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Watches and Outlooks from the Storm Prediction Center

June 14, 2012

  You might have heard that a severe t-storm is possible this afternoon and/or this evening in the Twin Cities. Meteorologists can’t forecast exactly who will receive damaging winds, large hail or tornadoes several hours in advance, but we often have a good idea about which areas have the highest risk of severe weather.

  One source of severe weather risk info is the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) of  the National Weather Service ( http://www.spc.noaa.gov/ ). The men and women of SPC are based in Norman, Oklahoma. They continually monitor weather data and forecast models, and issue severe weather outlooks and severe t-storm and tornado watches. 

  This is a good time to talk about SPC products. The SPC issued this severe thunderstorm watch valid until 10PM tonight (Thursday, June 14), which includes the Twin Cities. 

  The watch may be modified as we go into this evening, so check with SPC or you favorite severe weather info source for updates.  

  We’ve all seen SPC severe weather outlooks on TV weathercasts. Minnesota and western Wisconsin are in a “slight risk” area for severe weather today and tonight. SPC also issues outlooks for specific types of severe weather. Here is the wind outlook that SPC issued today (Thursday, June 14) for this afternoon through tonight:

  The red-shaded has a 30% or greater chance of damaging thunderstorm winds or wind gusts within 25 miles of any point.

  Here is the hail outlook for this afternoon through tonight:

  The red-shaded area has a 30% or greater chance of one-inch diameter hail within 25 miles of any point. The area within the black lines also has a 10% or greater chance of two-inch diameter hail.

  Here is the tornado outlook for this afternoon and tonight:

  The brown-shaded area has a 5% or greater chance of a tornado within 25 miles of any point.

  Any severe weather in the Twin Cities this afternoon and/or tonight would tend to be very scattered, but on days like this it’s wise to be storm aware. If possible, keep a weather radio nearby so that you’re alerted to severe weather warnings. Some radio and TV stations will also give you severe weather warnings and storm details. Internet sites and phone apps are other sources of warnings. If you hear a siren, take cover and then get the warning details, but don’t rely on sirens alone as your source of warnings…they weren’t meant to warn people who are indoors.

  You can check the SPC site ( http://www.spc.noaa.gov/ ) for the latest severe weather outlooks and watches.

  I’m on Twitter: @RonTrenda and LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/rontrenda

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