SEVERE WX : Special Weather Statement View Alerts

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. 

-------------------------------------

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: 560450

Reported Deaths: 7122
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1167211690
Ramsey48313858
Dakota42928423
Anoka38965419
Washington25195274
Stearns21198219
St. Louis16926298
Scott16187118
Wright14964128
Olmsted1282897
Sherburne1072580
Carver993045
Clay787390
Rice7701102
Blue Earth704240
Kandiyohi631381
Crow Wing624286
Chisago554750
Otter Tail547673
Benton536697
Mower453032
Goodhue448572
Douglas446071
Winona439549
Nobles401948
Morrison397559
McLeod397255
Isanti382559
Itasca379053
Beltrami375457
Polk367967
Steele366214
Becker359448
Lyon349748
Carlton331152
Freeborn329629
Pine313821
Nicollet310343
Brown295639
Mille Lacs285450
Le Sueur273822
Todd270030
Cass252526
Meeker239137
Waseca231921
Martin215230
Wabasha20003
Roseau198319
Hubbard174441
Renville172943
Dodge17253
Redwood166735
Houston162714
Cottonwood158221
Fillmore15229
Pennington151519
Chippewa147537
Wadena145821
Faribault145519
Sibley137110
Kanabec133622
Aitkin129436
Watonwan12609
Rock123419
Jackson118210
Yellow Medicine111319
Pipestone110526
Pope10386
Murray10319
Swift100418
Marshall85817
Stevens83310
Lake78819
Clearwater78514
Koochiching77813
Wilkin77312
Lac qui Parle73922
Big Stone5764
Lincoln5613
Grant5528
Norman5229
Mahnomen5178
Unassigned48678
Kittson46822
Red Lake3877
Traverse3625
Lake of the Woods3073
Cook1480

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 359450

Reported Deaths: 5839
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk56274608
Linn20392330
Scott19245236
Black Hawk15611306
Woodbury14960221
Johnson1415481
Dubuque13196203
Dallas1094596
Pottawattamie10804162
Story1035747
Warren559186
Clinton541791
Cerro Gordo524987
Webster508792
Sioux507873
Marshall477575
Muscatine463297
Des Moines443165
Wapello4255121
Buena Vista422140
Jasper408470
Plymouth398779
Lee369255
Marion355775
Jones293455
Henry286837
Carroll280152
Bremer279860
Crawford262840
Boone259633
Benton251155
Washington249850
Dickinson243743
Mahaska225750
Jackson218942
Kossuth213763
Clay212325
Tama206971
Delaware204539
Winneshiek194933
Page190721
Buchanan189031
Cedar185023
Fayette183541
Hardin181942
Wright180635
Hamilton178449
Harrison176673
Clayton167355
Butler162734
Mills159020
Cherokee157738
Floyd156242
Lyon155341
Madison154819
Poweshiek153233
Allamakee149351
Iowa146224
Hancock144234
Winnebago136931
Grundy135532
Cass135154
Calhoun133411
Jefferson131235
Emmet129940
Shelby129037
Sac128419
Louisa127349
Appanoose126747
Mitchell125441
Union123332
Chickasaw122715
Guthrie118529
Humboldt118426
Franklin113121
Palo Alto111323
Howard102922
Montgomery101537
Unassigned10040
Clarke98524
Keokuk95031
Monroe94528
Ida90133
Adair84832
Pocahontas84121
Monona81430
Davis79924
Osceola77116
Greene76710
Lucas75723
Worth7138
Taylor65412
Fremont6169
Decatur5919
Van Buren55518
Ringgold53624
Wayne52123
Audubon4969
Adams3314
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 61°
Mason City
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 61°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 61°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 61°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 61°
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