National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Prior to 1971, Columbus Day was celebrated on October 12th. Since then, Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October; thus, it can fall anywhere between October 8th through October 14th.  Below are some weather statistics for La Crosse, WI and Rochester, MN for this holiday.
Columbus Day Ship

La Crosse, WI:

The following statistics comprises 147 years of data. From 1873 through 1950, the data came from various locations in downtown La Crosse. Since 1950, the data has been gathered at La Crosse Regional Airport.

Columbus Day in La Crosse, WI
(Period of Record 1873-2020)
1981-2010 Normals
Records
Maximum Temperature

63°F - 65°F

Warmest High Temperature
86°F
October 13, 1975
October 12, 1918
Coldest High Temperature
33°F
October 12, 2009
Minimum Temperature
41°F - 43°F
 
Warmest Low Temperature
68°F
October 13, 1975
Coldest Low Temperature
25°F
October 9, 2000
October 12, 1917
Average Temperature
52°F - 54°F
 
Warmest Average Temperature
77.0°F
October 13, 1975
Coldest Average Temperature
29.5°F
October 12, 1917
October 12, 1909
Precipitation
0.07"
Wettest
1.28"
October 12, 1882
Snowfall 0.0" Snowiest 0.6" October 12, 1909
Snow Depth 0" Greatest Snow Depth T October 12, 1909


The odds of having any precipitation at all on Columbus Day is 45.9% (68 out of 148).  There has been measurable (0.01" or greater) precipitation on 49 Columbus Days (33.1%) and trace amounts (less than 0.01") on 19 Columbus Days (12.8%). 

Measurable snow has fallen on 3 Columbus Days (1909 - 0.6", 1959 - 0.2", and 0.4" in 2009) and trace amounts of snow fell 4 times (1917, 1932, 1946, and 1990).

There has only been one Columbus Day morning where there was snow on the ground (1909 - Trace).

On Columbus Day in 2020 (October 12), the high temperature was 71°F and the low temperature was 49°F.   Since 2007, 11 out of 14 Columbus Day have been warmer-than-normal.  A total of 0.58" of rain fell.  This tied 1877 and 1915 for the 10th wettest Columbus Day.  The average wind speed was 13.3 mph.

 

Rochester, MN:

The following statistics comprises 108 years of data. From 1886 through 1931, the data came from several cooperative observers in the Rochester area. Since 1932, the data has been gathered at Rochester International Airport. No data was taken on Columbus Day from 1889 to 1891 and from 1921 to 1928.

Columbus Day in Rochester, MN
(Period of Record 1886-2020)
1981-2010 Normals
Records
Maximum Temperature

58°F - 61°F

Warmest High Temperature
85°F
October 13, 1975
October 12, 1956
Coldest High Temperature
35°F
October 12, 2009
Minimum Temperature
38°F - 40°F
 
Warmest Low Temperature
62°F
October 8, 1973
Coldest Low Temperature
24°F
October 12, 1932
Average Temperature
48°F - 51°F
Warmest Average Temperature
71.5°F
October 13, 1975
Coldest Average Temperature
31.5°F
October 12, 2009
Precipitation
0.07"
Wettest
1.15"
October 12, 1969
Snowfall 0" Snowiest 1.7" October 12, 2009
Snow Depth 0" Greatest Snow Depth 1" October 12, 2009

 

The odds of having any precipitation at all on Columbus Day is 48.6% (53 out of 109).  There has been measurable (0.01" or greater) precipitation on 33 Columbus Days (30.3%) and trace amounts (less than 0.01") on 20 Columbus Days (18.3%). 

The only time that measurable snow (0.1" or greater) has fallen on Columbus Day was back in 2009 (1.7").  Trace amounts of snow have fallen on Columbus day 6 times (1909, 1946, 1959, 1977, 1990, and 1997). 

The only time that there has been Columbus Day morning was back in 2009 (1").

On Columbus Day in 2020 (October 12), the high temperature was 67°F and the low temperature was 45°F.  Since 2007, 11 out of 14 Columbus Day have been warmer-than-normal.   0.51" of rain fell.  The average wind speed was 16.1 mph. 


The following weather events have occurred on Columbus Day in southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, and western Wisconsin:

  • In 1959 (October 12), Mondovi, WI had their earliest measurable snowfall (1").
  • In 1961 (October 12), severe thunderstorms moved across northern Iowa during the afternoon and evening. These thunderstorms produced damaging winds, large hail, and two small tornadoes. Two-inch diameter hail was reported in Bancroft at 3:20 PM and Sheffield at 6:00 PM. In addition, two F1 tornadoes touched down in Chickasaw County. They touched down in Nashua (6:20 PM) and Fredericksburg (7:00 PM).
  • In 1966 (October 12), Austin, MN had their wettest October day (2.18").
  • In 1997 (October 13), both Elkader, IA (2.50") and Lynxville, WI (1.98") had their wettest October day.
  • In 2009 (October 12),  up to 2" of snow fell north of the Interstate 90 corridor in southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin.  Some of the highest snow totals included 1.7" at Rochester International Airport and 1.3" in Mondovi, WI.
  • In 2018 (October 8), it was the second wettest Columbus Day at both La Crosse WI (1.22" - only 1882 was wetter with 1.28") and Rochester, MN (1.11" - only 1969 was wetter with 1.15").  
  • In 2020 (October 12), La Crosse WI received 0.58 inches of rain.  This 1877 and 1915 for the tenth wettest Columbus Day.  Rochester MN received 0.51" of rain.  This made it their 9th wettest Columbus Day.