Severe Storms in SE Minnesota Produce Hail and Damaging Winds
As predicted, a line of strong thunderstorms marched across southern Minnesota this afternoon and produced severe weather conditions in some areas.
It appears the hardest hit area was along the I-35 corridor door north of Owatonna. Strong winds produced by the thunderstorms are blamed for tipping over at least nine semi-trucks on the freeway between Medford and Northfield. Traffic had to be detoured off the northbound lanes of I-35 for about two hours while crews cleaned up the mess. The National Weather Service also received reports of numerous trees being uprooted in an area near Faribault.
The storm system also produced large hail in many parts of southeastern Minnesota. Reports from the Cannon Falls area indicate the amount of hail that collected on Highway 52 was deep enough to prompt the Minnesota Department of Transportation to dispatch snowplows to clear the roadway. The National Weather Service received reports of three-quarters of an inch diameter hail on the north edge of Rochester and 1-inch hail in the store fill area. There were also several reports of 1-inch hail in parts of Winona County.
Another round of potentially severe weather is expected to visit parts of southern Minnesota this evening and tonight. The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch until 10 PM for a wide area of south-central Minnesota that includes the Albert Lea and Owatonna areas. This second round of storms has the potential to produce tornadoes and more large hail.
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