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Minnesota Sets a Tornado Record

Damage just south of Pine Island, MN (Photo courtesy Olmsted County Sheriff's Office)
Damage just south of Pine Island, MN (Photo courtesy Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office)

Undated (KROC AM News) – Weather history was made Monday when a tornado touched down in east-central Minnesota.

The tornado caused widespread damage in the Zimmerman area. This marked the earliest in the year a tornado has touched down in Minnesota. The National Weather Service says the previous record was set near St James on March 18, 1968.

A team of experts was checking Tuesday morning to see how strong the tornado was. Another team was sent to Freeborn County to see if a tornado touched down in Clark’s Grove, a small town north of Albert Lea. Widespread damage and downed trees were reported after the suspected twister hit around 6 p.m.

The Rochester area was hit by hail, rain and high winds. The highest wind gust reported in Rochester was 47 mph at the St Marys Hospital heliport. The highest gust at the Rochester airport was 38 mph. Rainfall totals of more than an inch were reported in Olmsted County. The highest total came from the Rochester beltline at nearly 1.5 inches. The Rochester airport total was .92 inches, a record for March 6th.

Rochester’s official high was 63, missing the record for March 6th by four degrees.

Here’s a summary of the storm from the La Crosse NWS office.

It will be windy across southern Minnesota again Tuesday but no severe weather is expected. The Weather Service is advising west winds could gust as high as 40 to 55 mph and this could lead to difficult driving conditions for some vehicles on north-south roads.

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