Severe weather expected today in Austin

Published 7:35 am Tuesday, July 13, 2010

At least 34 tornadoes have touched down in Minnesota this year and a severe weather outlook means more violent storms could be on their way to the region.

Large hail, damaging straight-line winds and tornadoes are possible as dangerous weather conditions sweep through Austin and the rest of southeastern Minnesota Wednesday.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in La Crosse, Wis., has posted a hazardous weather outlook for southeastern Minnesota, parts of northeast Iowa and western Wisconsin.

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NWS meteorologist Todd Shea said a cold front moving from the west into the area — confronting unstable and muggy air on arrival — is what may cause the rough storms.

“There will be a risk of tornadoes,” Shea said Tuesday afternoon. “It’s too early to pinpoint its [the system’s] focus, but the biggest threat area seems to be southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.”

Shea said that if severe weather does develop in the Austin area, it would be between 3 and 11 p.m. Wednesday. Milder thunderstorms are also possible in the morning.

Ahead of the cold front Wednesday, as Shea noted, warm and humid air will develop across the region.

High temperatures will be into the 80s Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the NWS.

Dew point temperatures, which measure how much moisture is in the air, are expected to be well into the 70s; The combination of the warm and moist air will produce heat indices approaching 100 during the afternoon and early evening.

There is also a chance of thunderstorms Saturday night and Sunday, but severe weather is not forecasted.