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Snow, Wintry Precipitation Moves In Early This Morning-Travel Impacts For Some

Snow to a wintry mix will spread across much of the area early this morning, continuing into tonight. Significant snowfall is expected from southeast MN into north central WI. The morning and evening commutes will be slippery/hazardous for some. Read More >

Here is a listing of the top 10 weather and climate events for 2017 in the NWS La Crosse Warning and Forecast Area. This includes areas of southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, and southwest/central Wisconsin.

This listing is the result of voting (26) among NWS La Crosse staff members, Emergency Management Directors, and members of the media.

Climate related data and numerous images courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center ( and National Centers for Environmental Information.

For additional information, contact:

Honorable Mention: Cold Spell Dec.25-27, 2017

A very cold airmass moved through the Northern Plains and Great Lakes starting Christmas Day, producing sub zero temperatures and bitter wind chills. Wind chill warnings and advisories were out for a large part of the region.

Here are some of the coldest temperatures and wind chill values during that period:

Location Lowest Temp Lowest Wind Chill
Black River Falls, WI -28F -39
Medford, WI -21F -36
Dodge Center, MN -18F -36
Rochester, MN -16F -34
Oelwein, IA -15F -31
Preston, MN -14F -30
Location Lowest Temp Lowest Wind Chill
Volk Field, WI -13F -29
Charles City, IA -13F -27
Platteville, WI -12F -27
Austin, MN -15F -26
Decorah, IA -12F -25
La Crosse, WI -8F -24

10. Wet First Half of Year

After a very wet winter season (Rochester, MN had 2nd wettest and La Crosse, WI was 9th wettest), more wet weather followed through the entire first half of 2017.  Some locations nearly had their wettest start to a year on record, especially in Wisconsin.

Location Amount Location Amount
Minnesota City, MN 29.25" Altura, MN 28.65"
New Hampton, IA 26.39" Viroqua, WI 25.42"
Black River Falls, WI 25.31" French Island, WI 24.96"
Rushford, MN 24.92" La Farge, WI 24.77"
Waucoma, IA 24.48" Mauston, WI 24.43"
Neillsville, WI 24.42" Mondovi, WI 24.34
Hokah, MN 24.25" Ontario, WI 24.20"


january thru june 2017 precipitation percentiles

Total Precipitation Percentiles between January and June 2017.

Statewide Precipitation Ranks between January and June 2017.

9. June 12 Severe Thunderstorms


A line of thunderstorms moved west to east across the entire area during the afternoon and evening of Monday, June 12. For the most part, the storms produced winds in the 30 to 50 mph range and brought some much needed rainfall to many areas. 

The line of storms did produce some pockets of wind damage, mainly north of the Interstate 90 corridor, as well as sporadic hail reports throughout the duration of the event.

Rainfall totals were generally in the 0.50 to 2" range, with lower amounts over northeast Iowa and far southwest Wisconsin. 

This severe weather event is documented at:

Radar loop showing the line of storms during the afternoon
and evening of June 12, 2017


tree damage in Rochester

tree damage near Millston, WI

storm reports from June 12, 2017

Tree damage in Rochester, MN (Photo by Cindy Morgan)

  Wind damage near Millston, WI (Photo by Sharon Gerke)

Storm reports from June 12, 2017

8. April 9 Large Hail

Unusually warm and humid air for early April led to the development of severe thunderstorms on April 9, 2017.  Some of the storms became large hail producers, especially from north central Iowa, across southeast Minnesota, and into north central Wisconsin.

Hail ranged from the size of pennies all the way up to tennis balls, with the largest hail report occurring just north of the town of Stacyville, Iowa in Mitchell County.  There were lots of reports of hail, without much rain or gusty wind.

A full summary of the storm can be found at:


large hail photo from Rochester MN

large hail photo near Kasson MN

storm reports from early April 2017

Large hail from northwest Rochester, MN. (Photo by Taylor Bauman)

Large hail from near Kasson, MN (Dodge Co.) (Photo by Roger Berge)

Storm reports from April 1-9, 2017

7. June 16 Large Hail / Severe Thunderstorms

Clusters of strong to severe thunderstorms mainly impacted parts of southeast Minnesota into western Wisconsin on June 16, 2017.  The largest impact was caused by hail up to tennis ball size that produced extensive damage in communities between La Crosse and Eau Claire, WI.  This included baseball size hail near Independence, WI and hail of 2" in diameter in Arcadia, WI (Trempealeau Co.).  Property damage was well into the millions.

A full summary of the storm can be found at:


large hail damage

large hail near Arcadia WI

storm reports from June 16 2017

Damage from hail as large as baseballs between Independence and Arcadia, WI. (Photo by Patrick Sabota)

Large hail observed north of Arcadia, WI on Highway 93. (Photo by Stephanie Schank)

Storm reports from June 16, 2017

6. March 6th Line of Severe Thunderstorms & Tornado

A thin, but intense line of thunderstorms moved across the region on March 6, 2017, producing wind damage as it progressed east, and at least one known tornado (EF-1) just east of La Crosse, WI.  Most of the peak wind reports were in the 60-70 mph range.

A full summary of the March 6th Severe Weather event can be viewed at:

March 6 radar image

5. Heavy Snow of January 24-25

A swath of heavy snow fell near the Iowa-Minnesota state line on January 24-25th.  Snowfall was generally 5 to 12 inches.  Charles City, IA (Floyd Co.) had the most with 14", while Grand Meadow, MN (Mower Co.) reported 12". 

