MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A tornado watch was issued Wednesday evening for 20 counties in northern Minnesota.

The National Weather Service says possible severe storms could rumble over northwestern and north-central Minnesota, bringing wind gusts up to 70 mph, lime-sized hail and a few tornadoes.

The tornado watch will remain in effect until 1 a.m. Thursday.

The counties under the watch are: Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Cass, Clay, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Grant, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Wadena, and Wilkin.

Meanwhile, much of southern Minnesota spent Wednesday afternoon and evening under a heat advisory.

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