Tag Archives: thunderstorms


window well full of waterI was mountain biking in the Upper Arb this morning when I noticed the approaching storm clouds had a green tint.

I got caught in the fast-approaching deluge (1.75 inches of rain about 45 minutes) but got home in time to notice that one of our window wells was about to overflow into my basement world headquarters. Bucket time.  Whew.

stalled car on flooded street downed tree and power line downed tree and power line

Trinity Lutheran recycling cans Rice County Sheriff officers downed tree at David Allen's house
After the thunderstorm passed, I roamed around town on my bike to get a few photos of its aftermath (with email hints on where to go from my buddy Curt Benson who was monitoring the police scanner): Northfield Police helping motorists with stalled cars; trees and power lines down; Trinity Lutheran Church recycled cans strewn over a few acres; Rice County Sheriff officers closing off streets; and artist David Allen with some new landscaping perfectly framing the business sign in his yard.

More storm photos:

A strange cloud formation ahead of this morning’s squall line

thunderstorm radar may 9 2011 squall line approaching Northfield 
As I settled in for coffee at 6 am this morning at the GBM, I checked the radar and noticed a line of severe thunderstorms approaching. I glanced out my corner office window and saw a white streak of clouds, very high up, many miles long, well ahead of the wind, rain, and pea-sized hail that eventually came after the squall line passed.

squall line approaching Northfield squall line approaching Northfield squall line approaching Northfield
Anyone know what this cloud formation is called? Is it a "line echo wave pattern" as described in the Wikipedia  section on the severe weather indicator of a squall line?

Friday night’s thunderstorm did some damage

Friday night’s thunderstorm (actually Sat. morning around 1 am) did some damage on the north side of Northfield.

storm damage to street light posts storm damage to street light posts storm damage to trees on Highland Ave storm damage to trees on Highland Ave
At least four of the historic-type street lights on the east side of Hwy 3 near The Crossing blew down. And many trees near St. Olaf took a beating, including these on Highland Ave., one of which landed on a parked car according to this comment from Josh Dale who lives nearby:

I live on the north-east corner of St. Olaf property, off Highland Ave. The power went out shortly after 1am. No power=no warnings, other than a lightning strike, blown transformers or downed power lines…it was a good several minutes after the power went out that it started hailing and huge branches started ripping off trees in the area. A large part of a tree landed on two cars parked on the roadway of Highland Ave in front of my home. I’m sure many of you are now aware of the significant tree damage around town, especially on the north side. Luckily no one that I’ve heard has been injured by any debris last night, but the possibilities are always there.

We can’t all be expected to rely on media sources for weather warnings. Sirens are quite necessary. If I get woken up at 2am by sirens, I am thankful for the chance to seek shelter if necessary instead of waking up to my family, friends or myself in danger.

Jane Moline commented:

There was substantial damage from the winds with trees down, street lights down. In one case a tree on a house. We lost a bunch of big branches here on the farm, and there was a tree blocking half the road on 2nd street in Dundas.

Anyone else know of damage from this storm?

(To discuss whether or not the warning sirens should have been deployed, see/add to the discussion attached to this blog post.)

Storm sirens: deployed too quickly?

400px-Tornado_siren,_Pesotum_2 Last night’s storms by-passed Northfield once again. (The boys of KYMN joke that we’re protected by a high-pressure bubble whenever storms head our way.) When the sirens went off at about 5:30 pm, many people on Bridge Square for the Taste of Northfield headed for shelter in nearby stores or the Armory.

But just as many looked at the sky and could tell that nothing was imminent and just hung around and socialized. People like me. The tornado sirens ended after about 5 minutes, we got a few drops of rain, and that was it.

I don’t understand the decision-making process and the chain of command for when local sirens are deployed.  There’s no information about it on the City of Northfield’s emergency information page.

But it seems to me that the sirens too often are deployed too quickly, thereby teaching the public to not take them seriously because 99 times out of a hundred, nothing severe happens.

Or am I wrong?

It’s hot. It’s humid. Here comes a big storm. Cool!

A Paul Douglas’ blog post titled Severe storm warnings south/west of the Twin Cities, updated at 12:50 pm, includes a mention of Northfield:

062309one Severe storms with strong/violent straight-line winds are raging across southern Minnesota. This first batch of severe storms will probably pass off just south of the Twin Cities, affecting the far southern suburbs like Faribault, Waseca and even Northfield.