National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

May 6, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the worst tornadoes in Twin Cities history.  Five tornadoes swept across the western and northern portions of the 7-county region, and a sixth tornado was 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.  Citizen groups were organized to help serve their communities.

To remember this event,

1) The NWS in Chanhassen has created a document (10 MB) that includes improved radar images, many damage photos, survivor stories, an interview with a Weather Bureau employee who worked the event in the radar room, the time line of events as documented by tapes of WCCO-AM, three photographs of the tornadoes, and an overview of the mysterious 1973 revision of tornado statistics for the May 6, 1965 tornadoes.

2) The NWS will also "live tweet" the event beginning at 6:00 p.m. using the WCCO-AM time line, thereby reflecting the information that was available to the public in real time.  The hashtag is #msptornadoes65 and our handle is @nwstwincities.

3) Stories will be posted on Facebook at

4) A fresh and improved look at the radar images and loop from the Minneapolis radar.  Below is an example image of a still radar picture from that day.

This was a momentous event in weather history for the Twin Cities, and especially somber for the families of those who suffered great loss.  Bringing attention to this event will remind us of what is possible across the area, and we will also bring forth safety recommendations for severe weather.