A surging spring storm system was of two minds Sunday — prompting tornado watches in the Twin Cities and up to 7 inches of snow in the northern part of the state.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Duluth forecast 1 to 2 inches of snow in the Brainerd lakes area with more snow possible Monday before 1 p.m.
Moisture-laden clouds were on a northerly path through the state Sunday afternoon. The line for the winter weather advisory, starting at 9 p.m. Sunday went from Brainerd up to Two Harbors. The advisory is in effect until 10 a.m. Monday. The weather service reported a low pressure system was responsible for widespread rainfall Sunday afternoon. Colder air was expected to intercede and change rain to snow as night progressed in central Minnesota.
The NWS predicted snowfall rates could be heavy, perhaps reaching 1 inch per hour at times overnight, with some concern for heavy bands. Most areas were expected to see 1 to 5 inches of snow, but the NWS in Duluth reported snowfall of 7 inches was not out of the question in localized areas.
Rainfall was certainly heavy at times Sunday afternoon in Brainerd, causing mild flooding of some city streets.
The weather service noted while the ground is quite warm this time of year, the snowfall rates were expected to be so intense that accumulation was likely to win out in the end.
Wind gusts, strengthening east to northeast, were expected to reach 40 to 50 mph near Lake Superior.
In southern Minnesota and in the Twin Cities area, thunderstorms were expected that could be severe with an isolated tornado possible, along with large hail and damaging winds. The area with the greatest potential for severe weather was south of a line from Moose Lake to Hurley, Wis.
The storms, from Texas into Minnesota, came on the heels of a deadly day for weather as five people died in Oklahoma following a tornado strike. The Associated Press said more than 100 tornadoes were reported in Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska.
In the lakes area, for the rest of the week, cooler temperatures are expected with highs near 50 degrees and perhaps edging closer to 60 on Wednesday and Sunday. Tuesday should bring a return to sunshine, but rain is back in the mix Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.