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North Minneapolis and nearby suburbs were struck by a devastating tornado on Sunday, May 22, and we remember that awful day, when one man died and 48 were injured from the tornado. Another man died in the cleanup.  Damage totaled tens of millions along its path from St. Louis Park to Blaine.

The potential for tornadoes became apparent during the very early morning of May 22, when the Storm Prediction Center included the metro in a risk area for tornadoes.  A tornado watch was issued at 12:10 p.m., and the first tornado warning of the day was issued at 2:10 p.m.  The tornado was soon confirmed by a Metro Skywarn spotter, and the NWS relayed that report to broadcast media, State Patrol, county/city 911 centers, and others that a confirmed tornado was beginning to move through North Minneapolis and other areas.  In the days that followed, many stories were told of of people who took shelter due to the warning and reports, including one company that sent their outdoor workers to shelter in underground tunnels before the tornado moved overhead.  Four more tornadoes would develop later that afternoon in the Chanhassen service area, including Forest Lake MN (EF0), Ham Lake MN (EF0), Brill WI (EF1), and Mikana WI (EF1). 

Here is a link to a PDF Summary that was created in 2015.

Elsewhere in the country, 2011 had already been a terrible year for tornadoes prior to May 22. Tornadoes hit major cities, including St Louis MO and Raleigh NC, and there was a massive outbreak in the southeast April 25-28, with 316 deaths on April 27 alone. Just three hours after Minneapolis was hit, Joplin MO was hit with an EF5 tornado that resulted in 158 deaths, making 2011 the worst year in tornado deaths nationwide since tornado records began in 1950. There were 794 known tornado deaths in 1925, but it is uncertain if that was the worst year prior to 1950.


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