Out like a lion
Roaring out like a lion with a dual personality, the last day of March had multiple reports of tornadoes breaking out during a blizzard warning.
Law enforcement reported structural damage with a probable tornado three miles southeast of St. Leo in Yellow Medicine County. The tornado was reported just after 4 p.m. Monday in southwestern Minnesota in a line of strong thunderstorms. Minnesota Public Radio weather reported at least three funnel clouds were sighted in Minnesota Monday.
Before Monday, just 20 March tornadoes were recorded in Minnesota since 1950 and 14 of those were on a single day March 29, 1998, the National Weather Service in the Twin Cities reported.
Mild weather in the southern part of the state produced rain, hail, funnel clouds and strong thunderstorm warnings. At the same time, far northern Minnesota was experiencing blizzard conditions, strong winds and up to a foot or more of snow. Minnesota Public Radio weather noted a trained spotter reported 10 inches of snow by 6:30 p.m. in Roseau and drifts of 5 to 6 feet.
As Minnesota highways were being closed due to blowing snow farther north, hail-producing thunderstorms were popping up in the southern part of the state.
The Minnesota State Patrol advised no travel in northwestern Minnesota with blowing and drifting snow causing poor visibility. The Minnesota Department of Transportation closed Highway 1 between Oslo and Warren, and Interstate 29 in North Dakota was closed from Grand Forks to Canada.
Temperatures by 8 p.m. Monday varied across the state from 15 degrees in International Falls to 38 degrees in Brainerd to 56 degrees in Plymouth.
Kevin Kraujalis, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth, said it’s unusual to have both a tornado and a blizzard warning in the same area, but this type of springtime system with snow on the north side and warmer, moist air to the south is more typical of the season.
Brainerd had a momentary hard rain as a line extending from the powerful thunderstorms moved through the area heading north.
The amount of ice expected to accumulate overnight may be less than a 10th of an inch in the lakes area and snowfall may start accumulating after March gives way to April. By mid-morning on April Fools’ Day, Kraujalis said the area could have a couple of inches of fresh snow. Brainerd remains in a winter weather advisory until 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 1. Winds may gust as high as 40 mph. And more snow may be arriving later in the week.