Minnesota residents reflect on tornado 50 years later
TRACY, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota residents are remembering the state’s first recorded F5 tornado with 300 mph winds that caused widespread destruction in the southwestern part of the state.
The tornado hit the city of Tracy on June 13, 1968. It destroyed dozens of homes, injured 150 and killed nine people, Minnesota Public Radio reported .
Scott Thoma grew up in Tracy. He’s assembled stories about the tornado in a book titled “Out of the Blue.”
“I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning, but I can remember that day from beginning to end,” he said.
A farm couple spotted the tornado when it first touched down about 8.5 miles southwest of the city and were able to warn other residents, Thoma said. He hid in a basement with his family.
“And, boy, you could hear that roar come over,” said Thoma. “And you could hear it off in the distance sound like a vacuum cleaner first. And it gets a little closer and it sounds like a shop vac, a little bit louder. And then you hear that train coming overhead.”
Denny Morgan was 15 years old when the storm hit. He’s written a song about his experience to commemorate the tornado’s 50th anniversary. The tornado hang in the air like a “devil’s tail,” the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member said.
Area resident Cynthia Holm Sabinske said the storm didn’t just destroy property, it also disturbed the overall feel of the community.
“It was a beautiful little street, tree-lined and shaded,” said Holm Sabinske. “And it was never the same. Never the same.”
Tornado strength is measured by an enhanced F-scale rating that considers 28 different types of damage to structures and trees. A significant tornado is considered an EF2 or higher.
Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org