Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Minneapolis tornado: One year later

On Sunday, May 22, 2011, an EF-1 tornado tore through western and northern sections of Minneapolis.  There was one fatality in north Minneapolis.  The majority of the damage came from fallen trees on top of vehicles and roofs, but in some cases the wind was strong enough to lift entire roofs off of structures.  On the same day, an EF-5 tornado leveled Joplin, Missouri, resulting in 158 deaths and over 1,000 injured.  In retrospect, Minneapolis got off easy this day.  While the Minneapolis twister traveled 6.25 miles mainly over residential areas causing structural damage to homes, the Joplin tornado wiped the surface clean of any structures.

Recent Google satellite imagery shows the scar left behind from the Minneapolis tornado.  It began near the Theo Wirth Park area, where I surveyed the aftermath on this Sunday afternoon.


A closer look at the damage path reveals residences with blue tarp, indicating rooftops in disrepair.


Now take a look at the Joplin damage.  Entire subdivisions of the city gone!  Everything is unrecognizable.


With all the attention the anniversary of the Minneapolis tornado will receive from media outlets, I feel it is important to put the impacts of the tornado in perspective.  We were lucky compared to other areas of the United States on May 22, 2011, and during that year in general - Alabama was hit very hard by a tornado outbreak in April 2011.  The damage in those locations was catastrophic, and it will take many years for them to rebuild from scratch.


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