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?
A tornado watch has been issued for parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin until 10 PM CST pic.twitter.com/AqdQizPP0d— NWS Twin Cities (@NWSTwinCities) March 6, 2017
And here's a full list of counties included on the list: