NWS Twin Cities Home Page » Historical Severe Weather Events » March 29, 1998 Tornadoes » Stories from the Public

The Southern Minnesota Tornadoes of
March 29th, 1998

Stories from the...

Public Perspectives

If you have your own stories of the southern Minnesota tornadoes of March 29 th, 1998, and/or their aftermath and would like them recorded on this webpage, please send them to the National Weather Service via e-mail at Karen.Trammell@noaa.gov or via regular mail at 1733 Lake Drive West, Chanhassen, MN, 55317. We appreciate your help and your time in commemorating this remarkable but tragic event.

“On Sunday, March 29, 1998, I was at home with my wife Helen and son Matt. Helen had the TV on and saw a warning go across the screen that there was a tornado in the Comfrey area and is headed in our direction. Comfrey is about 35 miles southwest of us. Matt and I went out on the deck to watch the approaching dark clouds. Matt suggested I get the video camera ready and maybe I could get a videotape of a tornado. We used the camera at some school activities a couple of days earlier so it was in easy reach. After watching the clouds for a while longer, I began videotaping, thinking a tornado might suddenly come out of the cloud and I’d catch it on video. After videotaping a few minutes, I realized that what I thought was a storm cloud, was in fact, a tornado. I continued taping as the tornado passed by approximately 1 mile south of us. Helen came out to watch also. At that time we were having some wind, but no rain or hail.

“While videotaping, a couple of the individual twisters that were part of the larger tornado mass moved out and were visible for an instant on the back side of the tornado. A few minutes later, large flashes were visible as the electric lines and poles were being blown down, and our power went off. By this time, Helen was pulling me back into the house by my shirt tail saying it is time we go to the basement. I stopped taping and we went into the basement while the storm went by. It was very noisy because of the hail and rain, but we only had a little wind with the storm.

“When it quieted down, we came back up and checked things out. I went out on the deck and videotaped the storm as it was moving away from us. Because of the rain and hail we were unable to see the back side of the tornado. There were hailstones laying in the yard, some the size of softballs. The only real damage we had was caused by the hail. There were a few branches lying around.

“Later, we got in our van and drove around the area. I took some videotape of the damage in the neighborhood. Some roads were blocked because of downed power lines and other debris. We came back home and hooked up the generator because it looked like we were going to be without electricity for a while. To our surprise, our power was restored later that night.

“The next day, WCCO TV channel 4 News kept asking for anyone with pictures of the tornado to contact them. I called them after the 6 PM news and told them that I had a video, but didn’t think it was very good because of buildings and trees partially blocking the view. They asked if I could take a copy of the videotape and meet a news crew that they had in the area. Earlier, I had made a copy of the videotape for our older son Scott because one of the professors at Mankato State University had asked for it. Matt and I grabbed that copy and met the Channel 4 news crew at Perkins in New Ulm where they also taped a short interview.

“About 9 that night I got a phone call from channel 4. They had viewed the video and were going to use it on the late news but wanted more information. About ½ hour later I received a call from CBS asking for my permission to release the video to all their affiliated stations.

“Later, on the news, the newscaster stated that they had obtained a videotape of the St. Peter tornado and showed it. They made no mention of where they got the tape, or the location where it was videotaped.

“The next morning Helen and I had to be at work by 6 am. We woke up to WCCO radio just as the announcer was talking about the video of the St Peter tornado he had seen on TV the night before. I got up and turned the TV on and saw the video being shown with the announcer again calling it the St Peter tornado. I told Helen that they should be mentioning that the video was taken by Hanska, not St Peter. She suggested I call the radio station and tell them. She went ahead and got the phone number and after a little prodding, I called. I told the guy that answered who I was and why I was calling. I said I was the person who took the video of the tornado and that the location was northwest of Hanska, MN, a ways from St. Peter. He said he probably wouldn’t get the facts straight explaining it to the announcer, so he asked me if I’d be willing to go on the air live with Dave Lee and explain it to him myself. I didn’t want to do it, but after some more prodding, I agreed. So, at 5 am that morning as I was preparing for a shower, I was interviewed live on the WCCO morning show. I identified myself as being the person that took the video of the tornado that they were talking about earlier. I wanted to let the listeners know that this is what the tornado looked like when it was northwest of Hanska, or southwest of New Ulm. Up until now, my name or location hadn’t been mentioned. Dave went on to ask me questions about my observations and thoughts about the tornado. The interview probably lasted about 5 minutes. WCCO replayed portions of that interview throughout the day and again in the days that followed. I do have a copy of the shortened version of the interview, thanks to my sister, Barb Bastian, who taped it for me.

“Later in the day, a co-worker came to me and informed me that my video was included with a news article about the tornado that was posted CBS’s internet website. The video was shown on news reports for a week or so.

“In the weeks that followed, we were contacted by many people asking for copies of the video, or permission to use it for various reasons. The calls came from different areas of the country, including Canada, and one from overseas. Channel 11 KARE news called requesting a copy and a short interview. Mankato State University got a copy through our son Scott, who was a student there. I made many copies of the videotape, mostly for people who were affected by the storm in some way.

“The National Weather Service also got a copy to use in studying the tornado, and then later used it in their Skywarn classes. I met Todd Krause, a meteorologist with the NWS in the Twin Cities. He stopped by and we talked about the tornado. He had radar images of the storm as it passed over our area and explained the storms ‘fish hook effect’ and why we had a clear view because of our location in the ‘fish hook’. The heavy rain and hail with the storm didn’t block our view until the tornado passed by. He explained that the larger funnel cloud, a mile or more wide, was made up of smaller twisters rotating in a circular path. The NWS was able to confirm this from the video. In the video, a couple of these smaller twister funnels are clearly seen when they move out of the larger funnel for an instant and then back in. Todd also showed me other videos he had received of the tornado along with an aerial survey the NWS had done showing the tornado’s path.
While in the area he viewed the destruction at a farm site about 3 miles southwest of our home and determined that the tornado was an F4 when it went through the area. That was the approximate location of the tornado when I began videotaping, and was the home of Louis Mosenden, who was one of two people that died as a result of injuries suffered in the storm.

“After the tornado, we helped clean up at a couple of farm sites in the neighborhood that were destroyed in the tornado. On Easter weekend and during the following week, Matt and I assisted with cleaning up the debris that was scattered in farm fields. We provided a tractor and trailer to haul the garbage from the fields. People, some that came long distances, were bussed out to the fields to help with the clean up. I worked with two busloads of volunteers that came from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. On one day, some of the schools bussed students out to the fields to help with the cleanup. The fields were littered with pieces of buildings and trees mostly, but some [personal] items were found also, like money, photos, important papers etc. Collection areas were set up to collect these items in the hopes the rightful owners could get them back. Some of the people not familiar with farm fields, wanting to do a good job, thought the rocks and stones that lay in the fields were blown there by the tornado. I saw people wrestling with big stones that could barely be lifted on to the trailer. At times, various news media covered the activity in the fields. I met a reporter and photographer with The St. Paul Pioneer Press. As a result, Matt and I were included in some of the photos that were along with the article in the paper the following day.

“A temporary land fill was set up by the county along the tornado’s path not far from our place to accept the debris that resulted from the tornado…

“Dale Cordes was able to get a still image off of the original videotape to use in one of New Ulm’s 3M News letter. Helen and I, along with Dale, worked for 3M at the time.

“The St. Peter Kiwanis put a book together titled ‘twist of fate’ with stories and photos about the tornado. KEYC channel 12 TV got an image off the videotape that was put on the inside cover of the book…

“Just last year, a college student doing a project about the tornado, requested a copy of the video. On the day of the storm, she was babysitting in a home not far from the tornado’s path.

“Since the tornado, and because of what I’ve seen, I attended the local SKYWARN training put on by the NWS and signed up to be a weather spotter. When the weather turns bad, I wanted to know what to look for in order to spot severe weather. After the SKYWARN training and with some study on my own, I am not quit[e] as uncomfortable when weather conditions turn bad because I have a better understanding of what is going on in those storm clouds.

“Our son and daughter-in-law, Scott and Jamie, and their children Emma and Grant, live in St. Peter now. We were visiting them the evening of August 24, 2006 when a tornado hit the area again. They live across town from where this tornado went through, but it had us scared for a while.”

  • Roy Janni

“…March 29, 1998 is a date that we will never forget.  Here is our story.

“I was in a chemical dependency treatment program at St Peter's Regional TX Center.  On March 27th, 1998 I had my home leave preparing for my return back into my own community. My ex-husband picked me up with our children and we spent the remainder of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning in our home in Wabasha, MN. I had to be back to the TX Center as of 6pm on Sunday afternoon, March 29th, 1998, so we decided to start out around 2pm to get to St. Peter with time to spare. The weather was so strange for March, and as we were driving closer to St. Peter, there was a radio announcement that warned of a tornadic storm heading into Nicollet County. My daughter, Shaina, who was 8 at the time, was listening, and she asked us what county we were in, and since I was not from that area originally, nor was her father, we were not certain. We could see the sky churning as we neared the exit for St. Peter from Hwy 14 (I think), but did not have a clue that we were heading straight into the boiling storm. At 5:05 pm, we arrived at Johnson Hall at the Regional Tx Center and parked. One of the Tech's ran out to us just yelling, and I wondered if I was in trouble for something. She was only ushering us inside as we were in the direct path of the massive tornadic storm.

“That Sunday was also family day for all in the chemical dependency program so many of us had our families with us when the warning hit. We were all ushered to the lowest level into the safest area of the building and tried to remain calm ourselves while attempting to keep our families calm. Being one who had experienced tornadoes many times in my youth, I found myself very curious, as were a number of others in the program. We periodically would try to catch glimpses of what was going on. Somewhere between 5:15 and 5:25 pm it became apparent that there was much going on outside; children were crying, parents were attempting to comfort, those without families were numb. When we were finally given the all clear and were able to come outside, we found ourselves and the RTC intact but for a few trees down. The smell of the pine was piercing to us. My daughter says that she will never forget that smell. We all had no idea that the town of St. Peter had been severely damaged.

“After the all clear my ex-husband felt that it was important to get my daughter her supper, as she is a juvenile insulin dependent diabetic and needed to remain on a schedule for her meals. Against the advice of the TX center staff, he took off in the car to go into St. Peter to get something from Hardee's.  He never made it.  All was blocked off, and when he returned empty handed, he told us of the damage that he saw and that he was unable to get into the city of St. Peter. While he wanted to get the kids and himself back to Wabasha, he did concede to wait for a couple hours until it appeared safe for him to drive home. St. Peter was not the only tornado that day, and we were blessed to know that they arrived home safe and sound in Wabasha, but not till early morning on Monday due to all the damage.

“One Monday morning, the main counselors at the TX center asked if any of us would be willing to volunteer to assist in the city with cleanup, and those of us that were not there on a court order were allowed to board the van into town. I believe there were about 8 of us plus a couple of the Johnson Hall staff. I will never forget that ride. Not far from the TX center grounds was the massive debris field that we knew the day before as St. Peter. It appeared that the tornado had jumped over the TX Center only to bear down on the city itself. The windows in the college dorms were shattered and the curtains were flying out like flags. Churches looked as though a huge swinging wrecking ball had swung through, not quite taking down all sides. The tree trunks were devoid of leaves. Very little was recognizable. Our group was asked to assist getting what food was salvageable from the hospital and NH and loading it up to be taken to the Red Cross Shelter at the RTC. We felt it was the least we could do, and once we were able to salvage from those locations we were taken to the downtown where a natural food store had been left without power, and we gathered up another load of food from there. The TX center had generators, so we had electricity there, but all cable had been knocked out, so we had no idea what was being reported on the news, … how widespread the damage was, or how deadly the event was. It was only after the fact that we were able to realize just how close we all were to being victims of this unusual late winter/early spring storm.

“Volunteering really brought about a deep change in my heart. Since Feb 15, 1998, … I have not had to pick up a drink, and life is beautiful. This year I am taking my first storm spotting class through Olmsted County in March, and hope to assist in the field observing and warning should something like that day happen again.”

