WEATHER: First rain, then tornado warnings
The first official day of summer brought more moist unstable air and threatening skies to the region. Throughout Monday, severe weather was the norm from morning flash flood warnings in the lake region to tornado warnings for the Red River Valley...
The first official day of summer brought more moist unstable air and threatening skies to the region.
Throughout Monday, severe weather was the norm from morning flash flood warnings in the lake region to tornado warnings for the Red River Valley in the late afternoon.
A storm cell 7 miles north of Aneta, N.D., determined by National Weather Service Doppler radar to be capable of producing a tornado, started the warnings, first at 3:11 p.m., for parts of Grand Forks and southeast Nelson counties and later for Steele and Traill counties.
"The wall cloud passed right over us with rotation, but we didn't see anything drop out," said Stan Baker, police chief of Northwood, N.D., as the storm moved through "It's pretty much following Highway 15 east, but it's slow moving."
Also just after 3 p.m., a tornado warning was issued for parts of Kittson and Marshall counties in northwestern Minnesota after radar detected a similar cell 18 miles east of Grafton, N.D. Two warnings were issued for Polk and Red Lake counties, the second after funnel clouds were sighted north of Mentor, where a twister Thursday killed the owner of the Mentor C-Store. Central Marshall County was under a tornado warning again until 5:30 p.m. with rotation reported 5 miles south of Newfolden. All of the warnings were canceled early Monday evening.
Meteorologist Jim Kaiser said despite the similarity in humid conditions, Monday's tornadic weather system was different from last week.
"Thursday's came from a much more robust system, whereas the tornadoes that can occur with this system are short-lived and less in intensity," Kaiser said.
There were also afternoon reports of weak funnels in the Devils Lake Basin, where earlier in the day, the problem was heavy rain.
Flash flood warnings were issued until 2 p.m. Monday for Ramsey, Benson, Towner and Cavalier counties in North Dakota. The weather service said at about 6:45 a.m. Monday, radar indicated 2 to 4.5 inches of rain had fallen in a line from Minnewaukan through Penn and Churchs Ferry, N.D., and 2 to 3 inches near Fort Totten. State radio reported water over U.S. Highway 2 at Penn.
Much of the region is under a flash flood watch through tonight.
"Wednesday looks like a little bit of a reprieve," Kaiser said. "After a quiet Thursday, high pressure will slide to the east Friday bringing more humid air on the backside, and there'll be chances for storms through Saturday."
The forecast lessens the chances of rain in Grand Forks to 30 percent or less today through Thursday. High temperatures in Grand Forks are expected to range from 76 to 80 degrees with overnight lows of 57 to 60 degrees.
If the end of spring seemed too warm and muggy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's Climate Prediction Center has issued a La Niña watch for the upcoming late summer and fall season. The periodic cooling of ocean surface temperatures in the central and east-central Pacific that occurs every three to five years typically produces a cooler and wetter winter across the northern plains.
Reach Johnson at (701) 780-1262; (800) 477-6572, ext. 262; or send e-mail to email@example.com .