Minneapolis-St. Paul metro, central, southern, and southeastern Minnesota under tornado watch

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The unseasonably warm and humid temperatures in Minnesota are leading to an unseasonably early tornado watch. 

Just after 2:40 p.m., the National Weather Service's Twin Cities branch issued a tornado watch for an area extending across almost the entire southern half of the state, reaching from Alexandria in the west to Winona in the east. 

Those boundaries mean the watch includes Minneapolis, St. Paul, the whole surrounding Twin Cities metro area, plus St. Cloud, Mankato, and Rochester. The "watch" -- the heads-up that proceeds a "warning," when possible -- will be in place until at least 10:00 p.m. Monday night.

As noted by this map tweeted by the local NWS, the "potential exposure" in this area includes most of the people who live in this state: A total of 4.5 million folks, plus 1,963 schools, and 93 hospitals. 

Winds are predicted to gust up to 55 miles an hour, and "ping pong size" hail is also a possibility.

Still, key words here: "A couple tornadoes possible." 

"A couple," you say, National Weather Service? Wouldn't one be enough?

 

 

And here's a full list of counties included on the list:

ANOKA
BENTON
BLUE EARTH
BROWN
CARVER
CHISAGO
COTTONWOOD
DAKOTA
DODGE
FARIBAULT
FILLMORE
FREEBORN
GOODHUE
HENNEPIN
HOUSTON
ISANTI
JACKSON
KANABEC
KANDIYOHI
LE SUEUR
MARTIN
MCLEOD
MEEKER
MILLE LACS
MORRISON
MOWER
NICOLLET
OLMSTED
RAMSEY
REDWOOD
RENVILLE
RICE
SCOTT
SHERBURNE
SIBLEY
STEARNS
STEELE
TODD
WABASHA
WASECA
WASHINGTON
WATONWAN
WINONA
WRIGHT


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