  • Shannon Carney-Wilson

“… I have a story to tell about the March 29, 1998 St. Peter tornado. The story is a bit unique...

“I was a sophomore at North High School in North St. Paul, MN spring 1998. St. Peter was my mother's childhood hometown. At the time of the tornado, my grandfather still owned the house my mother grew up in on the corner of 5th St. and Chestnut St., although he was staying at a nursing home facility up on the hill near Gustavus Adolphus College. This was a blessing in disguise because the tornado ripped the side of my grandfather's upstairs bedroom off, such that it looked like a doll house from the street. The time the tornado moved through town, about 5:30 PM if I recall correctly, coincided with the time my grandfather normally would have been in his bedroom watching the evening news. Because of his health, he most likely would not have fully been able to comprehend what was happening and take shelter. My grandfather passed away August 1998, but I am convinced the tornado would have taken him in March had he not been at the nursing home facility which only received minor damage.

“Upon hearing the news, my family and I along with friends from our church visited St. Peter to help with the clean-up, specifically my grandfather's property. This opportunity allowed me to see first-hand the severe damage done by the tornado. I had always been interested in weather as a young child, but this event solidified in my mind what I would study in college. I obtained a B.S. in Atmospheric Science from the University of North Dakota five years later and a M.S. from Colorado State University in 2005. I now work with the National Weather Service at the WFO in Phoenix, AZ. I am currently an intern, but am hoping to soon return to the Midwest as a general forecaster. I believe whole-heartedly in the NWS mission and hope to use my knowledge and abilities to help save the lives of those we serve in times of hazardous weather.

“To remind me of that fateful day and why I now work with the NWS, I have an old plug-in kitchen wall clock from my grandfather's house. The hands on the clock stopped when the power went out just prior to the tornado moving through town. Since then, I have never plugged it in again - the hands frozen in time for now almost ten years. The March 29, 1998 St. Peter tornado changed my life forever.

“As an interesting aside, several days after the event, I was helping my family with spring yard work back at our home in North St. Paul. In our yard, I found a piece of a someone's check with ‘Nicollet County’ written on it. I do not think we saved it, but it served as another reminder of the tornado's power.

“… As I noted above, this event had a profound impact on my life even though I did not experience the actual tornado.  The city of St. Peter will always hold a special place in my heart.”

  • Peter Rogers, Meteorologist Intern at the NWS Forecast Office in Phoenix, Arizona

“I lived in Savage in 1998. I was a junior at Prior Lake HS at the time and I wasn’t directly affected by the tornadoes, but we were hit with the parent supercell even up in Scott County. By the morning of the 29 th (Sunday) it was obvious that storms were going to occur that day. I think a tornado watch was issued in the early afternoon just south of the Twin Cities and by 3 pm the first tornado warning was issued for Scott County near Belle Plaine. At the time it was only in the 50s and I thought there was no way we could be getting severe weather – it is still March! Sure enough storms started popping everywhere and I had to go work that night at McDonald’s in Prior Lake. Before I went I checked radar and I did see a storm start to develop just NE of Sioux Falls. I had no idea that would turn into a monster. At about 5 pm it got really dark and there were tornado warnings just south of us and Scott County had a severe thunderstorm warning. After my shift was done I went home and only then did I hear on the radio that St. Peter was basically shut down.

“The lessons I learned from it, being that I was only 17, was that a) severe storms and tornadoes can occur when it’s ‘cool’, it doesn’t have to be 85 with a dew point [of] 70 to get severe weather in the spring and b) on a larger scale, with the metro area expanding further and further in all directions, the chances of something similar occurring now would affect more homes and people. I don’t think people realize this living in the metro area, but if that warm front had set up shop only 25-30 miles further north, the tornadoes would have gone right through the heart of the southern metro.

“Of course amazingly, this was just the start of an extraordinary season of severe weather in the region which has yet to be matched in my mind.”

  • Ralph Hoversten

“I was on Highway 19 west of Redwood Falls when the tornado hit Comfrey, on my way to Seaforth. I noticed the weather was looking strange for March, and that although it was a warm morning, the clouds were nearly on the ground, and there was a lot of turbulence.

“When I got to Seaforth, my friend’s neighbor was out in his yard and told me that he’d gotten a message on his fire department pager that Comfrey had been hit by a tornado and that the small volunteer fire department was on standby in case they were needed to go and help out.

“That fall, I took a part time job delivering Sunday papers, and Comfrey was on the route. The damage was still pretty bad. The high school looked like it had been hit with grapeshot out of a cannon, and there were still a lot of reconstruction projects going on. Even some of the streets looked like the asphalt had been torn out.”

  • Bob Christensen

“I was only 8 years old but I still remember it. That day I remember I was playing with my friends outside since it was warm and I notice[d] something of to the south but I didn’t take it into consideration. After awhile I notice[d] that it was rotating and that’s when I ran home … at the same time the sirens sounded. I told my parents and they were not worried about it. At one point I thought I saw a funnel off to the west southwest. After it passed we all went over to St. Peter where some family lives and when it looked like a war zone it was very scary for me. Nothing was lost but a tree in the back yard so it was quite lucky that it wasn’t worse than what it looked like. After that time I became more afraid of storms … but soon got over it.”

  • Taylor Schwichtenberg

“I felt the residual effects of the St. Peter tornado. As an adolescent of 16, I remember feeling a sense of overwhelmed awe in the community. Living just west of New Prague, Minn., it was plain to see we were very close yet miles away from the tornado path.

“As I walked around our small farm, I found large pieces of insulation from houses hit by the tornado, some as long as three to four feet. Looking around there were also shingles, siding and various pieces of wood. A fair amount [of] items were dangling from trees. That is quite a sight to see when you are about 15 miles away from where the impact was.

“Within a day after the storm hit St. Peter, I remember the drive through the countryside down there. The closer we got, the more scattered debris we saw until finally we found the path. It was eerie to be driving and then all of a sudden you could see there was a barn missing and part of another building. Power lines were down and set aside. Power companies were working on new lines as we drove.

“When we entered the city of St. Peter, streets were closed off but it was easy to see the path of the tornado. Stacks of debris lined the streets on either side. Some streets still partially blocked with debris. The sight of the church roof off and houses completely gone were very sinking. To see large and small leaf-less trees, not yet bloomed, broken off close to the ground is what really made a lump form in my throat. It was amazing. It was powerful.

“Since the St. Peter tornado and a thunderstorm producing softball-sized hail in New Prague in August years shortly before, I have had more than a general interest in thunderstorms and weather. Now I have been chasing tornadoes and thunderstorms for 8 years and a Skywarn spotter for 4 years.”

  • Jarrod Schoenecker

“The time was 12:30 hours and I was following reports by law enforc[e]ment from counties in the southwestern part of Minnesota, of a developing storm system that may turn severe. About that same time, my local pager went off telling about this storm building. I de[c]ided to drive west from Faribault to the Le Center area about 2 miles east of Le Center on Highway 99. The time was about 16:45 hours. Temp[erature] was 69 degrees. Wind was approximately 185 to 200 [degrees] at 15 to 20 mph (measured). I noticed the wind was not steady but gusty (short gusts). It was fairly humid. My hygrometer was out of service that weekend. I heard by way of law enforcement freq[uencie]s that St. Peter had been hit and all medical units were needed there. About that same time, I … reported a small building was blown across Highway 99 east of Cleveland. About this time, I noticed towering cumulus to the west and southwest of my location. I heard reports that the tornado that had hit St. Peter went as far as the little town of St. Henry. There it lifted and at the same time a new vortex had formed south of St. Henry and was moving NE toward Le Center. At this point, I took my camcorder and pointed it west. I ran about 45 seconds of tape. I didn’t think I had got[ten] anything, but Todd [Krause, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the NWS Twin Cities] took my tape and enhanced it and it did show the vortex just on the west edge of Le Center. At this point, I moved north to try and get a sharper view and … found out that those roads have no true grid and found myself in the heavy rain band with very gusty winds which I measured gusts at between 60 and 70 mph and rainfall at least 2 to 3 inches per hour.

“At that time, I got back on Highway 99, and headed east. I was now following the main supercell. I went north to Highway 21 and turned east at Montgomery and followed the wall cloud to just east of Lonsdale where it touched down briefly. Then it seem[ed] to fall apart. I followed the system to Interstate 35.

“A few notes, the lightning was awesome from the start. I heard there was hail to the north of Le Center, which I tried to stay out of. I observed all during my chase that the cloud base just north of the rain free area was, in fact, greenish in color.

“I can’t forget that I was in St. Peter the days following, and I remember it snowed about 3 inches.”

  • Herb Sellner

“I’ve since called that event the St. Killian to St. Peter tornado. St. Killian is located in Nobles County, Wilmont Township, MN. The first touchdown that caused damage was about a mile southwest of St. Killian. In some areas we used snow plows to scrape debris from the roads to allow first responders to travel through.

“My youngest daughter was a freshman in high school at that time. She helped during cleanup efforts in Comfrey, MN. Many bus loads of students helped with the cleanup. She was able to locate some valuables for an elderly lady and return them to her. It was quite a rewarding experience for my daughter.”

  • Ed Busch

“…At that time I was the media relations manager at Canterbury Park in Shakopee. It was a large simulcasting (TV wagering) day because the real horses live meet would not be returning for an additional month. Nevertheless, we had about 1700 people at Canterbury wagering and watching some of the prep races leading to the Kentucky Derby. When security notified me that a storm was coming, I called the local police and the local sheriff’s office asking whether we should follow emergency procedures and stop wagering and ask everyone to get into the stairwells and basement. The front of Canterbury is three stories of glass. Neither agency would advise me on whether the storm would come that close and could not advise me what to do. Among the other managers we argued. …[there was concern about stopping the] wagering … until we knew what path the storm would take. When the radar from our television engineering room … looked like this thing could sweep through Shakopee, I made the decision for staff and customers to take cover. The security team … took my request over the other managers. We stopped wagering… We all took cover until it was safe. That event cost us a lot of money that day. Our CEO called me that night hopping mad. He told me I didn’t have the authority to make that call. The next morning he saw the newspaper and apologized to me. … Our standard emergency preparedness did not take into account … what direction will this thing fly, and at what point do you use your common sense.”

  • Sheila Williams-Metz

“In the tornado of 1998, my mother’s house in St. Peter was hit, but survived. She was at home, under the steps with her dog. She lost her garage, screened porch, needed new siding, some windows, carpeting, etc. Her yard was ruined like the rest of the neighborhood. Her house was at 318 W. Swift, the north end of town where the damage was worst.

“The tornado of 8-2006, hit our family again. My husband and I live on Lake Emily and our son Levi’s family is our next door neighbor. We have 3 lots on an 11 acre parcel, shared by Diane and Frank Selly, Levi and Dawn Selly, and Lynn (our daughter) and Josh Colvin. All of our properties were ruined by the tornado. …

“If there is a uniqueness to our story, it is that 4 generations in our family have been affected by these 2 tornadoes.”

  • Diane Dunham-Selly

“I was never involved in this tornado but there is one thing I remember about that day.

“During that time I lived in Redwood Falls and worked in Mountain Lake. The distance between the two towns is about 46 miles. Redwood Falls is by the Minnesota River and Mountain Lake is southeast of Redwood and about 12 miles south of Comfrey and my usual route would take me through Comfrey. Well I took off for work that afternoon and when I left Redwood it was in the low 50s and overcast, but when I got to the Comfrey/Mountain Lake area, about a half hour before the tornado hit, it was almost 70 and sunny.

“I just remember the temperature difference in basically 30 to 35 miles and when the tornado was happening I remember how dark the sky was. It was amazing how the weather had changed in a matter of a half hour.

“Also after work driving home, which was about 11 at night, it was foggy, wet, and the only way back was through some part of the tornado’s path. That was the spookiest ride I had ever had. You could only see about 50 feet and nothing beyond. So when you did see some parts of the destruction it was really strange, like out of a horror flick or war movie.”

  • Jeff Schmidt

“I was storm chasing with my daughter on the day of the St. Peter tornado with Bill Reid's help from California - Bill was keeping me posted with tornado warnings and radar reports. Action was fast that day and I didn't have time to fiddle with my laptop - cell phone hookup.

“With knowledge that there was a tornado headed straight for St. Peter, I was going to try for an intercept heading north from Mankato on Hwy 169. I knew I was [in trouble] when I saw that Hwy 169 is in the river valley with essentially no view to the west. About halfway between Mankato and St. Peter we started taking lots of small hail and visibility was reduced to near zero. I pulled into a parking lot and my daughter started yelling at me for not continuing on to St. Peter.

“As soon as the hail subsided, we continued on. We arrived in St. Peter to find a very wide tornado damage path, people were just starting to come up from their basements and emergency services hadn't arrived. My daughter and I took video of the damage, but got out of St. Peter quickly because police were now sealing off the town and pretty soon I could be stuck in St. Peter…

“Anyhow - I never saw the tornado, and it's a good thing I didn't continue on into St. Peter because I probably would have driven into the very wide tornado that most St. Peter residents didn't see coming, either. My chase video is mostly a wall cloud on a tornado warned storm that went over Mankato, lots of small hail S[outh] of St. Peter, and tornado damage in and just outside of St. Peter.”

  • Chris and Jennifer Peterson

“Our family story is we were at the funeral home [in Comfrey] for a wake for our grandmother (Lena Fredin) when the sirens went off. This home does not have a basement so most of us ran to local churches. Faith Lutheran and St. Paul catholic both were a block away. Some of us ended up waiting it out at the funeral home. The family members that went to Faith Lutheran had trouble getting into the church as the pressure was so strong. One of my uncles (Norman Fredin of Albert Lea) was in the car and couldn’t get out for a moment because of the pressure and when they were able to open the door he could not remember where he was or how he got there. He ended up going to the hospital but later than evening he was fine.”

  • Connie Lingbeek

“When my wife and I came out of the basement and went outside, I saw this huge hailstone. It was bigger than a golf ball but not as big as a baseball. I said to myself, ‘this is a real keeper’. I took the hailstone and put it in our freezer. Little did I know we would be without electricity for seven days. So long hailstone.”

  • Stu Johnson

“I do remember that that Sunday we had been outside all day enjoying the warm weather. I remember that it was unseasonably warm and humid for that time of the year. We had gone in to watch some golf on tv and that is when we saw the other counties to the west of us in a weather alert. Soon after that Cottonwood County which we live in went in to a Tornado warning or watch? I’m not sure which? Our farm alarm went off telling my husband that the Hog farm was running on the generator so he left the house to check on things over at the farm and I went to the basement with our 4 young children. I soon came up to answer the phone and I looked north and could see it totally black and grey sky. I could see the turning of the storm and knew they were getting a terrible storm a few miles north of us. I do remember there being high winds but soon after it was over the sun was out and the temp had dropped greatly. We attend the Catholic Church in Comfrey, so we knew a lot of people affected by the tornado. A few farmers around us with land and barns had damage but we were very lucky. I did not hear the ‘train sound’ that so many people talk about but maybe we were just far enough away and of course our windows were closed.”

  • Margaret Hopwood

 “ I remember the girls playing in the basement and eating a snack. They had performed with the Mankato Children’s Chorus at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato and were running off some energy. I was watching the storm build to the west. When the final sirens blew I raced downstairs. The power went out as I reached the bottom stair and the girls screamed. I ran to them and gathered them together. We moved as a unit to our sauna. I felt like a chicken with her chicks! We prayed and cried and screamed as our ears popped and we heard loud crashing noises. When everything was finally quiet, we opened the door to the sauna. We could hear and see water running down the walls of the shower (we had a 2 story house!) We moved as a unit again to turn off the water main. After that, I asked the girls to stay downstairs while I went up to look at the damage. Our top story had been ripped off and the front of the house had been torn down, too. There were trees down everywhere. But on my piano, the Easter egg tree was still standing with all the fragile blown out eggs hanging on it – not a one was broken.”

  • Mary Hildebrandt

“I lived in St. Peter from 1989-1991. I still remember the shock of driving into town the first time after the tornado and being able to see Gustavus Adolphus College from Highway 169.  One of the places that I stayed was completely destroyed; the other was at the extreme south edge of the damage area and only lightly damaged.

“I live in Sioux Falls now as I did in 1998. I was working at Best Buy at 41st and Western.  I started my shift at 6:00 am. Even that early in the day, the air felt ‘bad’ - especially humid for March. I knew that storms were possible and that it would bear watching the rest of the day. 

“We were concerned all morning, the wind had picked up and it felt like an afternoon in August.  My shift ended at 2:00 pm. I remember looking east driving home about a half an hour later and seeing the sky towards Minnesota. It was a sick bluish-purple with lightning visible. There was a very strong wind from the sw blowing toward the storm. I remember thinking ‘someone, somewhere is either getting it now or soon would be.’

“My parents lived in New Ulm at the time. They said that you could actually stand outside and hear the storm (the roar)at the time the tornado was in St. Peter.  Mom said that even dad was worried about this one and he never worries about storms.

“I realize that is not scientific, but you know how sometimes you can just sense that something bad was going to happen? Well, that day my ‘spidey sense’ just wouldn't stop.  I can only wonder....”

  • Drew E. Meyer



Le Center Elementary School Students Stories

These accounts were written by students at the Le Center Elementary school only a few weeks after the tornado destroyed portions of the city. While the text has been transcribed, it has largely been unchanged from what the children originally wrote.


“March 29, 1998 was the worst day of my life. It was the worst day of my life becaus that was whene the tornado hit. It hit my trailer but it didn’t have many damages like my aunt’s. The day the tornado hit we didn’t even now what to do my little sister was scared I think she felt something coming and she was right becaus that’s when the tornado hit. We didn’t evenen now what to do but my dad was about to take us out to the safe place that was out side but then my dad felt the tornado realy claws so he took us to one of the bedroom and we were in the side of it. My dad throu a pilow on top of me and my sister and a blancket on my two brother then one of the windows brocked then the tornado passed. My cousin, Ray, came in to our trailer and took us out when he took my sister and me I saw my aunt’s trailer it was broken in half and then I looked at my other side and I saw, Josie’s, truck under her trailer and the I saw my other aunt’s trailer and it was comlitly gone I was so scared when my cousin, Ray, toke us to the safe place I saw my cousins, aunt’s, and uncules. Then one of my uncles took us to his house I was scared becaus my dad and my brothers haden’t still come then I saw my dad then my dad took my two brothers and put them inside the car. When we got to my uncles house my grandpa said that he had seen everything but he also said he couden’t move he was scared. Wille my uncle and my three little cousin were in there trailer. Then all of our uncles when to pick up our mames. Then the next day they said they were given food. So we went to the school so that we coud go and eat breackfeast, lunch, and suppur. The my aunt that lives in Le Sure came and said if we want it to go and slepe at her house. My mom said yes so we went to my aunt’s house and sleped. The salvatian army found a place for us to sleepe in, New Prege. The Motele name is, “American Inn”, then my mom and dad where looking for a apparment and we found one in, New Prege, and now thats where I live.”

  • Johanna

“March 29, 1998 was not a very pleasant for Le Center. Are house was not effected that much by the tornado but we were only 2 miles away from were the tornado hit. My family and I didn’t think the tornado brought much but as we started driving down the road there was styrofom and tin blown everywhere. Then we went up the hill by a house up the road and his barn was totally destroyed. We kept driving along then we seen another persons garage totally destroyed. We kept driving in amazement and the Alfalfa plant was totally destroyed . The tornada has put an affect on the people and the town, but the people who helped did such a good job. We ow alot of credit to those people.”

  • Heidi

“On March 29, 1998 there was a bad tornado. My dad, mom, little sister and I were bowling at Center Lanes. Just as we got done some guys came in and said a very bad storm was coming. So were going to go home to get the animals in the barn and the vehicles in the shed. First we went to Casey’s but as we pulled in the power went out so we decided to go home. Up ahead of us the sky was blue but behind us it was sort of greenish. When we got home we got the van stuck in front of the machine shed. We tried to get it out but then the hail came. We went inside and turned on the radio it said the tornado touched down in the trailer courts just seconds ago. After the storm quit we pulled the van out of the mud. At about 8:30 my dad got called in to help out because he is on the police reserves. The power never came on till after midnight that night. The whole time my big sister was at her boyfriends house and the roof got torn off. It is amazing how this town pulled together and had a lot of the stuff done by noon the next day.”

  • Matt

“On Sunday the night of the tornado that hit Comfrey, St. Peter, and Le Center, is a night I will never forget because my sister and I were stuck in the basement with two litle kids that we were watching because my mom and dad left to help the other two parents went to check on friends and releteves. The next day my sister and I volenteired our time at the shelter that the ‘Red Cross’ and ‘Salvation Army’ had orgonized to help all the homeless people. I think that it was bad that some people had died, and a lot more were injured.”

  • Chris

“On March 29, 1998, a tornado hit Le Center and I was at the Sellys and I was watching TV. I told my mom that there was a tornado watch and she said, ‘No, there isn’t going to be a tornado.’ Right after I said it the siren went off and I ran to the basement and it stopped. We all ran upstairs and looked out side we saw a big tree fall down on a little house. At our house a big tree fell down and 3 days after the tornado hit my dad cut it down. The next day my dad cut down some other trees. The McCabe’s house got wrecked and Mrs. J. Traxler helped them. After the tornado there was no school. Also, the tornado hit the Don Budin farm home. It took their barn and other buildings. Also the house had lots of damage. Our park had much damage, out pool also got damaged. We were sorry for all the homes that were damaged. Many local students helped clean up some areas that were badly damaged. Many students went to the Wohler’s farm to help clean up and were put on the evening news on channel 11. Many people in the trailer court lost their homes and St. Marys and the Red Cross helped them by providing food, clothes and shelter. With out them who knows where we would be.”

  • Chrissy

“Have you ever seen a tornado? I have on March 29, 1998, about 5:45 the tornado hit Le Center I was very scared. I ran very fast down into the basement. My mom, dad, Kelly, and I went into the junk room. I took a blanket and put it over my head. My house did not get damaged but my playhouse did get damaged the roof got tore off. I still feel sad about people houses that got damaged the trailer court lose there homes. A few trees blew down. I hate the tornado!”

  • Kaija

“On March 29, 1998, Le Center, Minnesota had a tornado. When I heard the siren I was still upstairs but I ran downstairs with my brother and sister. My Dad was upstairs looking out the window for a second. The wind ripped through town. That very night my mom took us sight-seeing for a while except the places that we couldn’t go because of the tornado. I played basketball with my brother, my mom and dad were carrying boxes at the high school. I didn’t helped because I carried one box. My sister was at home. We got power back at 2:00 in the morning.”

  • Savy

“On March 29, 1998, the tornado hit Le Center. I didn’t know about it until 6:30. I was scared because I thought it hit the school. Then Dawn called and said, ‘The tornado hit Casey’s and took the roof off and a pump got pulled.’ She also said, ‘The people might be coming out because the pump might explode.’ Mom said, ‘we have lots of room.’ Then mom called grandma she said, ‘Uncle Donny’s got hit his cows were loose and Donny’s boys were trying to round them up.’ The next day there was no school because there was a leak in the school. Then we went to town and saw the trailer court. There were power lines down and trees knocked down on the ground. Now Le Center is cleaning up.”

  • Ben

“On March 29, 1998, a tornado passed through Le Center. It ripped up trailer homes to shreds! I could’nt believe the tragedies some people had faced. My dad’s lawn mower was a long ways from the house. I’m still sad. The Salvation Army came to town and I got buckets of candy. I was with my dad and all of the roads to town were blocked by Le Center police and Cleveland’s police too.”

