MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Residents reported tornadoes on the ground in Steele and Blue Earth Counties Wednesday night as a flash flood warning was issued in the Twin Cities.
The National Weather Service is issuing a flash flood warning for Anoka, Ramsey and Hennepin Counties until 10:15 p.m. The warning was concentrated in a portion of the north Metro.
Weather crews haven’t officially confirmed the tornado just south of Mankato — it was indicated by doppler radar just before 5 p.m. Residents of the area are reporting heavy rain and winds, but no visible damage so far.
The downpour from the storm systems triggered flash flood warnings for Blue Earth, Le Sueur and Nicollet Counties — specifically in the area surrounding Mankato — until 7 p.m. That storm system was followed by another system of heavy rain passing across southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities, dramatically increasing the threat of flooding.
Tornado watches and thunderstorm warnings are in effect across the region as severe storms surge up from the Great Plains. The NWS has issued a tornado watch for several counties in southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin until late Wednesday night.
Thunderstorm warnings have also been issued for several communities in northwestern Wisconsin and Wisconsin.
The severe weather Wednesday is the latest in a week that’s been full of rain and storms.
On Tuesday night, a tornado ripped through a mobile home park in western Wisconsin, killing one man and injuring more than two dozen others.
The relentless rain has also raised concern over flash flooding across Minnesota and Wisconsin. After a first round of downpours Wednesday, many streets in the Twin Cities were flooded.
Meanwhile, several of WCCO’s Weather Watchers in southern Minnesota reported more than 2 inches of rain after the storm. The record for rainfall in Minneapolis on May 17 was in 1938 with 1.7 inches. The latest totals indicate 1.5 inches, WCCO Meteorologist Chris Shaffer said, with more than an hour of downpours still expected.
Weather officials say that if storms Wednesday drop more than 1 to 1.5 inches of rain an hour, several counties across the Upper Midwest could see flash flooding.
The wet weather looks to continue overnight and into Thursday morning. Friday is expected to bring a break from the rain, but more storm clouds are looming in the weekend forecast.