Weather Forecast


Strong storms bring wind, rain to west central Minn.

Ominous skies are visible Thursday morning over Willmar in this reader-submitted photo by Carli Angrimson.

A line of strong thunderstorms moved through central Minnesota Thursday morning, bringing heavy downpours, lightning, wind and even some hail.

One of the strongest wind gusts, 77 miles per hour, was clocked by the National Weather Service near Renville. Weather Service observers reported power lines and branches down in the towns of Renville and Sacred Heart.

Locations in Yellow Medicine and Chippewa counties experienced some wind gusts of 57 and 58 mph.

The storms rolled through the area between 8 and 9 a.m., at the height of the morning commute. Under blackened skies, streetlights came on and motorists had to turn on their headlights.

The most severe thunderstorms were concentrated along Minnesota Highway 7 and U.S. Highway 212, including the towns of Renville, Sacred Heart, Olivia and east to Hutchinson and Silver Lake. While around one inch of rain was recorded at the Willmar Municipal Airport, the Olivia airport reported upwards of an inch, most of it falling in the space of just one hour.

The storms were triggered by a cold front moving out of the Dakotas into Minnesota.

A slight chance remains of hazardous weather this afternoon in central Minnesota. The Weather Service said thunderstorms may occur into early afternoon, with hail and gusty winds possible in some areas. The front is expected to move out of the state by the end of the day, bringing cooler temperatures and a few lingering light showers.