NWS: Top 5 Weather Events of 2020 in Minnesota
UNDATED -- Here are the results of voting for the top five weather events of 2020 from the Minnesota State Climatology Office. Votes were cast from various weather enthusiasts including the National Weather Service, the University of Minnesota, State agencies and Facebook followers.
For the third year in a row, mid-April brought a major winter weather event to southern Minnesota. Although not as potent as the storms in 2018 and 2019, this one did produce accumulations of up to 10 inches, including 6.6 inches In the Twin Cities. In southern Minnesota, mid-April snows exceeding four inches generally only occur 5-10% of the time, or every 10-20 years on average. This marked the first time on record (back to the 1870s) that the Twin Cities had experienced such a storm in three consecutive Aprils.
Tropical Storm Cristobal moved northward out of the Gulf of Mexico, and maintained Tropical Depression status as it pulled into the Upper Midwest, producing heavy rains and even some landslides in southeastern Minnesota. The rains came without lightning or thunder, and in true tropical fashion, the rain did not cool the air appreciably.
Minnesota’s apparent drought of major tornadoes ended tragically, as a photogenic but devastating vortex ripped through Otter Tail County, killing a 30-year-old man. The tornado was rated EF-4, corresponding to winds estimated in excess of 165 mph. No tornado in Minnesota had been rated EF-3 or higher since an EF-4 struck Wilkin County on August 7, 2010. Spanning nearly ten years, this was been the longest period without a major tornado in state, dating back to the 1870s.
With 7.9 inches of snow in the Twin Cities, 7.0 inches at St. Cloud, and a large swath of 6-9 inches stretching across the state, this was the heaviest snow on record so early in the season throughout much of central and southern Minnesota. The heavy, wet snow plastered all surfaces, compacting into thick sheets of ice on area roads, and knocking out power in the eastern Twin Cities area.
The #1 spot in 2019 was an arctic outbreak in January and for 2020 it was summer in November. Not only was the November warm spell record-setting and record-shattering in many regards; it also represents one of Minnesota’s greatest warm-ups. Temperatures had been as low as 2 F at Lamberton and Brimson on October 27th, and had risen into the 70s and even the 80s by November 4th. This warm spell tied Minnesota’s all-time record high for November with an 84 F reading at Granite Falls, and produced more 70 and 80-degree highs than any other November on record.