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We call this ‘spring’ in Minnesota

You know it’s springtime in Minnesota when you have severe thunderstorms throughout the day followed by a blizzard overnight. I’m guessing Mother Nature didn’t get the memo about April Fool’s Day.
Friday was a crazy day. In New Richland, we had some thundersleet in the morning, and I am pretty sure we had some hail with it as well. I spent most of my day between Janesville and Waseca. You could tell some crazy weather was coming, because it got pretty hazy and even foggy in the afternoon.
New Richland and Waldorf were actually in a severe thunderstorm warning for quarter sized hail. I was in Janesville, and while the storm wasn’t bad, we still had pea-sized hail. The wind was pretty wild as well.
To drive home with dark storm clouds over New Richland, go to bed, and find that it snowed at least four inches during the night was pretty crazy.
Iowa’s weather was crazier. They started out the day in a moderate risk for severe weather, but were upgraded to a high risk (naturally the highest risk you can be in for severe weather).
Picture this. A tornado outbreak where temperatures reach the 70s, and at night, the air becomes so cold that snow is possible. That was the case for cities like Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Davenport. It was supposed to be the case again this past Tuesday. (I’ll have no way of telling you in this column since our press day is Monday.)
While all of that is insane, I remember back a few years ago when the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning in the middle of a snowstorm.
It was April 11, 2019. It was a classic spring snowstorm in southern Minnesota. The day before, we received a bunch of snow, thus causing the National Weather Service (NWS) to issue a blizzard warning.
When it was all beginning to form, there were small clusters of cells developing with heavy snow and sleet. But just northwest of Redwood Falls, there was a severe thunderstorm warning. Here’s the funny part: Radar showed that most of it was coming down as snow, with a tiny portion of it coming back as a wintry mix. That means it was snowing and hailing at the same time!
The recent weather also made me question something: If thundersnow, or even hail in the middle of a snowstorm, is possible, what about a tornado? I mean, we had one part of the storm system on Friday produce a historic outbreak just to sweep through hours later and produce snow. My mom also remembered seeing snowflakes after the infamous St. Peter tornado from March 29, 1998.
In my research, tornadoes in snowstorms are unbelievably rare. You’re probably more likely to get struck twice by lightning than witness a “snownado.” But they are possible.
In 2019, the same year that Minnesota experienced a severe thunderstorm embedded in a snowstorm, New Mexico experienced a tornado during a snowfall. It was located near a Navajo reservation two hours north of Albuquerque.
While I am fascinated by the wonders of Mother Nature, it can be quite scary sometimes. I have a love-hate relationship with thunderstorms, and when you see the damage done by tornadoes, it’s quite sobering.
To all the people down in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and other areas impacted by severe weather this past Friday, my thoughts and prayers are with you.
This week in music
Back on March 15, 1976, the rock band Kiss came out with their fourth studio album Destroyer. It’s the band’s most successful album to date in the United States, selling over two million copies.
There are many classic Kiss songs from the album, including “Detroit Rock City,” “Shout it Out Loud” (my personal favorite and the band’s first chart-topping single, reaching #1 in Canada), “God of Thunder,” and the ballad “Beth,” which reached #7 on the US charts and is their highest-charting single to date.


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