National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


On Wednesday, April 10, a band of heavy snow developed in advance of a low pressure system over the Plains and lifted north across the region slowly during the day.  It produced 1 to 2 inches of snow an hour at times and was even accompanied by lightning and thunder across southern Minnesota.  Another band developed over Iowa during the evening and lifted north overnight, producing another round of thundersnow and hourly snow rates of 1 to 2 inches early Thursday morning. Most of the snow occurred with these two rounds.  Snowfall totals of 6 to 12 inches were common.

Warmer air aloft begin to arrive Thursday morning across southern Minnesota, causing the snow to turn to a wintry mix of sleet, snow, and rain.  Even as surface temperatures remained below freezing, a few severe thunderstorms developed Thursday morning over Steele, Renville, Redwood, Chippewa, and Yellow Medicine counties as the warm air aloft produced elevated instability.  Quarter size hail was reported with all three storms.

The worst of the wind occurred Thursday.  East winds gusting between 50 and 65 mph resulted in 650+ damaged power poles and hundreds of lines down.  The Associated Press reported 100,000 people in Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin had lost power.  The wind also produced widespread blizzard conditions across western Minnesota, where most of the precipitation remained snow throughout the event. 

By Thursday night, winds began to subside and the precipitation was more patchy.  A final round of snow occurred Friday morning on the backside of the low, with another inch or two falling.

This storm pushed Eau Claire's seasonal snowfall into record territory at 98.8 inches.  The previous record was 89.3 inches from the 1996-97 season.  


Map of observed snowfall from April 10-12. The yellow shading shows amounts over 6 inches, and the orange shading shows amounts in excess of a foot. The snow was difficult to measure due the very strong winds that accompanied this storm and the change over to various precipitation types.
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