Dec 15, 2021 - News

Minnesota braces for unprecedented December storm

Map courtesy of the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center
Map courtesy of the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center

A rare and intensifying storm is threatening to bring a sharp swing in temperatures, strong wind gusts of up to 80 mph and possible tornadoes across southeastern Minnesota this evening.

Why it matters: Any tornadoes that form may be fast-moving and difficult to warn about in advance, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.

  • The severe weather could topple trees, cause power outages and affect travel.

The big picture: Wednesday's "volatile" weather "hasn't been seen before in mid-December," the National Weather Service Twin Cities reported in an online briefing.

  • The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, issued a "moderate" outlook for severe weather in much of Iowa, southeastern Minnesota and southwestern Wisconsin.
  • It's the first-ever "Moderate Risk" — the second-highest ranking on the severe weather risk scale — issued for the Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin region during the month of December, NWS tweeted.

Zoom in: The Twin Cities metro area is currently in the less severe "slight" and "enhanced" risk areas, though it's possible the outlook could change.

  • Thunderstorms and potential high winds are expected to pass through the state from 5 to 9pm.
  • Temperatures, which are forecast to reach 60 degrees in the Twin Cities today, will plummet into the teens and 20s overnight. The drop could potentially result in flash freezing and snow in some areas, per NWS.
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