Severe Weather Returns to Plains States

Following a couple of relatively calm weather weeks across the Plains, severe weather is once again in the forecast. This weekend began with hail and thunderstorms hitting the central Plains. In southern Nebraska, hail stones the size of ping pong balls slammed to the ground. Strong thunderstorm activity ignited the region on Saturday from the western portion of Iowa to eastern Kansas and central Oklahoma.

A heavy thunderstorm dumped 2.5 inches of rain and hail of up to one inch in diameter on portions of Martin County, Florida Saturday. The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning just after 3pm Saturday for Martin County as there were unconfirmed reports coming in of a twister. The turbulent Saturday weather was caused by colder than normal winds in the upper atmosphere combined with surface warmth and the east coast sea breeze. Some local flooding occurred in Jensen Beach, Florida but it was not serious.

Elsewhere in the country, the National Weather Service had a thunderstorm warning in place for the Twin Cities area in Minnesota for much of the day on Saturday. This warning was compounded Saturday when heavy rains prompted the service to issue a flood advisory for the St. Paul metropolitan area. Thunderstorms with heavy rains occurred in Ramsey, Hennepin, Dakota and Scott counties. Up to two inches of rain was predicted to fall within an hour during the evening hours of Saturday in portions of east central Minnesota as well as in central and western Wisconsin. The National Weather Service said that flooding could occur near streams and low-water crossings in numerous communities in east central Minnesota as well as on highways and surface streets. Residents and motorists are being warned not to drive or walk across any areas that are flooded.

In Ramsey County, MN a portion of I-494 was shut down Saturday night due to flooding. Thunderstorms cut power to over 9,000 homes throughout the St. Paul metropolitan area Saturday night with most affected being in the east metro area. Severe weather is being forecast for Sunday through Friday for most of central and southern Minnesota and for western and central Wisconsin so it’s going to be a wet week for many. The greatest chance for potentially dangerous weather is at the end of the upcoming work week, according to the National Weather Service.