March 6 tornado sets record for earliest in Minnesota

There is new information regarding the tornadoes that touched down in Minnesota on March 6.

We already knew about the March 6 touchdowns at 5:38 p.m. in Clark’s Grove (in Freeborn county) and at 5:39 p.m. west of Zimmerman (in Sherburne county).

The Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service now reports that there was a third tornado touchdown that day, near Bricelyn in Faribault county of south-central Minnesota:

Here is the NWS explanation of why the tornado was not confirmed earlier:

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN
249 PM CDT Sun Mar 19 2017

…NWS damage survey for the March 06, 2017 Bricelyn/
Faribault County tornado…

An NWS damage survey conducted March 17 confirmed an EF1 tornado
that occurred in Faribault County during the early evening of March
6, 2017. The tornado touched down about 0.5 miles northwest of
Bricelyn, Minnesota at 5:04 PM CST and traveled northeast for 9.6
miles, lifting shortly after crossing Interstate 90 about 5.5 miles
SW of Wells, MN at 5:15 PM CST. The tornado moved through rural
areas of Faribault County mainly producing EF0 damage along its
track, with a few areas reaching marginal EF1 strength. The most
concentrated area of damage was at Pihls county park on Rice Lake
where numerous trees fell on camper homes and one camper was lifted
and thrown 20 feet.

This tornado occurred roughly 30 minutes before the Clarks Grove
& Zimmerman tornadoes, making it the earliest in the year a tornado
has occurred on record for the state of Minnesota. The NWS did
not receive reports of damage until the evening of March 10 and
subsequent heavy snow across the area did not allow for a damage
survey to be undertaken until the snow melted.

The National Weather Service of Chanhassen, MN would like to thank
spotters, storm chasers, emergency management,local media, and the
operators of Wells Campground for reports and assistance provided
during the storms and while conducting the survey.

.Bricelyn/Faribault County Tornado…

Rating:                 EF-1
Estimated peak wind:    90 mph
Path length /Statute/:  9.6 miles
Path width /Maximum/:   200 yards
Fatalities:             0
Injuries:               0

Start date:             03_06_2017
Start time:             5:04 PM CST
Start location:         0.5 miles northwest of Bricelyn, MN

End date:               03_06_2017
End time:               5:15 PM CST
End location:           5.5 miles south of Wells, MN

EF Scale: The Enhanced Fujita Scale Classifies
Tornadoes into the following categories.

EF0…Weak……65 to 85 mph
EF1…Weak……86 to 110 mph
EF2…Strong….111 to 135 mph
EF3…Strong….136 to 165 mph
EF4…Violent…166 To 200 mph
EF5…Violent…>200 mph

The information in this statement is PRELIMINARY and subject to
change pending final review of the event and publication in
NWS Storm Data.

Thankfully, no fatalities or injuries were reported from the Bricelyn tornado.

As stated in the NWS report, the Bricelyn area tornado sets a new record for the earliest confirmed tornado touchdown in Minnesota in any year.

The Clark’s Grove tornado held the previous record for our earliest Minnesota tornado, but it only held that record for a few days.

You can read the NWS report about all three March 6 tornadoes.

Mild afternoon

We topped out at 55 degrees on Sunday at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, while southwestern and west-central Minnesota saw highs in the 60s.

Astronomical spring, also known as the vernal equinox, happened Monday at 5:29 a.m.

We’ll see mild high temperatures as spring begins.

Northern Minnesota will have Monday afternoon highs in the 40s, while central and southern Minnesota reach the lower 50s.

Our average high temp this time of year is 43 degrees in the Twin Cities metro area.

Colder tomorrow

Highs on Tuesday will only reach the 20s over northern Minnesota, with mostly 30s over central and southern Minnesota. The Twin Cities could touch 40, but you can expect some sunshine.

Wednesday highs recover slightly in northern Minnesota, with 30s returning:

Highs in the lower 40s will be common over southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area on Wednesday.

The Twin Cities metro area will top out in the upper 40s on Thursday and Friday.

Rain and snow chances

Most of Minnesota will stay dry today, but a few spots could see a brief sprinkle.

Tuesday and most of Wednesday will be dry, then forecast models show a chance of scattered rain/snow showers Wednesday evening and Wednesday night.

A low-pressure system moving out of the Rockies will spread rain,and possibly some snow, over Minnesota on Thursday, and periods of precipitation will continue on Friday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast system model shows the potential precipitation pattern:

NOAA GFS model precipitation from Thursday morning through Friday night, via tropicaltidbits

The color chart to the right of the loop refers to the hourly precipitation rate, not inches of rain or snow!

Southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area could see mostly rain on Thursday and Friday, but a more southerly track of the low-pressure system would increase our chance of seeing flakes.

Rain could linger over far southern Minnesota into early Saturday.

Snow check

Here are some weather nuggets to share at you equinox party today.

4.7 inches of snow have fallen this month at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Our snow total for this 2016-2017 snow season is now 31.5 inches, which is 17.6 inches below normal for this point in the snow season.

Happy spring!