TOP 10 WEATHER EVENTS IN 2001

...for southeast MN, northeast IA, and western WI...


10. MARCH 11TH-12TH WINTER STORM 

STARTING LATE ON MARCH 11TH, A WINTER STORM BEGAN TO SPREAD HEAVY SNOW ACROSS THE AREA. THE WET SNOW LET UP THE FOLLOWING AFTERNOON WITH WIDESPREAD 6 TO 10 INCHES. SPRING VALLEY MINNESOTA AND WHITEHALL WISCONSIN BOTH REPORTED A TOTAL OF 11 INCHES, AND AT LEAST ONE BUILDING COLLAPSED DUE TO THE WEIGHT OF THE HEAVY SNOW.

9. APRIL 11TH SEVERE WEATHER 

SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS SWEPT THROUGH PARTS OF NORTHEAST IOWA AND SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA ON APRIL 11TH, PRODUCING A TORNADO AND OTHER ISOLATED WIND DAMAGE. A TORNADO, RATED F1 ON THE FUJITA DAMAGE SCALE, DESTROYED BARNS AND OUTBUILDINGS WEST OF WEST UNION IOWA SERIOUSLY INJURING A 69-YEAR OLD WOMAN. ANOTHER FARM WAS HIT BY STRONG THUNDERSTORM WINDS NEAR DEXTER MINNESOTA DAMAGING OR DESTROYING MOST OF THE BUILDINGS ON THE PROPERTY. HEAVY RAINS ALSO LED TO SOME FLASH FLOODING. A TOTAL OF 27 WARNINGS WERE ISSUED BY THE LA CROSSE NWS OFFICE THAT DAY.

8. APRIL 7TH STRONG WINDS  

A DEEP AREA OF LOW PRESSURE BROUGHT STRONG WINDS TO THE REGION THROUGHOUT THE DAY WITH SUSTAINED WINDS OF 35 TO 45 MPH. GUSTS WERE INTO THE 60 TO 70 MPH RANGE...WITH A PEAK WIND GUST OF 74 MPH RECORDED AT THE LA CROSSE NWS OFFICE. THERE WAS WIDESPREAD DAMAGE TO ROOFS AND SIDING, ALONG WITH SEMI-TRAILER TRUCKS BLOWN OVER ON AREA HIGHWAYS. POWER OUTAGES WERE ALSO REPORTED.

7. MAY 1ST TORNADOES 

SUPERCELL THUNDERSTORMS MOVED ACROSS PARTS OF SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA PRODUCING SEVERAL RELATIVELY SMALL TORNADOES. THE SAME THUNDERSTORM THAT PRODUCED THE GLENVILLE MINNESOTA TORNADO EARLY THAT EVENING... PRODUCED ANOTHER THAT TRACKED INTO MOWER COUNTY JUST NORTHWEST OF AUSTIN. SEVERAL HOMES NORTH OF AUSTIN WERE DAMAGED AND THE TORNADO ITSELF WAS VIDEO TAPED BY SEVERAL SOURCES. THIS TORNADO WAS RATED F1 ON THE FUJITA DAMAGE SCALE, BUT TWO OTHER SMALLER TORNADOES TOUCHED DOWN IN MOWER AND OLMSTED COUNTIES PRODUCING LITTLE ADDITIONAL DAMAGE. LARGE HAIL WAS ALSO REPORTED WITH THESE STORMS. A TOTAL OF 16 WARNINGS WERE ISSUED THAT EVENING.

6. JUNE 18TH SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS 

CLUSTERS OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS HIT SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA AND WESTERN WISCONSIN DURING THE EVENING OF JUNE 18TH. THIS WAS THE SAME EVENING AS THE SIREN WISCONSIN TORNADO, WHICH IS IN THE DULUTH NWS OFFICES AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY. LARGE HAIL, THE SIZE OF GOLF BALLS, AND DAMAGING WIND GUSTS PELTED THE AREA. SOME COUNTIES WERE HIT OVER AND OVER THAT EVENING. A FUNNEL CLOUD ALSO TRACKED ACROSS NORTHERN TREMPEALEAU COUNTY IN WESTERN WISCONSIN, BUT IT NEVER TOUCHED DOWN. A TOTAL OF 32 WARNINGS WERE ISSUED THAT EVENING.

5. DRY...HOT SUMMER 

FROM MID-JUNE THROUGH MOST OF AUGUST, PROLONGED DRY AND HOT WEATHER PERSISTED BREAKING SEVERAL RECORDS. LA CROSSE WENT 25 STRAIGHT DAYS IN JULY WITHOUT MEASURABLE RAINFALL AND MUCH OF EARLY AUGUST WAS RAIN FREE AS WELL. THIS WAS THE 3RD LONGEST DRY SPELL ON RECORD.

