|Top 10 Weather/Climate
Events in 2007
Here is a listing of the Top 10 Weather Events for 2007 in the NWS La Crosse Warning and Forecast Area. This includes areas of southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, and southwest/central Wisconsin.
This listing is the result of voting among NWS La Crosse staff members (12), Emergency Managers (12), and members of the media (9).
Updated: 1/12/11 - tjs / jsb
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Honorable Mention: August 11-14 Severe Weather
Two rounds of severe thunderstorms impacted the area during this time period.
On August 11th, severe thunderstorms tracked across southeast Minnesota into western Wisconsin producing large hail and damaging wind. One inch hail and wind gusts of 74 mph were recorded at the Rochester International Airport while a gust of 64 mph was recorded at the La Crosse Airport. Numerous trees and power lines were blown down across the region. A total of 17 warnings were issued.
On August 13 and 14th, 25 warnings were issued for severe thunderstorms that produced strong wind gusts, large hail, and some flash flooding. A wind gust of 55 mph was recorded at the La Crosse Airport, while flash flooding was reported across parts of southeast Minnesota leading to mud slides.
Honorable Mention: July 16-17 Severe Weather
Numerous severe thunderstorms produced large hail over parts of southeast Minnesota and northeast Iowa. Hail up to golf ball size was reported numerous times as individual storms tracked southeast through the area. During the early morning hours of July 17th, the last round of storms moved through and produced significant wind damage in the Oelwein, IA area knocking down trees throughout the city and flattening crops. A gust of 59 mph was recorded at the Oelwein Airport and damage was reported as the worst in decades.
10. Drought 2007
Moderate drought (D1) developed across north central Wisconsin in early May. During June and July, up to 4 inch precipitation deficits allowed moderate drought conditions to develop across west central and central Wisconsin, and moderate to severe drought (D2) conditions across southeast Minnesota by early August. This was first time that severe drought conditions had developed in southeast Minnesota since August 2005. Record rains during August alleviated the drought across southeast Minnesota and west central and central Wisconsin. Meanwhile the moderate drought persisted in north central Wisconsin until mid October.
|Click on image to enlarge. Regional view of U.S. Drought Monitor on July 31, 2007.|
|Click on image to enlarge. Regional view of U.S. Drought Monitor on August 14, 2007. Notice how conditions were much better (more wet) across eastern Iowa and southwest Wisconsin.|
9. December 22-23 Winter Storm
A winter storm that moved into the area from the southwest brought heavy snow and strong winds from Saturday evening, December 22nd, overnight well into Sunday, December 23rd. While snowfall was heaviest closer to the Mississippi River and across most of western Wisconsin, strong northwest winds behind the storm blew and drifted the fluffy snow making for near whiteout conditions across open or higher terrain in the region. Many roads were impassable making for difficult, if not dangerous, holiday weekend traveling conditions.
Snowfall reports by Sunday evening were around 14 inches in and near the La Crosse, WI area. Officially 11.4" fell at the La Crosse Airport ranking as the 6th largest December snow storm on record. It also helped make December 2007 the 5th snowiest on record in La Crosse and the 8th snowiest in Rochester, MN.
|Click on image to enlarge. Snow depth as of December 24, 2007.|
Click here - for a full summary of the storm.
8. December 1 Winter Storm
The first winter storm of the 2007-2008 season impacted most of the region over the first weekend of December. Snow (about 4-7") spread into the region from the south and southwest first, but as warmer air pushed north, the precipitation gradually changed over to sleet and freezing rain. A significant amount of sleet (1-3") fell leaving a layer of ice and making for very hazardous travel conditions. At least two fatalities were indirectly related due to accidents along Interstate 90/94 in western Wisconsin.
Click here - for a full summary of the storm.
7. February Cold and Wind Chills
An extended period of cold weather and wind created dangerously low wind chills for the area from February 2nd through the 5th. The lowest wind chills included -42F at Monona, IA, -41F at Dexter, MN, and -42F at Medford, WI. High temperatures on February 4th were sub-zero, one of the coldest starts to February since 1996. In addition, February 2007 was the coldest since 1989 averaging roughly 8-9 deg below normal.
|Click on image to enlarge. Regional view of temperature departures from February 1-7, 2007. Image courtesy of the Midwest Climate Center.|
|Click on image to enlarge. Regional view of temperature departures for February 2007. Image courtesy of the Midwest Climate Center.|
Click here - for a graphic of sub-zero high temperatures on February 4, 2007.
6. February 28 - March 2 Winter Storm
The second major winter storm of the month impacted the region to end February, just less than a week after a significant blizzard and ice storm had impacted the area (see #2 on the list below). Six to twelve inches of snow was common across parts of northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, into northern Wisconsin. Blowing and drifting was significant which closed many roads and there was up to a quarter inch of ice in some locations making travel nearly impossible, especially in higher terrain counties.
Click here - for a full summary of the storm.
5. July 17-18 Flash Flooding
During the evening hours of July 17th, waves of thunderstorms formed over parts of northeast Iowa and southwest Wisconsin dropping nearly 10 inches of rain near McGregor and Marquette, IA (Clayton County), in addition to the Bagley, WI (Grant County) area. McGregor, IA recorded 9.47 inches of rain in 24-hours with nearly seven inches recorded in Bagley, WI.
