Top Five Weather Events of 2016 in Minnesota

Here are the results of voting for the top five weather events of 2016 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. Please visit us on Facebook and post your own top five weather events for Minnesota. It was a very warm and wet year across Minnesota, with multiple heavy rain events and severe storms. There were many weather events to choose from

#5 Late Frost: 2016

In 2016, one could grow tomatoes in the Twin Cities right through November. The first 32 degree temperature in the autumn for the Twin Cities in 2016 was November 18. This smashed the old record of November 7, 1900. The season length wound up to be 219 days, handily breaking the old record of 207 days from 1894 and 1900.

#4 Tie for the warmest Autumn on record in Minnesota.

The average September to November Minnesota temperature finished in a tie for the warmest autumn on record with 49.7 degrees, which matches 1963. This is 6.5 degrees above the 1981-2010 normal. The coldest autumn on record is 1896, with 36 degrees or 7.2 degrees below normal.)

#3 Severe Storms Strike Northland Again: July 20-21, 2016

The Summer of 2016 was a stormy one, with northern Minnesota particularly hard hit. A line of intense thunderstorms swept across northern Minnesota during the late evening of July 20 into the early morning hours of July 21st. The Hallock Airport in Kittson County had a wind gust of 83 mph. Planes were flipped over at the Bemidji Airport. 75,000 Minnesota Power customers lost power. The storms also moved through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, tragically killing two campers on Basswood Lake in Quetico, just across the Minnesota border in Ontario.

#2 Central Minnesota Flash Flood July 11-12, 2016

The largest flash flood in Minnesota since the event of June 19-20, 2012 struck part of the same region on July 11-12, 2016. The highest two-day total was a volunteer reader in Pine County with 9.34 inches. Southbound I-35 and Highway 61 was closed for a time on July 12. The area covered by six inches or more of rainfall exceeded 2,000 square miles, qualifying it as a "Mega Rain" event. The flooding would have been worse had it not been for the relatively dry conditions beforehand. In addition to the heavy rain, there were three tornadoes, two of which were EF2. .

#1 State Record Precipitation Total at Waseca and Record Annual Twin Cities Precipitation.

The event that garnered the most votes was the statewide annual precipitation record set at Waseca and the Twin Cities annual record precipitation. The preliminary 2016 precipitation total at Waseca is 56.24 inches, handily breaking the old record at St. Francis in Anoka County of 53.52 inches in 1991. The 2016 total at Waseca breaks the old record by 2.72 inches. The Twin Cities also broke the annual precipitation record that was set over 100 years ago. The preliminary total for 2016 is 40.32 inches, breaking the old record of 40.15 inches set in 1911. The precipitation record for the Twin Cities begins in 1871.

Honorable Mentions

Honorable Mention #1

Consecutive Months Above Normal in the Twin Cities.

From September 2015 to December 2016, every month in the Twin Cities has been above the 1981-2010 normal. It was a 16 month span that saw daily record high temperatures set, but not daily record minimum temperatures. In fact, the last time there was a even a tie for a record minimum low temperature was on April 15, 2014 with 18 degrees. Will January 2017 end the streak? Only time will tell.

Honorable Mention #2

Flooding Rains: August 10-11, 2016

The second "Mega Rain" event of the year happened on August 10-11, 2016. The highest total found was 9.74 inches of rain at a Soil and Water Conservation District volunteer rain gage site in Kandiyohi County. The arena and track at the Kandiohi County Fairgrounds flooded, postponing the demolition derby on the 11th. There were many reports of basement flooding in Willmar.

Honorable Mention #3

Boundary Waters Severe Storms June 19, 2016.

Nearly half the tornadoes reported in 2015 happened on one day. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area was especially hard hit in 2016 with storms. In this event three people were injured by lighting on Crooked lake in Lake County. Falling trees injured one person at Clove Lake and tragically, one camper died at Duncan Lake. Numerous trees were blown down in the Deerwood area in Crow Wing County, trapping one family in their home for a time. There were six tornadoes reported with one an EF2.

Honorable Mention #4

Arctic Air: December 18, 2016

In an otherwise very warm year, there was a bout with winter that was brief, but intense. -20F was measured for only a few minutes at the Twin Cities International Airport, but it was enough to mark the coldest temperature so early in the season since 1983. The coldest temperature in the state was -38 at Embarrass. An interesting phenomena was noted by an lake ice in observer on Madison Lake in Blue Earth County. She heard a loud ping on the lake and observed a large crack running the length of the lake. Plumes of steam rose in the air with this crack for about a half hour before the water froze and sealed the crack.

Honorable Mention #5

Heavy Rain and Tornadoes of June 14, 2016

This was the largest tornado outbreak of the year with eight tornadoes, they were of the weaker variety and didn't do much damage. More damaging were the heavy rains that caused flooding on roads and set the stage for what would be a very wet summer.

Honorable Mention #5 (tie)

Blizzard of November 18, 2016

The winter of 2016-17 started out with a classic blizzard that brought wind and snow to Minnesota. The highest snowfall total found was 25 inches five miles east of Leader in Cass County. In the Twin Cities, amounts were scant, only .3 (three tenths of an inch) of snow officially for the Twin Cities. High winds clocked the highest wind gust of the year at the International Airport with 59mph.

Last modified: December 29, 2016
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