Earliest Tornado in Minnesota

It is now verified that the earliest 2017 tornados -- first tornados of the season -- struck several communities in east-central Minnesota (a few miles north and south of me). So what you say? Especially because it was a mere F1 and didn't hurt anyone!

This is an important event because the earliest recorded tornado of the year in Minnesota was previously March 18th, and that was in 1968. This tornado, striking on March 6th (confirmed yesterday by the NWS) is way earlier than that!

One tornado, near Zimmerman went for nine miles.

A second tornado appears to have passed through the community of Clark's Grove as well. That one may have been on the ground for over 12 miles.

Neither tornado was large, but there was a lot of damage to property and trees.

Needless to say, the frequency of storms in general, and their severity, are expected to rise with climate change. Part of that seems to be the lengthening of the storm seasons. More time, more storms.

The local reports:

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My reading of this issue, at least historically, has been that while tornadoes may be increasing in intensity and the season may be spreading, the relative frequency of tornadoes may or may not increase - that this last statistic is so far indeterminate. The last discussion I saw of this, perhaps two years ago, suggested that sheer numbers of tornadoes in the Midwest appear to be *very slowly* decreasing over time despite better detection and observation (elsewhere, such as in my own state of CA, the numbers of known tornadoes are rising slightly owing to these same factors).

Regardless - tornadoes are such a fascinating phenomenon that we should continue to get good data of them and good analysis for a long time to come. Stay safe!

By Bruce Jensen (not verified) on 08 Mar 2017 #permalink