Flash flooding was significant with numerous mud/rock slides and debris flows, compounded by the terrain in that area of the region. In Bagley, WI, flood waters collected in the nearby valleys and sent waves of debris into area bridges, backing up flood waters into the community. Fifty people had to be rescued from their homes by boat and damage occurred to most of the 400 homes in the village - 51 sustained major damage, 100 had water in their basements, and 250 had backed-up sewers. Railroad tracks in and near the village were also washed out with damage estimates over a million dollars.
|Click on image to enlarge. Doppler radar estimated rainfall from July 17-18.|
|Click on image to enlarge. Flood debris backed up along a bridge in Bagley, WI area (Grant County).|
Click here - for a full summary and additional photos of the flash flood.
4. June 7 Severe Weather / Large Hail
Supercell thunderstorms developed in a very unstable environment on June 7th and tracked across parts of the region producing wind damage and very large hail. The area was under a HIGH RISK for severe thunderstorms that day. The most significant storms produced a swath of hail up to baseball size across west central Wisconsin (Bangor, Rockland, Wisconsin Rapids). Hundreds of cars were damaged at car lots in West Salem, WI. A total of 37 warnings were issued for the event. These same storms produced the largest tornado in Wisconsin for 2007 (EF3) in the northeast part of the state. (click on link for NWS Green Bay event summary)
|Click on image to enlarge. Severe weather outlook for June 7, 2007 - courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.|
|Click on image to enlarge. Severe weather reports for June 7, 2007 - courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.|
|Click on image to enlarge. Large hail that fell in the Wisconsin Rapids, WI area.|
|Click on image to enlarge. Wind damage in southeast Minnesota.|
3. August 2007 Rainfall
Numerous rainfall records were set in August through out the region. While many of the daily records were established from the August 18-19 flash flooding, 43 locations had their wettest month ever (including La Crosse, WI and Rochester, MN) while 13 had their wettest August ever. The cooperative observer 1 mile south of Hokah had 23.86" of rain for the month setting a brand new record in Minnesota, while Viroqua, WI had 21.74" that broke the Wisconsin record. This was also one of the wettest years on record.
The following table has the top 20 locations that set records for the wettest month (most rainfall) on record. (23 other locations not listed also set records)
|Gays Mills||Crawford||WI||21.06"||Lansing 4SE||Allamakee||IA||17.65"|
|Spring Grove 4N||Houston||MN||19.87"||Elgin 2SSW||Olmsted||MN||17.35"|
|Waukon||Allamakee||IA||19.11"||La Crosse NWS||La Crosse||WI||17.00"|
|Westby 3ENE||Vernon||WI||18.94"||Zumbro Falls||Wabasha||MN||16.92"|
|Click on image to enlarge. Total rainfall for August 2007. Image courtesy of the Midwest Climate Center.|
|Click on image to enlarge. Rainfall departures for August 2007. Image courtesy of the Midwest Climate Center.|
Click here - for a graphic of August 18-20, 2007 rainfall in Wisconsin (courtesy of NWS Milwaukee/Sullvian).
2. February 23-25 Winter Storm / Blizzard
A major winter storm produced blizzard conditions, heavy snow, and significant ice over a several day period that harshly impacted the region towards the end of February. Freezing rain led to ice accumulation nearly an inch thick in parts of northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota isolating communities and knocking hundreds of power poles down. Two rounds of heavy snow fell that included lightning and significant drifting from strong winds. Blizzards conditions were experienced nearly everywhere on February 24th. Snowfall totaled 20" or more in many areas (nearly 30" in Winona County, MN) and set new records for daily, event, and monthly snowfall.
|Click on image to enlarge. Blizzard conditions experienced on February 24th. Image courtesy of KTTC Television.|
|Click on image to enlarge. Ice accumulation near Adams, MN. Image courtesy of KTTC Television.|
Click here - for a full summary of the February 23-25, 2007 Winter Storm / Blizzard.
1. August 18-19 Flash Flood (Historic)
A historic heavy rain and subsequent flash flood event hit mainly southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin when up to 17" of rain fell along and near Interstate 90 west and south of La Crosse. Flash flooding led to major mudslides, river flooding, and road closures as bridges were washed away. Seven fatalities were directly related to the flash flooding in southeast Minnesota and another occurred in Richland County, WI. Ten counties in the region were declared federal disaster areas. A new official 24-hour rainfall record was set in Minnesota and an unofficial record was set in Wisconsin. Rush Creek flooded the city of Rushford, MN while other creeks hit Stockton and Minnesota City, MN hard. Some river locations in southeast Minnesota hit record levels. Whitewater State Park in southeast Minnesota was closed due to heavy damage. The Kickapoo River in southwest Wisconsin flooded and remained high for numerous days afterward hitting the 2nd highest crest on record. In addition to river flood warnings, a total of 30 flash flood warnings were issued in just over 24 hours.
|Click on image to enlarge. Doppler radar estimated rainfall for August 17-20, 2007.|
|Click on image to enlarge. Flood damage along Garvin Brook near Minnesota City, MN.|
|Click on image to enlarge. Flash flood damage to a home, that actually floated on to the railroad tracks, in Stockton, MN.|
Links to previous Top 10: