MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The stretch of damaging, back-to-back severe storms Minnesota experienced this week is something the state hasn’t seen before, at least according to weather records.
WCCO-TV Director of Meteorology Mike Augustyniak says that in the last week, between Monday and Thursday, there have been more than 200 severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings across Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
The last week of severe weather in #MNwx & #WIwx has been remarkable for this time of year. In 3 #NextWeatherAlert Days, @WCCO has delivered over 200 severe t-storm & tornado warnings (with huge kudos to our @NWS partners). Here's what that looks like! pic.twitter.com/asUHNxIrYD
— Mike Augustyniak (@MikeAugustyniak) May 13, 2022
These storms slammed Minnesota with torrential rains, tennis-ball-sized hail, flooding, tornadoes, and wind gusts over 90 mph. The forces felled trees and toppled powerlines, leaving thousands without electricity for hours on end. Trees also fell on homes and cars, leaving extensive damage.
The storms are linked to two deaths in Minnesota. Martha Rodriguez, 30, a meteorologist from Mexico City, Mexico, died while reportedly storm-chasing in southern Minnesota Wednesday evening. She was killed when the car she was in stopped for a downed powerline, and a semi rear-ended the vehicle.
Roughly 24 hours later, a 62-year-old volunteer firefighter in central Minnesota died when a grain bin collapsed on a vehicle in Blomkest. Around that time, a squall line tore through the area, toppling several trees and perhaps producing a tornado to the north.
According to Augustyniak, this year has set a record for the most tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings issued at this point on the calendar. These records date back more than 30 years.
“We’d expect more warnings in recent years because of improvements in detection; but, still, 2022 is higher than any year in the modern era,” Augustyniak said.
In the last five days, almost every community in Minnesota has been marked by a warning; some have seen multiple alerts.
“Honestly that’s just kind of a sign of the way things are trending lately, where we’re getting severe weather in December now we’re getting June-like patterns and early May, and I don’t think that’s going to change. unfortunately it’s kind of becoming a new normal,” said Dan Hawblitzel with the National Weather Service.
Hawblitzel was one of about a dozen meteorologists on staff, issuing the warnings over the past few days.
After such a dramatic stretch of summer-like storms, more mild weather is in store for the weekend, which marks the fishing opener in Minnesota. Daytime highs over the next several days don’t look to climb past the mid-70s, a marked change from the record-breaking 90 degree heat on Thursday.
Models show that the next chance of rain looks to be in store for the middle of the workweek.