ZIMMERMAN, Minn. -- A pair of tornadoes reportedly touched down in Minnesota on Monday as a band of severe weather moved through the Midwest. If confirmed, the tornadoes would be the earliest in the state’s recorded history.The storm system largely missed the Twin Cities, which received only brief thundershowers, but it flattened trees and dropped ping-pong ball-size hail in areas to the north and south of the metro, according to Lisa Schmit, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
“The Twin Cities escaped the strongest of the storm,” Schmit said. “The metro was kind of right in the middle there.”
The tornado sightings were reported late Monday afternoon near Zimmerman, about 50 miles northwest of the Twin Cities, and near Clarks Grove, about 90 miles south of the metro area. Both storms downed trees and damaged buildings, but no injuries were reported as of 8:30 p.m.
The weather service will dispatch surveyors to these locations Tuesday to assess the damage, Schmit said. If they confirm that it was caused by tornadoes, they would be the earliest in Minnesota history. That record is currently held by a 1968 twister that struck March 18 near Truman, in southern Minnesota.
Tuesday’s forecast calls for clearer skies and temperatures reaching 48 degrees in the Twin Cities, but the metro will also be under a high wind watch until 9 p.m. Sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph are expected, with gusts up to 50 mph.