FIFTY YEARS AGO THIS WEEK a series of six tornadoes swept through the Twin Cities area of Minnesota – the evening of May 6, 1965. We were reminded of this tragic event a few days ago when we received the above photo from Joseph Finley – which he posted on our Woody Boater Facebook page.
Minnesota correspondent and long-time resident Dane Anderson remembers that day in 1965 well – “I was a young boy at the time, but have vivid memories of that night. My Dad brought our brand new Glastron V-155 Fireflite home that day and tucked it away in the single car garage since it wasn’t insured yet. One of the tornadoes hit the house across the street and the house behind us, but hopped over our house.”
“That night was the first time that authorities used the Civil Defense Air-Raid Sirens to signal a tornado warning in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-Saint Paul). Even though there was significant loss of life and many more injuries, the air-raid siren warnings were credited for saving many lives.”
“Multiple f4 tornadoes mark this as the worst tornado outbreak in Minnesota history. Six or more tornadoes hit the metro area. Some areas were hit by two tornadoes the same night!”
“Tornado #6 (described below) was the one that hit our neighborhood in Golden Valley. Our yard was littered with debris from neighbor’s homes.” – Dane Anderson
Much has been written about this tragic weather event over the years. Local meteorologist Paul Hutter wrote a great piece on his Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) blog in 2014 – describing in great detail what was going on that night, and how it changed his life. Here is an excerpt from that story in 2014. – Texx
Twin Cities ‘Tornado Swarm’ 49 Years Ago
Where were you 49 years ago this week?
If you were anywhere near the Twin Cities metro area, you remember that day vividly.
For me, May 6, 1965 is my first living memory. Our home was within a half mile of the path of the devastating Deephaven Tornado that day.
Fortunately, May 6 – 1965 still stands 49 years later as the biggest tornado outbreak in Twin Cities history. Here’s an excellent summary of events from the Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service.
The May 6, 1965 Tornadoes
Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service
The worst tornadoes in Minnesota Twin Cities history occurred on May 6, 1965, with five tornadoes sweeping across the western and northern portions of the 7-county region, and a sixth tornado just outside the metropolitan area. Four tornadoes were rated F4, one was an F3, and the other produced F2 damage. Thirteen people were killed and 683 injured.
Many more would have been killed had it not been for the warnings of the U.S. Weather Bureau, local officials, and the outstanding communications by local radio and television stations. Many credit the announcers of WCCO-AM with saving countless lives. It was also the first time in Twin Cities history that civil defense sirens were used for severe weather.
There were two photographs of tornadoes – the Deephaven tornado and the second Fridley tornado were both published in the Minneapolis Tribune. It is unknown whether anybody else took pictures of any of the tornadoes that day.
Tornado #1 – touched down at 6:08 p.m. CST just east of Cologne (Carver County), was on the ground for 13 miles, and dissipated in the northwestern portion of Minnetrista (Hennepin County). It was rated an F4, killed three people and injured 175.
Tornado #2 – touched down at 6:27 p.m. CST near Lake Susan in Chanhassen (Carver County) and traveled 7 miles straight north to Deephaven (Hennepin County). It was rated an F4, was on the ground for 7 miles, but resulted in no injuries or fatalities.
Tornado #3 – touched down at 6:34 p.m. CST about 3 miles east of New Auburn (Sibley County) and moved to just west of Lester Prairie (McLeod County). On the ground for 16 miles, it was rated an F3, but there were no injuries or fatalities.
Tornado #4 – touched down at 6:43 p.m. CST about two miles east of Green Isle (Sibley County), was on the ground 11 miles, and dissipated about two miles southwest of Waconia (Carver County). It was rated an F2, killed one person, and injured 175.
Tornado #5 – touched down at 7:06 p.m. CST in the southwesternmost corner of Fridley (Anoka County), moved across the Northern Ordnance plant, and dissipated just northeast of Laddie Lake in Blaine (Anoka County). It was on the ground for 7 miles, reached F4 intensity, killed three people and injured 175.
Tornado #6 – touched down at 8:14 p.m. CST in Golden Valley, moved across north Minneapolis (Hennepin County) and into Fridley (Anoka County), then Mounds View (Ramsey County), and finally dissipated just west of Centerville (Anoka County). This was rated an F4, killed six people and injured 158, and was on the ground for 18 miles.
Paul Huttner is Chief Meteorologist for Minnesota Public Radio. You can see Paul’s full story on his MPR blog by Clicking Here.
Although Minnetonka Boat Works was an authorized Chris-Craft Dealer at the time, it appears from the photos that there were many different types of (now classic) boats effected by the tornadoes that day in 1965.
Thanks to Joseph Finley for sending us the photo via Facebook.