National Weather Service Explains Why No Tornado Warning Was Issued For Stearns County On Friday
UNDATED - Stearns County officials made the decision to sound the outdoor sirens on Friday evening, despite the fact that the National Weather Service in Chanhassen did not activate a warning for the area. That left a lot of people confused about what was going on.
National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Krause says the radar screen wasn't indicating any problems.
The radar was very very ordinary looking. There was absolutely nothing that screamed out that there might be a tornado, or funnel cloud, or anything.
Krause says tornadoes forming without any previous rotation in the clouds, like in this case, is rare but it does happen.
There are sometimes maybe a handful of tornadoes in Minnesota each year that touch down from storms that aren't rotating.
Krause says he still wouldn't have issued a tornado warning for Stearns County that night.
It was a very average looking cell on radar. I'm not sure we would do anything differently, because if we did then we would end up putting tornado warnings out all over the place.
Krause says video and pictures indicate it was a tornado that damaged a turkey barn near Spring Hill. He says there may have been some brief rotation near St. Cloud as well.
Because there was no warning issued by the National Weather Service, that's why media outlets - like WJON - weren't immediately notified about the tornado and funnel clouds.
Stearns County Emergency Management Director Erin Hausauer says most of the damaged happened in Spring Hill and St. Martin.
Three out of four turkey barns were damaged on a farm in Spring Hill.
Weather spotters reported seeing funnel clouds in the Spring Hill, St. Joseph and St. Martin areas.