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Weather map by Accweather.com

Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes possible today in west central Minn.

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WILLMAR — Severe weather is likely today and early tonight across central and southern Minnesota, according to the National Weather Service.

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An area extending from Willmar south into Iowa and including Marshall, Worthington, Mankato and Albert Lea stands a moderate risk of large hail, damaging winds and possibly, tornadoes, this afternoon and evening. The storms are expected to initiate early this afternoon over west central Minnesota.

The localized forecast for Willmar includes a high temperature of 70 degrees today with a 70 percent chance of severe thunderstorms and between a tenth and a quarter inch of rain. More rain is expected tonight, along with severe thunderstorms and a low temperature around 44 degrees.

The severe weather will evolve from a wide-reaching, slow-moving storm system that will combine with powerful winds aloft and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico, according to AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist Scott Breit.

"The severe weather event Thursday will include damaging wind gusts to 70 mph, large hail, flash flooding and even isolated tornadoes," Breit said.

Multiple severe storms can repeatedly hit some communities on Thursday and Thursday night, so residents are urged to stay alert after the first round of violent storms.

Those living or traveling in the threat zone should pay close attention to severe weather warnings throughout the day.

The chance of rain showers continues from Saturday into next week, with highs in the 60s and lows around 45 to 50 degrees.

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