Minnesota's first severe weather outbreak of 2019 produced large hail, damaging winds, torrential rainfall, and even one confirmed tornado on the southwest side of Rochester.
A warm and humid air mass developed on Tuesday June 4, 2019, as a weak low pressure area with several air mass boundaries moved into the region. Strong thunderstorms formed by early afternoon in west-central Minnesota, followed shortly by other thunderstorms that blossomed from far northwestern parts of the state, to the Canadian border, and into the Arrowhead region. By early evening, radars across the state lit up with dozens of brightly-colored thunderstorm cells.
A large swath of concentrated (though not necessarily continuous) wind damage stretched from near Hutchinson, through the far southern Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, Rochester, and towards La Crosse, Wisconsin. Within this area, numerous wind gusts were measured or estimated between 65 and 85 mph. An EF-1 tornado, with winds likely in excess of 100 mph, was confirmed on the southwest side of Rochester. Other wind damage reports were scattered around the state, with downed trees reported in Cloquet and Bemidji.
These thunderstorms were also efficient hail-producers, with many reports of ping pong and golf ball-sized hailstones. The tornadic storm near Rochester also produced baseball-sized hail just west of town.
Although most areas only saw moderate to briefly heavy rains, isolated areas saw multiple heavy thunderstorms or prolonged intense rainfall rates. As a result, narrow swaths of rainfall totals between 1 and 3 inches dotted Minnesota, with some of the heaviest amounts found near Duluth, and in southeastern Minnesota, over Dakota, Goodhue, and Dodge counties.
More information on these storms was provided by the National Weather Service forecast offices in La Crosse, the Twin Cities, and Grand Forks.
Last updated June 10, 2019