The main impact was snow covered roads on January 25th, which prompted the closure of most schools.  Some of the heavy snow also broke branches leading to sporadic power outages.

You can see a full summary of this snow storm at:

  snowfall total from january 24-25


snow falling at nws la crosse

snow fall at Winona MN

snow fall at Harpers Ferry  IA

Snow falling at NWS La Crosse early on January 25th. (Source: NWS/Shea)

Snowfall at Winona, MN. (Source: Keith Nelson)

Heavy snow near Harpers Ferry, IA. (Source: Judy Jones)

4. June 28 Severe Thunderstorms

Several clusters of thunderstorms erupted during the afternoon hours of Wednesday, June 28, 2017 producing heavy rain, pockets of wind damage, funnel clouds, and two very brief tornadoes.

Storms across northeast Iowa and southwest Wisconsin produced rainfall of 2 to 3 inches and wind gusts in the 50-80 mph range. This not only led to river and flash flooding and pockets of wind damage.

Storms developed across southeast Minnesota in the evening hours and produced several funnel clouds. Two of these funnels touched ground briefly with only minor tree damage reported from one of them.

A full summary of the June 28th severe weather event can be viewed at:

Radar loop between 4pm and 10pm on June 28, 2017


shelf cloud in Buffalo County WI June 28 2017

power poles blown down in Grant County WI

Shelf cloud approaching Lookout, WI (Buffalo Co.) (Photo by Hunter Anderson)

Power poles blown down by high wind near Livingston, WI (Grant Co.) (Photo by Chris Gothner)

funnel cloud near Eyota MN

brief touchdown photo

Funnel cloud near Eyota, MN (Olmsted Co.) (Photo by Jordan Manderfield)

Brief touchdown near Dover, MN (Olmsted Co) (Photo by Tanner Schaaf)

3. January 16 Freezing Rain and Icing

On Monday January 16th (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), an area of freezing rain swept through the area leaving a coating of ice on things ranging from an 1/8th to 1/2 inch. While ice did not accumulate greatly on power lines and trees, much of the precipitation refroze on the ground and other surfaces leaving a coating of thick ice.

By far the biggest impact was travel since many area roads, parking lots, and sidewalks were covered in a sheet of ice.  Most schools were closed for a couple days.

A full summary of the January 16 freezing rain and icing event can be viewed at:


ice on fence photo

ice covered roads near Norwalk WI

Icing around the NWS La Crosse office. (Source: NWS/Shea)

Ice covered roads near Norwalk, WI (Monroe Co.) (Source: Derrick Drinkwine)

2. May 15-17 Numerous Rounds of Severe Thunderstorms

Over a 3 day period, numerous rounds of severe thunderstorms produced everything from tornadoes, to large hail, to flooding.

Storms first started on May 15th impacting mainly northeast Iowa and southwest Wisconsin.  Some communities were hit hard by large hail, including Fort Atkinson, IA (Winneshiek Co.) that had nearly every building in town damaged.

New storms formed early the next morning closer to the Minnesota-Iowa stateline producing widespread 4+ inch rainfalls.  Then on May 17th bands of severe thunderstorms swept through the area producing wind damage and isolated tornadoes.  At least four (4) tornadoes were documented - all small.

For more specifics regarding this severe weather, see our summaries at and  

Radar loop from the afternoon and evening of May 17, 2017


damage in fort atkinson ia

storm reports from may 15 to may 21

Damage from large hail in Fort Atkinson, IA on May 15, 2017. (Source: NWS Survey)

Storm reports from May 15-21, 2017.

tornado image

shelf cloud photo

Tornado near Plainview, MN on May 17th. (Source: Plainview Fire Dept.)

Shelf cloud over Brice Prairie, WI on May 17th. (Source: Melanie Guest)

1. July 19-21 Massive Severe Weather - Tornadoes, Wind, and Flooding

During the late afternoon and evening of June 19, 2017, a line of instense thunderstorms moved through the region, producing tornadoes and damaging wind gusts. Three EF-1 tornadoes were documented, including one that caused significant damage in McGregor, IA.  Wind gusts exceeded 70 mph at times as the storms raced east.

What followed that was additional thunderstorm development and instense rainfall that lasted well into July 20th.  Some areas along the Minnesota-Wisconsin border saw 6-8 inches of rain. This led to significant flash flooding and quick rises on area rivers.  Rivers in western Wisconsin were hit the hardest where levels hit MAJOR flooding.

Numerous counties around the region were declared Presidential Disaster areas with millions of dollars in damage.

A full summary of the July 19-21 severe weather can be viewed at:

Loop of radar imagery between 4:00-9:00 p.m. on July 19th


damage in mcgregor iowa

tornado track near saratoga ia

flood waters in La Farge WI

Tornado damage in McGregor, IA from July 19th. (Source: NWS Survey)

Aerial view of tornado track near Saratoga, IA. (Source: Matt Benz & Elizabeth Baethke)

Flooding along the Kickapoo River near La Farge, WI. (Source: Greg Lawton)

hydrograph at La Farge

hydrograph at Burton


Hydrograph at La Farge, WI on the Kickapoo River

Hydrograph at Burton, WI on the Grant River


rainfall total from mid July 2017

Rainfall records from mid July 2017


Observed rainfall from July 18-24, 2017. (Source: MRCC)

Daily precipitation records broken or tied from July 18-24, 2017. (Source: MRCC)


Updated: 12/27/17 - tjs