Tornado season got off to an early start this year with the first confirmed tornado sighting in St. Leo. A weak tornado was confirmed on Monday March 31st. A few farmsteads sustained damaged. There were no injuries or fatalities.
The tornado spawned ahead of an intense low pressure centered over extereme southeastern South Dakota. A strong, narrow line of storms formed quickly over the Minnesota/South Dakota border around the 3 pm hour and moved north-northeast. The tornado itself spawned around the 4 o'clock hour.
Tornadoes have occurred in March in the past, but are rare. Below is some interesting tornado statistics fort he month of March.
- Before today, only 20 March tornadoes have occurred in Minnesota during the modern era (since 1950).
- The earliest known March tornado in MN was 3-18-1968 about 10 miles SE of St. James in Watonwan County. It was an F2.
- 14 of the 20 MN March tornadoes were on 3-29-98. Comfrey, St. Peter, Le Center, and Lonsdale were all hit in addition to nearby rural areas. A terrible day with 2 deaths.
- The most recent march tornado in MN before today was 3-19-2012 near Elysian. Rated EF-0. On ground 6.5 in Waseca & Le Sueur Counties.
- At the time the tornado warning was released, the same county was also under a blizzard warning.
Tornado reports courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center: