Here are the results of voting for the top five weather events of 2017 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.
On August 4, 2016 Babe the Blue Ox at Paul Bunyan Land Amusement Park was toppled over in a wind storm. In 2017, another roadside attraction took a hit. This time a strong cold front brought winds clocked at 60mph at the Twin Cities International Airport, knocking over recycling and garbage cans and many small branches. The US Bank Stadium lost some siding panels. Grand Marais had a wind gust of 66 mph and the high winds were too much for Pierre the Voyager in Two Harbors, losing an arm and his paddle in the winds.
Also known as the "peony pummeler" and the "hosta holer," this Sunday morning hail event caused around a billion dollars in damage to roofs and siding in Minnesota. While many saw penny and dime-sized hail across the Twin Cities, the northwest metro saw larger hail. Golf-ball sized hail was reported at Circle Pines in Anoka County and snowplows were called out in the county to move the hail. At one church service in Maplewood the hail became so loud on the roof that the priest stopped trying to preach over the hail and sat down to wait out the storm.
What are the chances of having 20 months in a row of above normal temperatures? Using basic probability theory, the chance of 20 straight warm months is about one-ten-thousandth of one percent. Still better odds than winning the lottery. From September 2015 to April 2017 each month in the Twin Cities finished above the 1981-2010 normal. There were three months in this stretch that were ten degrees above normal. December 2015, November 2016 and February 2017. The streak ended with May 2017 finishing 0.6 degrees below normal.
Back in 1981, there was a February heat wave that set an impressive string of records. Then came along 2017. A heat wave took the edge off the winter of 2016-2017 with highs in the 50s and 60s common across Minnesota on February 17-22. This included a record-breaking daily high temperature of 63 degrees on February 17 in the Twin Cities (breaking the old record of 55 from 1981).
First there were two, but upon further review, there were three tornadoes tallied on March 6, 2017. These tornadoes broke the long-standing early record of March 18, 1968 as the earliest tornadoes for Minnesota. Not only were there three tornadoes, but they were in four different counties: Freeborn, Faribault, Sherburne and Steele County.
Honorable Mention #1
Winter made a comeback on February 23-24 with a Blizzard that was highly anticipated in the Twin Cities, but just missed the metro area to the southeast. 10-15 inches of snow fell in a swath between the Twin Cities and Rochester.
Honorable Mention #2
The heaviest rain event of 2017 was August 16-17, 2017. 9.45 inches fell at Redwood Falls. There were also eight weak tornadoes too, helping to boost the 2017 tornado count to 61. There were no injuries in any Minnesota tornadoes in 2017.