StormTeam 3: Rare Tropical Storm Cristobal to bring rain & winds to upper Midwest

This doesn't happen often folks

Posted: Jun 7, 2020 7:15 PM
Updated: Jun 7, 2020 7:54 PM

We never thought we would be tracking a tropical system moving into our area here at KIMT, but the weather is full of surprises isn't it?

Yes, we are tracking a tropical cyclone moving into the upper Midwest. This is unprecedented. 

Let's start off with silencing any rumors though...

This is not a hurricane rolling to the Midwest. By the time it rolls into Iowa Tuesday it won't even be strong enough to be considered a tropical storm. This is not going to be the strongest storm you have ever seen, and any flooding likely won't be the worst you have ever seen either. However, Cristobal still poses a flooding threat, along with strong storms expected Tuesday afternoon. 

With that said, Cristobal will very likely still make it into the record books, and in fact it already has. It was the earliest the third storm of the Atlantic Hurricane season has ever formed, forming in the Gulf of Mexico on June 2nd. It will likely be the furthest north and west a tropical cyclone has ever tracked over the United States. As far as records go, no tropical cyclone has ever make it into Minnesota or Wisconsin, with the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 potentially having made it into southern Iowa as a Tropical Depression. Two former tropical storms have made it into Wisconsin as extra-tropical cyclones, still dropping rain along the way, but both only somewhat count. (Tropical cyclones differ form extratropical cyclones dynamically, with extratropical cyclones having cold and warm fronts - and being responsible for many of the blizzards we see during the winter months).

What we are seeing with Cristobal is not impossible though. In 2018, Tropical Storm Alberto made it all the way from the Gulf of Mexico into Michigan as a tropical depression. So we know it's possible, just incredibly rare.  

Now let's talk more about what this means for us.

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Cristobal will move into the upper Midwest Tuesday afternoon. It's center is forecast to move into Iowa sometime around noon Tuesday. At this time, Cristobal will likely still be tropical, and will thus still present some rain bands - a feature of tropical cyclones like hurricanes where thunderstorms line up and spin around the entire systems center. Some of these rain bands could move over our area as soon as noon Tuesday. Heavy downpours and gusty winds will be the concern here. If rain bands should run or train over the same area for an extended amount of time, flooding will quickly become a concern. Like everything with Cristobal though, this will be dependent on how far away the center of the storm tracks.

If Cristobal is tropical on Tuesday afternoon, you may notice that these storms just feel different. The air will not cool as much after it rains, and humidity will still remain. 

Overnight Tuesday, Cristobal will begin to transition into an extratropical cyclone as it merges with a cold front approaching from the west. This will bring us cooler temps in Wednesday, but it will also serve to squeeze out more rain and strengthen the storms winds. Winds Wednesday will reach 25mph out of the northwest, with gusts above 30mph. Keep in mind, any change in the timing of the cold front Tuesday will impact the forecast.

Let's also breifly talk about Tornadoes. Tropical cyclones like Hurricanes can in fact spin up tornadoes. These tropical tornadoes most often occur on the right side of the storm relative to its motion. Lucky for us, we look to be on Cristobal's left side as its center marches towards Wisconsin. Tornadoes will be of low concern unless Cristobal manages to track a lot closer or even west of us. 

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Now it's time to talk about rainfall potential.

Tropical systems like Cristobal can carry an incredible amount of moisture with them, and merging a tropical cyclone with a cold front is a great way to squeeze out a lot of rain. So for us in the Midwest, rainfall and potential flooding is our greatest concern. 

Models differ on rainfall amounts across our area. Both the European and RPM model bring 3+ inches to a wide swath of our area with more isolated higher amounts, while the GFS brings more in the range of 1-2 inches to us. How much rain wee see form Cristobal will depend on where exactly it tracks. The closer it tracks to us, the more likely we are to see more rain. Flooding will likely begin to occur when rainfall accumulations begin to top 3 inches, so we will have to monitor the track of Cristobal as it draws closer.

