The last time a significant tornado hit Minneapolis was on June 14, 1981, when a twister struck Edina, passed near Lake Harriet and touched down in Roseville.
— "Storm delivers a nasty, surprising punch," Star Tribune
That tornado skipped across some of the same Portland Avenue neighborhood that was hit yesterday.
On June 14th, I was multitasking in the living room of our house in the 3400 block of Portland — a book in my lap and headphones playing Frank Zappa while I waited for a sports broadcast to move from a stock car race back to the track meet I wanted to watch.
If the television ran a tornado warning banner under the action, I didn't notice. You know how alarmist TV weathermen are in Minnesota.
But at some point, I sensed a disturbance in the air. Likely, it was the aluminum awning over our back door, flapping before it was ripped off. Or maybe it was the two 40-foot pines next door resisting the wind before they were laid across our front yard, side-by-side like an old couple fast asleep.
By the time I looked outside, the tornado had passed, and you could see a precise line of fallen trees, ripped roofs and crumbled chimneys cut on the bias across the block. The damage ran right between our house and the neighbors to the south, heading toward Roseville.
The next spring, we were in a Lamaze class with a couple who'd lived in the tornado's path near Har Mar Mall. They had gone to the basement and heard the storm rumble over, sounding just like the proverbial freight train.
Once it grew quiet, they went back up the stairs, but the door was stuck. The husband finally was able to wedge it open and the couple stepped into the great wide outdoors. The only thing left of their house was the kitchen floor.