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Memories of May 2011

During this severe weather awareness week, I have some great memories of May 2011 and some not so great ones. My oldest son got married on May 13th 2011. It was an exciting and happy time. The weather was ok and all had fun. Little did we know what mother nature would have in store for us 9 days later.  That Sunday was warm and humid early, as I went to church. Came back with a more uneasy feeling. I checked in with my staffer at the station to see what was the latest on the weather that he ad and to see if we had staffing if anything developed. There was a risk of severe weather that day, but where I live in Minneapolis we tend to take that with a grain of salt as usually nothing happens. We were wrong this Sunday. Later on we noticed the skies darken a bit and my weather radio was chirping with warnings to the west for severe thunderstorms. Then the radio sounded with a Tornado warning alert. A tornado was reported on the ground in St. Louis park about 7 miles away. I was at my neighbors at the time and we went outside to look. Did not really see anything. I went back inside and my neighbor a few moments later came flying in and said “basement now.” I looked out the door, saw debris swirling slammed the door shut and went for the basement.  We waited about 20 mins and came up. Things were fairly quiet..then we heard lots of Firetruck and police sirens. I started to get calls from people at my church that I needed to come down there and inspect the buildings, as I am on the maintenance committee. One of my neighbors went with me. The church is a few blocks from my house. But I had to make a wide path to get there as there were many trees down.  Our buildings for the most part were un scathed. But we lost some very old trees and virtually every car that was on the property at the time had some damage.

A friend of mine that was out of town asked me to check on his house a few blocks away. His house was in an area that was more heavily damaged. And the trip that normally took just a few minutes, took me about 20 due to damage and people trying to look at the damage. The tornado had missed my block by about 2 blocks. But was close enough that I pay even more attention to the weather, and you should too.  It took just 15-30 minutes to do the damage the tornado did in Minneapolis.  We were lucky only two people were killed. But that’s two too many. When the weather service says there’s a watch, watch out and be alert and make a plan. When a warning is issued, get to safety. Don’t stop to look at the sky. Be safe. The church in the background in the photo is my church. Just a tiny sample of what the area looked at.

Ap Photo Jerry Holt

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