Approaching cold front will arrive with strong thunderstorms

The table has been set with abundant afternoon heating and moderate low-level moisture over Minnesota this afternoon. This visible satellite image shows the leading edge of the cloud mass enroaching on northwest Minnesota. It appears storms will fire shortly on the southern boundary of the clouds in eastern South Dakota.

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425 p.m. CDT Source: NOAA/College of Dupage

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in effect until 9 p.m. CDT for northwest Minnesota. See previous post. It is likely that the outlined area for severe storms will be expanded east this evening.

Forecast models have been consistent about bringing severe storms from west to east, arriving in the Twin Cities around 10 p.m. But development ahead of the main line of storms cannot be ruled out.

Here’s a look of the NAM forecast for 1 a.m. CDT on the strong vertical motion focus over the metro, particularly the south metro. Storms may be decreasing in intensity later tonight, but be on guard for severe storms after dark.

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Notice the blacked out pixels around the south metro in this model output of mid level vertical motion at 1 a.m. CDT. This is an impressive amount of energy and lift. Source: NOAA NAM/College of Dupage

Be prepared for severe weather warnings in your area. You do not have to wait for official warnings to be delivered. If you spy frequent or continuous lightning approaching, move to shelter indoors away from windows. The gust front with the storms may be several miles ahead of the onset of rain.

Before retiring for the evening in eastern Minnesota you may want to secure patio furniture and other outdoor items. Be proactive. Be safe.

If the front stalls slightly there will be a good chance for morning showers in southeast Minnesota. Wrap around showers are likely in northern Minnesota on Saturday.

Sunday still looks to be a nice day.

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