Photo Courtesy: Tadd Parris, storm chaser
Last week Minnesota had a Tornado Drill to prepare and remind people in this state to have a plan to seek safety and shelter during Severe Weather. Minnesota is now well into Severe Weather season meaning that the possibility exists for severe thunderstorms with damaging winds, hail, heavy rains and tornadoes. What is always a major concern is that a tornado will hit an area with a high concentration of people and on this date April 26th the Twin Cities has seen two significant tornadoes.
April 26, 1984: It was a humid day with afternoon highs in the upper 70s and dew point temperatures in the low 60s. Thunderstorms developed in the early evening hours across the Metro area and produced a violent tornado around 8 P.M. in the north Metro suburbs of Saint Anthony and New Brighton badly damaging the Apache Plaza Shopping Center - fortunately it was later in the evening and the shopping area did not have many people around at that time - had the tornado hit in the late afternoon it may have had a very different outcome. Two days after the tornado on April 28, 1984 the Twin Cities was hit with a record 10 inches of snow!
The second April 26th tornado in the Metro was just before the noon hour in a rural area west of Stillwater ( northeast Metro ) north of highway 96 around Manning Ave. The tornado did cause significant damage to a few homes in the area. Since 1994 this area just west of Stillwater hit by the tornado has been built up with more homes and a tornado in that same area today would cause even greater damage due to the recent home development in the area. The 1994 Stillwater tornado came with-in 2 miles of elementary schools that were in session. Twon days after the tornado on April 28, 1994 the Twin Cities was hit with 4 inches of snow. It is common in Minnesota for snow to follow an April outbreak of tornadoes - this happens because the storm systems causing the tornadoes are very strong and have large areas of warm and cold air combing into the storm system.
Most tornadoes in Minnesota occur between 3 P.M. and 9 P.M. but have occurred at all hours of the day in the Metro. Most Minnesota tornadoes occur in June but have hit the state in every month except December, January and February. Some notable September tornadoes the past 10 years in the Metro area hit Albertville at midnight and another one hit Rogers just before 10 P.M.
Jonathan Yuhas KARE 4/26/2010