In this week's episode of the "Way Over Our Heads" podcast, Jim du Bois and climatologist Kenny Blumenfeld remember the 1965 tornado outbreak that devastated parts of the west and north metro.
The May 6, 1965 disaster spawned six official tornadoes that killed 13, injured 683 and leveled 600 homes in the Twin Cities.
According to official records from the National Weather Service, there were six tornadoes and all of them were strong. Four were rated F4 on the Fujita Scale, producing winds of 207-260 mph, one was an F3 (158-206 mph) and another an F2 (113-157 mph).
The storms grew monstrous late in the day, with the first reports of golf ball to baseball-sized hail coming in around 6 p.m. and lasting until nearly midnight.
All the while, tornadoes formed and reformed, two of them hitting the Lake Minnetonka area and two more spinning through Fridley, although there is now sufficient evidence to suggest that Fridley was hit by a third, the DNR says.
You can hear WCCO radio’s dramatic coverage from that evening on the RadioTapes website. The National Weather Service’s Twin Cities forecast office compiled extensive documentation of the outbreak in 2015 including animated radar film and a timeline of events transcribed from the WCCO tapes. Watch a 50th anniversary video interview with Kenny and Rob Brown, one of the WCCO staff members on duty the night of May 6, 1965.
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