Minnesota DNR reveals its top 5 weather events of 2020

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As the year 2020 comes to an end, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' State Climatology Office is looking back on the top five weather events of the year. 

The list is based on votes from weather enthusiasts that include the National Weather Service, the University of Minnesota and Facebook followers.

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Here's the list

1. Summer in November

The record-setting warm spell in November took the No. 1 spot on the DNR's list of top weather events for 2020. 

According to the DNR, Granite Falls hit 84 degrees on Nov. 4, tying the state's all-time record high for November. 

Not only that, but the day saw one of the state's greatest warm-ups. Temperatures in the state had been as low as 2 degrees on Oct. 27 and then a few days later, they were in the 70s and 80s. 

2. Snowy October

Prior to the summer-like start to November, a winter storm dumped several inches of snow in Minnesota in October. 

That Oct. 20 storm, which marked the earliest heaviest snowfall on record, took the No. 2 spot on the DNR's list. 

The Twin Cities picked up 7.9 inches of snow, marking the snowiest October in Twin Cities history. (Remember, the Halloween blizzard of 1991 was spread over several days, including into November, so it doesn't count toward the October snow record.)

3. Deadly tornado

A deadly tornado on July 8 is the DNR's No. 3 weather event of the year. 

The EF-4 tornado with 165-plus mph winds ripped through Otter Tail County, killing a 30-year-old man. The tornado was on the ground for 31 minutes, traveling nine miles and reaching a width of 650 yards. It touched town 6.5 miles west of Ashby and lifted 5 miles east of Dalton, the weather service said. 

This tornado marked the strongest tornado in Minnesota since Aug. 7, 2010, when an EF-4 touched ground in Wilkin County. 

That nearly 10-year span without an EF-3 or higher twister was the longest Minnesota has gone without a major tornado in the state, the DNR says. 

4. Minnesota impacted by remnants of a tropical storm

Coming in at No. 4 on the DNR's list is Minnesota's first known direct encounter with a tropical cyclone. 

On June 9, Tropical Storm Cristobal moved north out of the Gulf of Mexico, maintaining its tropical depression status as it made its way to the Midwest. The storm produced heavy rains and some landslides in southeastern Minnesota. 

5. Easter storm 

A late-season winter storm that dropped up to 10 inches of snow on some areas of Minnesota on April 12 came in at No. 5 on the DNR's list. 

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport picked up 5.1 inches of snow, making it the snowiest Easter in history for the metro. 

The 2020 April storm marked the third year in a row that a major winter storm has impacted southern Minnesota in mid-April.

Honorable mentions

The DNR also gave some weather events honorable mentions. They are:

  • The Dec. 23 snowstorm or "holiday lights howler" would have been a top-five weather event had it not happened after voting, the DNR says. The combination of snow and high winds made this a "spectacular" storm, with 70 out of the state's 87 counties under a blizzard warning, which may be the greatest coverage of such warnings on record. 
  • The "mega rain" in southern Minnesota July 25-26, which produced rainfall amounts as high as 11.5 inches causing damage that included washed-out roads and landslides. 
  • The smoky skies across the state Sept. 13-15, which were caused by the wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington.

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