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Weather Talk: Rain-wrapped tornadoes often difficult to detect

The National Weather Service found evidence of a tornado within the widespread straight-line wind damage left behind after Monday night’s storm.

The damage path is approximately 28 miles long through Polk and Red Lake counties in Minnesota and was discovered by the nature of the damage: Debris was lifted higher and thrown farther in a manner usually associated with tornadoes.  No one actually saw the tornado because it was entirely wrapped in heavy rain and was surrounded by a large area of very strong nontornado wind. 

Rain-wrapped tornadoes are not common in the northern Plains but are more common in the South, where more humid environments often produce more widespread rain around tornadoes. 

Rain-wrapped tornadoes are often difficult to detect except by Doppler radar, and the National Weather Service did have a tornado warning in effect at the time. This illustrates the need for people to take all tornado warnings seriously. Fortunately, there were no injuries Monday night.    

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