Feel free to contact KIMT with any and all weather questions.  

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 456490

Reported Deaths: 6174
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin947071506
Ramsey40752750
Dakota33684355
Anoka31437368
Washington20627237
Stearns18137190
St. Louis14032251
Scott1224899
Wright11831107
Olmsted1085175
Sherburne831970
Carver706139
Clay661384
Rice625674
Kandiyohi559172
Blue Earth549633
Crow Wing491178
Otter Tail465468
Chisago461838
Benton424388
Winona395648
Douglas380366
Nobles374847
Mower374729
Goodhue359163
Polk330860
McLeod328947
Beltrami316648
Morrison314845
Lyon306340
Becker290039
Itasca288043
Isanti286543
Carlton285243
Steele279610
Pine270815
Freeborn254923
Todd233730
Nicollet230938
Brown219134
Mille Lacs216145
Le Sueur215016
Cass211024
Meeker201733
Waseca193916
Wabasha17493
Martin172126
Roseau166617
Hubbard151438
Redwood141427
Houston141114
Dodge14014
Renville138740
Chippewa133432
Cottonwood129218
Fillmore12838
Wadena120918
Rock112212
Aitkin111633
Faribault110316
Sibley11017
Watonwan10708
Pennington101316
Kanabec100118
Pipestone97523
Yellow Medicine95017
Murray9137
Jackson87510
Swift84718
Pope7485
Stevens7078
Marshall70315
Clearwater68814
Lake66515
Lac qui Parle66116
Wilkin63510
Koochiching61010
Lincoln4912
Big Stone4703
Grant4398
Unassigned43568
Norman4268
Mahnomen4177
Kittson37420
Red Lake3214
Traverse2673
Lake of the Woods1991
Cook1160

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313284

Reported Deaths: 4437
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk47198465
Linn18187280
Scott15975172
Black Hawk14184243
Woodbury13161181
Johnson1234453
Dubuque11678159
Pottawattamie9204115
Dallas915472
Story886638
Cerro Gordo476172
Webster475077
Warren463939
Clinton461068
Sioux460757
Marshall433262
Buena Vista397731
Muscatine397379
Des Moines396243
Plymouth354270
Wapello353098
Jasper335159
Lee327132
Marion312253
Jones275650
Henry269931
Carroll258934
Bremer251048
Crawford235524
Boone224717
Washington224333
Benton214550
Mahaska198937
Jackson196532
Tama191659
Dickinson189429
Kossuth182244
Delaware177736
Clay173421
Wright167824
Fayette166824
Buchanan162924
Hamilton162930
Winneshiek161420
Harrison159162
Hardin158731
Cedar156819
Clayton154349
Butler152524
Page148715
Floyd142036
Cherokee140527
Mills139017
Lyon138233
Poweshiek136024
Hancock133024
Allamakee131630
Iowa128522
Madison126210
Calhoun12409
Grundy123428
Winnebago123329
Jefferson122625
Mitchell117337
Louisa116830
Cass115443
Chickasaw114012
Appanoose113340
Sac113215
Union112823
Emmet111332
Shelby108027
Humboldt107819
Guthrie104624
Franklin104018
Unassigned10290
Palo Alto92611
Montgomery90024
Keokuk86526
Howard86419
Monroe82820
Clarke8219
Pocahontas78811
Ida76930
Davis70421
Adair69820
Greene6987
Monona69618
Lucas67110
Osceola65011
Worth6224
Taylor6029
Fremont5296
Van Buren50615
Decatur5004
Ringgold46311
Audubon4278
Wayne42021
Adams3023
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Partly Cloudy
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Hi: 19° Lo: 4°
Feels Like: 9°
Mason City
Partly Cloudy
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Hi: 20° Lo: 7°
Feels Like: -4°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
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Hi: 15° Lo: 4°
Feels Like: 3°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
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Hi: 16° Lo: 6°
Feels Like: -2°
Charles City
Cloudy
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Hi: 19° Lo: 8°
Feels Like: -4°
Cold and dry through Friday
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