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Threat of very large hail, high winds Wednesday in Minnesota

A map shows the level of risk for severe thunderstorms in north-central and northeastern Minnesota, as prepared by the National Weather Service office in Duluth.
Contributed
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National Weather Service - Duluth
A map shows the level of risk for severe thunderstorms in north-central and northeastern Minnesota, as prepared by the National Weather Service office in Duluth. Orange indicates enhanced risk, which happens on average once a year in the state.

The area of enhanced risk for severe weather includes the cities of Brainerd, Walker and Grand Rapids to the west up through the Arrowhead and into northwestern Wisconsin.

DULUTH — Baseball-sized hail and 70 mph winds are the most significant impacts expected with the threat of severe thunderstorms Wednesday, June 12, in north-central and northeastern Minnesota.

The National Weather Service in Duluth reported in an afternoon update that a few tornadoes are also possible, but the probability of hail and wind is extremely high. Hail is considered severe when it's one-quarter of an inch in diameter or larger, but the weather service said hail as large as 3 inches could fall across a wide area of the region.

Have photos of the hail or storm damage? Email news@kaxe.org

"Especially where you have the red shaded area and the hatched [area] overlaying, we definitely have some pretty big concern," said Ketzel Levens, a meteorologist in Duluth who led a media briefing Wednesday afternoon.

Levens referred to a map produced by the weather service shown here, indicating a probability of 30-44% for severe hail.

A map shows the probability of severe hail on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in north-central and northeastern Minnesota.
Contributed
/
National Weather Service
A map shows the probability of severe hail on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in north-central and northeastern Minnesota.

The wind threat increased since Wednesday morning, focused on the area between Brainerd and the Twin Ports, along the Interstate 35 corridor.

"These are the areas where we're going to see a little bit more of that line of thunderstorms coming together and picking up momentum as it builds, coming down from north-central Minnesota," Levens said.

The area of enhanced risk for severe weather includes the cities of Brainerd, Walker and Grand Rapids to the west up through the Arrowhead and into northwestern Wisconsin. Levens said this third risk level is rarely seen in the state.

"This is not the most common for our area. We maybe see one a year-ish," Levens said in a media briefing. " ... Especially for portions of Lake and Cook County, they haven't seen an enhanced risk since 2020. So it has been a while."

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Staying safe

Levens reiterated safety precautions people should take if there is severe weather in their area. Avoid windows or anything that might be breakable — close blinds or shades if indoors, or if in a vehicle, head to the backseat and cover yourself with a blanket.

The likely storms have raised particular safety concerns for campers in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which models show is in the path of severe weather arriving between 4-10 p.m.

"If they're out in the Wilderness, it could be a pretty hazardous evening, [so we're] encouraging folks to secure their campsites and make plans for severe weather," Levens said.

"If you can find anything that's hard-topped, which may be a canoe — that might be your safest bet to protect you from hail. Or consider alternating your plans, if you have the ability to not go into the Wilderness today."

Reporting hail or damage

The National Weather Service is seeking reports from the public of half-inch-sized hail or larger. Report the largest hail size you had and include details, such as whether it looked like snow or was only a few hailstones.

If you don't have a ruler, compare the size to a regular-sized object (but avoid marbles as a comparison, because they vary too much in size). Pictures and video are very helpful, the weather service says.

As for storm damage, Levens said anything you might report to an insurance company would be of interest to the weather service.

Email nws.duluth@noaa.gov or share your observations with the Duluth office on Facebook or X.

Share your photos with KAXE News, too — email us at news@kaxe.org.