Possible record December tornadoes, widespread wind damage in SE Minnesota

Wind gusts to 85 mph in southeast Minnesota. High wind warnings into Thursday.

A foggy day in the city.
A pedestrian crosses the street as a thick blanket of fog covers downtown St. Paul on Wednesday.
Tim Evans for MPR News

Welcome to climate change in Minnesota.

Our intense, unseasonable December storm broke multiple records in Minnesota Wednesday. It also caused widespread severe weather damage.

Here is a quick list of records broken so far. I’m sure there will be many more added as we tally up the results of yet another unprecedented weather event in Minnesota.

  • Possible first tornado recorded in December in Minnesota.

  • Latest possible tornado recorded in the season. (Previously Nov. 16.)

  • First-ever severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings in Minnesota in December.

  • 58 degrees, record high for Dec. 15 at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. (Previously 51 degrees in 2014.)

  • 55 degrees, record dew point for the MSP Airport on Dec. 15. (Previously 49 degrees in 2014.)

Widespread wind damage

The intense squall line with this system stretched from Minnesota south to Oklahoma.

Widespread wind damage and gusts from 70 to 90+ mph were recorded from Nebraska through Iowa and southeast Minnesota.

Here are a few observed wind gusts in Minnesota Wednesday night.

  • 2 ESE Kasson [Dodge Co, MN] MESONET reports TSTM WND GST of M72 MPH at 15 Dec, 7:45 PM CST -- MESONET STATION MN029 2 E KASSON.

  • 1 ENE Dexter [Mower Co, MN] MESONET reports TSTM WND GST of M73 MPH at 15 Dec, 7:35 PM CST -- MESONET STATION MN010 1 ENE DEXTER.

  • 1 WNW Morristown [Rice Co, MN] TRAINED SPOTTER reports TSTM WND GST of M75 MPH at 15 Dec, 7:25 PM CST --

  • Rochester Airport [Olmsted Co, MN] ASOS reports TSTM WND GST of M78 MPH at 15 Dec, 7:45 PM CST --3 S Grand Meadow [Mower Co, MN] TRAINED SPOTTER reports TSTM WND GST of M83 MPH at 15 Dec, 7:33 PM CST --

  • Plainview [Wabasha Co, MN] PUBLIC reports TSTM WND GST of M85 MPH at 15 Dec, 8:10 PM CST

Here are some select severe weather and damage reports.

  • Eyota [Olmsted Co, MN] EMERGENCY MNGR reports TSTM WND DMG at 15 Dec, 7:59 PM CST -- POSSIBLE TORNADO - CAR MOVED BY STRONG WINDS

  • 6 SSW Winona [Winona Co, MN] EMERGENCY MNGR reports TSTM WND DMG at 15 Dec, 8:18 PM CST -- SEMI TRUCK BLOWN OVER AT INTERSTATE 90 MILE MARKER 252

  • 1 WNW Rochester [Olmsted Co, MN] PUBLIC reports TSTM WND DMG at 15 Dec, 7:53 PM CST -- REPORT FROM MPING: TREES UPROOTED OR SNAPPED; ROOF BLOWN OFF.

High wind warning into Thursday

High wind warnings continue into Thursday morning across most of Minnesota.

Including the cities of Princeton, Mora, St Cloud, Sauk Rapids, Elk River, Cambridge, Center City, Madison, Benson, Montevideo, Willmar, Litchfield, Monticello, Minneapolis, Blaine, St Paul, Stillwater, Granite Falls, Olivia, Hutchinson, Gaylord, Chanhassen, Chaska, Victoria, Shakopee, Hastings, Redwood Falls, New Ulm, St Peter, Le Sueur, Faribault, Red Wing, Osceola, Rice Lake, Ladysmith, Hudson, River Falls, Menomonie, Durand, Chippewa Falls, and Eau Claire

325 PM CST Wed Dec 15 2021

...HIGH WIND WARNING NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM CST THURSDAY...

* WHAT...For the High Wind Warning, west winds 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph expected. For the Dense Fog Advisory, visibility one quarter mile or less in dense fog. * WHERE...Mille Lacs, Kanabec, Stearns and Benton Counties.

* WHEN...Until 6 AM CST Thursday.

* IMPACTS...Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines. Widespread power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles. Hazardous driving conditions due to low visibility.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Widespread wind damage may also occur with a line of thunderstorms early this evening. Wind gusts up to 70-80 mph are possible.

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