Severe Storms Aim For North Dakota; Tornado Watch Issued
6:45 PM CDT, July 15, 2012
By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Seth Carrier
The international boundary between North Dakota and Canada will become the hot spot for severe weather this evening, as dangerous thunderstorms are expected to form. In fact, some of these storms could produce destructive tornadoes.
Two air masses will clash this evening in the far Northern Plains to produce severe thunderstorms. Hot and unstable air is surging north out of the Central Plains, while at the same time much cooler air is draining into northern North Dakota from Canada. Separating these is a strong warm front draped along the international border. This front will act as the trigger along which powerful thunderstorms will form.
With all these ingredients in place for explosive thunderstorm formation, a Tornado Watch has been issued for northern North Dakota, including the city of Minot.
Storms are already beginning to form on North Dakota`s border with Montana as an upper-level disturbance creates plenty of lift in the atmosphere. These storms will increase in size and intensity as they push into northern North Dakota over the next several hours. To make matters worse, surface winds are coming out of the southeast, while winds aloft are from the west. This change in wind direction with height is an important factor in tornado formation.
Along with this evening`s tornado risk, any storms that form will also be capable of producing damaging wind gusts higher than 60 mph and destructive large hail. After taking aim at North Dakota, these storms may even migrate into northwestern Minnesota before fizzling out well after midnight. Luckily, a return to tranquil weather is expected by sunrise on Monday.
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