Thunderstorms rip across southern MN and WI

11:56 PM, Jun 12, 2013   |    comments
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SULLIVAN, Wis. - A line of thunderstorms packing heavy rain and high winds ripped across southern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Earlier, a storm rolled across the south-central part of Minnesota and the Twin Cities Wednesday morning.

The National Weather Service says the Hutchinson airfield measured nearly 3.25 inches of rain.

Other rainfall reports include 3.3 inches in Arlington, 2.83 inches in Carver and 2.28 inches near Green Isle.

Madison in far western Minnesota recorded a wind gust of 65 mph just before 6 a.m. But a Lac qui Parle County sheriff's dispatcher says the only damage reported was to small tree branches.

Hail estimated at 1.75 inches fell near Wells and Freeborn in southern Minnesota.

A tornado watch is in effect for Fillmore, Houston and Mower counties in southeastern Minnesota until 9 p.m. Wednesday.

National Weather Service meteorologist Sarah Marquardt says a line of storms is stretching toward the south-central portion of Wisconsin and also moving eastward toward Lake Michigan.

Tornado warnings were issued for several southwestern Wisconsin counties, but no actual tornadoes were sighted. Marquardt says the strong thunderstorms are capable of producing tornadoes.

In Richland County, a wind gust estimated at 60 mph was reported around 4:30 p.m. in Port Andrew.

Street flooding was reported in parts of the village of Boscobel in Grant County.

Meteorologists are tracking the so-called derecho (deh-RAY'-choh) weather pattern in the Midwest that could spawn severe windstorms in major metropolitan areas with gusts as strong as 100 mph.

The National Weather Service says derechos occur once or twice a year in the central U.S. with winds of at least 75 mph. The storms maintain their intensity for hours as they sweep across vast distances, and can trigger tornadoes and large hail.

Meteorologists say the windstorms could hit from South Dakota to Pennsylvania and include the Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh metro areas.

Meteorologist Bill Bunting says there's a 30 percent chance of severe windstorms capable of damaging homes and knocking down trees. Bunting says residents need to closely watch severe-weather warnings.

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