Blizzard: February 23-24, 2017

Map of the February 23-24, 2017 Snowstorm
Map of the February 23-24, 2017 Snowstorm
Courtesy: Chanhassen National Weather Service

 

After a fairly snowless February across southern Minnesota, a highly-anticipated snowstorm was predicted to bring winter back to the Twin Cities.

Following on the heels of a remarkable February heat wave, a powerful storm took aim at the Upper Midwest. Initially, it looked like the Twin Cities area would bear the brunt of the storm, but the forecast tracks plunged southward a day before the storm began, and the storm missed much of the Twin Cities altogether, while dropping over a foot of snow with 20-40 mph winds across southern and southeastern Minnesota. Forecasting changes and public confusion prompted the National Weather Service in Chanhassen to draft a rare public letter, explaining what had happened.

Snow moved into the state on Thursday night and lasted through the day on Friday, ending from west to east. Heaviest snowfall totals were found just to the north and west of Rochester, with reports of over a foot of snow accumulating. Zumbro Falls had the highest reported total with 15 inches. Rochester recorded 10.2 inches and Lake City saw 13 inches. This storm had an extremely sharp gradient in snow accumulation, with the MSP airport recording no snow at all and the La Crosse airport only reporting 3.4 inches.

High winds also accompanied this storm, with blizzard warnings being posted for many far southern Minnesota counties. This included the Rochester area. Winds gusted up to and over 40 mph at times, further reducing visibilities. Temperatures were in the mid to upper 50's on the 22nd in southern Minnesota, the day before this blizzard struck, but by the 25th nighttime temperatures had fallen into the single digits above zero. This healthy snow pack helped to hold temperatures below normal for the next few days.

For February, this was the only large snow storm to impact southern Minnesota. Locations that did not receive snow from the storm finished with record low snowfall totals for the month, such as the Twin Cities International Airport which tied for the least snowiest February on record with 0.3 (three tenths) of an inch of snow. The only other year where this happened was 1894. St. Cloud finished the month with only 2.4 inches, but Rochester ended with a near normal total of 10.4 inches of snow.

Below are a list of snowfall reports gathered by the NWS in La Crosse. Totals include Iowa and Wisconsin, which were also impacted by this large winter storm.

 
Location                     Amount    Time/Date       Lat/Lon

...Iowa...

...Chickasaw County...
Ionia 2W                     4.0 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.03N/92.50W
New Hampton                  2.0 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.06N/92.32W

...Clayton County...
Monona WWTP                  3.0 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.04N/91.40W
Volga 1NE                    1.5 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.81N/91.52W
Guttenberg Dam 10            1.0 in    0600 AM 02/25   42.78N/91.10W
Elkader 6SSW                 0.7 in    0700 AM 02/25   42.78N/91.45W

...Fayette County...
Waucoma 1WNW                 1.5 in    0700 AM 2/25    43.06N/92.05W
Fayette                      0.7 in    0700 AM 02/25   42.85N/91.82W

...Floyd County...
Cresco 1NE                   6.2 in     0700 AM 02/25   43.39N/92.09W
Charles City                 6.0 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.06N/92.67W
Nashua 2SW                   3.5 in    0700 AM 02/25   42.94N/92.57W

...Howard County...
Elma                         3.4 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.24N/92.44W

...Mitchell County...
St Ansgar                    8.4 in    0630 AM 02/25   43.38N/92.92W

...Winneshiek County...
5 ESE Decorah                2.1 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.26N/91.70W

...Minnesota...

