Tornado, Severe Thunderstorm Warnings blanket central, northern Minnesota counties

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A Doppler-indicated Tornado Warning has been issued for Benton, Mille Lacs and Morrison Counties Sunday night, along with Severe Thunderstorm Warnings for nearby counties. 

Aitkin, Carlton and Pine Counties are under the Thunderstorm Warnings. Those warnings and the Tornado Warnings could include wind up to 70 miles per hour and ping pong ball-sized hail. 

A wind gust of 73 miles per hour was reported in Pierz, Minn. Sunday evening. 

Earlier Sunday, a Severe Thunderstorm Watch was issued between the Fargo area down through the Twin Cities metro area Sunday afternoon.

A cluster of severe storms were just north and northwest of Brainerd in the afternoon, with two Doppler-indicated Tornado Warnings in place for Becker, Clearwater and Hubbard counties until 4:15 p.m.

Hot and humid conditions throughout the day Sunday set the stage for the severe storm possibilities.

As those storms progressed, a Heat Advisory was issued for the Twin Cities metro area through Monday night at 10 p.m.

At 3 p.m. Sunday, Minneapolis-St. Paul had a heat index of 97 degrees. To the north, near Cambridge, a 103-degree heat index was recorded. Alexandria, northwest of the cities, came in at 102 degrees on the heat index, too.