As a powerful tornado bore down on their Illinois farmhouse, Curt Zehr’s wife and adult son didn’t have time to do anything but scramble down the stairs into their basement. Uninjured, the pair looked out moments later to find the house gone and the sun out and “right on top” of them, Zehr said.
No damage has been reported from a tornado in far northern Minnesota Wednesday night. In fact, it’s been a quiet season for twisters.
A tornado watch is out until 9 p.m. across Minnesota’s midsection as intense thunderstorms pop up across the area. The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning after radar indicated a storm capable of producing a tornado north of Willmar in west-central Minnesota about 5:15 p.m., but there were no immediate reports of a touchdown.
Cold air in the upper levels of the atmosphere is conducive to the formation of tornadoes — cold air at the surface, not so much. In 2013, cold air has been plentiful in Minnesota. Its prevalence has contributed to reduced numbers of tornadoes during the months which are climatologically most active in the state — May, June and July.
June and July are the biggest months for tornadoes in Minnesota, but the rest of the country is already off to a deadly start — including the largest tornado on record. The tornado that hit El Reno, Okla., measured 2.6 miles wide.
Every time there is the threat of a tornado, hundreds of storm chasers take their cameras and drive towards the danger. On Friday, three of the most respected chasers died during a tornado outbreak in Oklahoma. Meteorologist Tim Samaras, his son Paul and their friend Carl Young were killed when their car got caught up in the twister.
There are now 13 people confirmed dead from the latest outbreak after a series of twisters Friday in the Oklahoma City area.
Three experienced storm chasers are also among the dead. Tim Samaras, his son, Paul, and Carl Young were killed near the town of El Reno.
If you’re out and about Wednesday afternoon and evening, you’re encouraged to have a radio near you and be prepared for rough weather. By late afternoon, a more organized pattern of strong storms is expected to develop in southern and western Minnesota and head toward the Twin Cities metro.
From a meteorological standpoint, conditions for severe weather were perfect Monday. As many as 28 tornadoes struck the Midwest.
It’s important to remember that sometimes there’s nothing anyone could do. Tornadoes are powerful, and mysterious, and random. But many of you had good questions related to the tragedy in Oklahoma. Why aren’t there basements in Oklahoma? – Betty Cozatt. Nationally only 31 percent of newly constructed homes have basements.
Here’s a gallery of viewer-submitted photos documenting severe weather — thunderstorms, hail, heavy rain, tornadoes — in the warm months of 2013.
Iowa is about to tie a state record for the longest stretch without a reported tornado.
Middle America was overwhelmed by weather Thursday, with snow in the north, tornadoes in the Plains, and torrential rains that caused floods and transportation woes — and a sinkhole in Chicago.
This is Severe Weather Awareness Week, and this year there is a new way for the National Weather Service to broadcast tornado warnings in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties.
A powerful spring storm unleashed tornadoes, hail and high winds as it swept through the Midwest into the Deep South, leaving three people dead and thousands without power before heading for the Carolinas early Friday.