Here is a list of the top ten weather events for 1999, based on reported and observed weather in the forecast/warning area of the La Crosse National Weather Service. This area includes 28 counties in southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, and western/ central Wisconsin.
10. June 5-6 severe weather
Two separate thunderstorm outbreaks hit parts of southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin on June 5th and 6th producing numerous strong to damaging wind gusts. Peak wind gusts as high as 78 mph were reported in Elgin Minnesota (Wabasha county) with numerous trees, power lines and sheds blown down.
9. Fall snow...or lack of snow
The earliest measured snowfall ever was recorded at La Crosse on October 1st when 0.3 inches fell. In comparison, November was abnormally dry. Not even a trace of snowfall was recorded in La Crosse for the entire month - another record. This also led to the 2nd warmest November on record.
8. January snow totals
The year started with a major winter storm that dropped 6 to 15 inches of snow across the region on and around January 2nd. After that, there were numerous small snowfalls that added up to near record levels. Rochester Minnesota ended up with the 2nd snowiest January on record (29.4 inches) while La Crosse finished with the 3rd snowiest (31.9 inches).
7. Nashua tornado
On July 20th, a tornado touched down in rural Floyd county Iowa and hit several farms about 3 miles north of Nashua in southeast Chickasaw county. The tornado was 2 miles long and 80 yards wide, knocking down a silo and several barns. It was rated an F1 on the Fujita scale and caused no injuries.
6. Large hail at Rochester
On August 9th, a large thunderstorm moved directly over the city of Rochester and dropped hail as large as tennis balls. Considerable damage occurred to vehicles and homes...totaling several million dollars.
5. Mondovi tornado
On July 8th, a tornado tracked 10 miles across mainly rural Buffalo county in western Wisconsin. The tornado tracked directly through Mondovi causing an estimated 1 million dollars in damage to numerous homes and businesses. Rated an F1 on the Fujita scale, the tornado injured 3 people in the city of Mondovi.
4. Lewiston tornado
Also on July 8th, a tornado touched down on the outskirts of Lewiston Minnesota (Winona county) and laid a path of damage directly through town. In fact, the worst damage was right along Main street causing extensive damage to homes and trees. Before lifting 3 miles out of town, every building on a nearby farm was demolished. Two people were injured by this F2 tornado.
3. July heat wave
There were 3 periods of excessive heat in July alone with the worst stretch at the end of the month. High temperatures between 90 and 100 degrees were common and heat indicies topped off close to 120. Two deaths were reported from people living in mobile homes without air conditioning and closed windows.
2. Northeast Iowa flooding - May
Excessive thunderstorm rains caused serious river and flash flooding In mainly Clayton and Fayette counties of northeast Iowa. The Turkey and Volga rivers were at their highest May 17-19th flooding several towns and closing nearly every bridge in the region. The Turkey river at Garber crested at 30.6 feet, breaking the previous record crest of 30.1 feet. Damage estimates exceeded 5 million dollars. The towns of Volga, Littleport and Garber were hardest hit.
1. Northeast Iowa flooding - July
More heavy rain led to more river flooding in northeast Iowa as the peak of summer arrived. Several nights of thunderstorm activity dumped nearly 12 inches of rain in parts of Floyd and Chickasaw counties. Beyond the flash flooding, area rivers rose to devastating levels causing extensive damage to homes and businesses in mainly Charles City and Nashua, Iowa.
The Cedar River crested in Charles City at a record 22.8 feet on July 21st. There were places along the Cedar and Wapsipinicon Rivers where the water was over 2 miles wide as nearby fields flooded.