Stormy start to May in forecast

Showers, thunderstorms expected tonight into Wednesday a.m.

By ERIK SANDIN – Stillwater Gazette

Thunderstorms, some severe, are expected to develop this afternoon and move into the St. Croix Valley early tonight, according to the National Weather Service forecast.

The combination of warmer air moving into the state and a cold front poised to sweep through from the west today and a warm front expected to move into southern Minnesota Wednesday will keep the threat of thunderstorms in the forecast the rest of this week, according to NWS forecasters.

Thunderstorms are expected to develop over central and western Minnesota after 1 p.m. today and gradually move into eastern Minnesota, including the metro area, and western Wisconsin tonight.

"There is a slight risk of severe thunderstorms with the primary hazards being large hail and damaging winds along with a secondary hazard of isolated tornadoes," an NWS statement said.

Forecasters added that the tornado threat is confined to areas along and north of Interstate 94 and the severe weather threat overall is greatest along and west of Interstate 35. They added that severe weather is most likely after 7 p.m. and lasting through the early morning hours.

"Thunderstorms will be ongoing Wednesday morning and there is a slight risk for severe thunderstorms with this activity," forecasters said. "The primary hazards are large hail and damaging winds."

Warmer, unstable air moving into the state will keep the chance of showers and thunderstorms in the Valley forecast into early next week. Highs today are expected near 75 with south winds of 10 to 15 mph.

There is a 70 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms tonight with rainfall amounts between one-quarter and one-half inch possible and lows near 60.

Wednesday sees a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms with highs near 80 and lows Wednesday night near 60.

Highs in the mid-70s are expected Thursday and Friday before cooler air moves in this weekend with highs Saturday through Monday in the low to middle 60s.

"Additional thunderstorms are forecast each day Thursday on through the weekend," NWS forecasters said. "There does not appear to be an organized severe thunderstorm threat with this activity, but there is a small chance that isolated thunderstorms could produce hail or strong wind gusts."