Storm Team 3: Nine year anniversary of the largest tornado outbreak in Minnesota history

48 tornadoes struck the state with three being EF-4s

Posted: Jun 17, 2019 3:03 PM

One of the largest tornado outbreaks in MN history happened 9 years ago today. 48 tornadoes were reported with 3 being EF4 strength. Sadly, 3 deaths and 45 injuries occurred. 

(DNR Minnesota) On June 17, a powerful storm system plowing through Minnesota spawned numerous tornadoes, damaging thunderstorm winds, hail, and flooding rains. Three people were killed by the tornadoes, many injuries were reported, and property damage was extensive. The fatalities occurred at three widely dispersed locations; Mentor in Polk County, near Almora in Otter Tail County, and near Albert Lea in Freeborn County. A large number of homes in Wadena of Wadena County were damaged or destroyed.

The tornado outbreak was notable for the number of tornadoes produced and the geographic extent of the event. Preliminary reports indicated that numerous tornadoes were observed over an area that stretched from Marshall County in northwestern Minnesota to Freeborn County along the Iowa border. The greatest number of tornadoes reported in a single day in Minnesota is 27 on June 16, 1992. It should be emphasized that modern technology, communication, scientific knowledge, and population density leads to improved evaluations of tornado episodes. It is entirely possible that Minnesota tornado outbreaks in the past produced a greater number of tornadoes than the 1992 event.

Multiple tornado fatalities in a single day are fortunately rare, especially in modern times. The last time more than one person was killed by tornadoes during a single day was March 29, 1998 when tornadoes devastated Comfrey and St. Peter in south central Minnesota.

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