'High risk' severe weather days aren't reserved for Tornado Alley: Minnesota can get them, too

They're not common, but they're not reserved solely for Tornado Alley.
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
Chandler-Lake Wilson tornado 1992

The 1992 Chandler-Lake Wilson F5 tornado that roared through southwest Minnesota. 

Violent, long-track tornadoes are possible Monday in Texas and Oklahoma, with the threat so severe that the Storm Prediction Center has issued a rare "high risk" for damaging storms. 

It's the first high risk issued for anywhere in the country in two years. There were four such days in 2017 but none in 2015 or 2016. Bottom line: These days don't come around often, but when they do they have a tendency to live up to the hype. 

Severe risk for Monday, May 20. 

Severe risk for Monday, May 20. 

And they're not just reserved for Tornado Alley. They can happen in Minnesota, although they're so rare that meteorologists with the Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service asked around and said: "Nobody here can remember the last one." 

So, we turned to Wikipedia for information and found that there have been seven high risk days in Minnesota in the last 30 years, most recently in 2008. 

June 5, 2008

The June 5, 2008 high risk actually resulted in more powerful storms the next morning. 

The June 5, 2008 high risk actually resulted in more powerful storms the next morning. 

As you can see in the severe risk outlook for that day, parts of southern Minnesota was under a high risk for major storms. But it was tornadoes the morning of June 6 that did the most damage. An EF-2 tornado with winds up 130 mph roared through Wadena County, and then a EF-3 twister went through Hubbard County around 9:30 a.m., producing winds up 160 mph. 

June 7, 2007

Screen Shot 2019-05-20 at 8.24.04 AM

Fast moving supercell thunderstorms with damaging winds, hail larger than 5 inches in diameter, and tornadoes ripped across central and northeast Wisconsin on June 7, 2007. Five tornadoes touched down in central and northeast Wisconsin. 

July 31, 2002

Screen Shot 2019-05-20 at 8.28.10 AM

The high risk that day was reserved for the Arrowhead of Minnesota, the end result was severe storms that didn't produce any memorable damage, fortunately. 

April 16, 2002

Screen Shot 2019-05-20 at 8.29.34 AM

Fourteen tornadoes touched down that day but none in Minnesota, where hail and damaging wind reports were common west of the Twin Cities. 

June 11, 2001

Screen Shot 2019-05-20 at 8.31.10 AM

A derecho ripped southeast along Interstate 94 and produced widespread wind damage, with one report of a 120 mph wind gust near Atwater in Kandiyohi County. The National Guard was called in to help clean up significant tree damage in Litchfield and Grove City, Meeker County. 

June 5, 1999

Screen Shot 2019-05-20 at 9.19.02 AM

This high risk event failed to materialize any significant storms. Just a sliver of extreme southwest Minnesota was included in the high risk zone. 

June 16, 1992

There isn't an image to show precisely where the high risk area was, but the date produced the destructive Chandler-Lake Wilson F5 tornado in southwest Minnesota. According to the National Weather Service, the tornado destroyed more than 75 homes and caused more than $50 million damage. Forty people were injured and one person was killed. 

The tornado produced estimated wind speeds in excess of 260 mph. 

Next Up

Related