Tornado season got off to an early start in 2014 with the first confirmed tornado sighting in St. Leo. A weak tornado was confirmed on Monday March 31. A few farmsteads sustained damage. There were no injuries or fatalities.
The tornado spawned ahead of an intense low pressure centered over extreme southeastern South Dakota. A strong, narrow line of storms formed quickly over the Minnesota/South Dakota border around the 3 p.m. 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 for March.
- Before today, only 20 March tornadoes have occurred in Minnesota during the modern era (since 1950).
- The earliest known March tornado in Minnesota was March 18, 1968 about 10 miles southeast of St. James in Watonwan County. It was an F2.
- 14 of the 20 Minnesota March tornadoes were on March 29, 1998. Comfrey, St. Peter, Le Center, and Lonsdale were all hit in addition to nearby rural areas. A terrible day with two deaths.
- The most recent march tornado in MN before today was March 19, 2012 near Elysian. Rated EF-0. On ground 6.5 in Waseca and Le Sueur Counties.
- At the time the tornado warning was released, the same county was also under a blizzard warning.
Here is a video of the tornado taken between the towns of Minneota and St. Leo, courtesy of the Lyon County Office of Emergency Management.
Here is a video of the damage surveyed.
Tornado reports courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center:
|2048||3 N MINNEOTA||LYON||MN||4461||9597||STRUCTURAL DAMAGE|
|2108||3 SE ST LEO||YELLOW MEDICINE||MN||4469||9601||STRUCTURAL DAMAGE REPORTED WITH PROBABLE TORNADO SOUTHEAST OF ST LEO. TIME ESTIMATED.|
|2110||2 ESE ST LEO||YELLOW MEDICINE||MN||4471||9602||DAMAGE REPORTED ... EXTENT UNKNOWN. TIME ESTIMATED.|