Minnesota hit with high winds, possible tornados
A Wednesday that saw record highs for December gave way to storms and high winds across Minnesota overnight, with possible tornado reported in the southern part of the state.
- While the Twin Cities have appeared to avoid serious damages, the unprecedented weather event would mark the first time a twister touched down in the state in December.
The big picture: The storm was part of a severe weather system that battered the central U.S., Axios reports.
- Wind gusts of more than 100 mph toppled trucks and knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of people across multiple states, including more than 10,000 households in Minnesota as of early this morning.
- The unusual warmth also set all-time high temperatures, including a daily record in the Twin Cities.
Zoom in: Serious damages — but no known injuries — were reported in the small Southern Minnesota town of Hartland.
- The storm, which may have included a tornado, hit a bank, destroyed the town gazebo and carried away the community Christmas tree, KSTP reports.
- Another likely tornado was spotted near the Wabasha County town of Plainview, NWS Twin Cities confirmed.
- Elsewhere, high winds uprooted trees and even knocked over a semitruck in Winona, per MPR News.
What they're saying: "If you had told me that we would have a tornado watch in Minnesota 10 days before Christmas, I'd say you're nuts. You're watching the science fiction channel, not the Weather Channel," meteorologist Paul Douglas told the Star Tribune.
Between the lines: Human-caused climate change is making such warm spells and extreme events more likely to occur, Axios' climate and energy reporter Andrew Freedman notes.
- Unusually mild waters of the Gulf of Mexico, also connected in part to climate change, played a role in Wednesday's weather.
What to know: Some local schools, including in Hastings and Lakeville, were scheduled to start late and more than two dozen flights at MSP were cancelled or delayed as of the morning.
- Transit officials urged motorists to exercise caution. A dip in temperatures could cause "challenging" conditions, with rain and melted snow freezing on the roads, per MNDOT.
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