Thunder Threat; Slight severe risk today; Tonka up 20″ since fall

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Sky Aware

Today will be a busy day in weather offices around the Midwest.

A low pressure system is spinning out of the Rockies into the Plains…a classic springtime severe setup.

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has included much of Minnesota in a slight risk for severe weather today, and tomorrow.

There may be a few stray T-Storms during the day today, but in our neck of the woods, the best chance for damaging winds, hail and possible tornadoes is in western Minnesota and the eastern Dakotas later this afternoon and evening. The best chance for severe metro storms appears to favor this evening.

This is one of those days when it pays to keep one eye on the weather as you go about your daily routine.

-Latest Twin Cities radar loop

-Latest from Twin Cities NWS

Heres’ the rundown.

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SPC: Large severe risk area today

It covers a lot of territory.

SPC has “risked” a big chunk of the Midwest today…and some of the northeast.

Check out the map.

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The “moderate risk” area highlights the biggest risk for tornadoes in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Some significant wind shear in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota later today means we can’t rule out a possible late PM & evening tornado threat to the west.

I won’t be shocked to see tornado warnings issued from the Sioux Falls and Aberdeen NWS offices today. Here’s the SPC mesoanalysis of “bulk shear” around lunchtime today.

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Sunshine Dependant:

Today’s severe weather threat will be partly dependant on who sees the most sunshine.

Visible satellite loops show a mix of clouds…with some breaks that will allow periods of sunshine in southern Minnesota today.

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The more sun…the warmer it gets…the more potentially volatile the atmosphere in any one spot.

Thursday Too?

We could see 2 or 3 waves of storms crossing Minnesota in the next 48 hours. Wave #1 could clip western Minnesota around midday. Wave # 2… more likely severe fires up this afternoon and evening. That’s the highest metro severe threat at this point. Wave #3 should develop Thursday.

SPC keeps a slight risk going in southern Minnesota tomorrow.

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Spotty rainfall coverage:

One thing’s for sure…rainfall will be largely “convective” in nature. That means highly variable rainfall totals are possible over short distances. The models are picking up on this…and show significant differences in rainfall from well under.50″ to over 1″ around the metro.

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HPC favors two distinct heavy rainfall areas…one in the eastern Dakotas and another in the central plains with the metro in a relatively drier zone.

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Bottom Line: It’s not the best severe setup I’ve ever seen for the metro…but there is a good chance for some severe weather later PM & this evening especially for western Minnesota. Except watches and warning to be issued later today and tonight. The greatest severe threat is in western Minnesota.

Weather balloon drops “radiosonde” in Tom Crann’s backyard.

You just never know what you’ll find in the garden.

Check out what landed in my MPR colleague Tom Crann’s St. Paul backyard recently.

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These “microsondes” are released twice daily and carried up to 60,000 feet into the atmosphere by weather balloons. Tom plans to return this in the prepaid envelope to the NWS.

Nice going Tom!

May Monsoon: Tonka up 20″ since last fall!

So this is why my little Boston Whaler is barely above the waterline this spring?

With 12″ of precip since march 1st and 4.81″ of rainfall this month alone…metro lakes are rising rapidly.

Lake Minnetonka is up a full 20″ since last fall. And White Bear is up over a foot.

Check out the water level on Lake Minnetonka from the MCWD.

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Good news for boaters who like to keep props off the rocks.

Paul Huttner

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