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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - The early-season tornado watch issued for southeast Minnesota Wednesday was among the earliest on record.

The Rochester area enjoyed a second straight day of 61-degree weather but the warm weather was part of an unstable system that moved through the region during the late afternoon.

A tornado watch was issued for the region but there were no reports of severe weather. Wind gusts of 50 mph were reported in the Stewartville and Kasson areas.

 

Hail and strong winds were reported in southern parts of the Twin Cities metro. Threatening wall clouds were spotted in the Faribault, Northfield, and Dundas areas and that prompted the National Weather Service to issue a tornado warning at 5:15 

No funnel clouds were reported.

The tornado watch was among the earliest in the year ever issued for southeast Minnesota by the National Weather Service office in La Crosse. Warning Coordination Meteorologist Todd Shea says “It certainly was one of the earliest we've had on record.” He did some digging and found one was issued on March 6, 2017.

It was back in March 1998 when southern Minnesota was slammed by devastating tornadoes that set numerous records. It was later confirmed 14 tornadoes touched down on March 29, a single-day record for the month in Minnesota. Two people were killed and damage exceeded $200-million. The town of St Peter, Comfrey, and Le Center were especially hard hit.

The same storm system produced thunderstorms in the Rochester area that included large, damaging hail.

News update:  A year ago today - the pandemic had its beginning in Olmsted County.

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