The National Weather Service expects severe weather conditions for Crow Wing and Cass County this afternoon.

A strong storm cell has recently entered western Minnesota, and is expected to approach the lakes area from the northwest later today.

The nature of the storm cell is such that it is difficult to predict when it reaches the area, but NWS meteorologist Lee Britt said residents should be prepared for it between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

“With those cells, we are going to be looking at pretty much all modes of severe weather possible,” Britt said. “Hail could be upwards of 1-½ inches, damaging winds could be upwards of 70 mph. There is a slight threat for a few tornadoes in the area as well … It isn’t super high (only around 5%) but it is something we should be aware of.”

Another concern in the southwest portions of the two counties is flash flooding. The area sustained upwards two inches of rainfall overnight, and could possibly see two more once the storms have passed.

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Residents can expect wind speeds of 20 to 25 mph, but should be ready for gusts of up to 70 mph.

“If this were a month or two later, then this would be a weird set-up, but this is not uncommon for the area,” Britt said. “July is our most active month (for severe weather conditions) but August can also bring some severe weather across the northland.

“Always have a way to get weather warnings. Always have a radio on hand or your smartphone - have something like that available in case you need to take shelter and be mindful of what is going on around you.”