On Wednesday, December 15, Minnesota saw some historic, record-breaking weather conditions. Two tornadoes touched down in Southern Minnesota, the first time in recorded history for a tornado to make landfall in Minnesota in December. Before Wednesday’s tornadoes, the latest seasonal tornado on record occurred on November 13, 1931. The National Weather Service has never issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Minnesota in December.
According to officials, the state pretty much experienced all four seasons in one day, with thunderstorms, heavy winds, record high temperatures, and snow. Weather officials are owing the unprecedented weather conditions to climate change. “If you had told me that we would have a tornado watch in Minnesota 10 days before Christmas, I’d say you’re nuts. You’re watching the science fiction channel, not the Weather Channel,” said meteorologist Paul Douglas.
The community of Hartland, in Freeborn County, was one of the areas hardest hit by the severe storm. 30 to 40 homes sustained damages as well as several businesses. Many homeowners saw their roofing systems take off into the sky as the intense winds swept through the area. Hundreds of residents were left without power due to power lines and trees being knocked out of the ground. Fortunately, no injuries were reported for the area.
Unfortunately, however, hurricane-force straight-line winds claimed the life of an elderly resident in Olmsted County. A tree struck the 65-year-old resident on his property.
Wind speeds of 90 mph crossed state lines, from Nebraska through to Iowa and southeast Minnesota, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
According to Mike Kurz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in La Crosse, Wis, the weather witnessed on Wednesday was “A historic, record-breaking system, for sure.” “Things could have been a whole lot worse had it been in the middle of summer with trees leafed out and more susceptible to damage,” Kurz said. “It was bad enough just without that, but for this being in mid-December with these kinds of ingredients, it was just remarkable from a meteorological standpoint.”
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