Tornadoes Menace Minnesota; Southwest Bakes

Storms that spawned tornadoes across southern Minnesota were moving toward the Great Lakes on Thursday, while the Southwest was expected to remain hot and dry.

At least a half-dozen tornadoes touched down southwest of Minneapolis on Wednesday night, downing tree branches and power lines and damaging more than 20 homes. No serious injuries were reported.

Thunderstorms and strong winds were expected Thursday in an area from Iowa to Michigan and Indiana. Storms were also forecast from Texas to the Dakotas, with wind gusts as high as 60 mph and heavy downpours possible.

Isolated thunderstorms were expected to develop along the Gulf coast and into Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. Much of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic region was expected to remain dry with fair skies.

In the Southwest, where highs again topped 100 degrees in parts of California, Nevada and Arizona on Wednesday, temperatures were expected to remain high with clear skies.

Scattered showers were forecast from New Mexico to Montana, with clearing beginning to the north. The rest of the West was expected to be clear to partly cloudy.

Highs on Thursday were forecast in the 60s and 70s in the Northwest and northern Plains; 70s and 80s in the Great Basin, Rockies, central and southern Plains and the East; and 80s, 90s and 100s in the Southwest.

Temperatures in the Lower 48 states on Wednesday ranged from a high of 113 degrees in Goodyear, Ariz., to a low of 27 degrees in Big Rapids, Mich.