to 4 inches of rain over the next five days, as the forecast calls for more unsettled weather. This rainfall could help to blunt the ongoing drought, which weather officials say has worsened over the last week.
Air Quality Alert
In addition to severe weather threats in the state, an air quality alert has been issued for parts of northern Minnesota and upper half of Wisconsin, due to the Greenwood fire.
Unhealthy to very Unhealthy air is being measured by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency smoke sensors, resulting in a code orange area quality alert for the affected areas.
— Mike Augustyniak (@MikeAugustyniak) August 26, 2021
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