ST. CLOUD - We continue our countdown of the top stories of 2011 today (Thursday) with #2 on our list.  We look back at our stretch of stormy weather this summer.

The 4th of July weekend got off to a rocky start when a string of tornadoes and strong winds ripped through Minnesota stretching from the southwest corner, through the St. Cloud metro area, and into Wisconsin on Friday, July 1st.  The National Weather Service confirmed a weak tornado touched down south of Waite Park.  A downburst with wind speeds of 70 miles an hour struck just north of downtown St. Cloud.  The storm left in it's wake hundreds of toppled trees, but fortunately no injuries and just minor damage to structures.  The federal government declared 14 counties -- including Stearns -- disaster areas from the storm.  Damage estimates topped $20 million.

The July 1st storm was just the first in a string of thunderstorms that affected Central Minnesota over the next month.  On July 10th 80 mile an hour winds knocked down hundreds of trees in Sauk Centre.

And the last of the dangerous weather struck on August 2nd when another powerful storm moved through the metro area.  Again hundreds of trees were knocked down, thousands were left without power, and cars stalled in the streets due to flooding.

City officials say an estimated 2,000 trees were lost in the storms - mostly in Whitney, Hester and Wilson parks.

Tune in tomorrow (Friday) and we'll unveil our #1 story for 2011.