Aug 20, 2009

The Tornado

For the locals, this is old news, but for friends and family out-of-state, here's some scoop on the tornado that hit South MPLS yesterday afternoon.

The path of the the storm was north-northwesterly. There was a report and photos of a touch-down in Cottage Grove, and the path of the tornado in South Minneapolis was basically my commute route to and from work, more or less. We saw damage at 48th and Park Ave. (about 10 blocks west of the house) this morning, and saw reports of damage in what was essentially a straight route north between Park and Portland north to 34th Street or so. From there, it seems like it lifted up, hopped over I-35W and then clipped downtown at the Convention Center.

Being a huge weather nerd, I can't believe that I missed this. Our experience was not so dramatic; we were driving back from Duluth, leaving the Twin Ports around noon. I had planned to ride the Munger Trail yesterday, but the radar promised heavy rain and high winds, so we bagged that idea and just headed for home (good idea, because the storm went basically north along I-35, and touched down again in Stacy or Pine City before heading off to pillage Wisconsin). We drove through steady to heavy rain the whole way back from Duluth but it was not difficult until we got to Roseville, were we caught some very high winds and driving rain, which made visibility very poor, so I pulled of on County Road C and turned on WCCO, only to hear reports of a tornado in South MPLS. We ducked the Mighty Tundra behind some parked semi-trailers for shelter (probably a bad idea in retrospect) and waited for the rain to let up some. We picked our way home taking the "high route" because of reports of intersection flooding, but we really had no trouble at all with street flooding.

When we got home, we had 1.9 inches of rain in the rain gauge, but that was it; not even leaves blown down in our yard! This must have been very localized, and they are saying it was a small tornado (F0 or F1), but it sure did a number on the tress along Park and Portland Ave. Very little structural damage though, from what I saw. There are some broken windows and one house lost a portion of its roof. Still, it's amazing that no one was hurt.

A visiting meteorologist captured the touch-down on his I-phone. This video would have been taken from the south side of downtown, looking south-southeast.

Portions of Portland Ave. were still closed this morning to allow for City crews to complete the clean up and chip up the trees. It's funny how close this came and yet we were unaffected (we did not even have to re-set the alarm clock). Very lucky indeed.

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