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Earliest Tornadoes on Record in Minnesota Monday

7 Mar 2017, 9:51 am

Severe thunderstorms rolled across the Plains on Monday, with tornadoes reported in several states. In Minnesota, two tornadoes potentially touched down. The National Weather Service in Chanhassen is surveying the damage and has confirmed one tornado so far. If both are confirmed, these would become the earliest tornadoes of any year on record in the state.

Survey teams are currently reviewing damage near Zimmerman and Clarks Grove. The team near Zimmerman has confirmed that…

Posted by US National Weather Service Twin Cities Minnesota on Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The two areas being surveyed reported numerous trees and power lines downed, along with some structure damage. One area is located in the far north Twin Cities metro area near Zimmerman. The second is near Clarks Grove, about 90 miles south of Minneapolis.

Tornadoes in March are rare in Minnesota. From our affiliate KARE in Minnesota, “National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Krause says if confirmed, the tornado would be the earliest in the year ever for Minnesota. He says the previous record was a tornado on March 18, 1968, near St. James, in southern Minnesota.” The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and State Climatology Office also verifies the March 18, 1968 date with the touchdown north of Truman.

According to the Tornado History Project, there have been 22 recorded tornadoes in Minnesota in March. Even though March tornadoes are unusual in the state, they can be destructive. On March 29th, 1998, a family of 13 tornadoes stuck St. Peter and Comfrey, all produced by a single supercell. An abstract from the University of Wisconsin-Madison says, “one of the tornadoes grew to an F4 scale and demolished the small town of Comfrey, Minnesota. This tornado was on the ground for 1 hour and 25 minutes and covered 67 miles, making it the fifth longest track in Minnesota history.”

[Map of March Minnesota tornadoes. Credit: Tornado History Project]

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels

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