Reporting Mike Augustyniak
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For many, 2011 will be remembered as a year of wild weather. Storms were historic, deadly and costly.
Minnesota had a few big weather events this year. One of the most significant was the deadly tornado that tore through North Minneapolis back in May.
One person was killed and 48 were injured. Hundreds of homes were damaged.
Statewide, Minnesota had 31 tornadoes.
Nationwide, though, springtime brought a spate of deadly storms. There were 201 confirmed twisters over four days alone in late April. More than 320 people died in six states.
Then, on May 22, the deadliest single tornado in the U.S. this year touched down in Joplin, Mo. The E5 tornado killed at least 157 people and decimated the Midwest town.
Another big local weather story of the year was the drought this autumn. Minnesota only had 1.36 inches of precipitation from September to November, the least amount rain since modern record-keeping began back in 1871.
The state’s normal precipitation for the fall is around 7 inches.
The dry conditions made for a subpar year of autumn colors.
Minnesota was also one of the many states affected by flooding along the Mississippi River. Thanks to the battery of winter storms dumping snow from the Great Plains all the way over to Maine, many major rivers in the U.S. were overwhelmed when all that snow began to melt and the spring rains arrived.
The Mississippi and its tributaries flooded out communities from Minnesota down to Louisiana. Flooding concerns lingered through June.
The Souris River in North Dakota crested at historic levels. More than 11,000 people were evacuated. Many returned to find their homes destroyed.
It was the hottest summer in 75 years for many parts of the country, which led to a number of wildfires.
Hurricane season was quiet until Hurricane Irene set its signs on the east coast. Irene made landfall near Cape Lookout, N.C. in late October. Some of the worst flooding from Irene was much farther north in land-locked Vermont. Irene was responsible for more the 40 deaths and more than $1 billion in damage over 12 states.