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For December 20
(for Southeast Minnesota, Northeast Iowa, and Western Wisconsin)
  • In 1971, Grand Meadow, MN (6") snow.
  • In 2008, a multi-faceted winter storm brought a variety of weather to the Upper Midwest. Three areas of low pressure crossed the region bringing snow, strong winds, blowing and drifting snow, arctic air and dangerously cold wind chills to the area. Snow developed during the day ahead of the areas of low pressure and cold front. The accumulating snow continued into the evening before tapering off to very light snow and flurries. Snowfall amounts across much of the region averaged 2 to 5 inches with some locally higher amounts. In addition to the snow, once the strong cold front moved through, arctic air plunged into the region with temperatures plummeting between 20 and 30 degrees in just a few hours. Along with the falling temperatures, northwest winds of 15 to 30 mph were common behind the front. The combination of the plummeting temperatures and strong winds created wind chills of 20 to 40 below zero. The strong winds also whipped up the freshly fallen snow to create blowing and drifting snow through much of the night with the largest impacts on travel over northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota. 2 to 4 foot drifts were common. Some snow totals from this event include: In IA: Cresco (6.5”) and Clermont (5.9”). In MN: Preston (7.6”), Rochester (7.0”), Grand Meadow (6.3”) and Theilman (5.9”). In WI: Galesville (7.5”), Warrens (6.5”) and La Crosse (5.2”).
  • In 2004, an area of low pressure moved across southern Canada to northern Lake Superior during the day and night of the 20th. As the low progressed east, it dragged a warm front across the Upper Midwest. Light snow developed well east of the warm front during the early morning hours of the 20th and continued through sunrise. Accumulations from this first round of snow ranged from a trace up to 3 inches. As the warm front passed through the region, an upper level disturbance moved across the Upper Midwest. The combination of these two features caused a narrow but intense band of snow to develop during the late morning hours. This band of snow continued through the afternoon into the evening and dropped up to 8 to 9 inches of snow across parts of central Wisconsin. Around the local area, the band of the heaviest snow extended from eastern Mower county in Minnesota, through the La Crosse area into northern Adams and Juneau counties of central Wisconsin. Some snowfall totals: In MN: Spring Valley (6.5), La Crescent (6.3), Lanesboro (6.0), Spring Valley (6.0), Preston (6.0). In WI: Lake Camelot (9.0), Arkdale (8.0), Sparta (7.3), Necedah (7.2), La Crosse (7.0), Holmen (6.9), Friendship (6.5), Tomah (6.5).
For more information on this, and other days, go to our This Day in History page. Or, review the whole document (in pdf format). is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.