Rain finally falls on region

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 20, 2006

By Kari Lucin, staff writers

Two thunderstorms rolled through Albert Lea and the surrounding areas Wednesday, dropping between 1.5 and 2.5 inches of much-needed rain without prompting any storm-related damage reports.

The sky turned an ominous shade of blue-green Wednesday at 10:13 a.m. as the torrent of rain slammed down, pounding the ground and rooftops.

The second &045; much noisier &045; thunderstorm hit just before midnight Wednesday night. The loudest part of the storm didn’t last very long, but while it was around it filled the sky with lightning. Thunder, however, could be heard in Albert Lea from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.

A tornado watch was in effect until 5 a.m. this morning. An urban advisory for flooding was in effect until 2:30 a.m.

The forecast for Wednesday had predicted variable clouds with strong thunderstorms with a chance of hail and strong winds at 10 to 20 mph. A severe thunderstorm warning was out until 10:30 a.m. and a thunderstorm watch until 3 p.m.

&8220;Well, it’s just started to rain here, it looks nice to me,&8221; said Hayward farmer Charlie Kermes. &8220;Of course the rain will help. We need rain to make beans and corn and we were getting on the dry side.&8221;

Kermes has been a farmer for 69 years.

The weather wasn’t so kind to motorists. One vehicle hydroplaned off the road at 10:36 a.m.

But the worst of the first storm was over by 11 a.m.

&8220;It’s nothing really out of the ordinary, getting severe weather during July,&8221; said Rich Naistat, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. &8220;This is primarily a hail and wind event.&8221;

The Weather Service heard just one report of a funnel cloud in northern Dakota County.

The cool weather that came with the storm was a relief to many.

&8220;I love a good storm, I find that rather exciting. Especially after the hot weather we’ve had, this is really refreshing,&8221; said Bonnie Aasness, owner of Bible Book and Gift in downtown Albert Lea.

&8220;I’ve always liked a good storm, as long as we don’t get the hail that damages crops.&8221;