2011 Tornado Outbreak Anniversary
La Crosse, WI (KROC-AM News) - May 22 marked the sixth anniversary of a large tornado outbreak in southeastern Minnesota, northern Iowa and western Wisconsin. While most of the tornadoes hit areas in Wisconsin, the twisters were spawned by a cold front that swept across southeastern Minnesota and created ideal conditions for severe weather.
The National Weather Service in La Crosse issued 11 severe thunderstorm warnings and 11 tornado warnings between 1:18 p.m. and 6:19 p.m. that day. Seven of the tornado warnings were connected to a thunderstorm supercell that smashed through areas of northeast Iowa before hitting southwestern Wisconsin and eventually central Wisconsin.
Three of the tornadoes were estimated to be EF2 storms, which can produce winds above 155 miles per hour. One of the EF2 tornadoes caused major damage in the Chester, Iowa, area before it moved into Fillmore County, where it was more than 200 yards wide when it caused damage in the Harmony area.
Another EF2 twister first touched down in Houston County, causing significant damage in the Hokah area before it tracked to La Crosse and became one of the strongest twisters to ever hit that city. The tornado, with winds estimated at almost 120 miles per hour, caused widespread damage in the southern and central neighborhoods of La Crosse, but only a few minor injuries were reported.