THERE WERE 23 DAYS OF 90 DEGREE OR WARMER WEATHER AND TWO DAYS WHERE THE THERMOMETER TOPPED OFF AT 100 DEGREES. THE PROLONGED HEAT LED TO AT LEAST THREE KNOWN FATALITIES. THE AVERAGE HIGH TEMPERATURE WAS 95 DEGREES FOR PARTS OF JULY AND AUGUST WITH RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES SET ON AUGUST 6TH AND 7TH.

4. JUNE 11TH SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS  

SEVERAL SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS BROUGHT A BRIEF TORNADO, DAMAGING WINDS, AND LARGE HAIL TO SECTIONS OF SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA AND WESTERN WISCONSIN ON JUNE 11TH. THERE WAS A BRIEF TORNADO TOUCHDOWN IN NORTHERN BUFFALO COUNTY ALONG WITH WIND DAMAGE FROM THE OSSEO WISCONSIN AREA TO NEAR BLACK RIVER FALLS. NUMEROUS SWATHS OF TREES WERE BLOWN DOWN ALONG WITH SOME BARNS DAMAGED. A WIND GUST OF 70 MPH WAS REPORTED IN THE PIGEON FALLS AREA.

LARGE HAIL WAS VERY COMMON THAT EVENING. THE COMMUNITIES OF WABASHA AND WINONA MINNESOTA WERE HIT FIRST, THEN THE STORMS CROSSED INTO WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN DROPPING STONES AS LARGE AS 2 1/2 INCHES AT THE LA CROSSE NWS OFFICE. MANY HOMES AND AUTOMOBILES WERE DAMAGED, ESPECIALLY NORTH AND EAST OF LA CROSSE. A TOTAL OF 34 WARNINGS WERE ISSUED THAT EVENING.

3. ABNORMALLY WARM NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER 

THE MONTHS OF NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER WILL GO IN THE RECORD BOOKS AS SOME OF THE WARMEST EVER. A SPELL OF 57 DAYS WITH ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES RAN FROM OCTOBER 28TH THROUGH DECEMBER 23RD AT BOTH ROCHESTER AND LA CROSSE BEFORE COLDER WEATHER FINALLY ARRIVED. THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER 2001 WAS THE WARMEST NOVEMBER EVER WITH AN AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF 47.5 DEGREES, SOME 5 DEGREES WARMER THAN THE PREVIOUS RECORD, AND NEARLY 12 DEGREES WARMER THAN NORMAL. RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES IN THE 70S WERE REACHED AS LATE AS MID-NOVEMBER.

2. LATE START TO THE SNOW SEASON

AFTER A VERY DRY NOVEMBER, DECEMBER STARTED IN THE SAME FASHION. NO MEASURABLE SNOW WAS RECORDED IN LA CROSSE WISCONSIN THROUGH NOVEMBER AND MOST OF DECEMBER. A SNOWFALL OF 0.6 INCHES FINALLY FELL ON DECEMBER 23RD, BREAKING THE OLD RECORD FOR THE LATEST FIRST MEASURABLE SNOWFALL OF DECEMBER 7TH 1969.

1. MISSISSIPPI RIVER FLOOD  

BY FAR THE NUMBER ONE STORY OF THE YEAR WAS THE RIVER FLOODING THAT STARTED IN APRIL AND ENDED IN MAY. THE COMBINATION OF SNOW MELT RUNOFF UP NORTH AND HEAVY RAINS ALL HIT AT THE SAME TIME CAUSING SIGNIFICANT RIVER RISES AROUND APRIL 10TH. ONE WEEK LATER...CRESTS WERE MOVING DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER NOT SEEN SINCE 1965.

MANY AREAS RECORDED THE 2ND OR 3RD HIGHEST CREST EVER.

AT LA CROSSE, THE RIVER LEVEL WAS ABOVE FLOOD STAGE OF 12 FEET FOR 33 STRAIGHT DAYS. THERE WERE HUNDREDS OF HOMES AND BUSINESSES AFFECTED BY FLOOD WATERS WITH DAMAGE ESTIMATES IN THE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. THERE WAS QUITE A BIT OF NATIONAL MEDIA COVERAGE AND CLEAN UP EFFORTS WERE ENORMOUS. MOST OF THE REGION RECEIVED A PRESIDENTIAL DISASTER DECLARATION. FOR MORE INFORMATION, GO HERE.

Todd Shea, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NWS-La Crosse



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