...Fillmore County...
1 W Fillmore                 8.1 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.74N/92.31W
Spring Valley                7.9 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.69N/92.39W
1 SSE Pilot Mound            6.0 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.79N/92.03W
Spring Valley 3E             5.8 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.68N/92.33W
Lanesboro 2NE                4.8 in    0715 AM 02/25   43.73N/91.94W
Preston                      4.0 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.67N/92.07W
1 S Peterson                 3.1 in    0709 AM 02/25   43.77N/91.83W

...Houston County...
Hokah WWTP                   4.0 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.76N/91.35W
Caledonia                    2.6 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.63N/91.50W

...Mower County...
Grand Meadow                 9.5 in    0520 AM 02/25   43.71N/92.56W

...Olmsted County...
Byron 4 North                13.6 in   0700 AM 02/25   44.09N/92.64W
2 SSW Predmore               11.5 in   0645 AM 02/25   43.91N/92.34W
Elgin 2ssw                   11.4 in   0700 AM 02/25   44.10N/92.27W
2 NE Rochester               11.0 in   0600 AM 02/25   44.04N/92.44W
Rochester International Airp 10.2 in   0554 AM 02/25   43.91N/92.50W

...Wabasha County...
Zumbro Falls                 15.0 in   0900 AM 02/25    44.28N/92.42W
Theilman 1SSW                14.2 in   0745 AM 02/25   44.28N/92.19W
Lake City                    13.0 in   0700 AM 02/25   44.44N/92.28W
2 ESE Wabasha                12.0 in   0800 AM 02/25   44.36N/92.01W
Wabasha                      10.6 in   0700 AM 02/25   44.38N/92.05W

...Winona County...
Altura 5W (White Water SP)   11.0 in    0700 AM 02/25   44.06N/92.04W
Lewiston                     10.0 in   0800 AM 02/25   43.98N/91.87W
Minnesota City Dam 5         8.0 in    0700 AM 02/25   44.16N/91.81W
Winona Dam 5A                7.5 in    0600 AM 02/25   44.09N/91.67W

...Wisconsin...

...Adams County...
Friendship                   6.7 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.98N/89.83W

...Buffalo County...
Alma Dam 4                   7.1 in    0600 AM 02/25   44.33N/91.92W

...Crawford County...
Eastman                      2.5 in    0700 AM 02/25
Lynxville Dam 9              1.5 in    0600 AM 02/25   43.21N/91.10W
Steuben 4SE                  1.5 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.13N/90.84W

...Jackson County...
Hatfield Dam                 8.0 in    0700 AM 02/25   44.41N/90.73W
Black River Falls Sewage     7.6 in    0700 AM 02/25   44.29N/90.85W

...Juneau...
Union Center                 4.5 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.68N/90.26W

...La Crosse County...
La Crosse Weather Office     6.2 in    0600 AM 02/25   43.82N/91.19W
Holmen 2S                    5.2 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.93N/91.25W
West Salem                   5.0 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.90N/91.10W
La Crosse Airport            3.4 in    0600 AM 02/25   43.88N/91.26W

...Monroe County...
Four Corners                 5.1 in    0700 AM 02/25   44.09N/90.91W
3 WNW Kendall                3.8 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.81N/90.44W
Sparta                       3.3 in    0800 AM 02/25   43.94N/90.82W

..Richland County...
Ithaca 2S                    2.3 in    0546 AM 02/25   43.34N/90.28W
Richland Center 4N           2.0 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.40N/90.39W

...Taylor County...
Medford                      7.5 in    0800 AM 02/25   45.13N/90.34W
Westboro 4E                  7.5 in    0800 AM 02/25   45.35N/90.12W
2 N Gilman                   6.0 in    0800 AM 02/25   45.20N/90.81W

...Trempealeau County...
Osseo                       13.0 in    0700 AM 02/25   44.58N/91.22W
Ettrick 4WNW                 7.8 in    0710 AM 02/25   44.19N/91.34W
Trempealeau Dam 6            6.0 in    0600 AM 02/25   44.00N/91.44W

...Vernon County...
Viroqua                      4.0 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.56N/90.88W
Hillsboro WSW                3.5 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.65N/90.35W
Westby 3ENE                  2.8 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.67N/90.81W
La Farge                     2.7 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.57N/90.64W
Genoa Dam 8                  2.0 in    0600 AM 02/25   43.57N/91.23W
Hillsboro 2SW                1.9 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.63N/90.37W
Stoddard                     1.1 in    0700 AM 02/25   43.66N/91.22W

Observations are collected from a variety of sources with varying
equipment and exposures. Not all data listed are considered official.
Last modified: April 5, 2017
For more information contact: climate@umn.edu