Minnesota Marks 50th Anniversary of Tornado Tragedy
This Sunday, April 30, will mark the 50th anniversary of what's been called Black Sunday in Minnesota. On that date in 1967 about 21 tornadoes broke out in Iowa and Southern Minnesota. It still isn't certain whether some tornadoes happened back to back or were actually one tornado with a brief lull in between. The end result produced about $9 million damage, with 13 people losing their lives along with numerous injuries.
Tornado touchdowns included one in the Alden and Matawan area, resulting in two deaths. Another tornado traveled more than 20 miles from near Hartland to northeast of Waseca, resulting in six more fatalities. The tornado that originated near Twins Lakes traveled 38 miles before moving along the western edge of Owatonna and claimed two more lives. There were also three lives lost in Albert Lea and in Clarks Grove.
I recall talking to my late friend Alice a number of years ago about the tornado. She shook her head and told me her two sons had actually started to climb the water tower in Geneva to get a closer look. There was a report of a tornado touchdown near Hollandale that lifted off the ground before it got to Geneva. Recently I read the obituary of a local woman and I thought I recognized her maiden name. Later in her obituary it mentioned she had lost a brother years ago. He was one of the tornado victims and yet all these years I never had a clue. I mentioned this to her sister-in-law and she stated she had no idea. I connected with the son of one of the other victims and he said he preferred not to talk about it. The scars were 50 years old and still hurting.
One of the most amazing stories I've ever heard in regards to tornadoes was the one that claimed the entire family of Baseball Hall of Fame member Sam Rice in Indiana. Among the victims was his wife. Rice had been away from home playing amateur baseball. After reaching the majors, he remarried. Yet, if not for the slip of the tongue by a sportswriter Rice's second wife may never have known that he had been previously married. He had never told her.
Back to the Minnesota tornado of '67, it wasn't until the June 17, 2010, tornado outbreak that Minnesota had so many EF-4 or greater tornadoes on one day. That date also marked the first EF-4 tornado in Freeborn County since April 30, 1967.
Here's a short news clip of the outbreak