  • Shawn

“On March 29, 1998, at 3:00 I was downstairs watching TV. I saw Le Sueur County was in a tornado watch. At 4:55 Le Center was in a tornado warning! My dad, who was at Mankato, heard the siren and drove home. He got out about 5 min before the tornado hit St. Peter. He was a lucky man to get out of St. Peter. We never saw the tornado though. We all went downstairs. My dad was by the window and we were in a closet under the steps. After the tornado our neighbors had water in their basement. Our neighbors walked across the street. Their last names are Vokel. Their kids had to stay at our house that night. The next day we all went downstairs to watch the news. We all saw what happened to St. Peter.”

  • Ethan

“On March 29, 1998, a tornado hit Le Center. Before that my cousin and I were outside in the park. My aunt was making supper. She called us for supper. She was watching the news. Then we heard the siren and went to the trailer court. We saw kids running to the shelter. My aunt was going to give them a ride to the shelter but she saw the tornado forming so she didn’t and we went to the shelter. The wind was pushing me in the shelter. It was scary. My shoes were muddy. When we were outside. There were trees cut in half. There were police everywhere. We went to a friend’s house. We heard on the radio that another tornado was coming but it didn’t. I was happy and we went home.”

  • Yadira

“On March 29, 1998, a tornado hit Le Center. A few minutes before the tornado hit we were eating supper. Then we heard a tornado was coming. I yelled, ‘Come on dad! Let’s go!’ We went downstairs. My dad opened the window and looked out. Then my mom said get in the closet right now. Then my mom came running to the closet. We were yelling at my dad to come to the closet with us. The tornado went through quite quickly. We came out right after it. Then we went upstairs and we got two phone calls for my dad. He had to go to his apartments. When he got back we got to go and see the damage. I felt sad about the damage that happened to our town.”

  • Mark

“I was listening to the radio when my dad was just lighting up the grill. All of a sudden they said there was a supercell in western Nicollet County. We thought it was a normal thunderstorm. Our neighbors thought it was just going to blow over. Then we heard that the bad stuff was heading our direction. My dad was still grilling. I went inside to watch channel 12. We called our neighbors about 10 minutes before it hit. Then my dad came in and we got supper. I went downstairs while my parents and brothers were upstairs. They called the neighbors and they came over. My sister called and was having a hissy fit in Bemidji. Our neighbors and us all were in the basement. I was in the blankets just sitting there. I looked after our neighbors Ben, 7, and Riley, 2, while all the adults and my brother watched in the family room. It was 10 minutes before that we lost electricity. I got scared then it was finally over. My family and I all went for a drive, we all saw the damage. After a while me and my mom went up to my grandparents house. We talked a little bit. Then we got up to bring clothes and blankets up to the homeless at school. The rest of the night I mostly stayed at Lonnie … house. The next day I woke up to the sound of the TV. Later I went with my grandma up to the fairground to help get my grandpa’s boat out. I helped clean up Richter’s shed. The rest of the cleanup I helped and fixed. I had to fix our barb wire fence. A trailor had gone through it. I watched how Le Center had been cleaned. I thought it was great. One thing is for sure though, we were very lucky compared to St. Peter and Comfrey. They got it bad. I think this is a once in a lifetime thing.”

  • Kay

“Have you ever gone to Mankato and come out of a store and heard a tornado siren and then went to your grandma’s house and she wasn’t there? I have! So I went to a friend’s house and she wasn’t there either! Then I went to the neighbor after my friend’s house and she let me in. I watched the news and I heard that a tornado had hit St. Peter the town that I live in, Le Center. I was upset and scared! I didn’t know if my house was gone and if my dad and sister were hurt. When the storm was over my mom and I drove home. The closer we got to Le Center, we saw garbage in the trees and in the ditch. The farms were damaged too. When we got to our street, the police told us that we couldn’t drive home because there were gas leaks. So we walked 4 blocks home. We jumped over downed power lines. We finally got home and we were g lad because nobody was hurt and the house wasn’t damaged!”

  • Mark

“Sunday, March 29 th at 5:00 pm a friend and I were just getting out of the theater in St. Peter. We had just watched Titanic. My parents were supposed to pick us up at Hardees and we would get supper there. As we were walking, the siren rang out over the city. We ran the rest of the way hoping my parents would be there. Somehow I think we had angels watching over us because we got about three miles out of St. Peter and turned the radio on. A man in St. Peter said he saw a gas station sign hit a fence and the phone went blank. The storm was just behind us. We took my friend home and went home ourselves. As my parents were eating in the kichen my mom said, ‘one minute it was gray and I couldn’t see our neighbors house and the next it was clear and I could. Then it went back to not seeing their house again.’ She told my dad and I that ‘that’s probably when the tornadoes went through Le Center.’ The next day we went to look at the damage if there was any. We didn’t know. The fairgrounds were pretty well ruined. Some other things were destroyed too. I felt really bad about the fairgrounds. I was planning on taking quite a few projects this year. Now I can’t. Most of the stuff is cleaned up now and it looks much better but I’m still sad because of all the people that lose their homes and everything else that got destryed.”

  • Anna

“On March 29, 1998, the biggest, most disasterous storm hit southern Minnesota. We were coming home from my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. They live in Austin, and when we left, we were aware of the storm just didn’t think it would be this bad. I was sleeping until I awoke at the six mile corner. The sky was pitch black, and every once in awhile, it let out a bolt of lightning that lighted the whole sky. The radio was on and we all heard the devastating news. St. Peter had been destroyed, and Le Center was greatly damaged. I started to get a knot in my stomach, and it started to grow bigger as we were stopped and turned around because of the power lines down on Highway 99. We planned to come in behind the Elementary School. We didn’t get far before we struck the smell of natural gas. The smell soon passed and we came to the back of the school just to be turned around again. The guy that turned us around made it seem like our house had been leveled by the tornado. Our only chance left was to come up by the nursing home. We got through, and when we got to our house, we only saw leaves pasted against the siding. That whole night we got calls from practically everyone we knew. Even after I had gone to bed, through the walls I could hear my dad telling the same story over and over. I’ll always remember that night. It was the night of the shocking, unbelievable nightmare. To think, I wasn’t even affected by it that much, and I still dread ever thinking about it.”

