Hennepin, Ramsey under tornado watch until 11 PM

A number of counties, including Hennepin and Ramsey, are under a tornado watch until 11 p.m. tonight. As of 4:45 p.m., the following counties are under the watch:

Anoka Benton Blue Earth Brown

Carver Chippewa Chisago Cottonwood

Dakota Douglas Faribault Freeborn Goodhue

Hennepin Isanti Jackson Kanabec Kandiyohi

Le Sueur McLeod Martin Meeker Mille Lacs

Morrison Nicollet Pope Ramsey Redwood

Renville Rice Scott Sherburne Sibley

Stearns Steele Stevens Swift Todd

Waseca Washington Watonwan Wright

For the latest updates, check local TV and radio stations this evening.

Safety warnings from the NWS:

Severe thunderstorms produce strong damaging winds... large hail... heavy rain and deadly lightning. Stay indoors and away from windows. Stay away from areas with loose items that could become flying debris. Severe thunderstorms can sometimes produce straightline winds in excess of 100 mph. Remember that severe thunderstorms can also produce tornadoes with little or no warning.

Lightning is the single worst killer so stay indoors and avoid using electrical appliances. You should get away from open fields and off any heavy equipment. Avoid solitary trees. If near a lake... get away from the water and to shelter as quickly as possible.