Update: Parts of west central Minn. in tornado watch until 4 p.m., thunderstorm and heat advisories out for parts of state
Update 1 p.m.
The National Weather Service in Minneapolis says much of west central Minnesota, including Willmar, faces a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms this afternoon and into the evening.
This thunderstorm threats is due to a low pressure system and cold front moving through the state. The airmass will continue to destabilize this afternoon as an area of clearing moves into southern Minnesota towards the Twin Cities and on into western Wisconsin.
A tornado watch remain in effect until 4 p.m. for parts of west central and east central Minnesota, including the counties of Redwood, Wright, Kandiyohi, Meeker, Renville and Stearns.
Temperatures will rise into the mid 80s to low 90s. As a result, thunderstorm activity is expected to increase both in coverage and intensity this afternoon. Severe thunderstorms are expected to redevelop in eastern and southern Minnesota this afternoon and across west central Wisconsin during late afternoon and evening hours.
These weather conditions could produce very large hail, damaging winds and a few tornadoes this afternoon and evening. This severe thunderstorm and tornado potential today could rival what Minnesota saw on June 17 across west central and southern Minnesota.
In addition to the severe weather threat today, a heat advisory is in effect for this afternoon for east central and south central Minnesota and much of west central Wisconsin. High temperatures near 90 coupled with dew points rising into the middle to upper 70s will result in heat indices from 100 to 105. This heat advisory includes the Twin Cities metropolitian area.
WILLMAR -- A large portion of central Minnesota, including the Willmar area, is in a tornado watch until 4 p.m. this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
The watch includes Kandiyohi, Renville, Meeker, Redwood and Brown counties and extends east across Minnesota and into Wisconsin, including 29 counties in Minnesota and 19 counties in Wisconsin.
The weather service advised there is a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms across the area today and early this evening as a low pressure system and cold front move through. Damaging winds and a few tornadoes are possible.
There is also a heat advisory in effect for the Twin Cities, south central Minnesota and much of west central Wisconsin. High temps near 90 degrees and dew points in the upper 70s mean the heat index could reach 100 to 105 degrees.
There is a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, possibly severe, today. The high temperature is expected to be near 85 and winds are expected to be from 11 to 18 mph with gusts up to 26 mph.