  • Ashley

“On March 29, 1998, we were at my Grandma and Grandpa’s eating pizza and watching the news andI heard there was a tornado watch and my dad said, ‘Let’s go home.’ We went home we could not get in by the school so we went to the other way. We went down Kilkenny Street and we had to turn around and go down to where the Courthouse is. When we got home we saw people being evacuated out of the trailer court. We got in our house and lit some candles and got out flashlights. And my dad’s friend came over right away. We got a phone call from my grandma and she asked if we were ok. The town was all wrecked.”

  • Elizabeth

“On March 29, 1998, a tornado hit Le Center. My family and I were at the house. My mom was at work. But is good that my dad was there. My dad was going to take a shower. Then my cousin said to my dad that there was going to b e a tornado warning. Then my dad said to us to get dressed. Then we got dressed. Then my dad told us to go but my brother didn’t want to go without my dad. Then my dad left the truck at the house. Then a man said that the tornado got my dad. Then when the tornado passed we went to my cousin’s house. Then my mom came to see us. My dad wanted to go to the house. But they didn’t let him. And we slept at my cousins house. The next morning we went to the high school to eat. We went to the American Red Cross and they gave us some shampo and some toothbrushes. I was so so sad. I loved to live there. It feels so sad. And now I live in an ugly house.”

  • Erika

“On March 29, 1998, a tornado hit Le Center. I was scared when I was in the car. We drove to grandma’s house, but a tree fell on the ground. That’s what made us stop. So we went to Ashley’s house to spend the night. In the morning we went around town and we saw trees knocked down and houses. It happened at 5:30. My dad was at the fire station when the tornado was over. Dude had to go to the hospital to check on his finger. But it wasn’t broken. It just had a piece of glass in it.”

  • Cory

“On March 29, 1998, a tornado hit Le Center. My mom, sister, brother, and I were at my house. The tornado didn’t hit our house. My cousin’s barn fell down and one of the cows didn’t get out in time and broke its back. Their neighbor’s trailer got thrown down the hill. And my grandma’s driveway got blocked with trees and my aunt’s car almost got smashed by a tree.”

  • Vanessa

“On March 29, 1998, a tornado passed through Le Center. When the tornado happened we were in Mankato. Then when we got home from Mankato. It was dark. Then they said to stay in the high school. Then the other day, they said you could pickup some of your stuff only for two hours. My mom wanted to pick up her stuff. My mom’s sisters were helping her. The next day my mom was sick and the Red Cross gave us money to go to the doctor. The doctor gave my mom some medicines. Then we got to the apartment. When we got home in the apartment we went to sleep.”

  • Sonny

“On March 29, 1998, my family and I were watching TV and then there was a warning on the bottom of TV. And my dad heard the siren go off and on. Yadira’s aunt called and wanted to know if there was a shelter anywhere. And we didn’t know. She said there’s a tornado coming in our direction 40 miles an hour. My mom was upstairs in bed. By the time we went downstairs the siren came on. My dad said, ‘get downstairs in the basement.’ It was really windy. So windy we couldn’t see anything. We were so scared. We were shaking. Finally it was over. We went upstairs, looked outside, trees were down everywhere. Our van was smashed on top. The neighbor’s big tree fell in our yard. It was awful.”

  • Chelsea

“I was at the basement when the trnado hit. I went to my grandmas hose aftr the trnado hit. The next day I helped clean up and whent to my ants and we still dident hav electricity but still had fun.”

  • Jameson

“I was at Matt hose win it hit. … I hrd the sirns test to go donstars in the basmint. Went home. Went dnstars.”

  • Chris

“I was in the living room. I was watching tv wile the tornado hit. When the tornado hit I was scared becase I thought I was going to die. We went to the basement I herd a big shake becase the thunder and the wind was a littl frightened I herd a big grall! Becase that when the tornado hit. When we went in the radio and my dad went to go upstairs to see if it was over. I saw a big black cloud and I was scared becase I tought that it was going to hale and it did for a while when the tornado was over. On Monday I thought that it was going to start again and school wasn’t opening when I saw when Le Center I said wow look at all this damig there where poles down almost evey thing was down and now it is good.”

  • Ben

“I was at my house watching the news with my mom and friend. When I heard the sirens I went down to the basement. I saw that our next door neighbors tree fell down into the street. I felt scared when the tornado stoped we went to my moms cousins. I went home t he next day. I went back to my house.”

  • Ariel

“On March 29, 1998, I was in my house watching a movie called Dick Tracy. Then we were in our store called Mexican Delights. A woindow broke my mom was hit by glass. We ran downstairs and hid. My big brother Aaron went upstairs. I was hearing thundher out side. I saw glass. I felt sad. We went upstairs with the family. We got our flashlight. We cleaned our area then we went home and stayed there.”

  • Rita

“I was upstairs in my room playing my CD player my sisters were in there they were jaming. I heard a noise so I tured off my CD player it was the tornado siren so I told my mom then we got to the basesment. When the torndo hit our basesment door is not steady our basesment door flu open. We felt scared my mom and dad’s hears were poping. When it was over we went outside to see what it did. The next day we helped clean up the town.”

  • Alyssa

“I was waching TV with my cousins and all of a sudden the electricity went out my step dad was running and it was relly windy my dogs were qiet. My stepdad coud barly walk. I heard the sirons sound but litning struk them. We wer done in the basement praying my cousins wer crying cous they never been in a tornado. Wen the tornado was done I lost my windo.”

  • Elizabeth

“On March 29 th, 1998, I was at Owatana shopping with my Mom. And it started to rain harder and harder. We went home as fast as we can. My Mom said, ‘look for a tornado.’ At home my mom said ‘go in the basement.’ So I did. Everything was ok!”

  • Zachary

“I was in my tree fort taking a nap. When the tornado hit I went in the bement. It soded like a frat train. I saw the tornado form. I feeled saced. I went upstairs when the tornado was ofer. When the electricity was we got the flash lights out. The next day whent and helped clean up.”

  • Patrick

“When the tornado watch was on TV I was on my way home from Plymouth from Sami & Ashley house. We went down in my basement bathroom. I was crying in the bathroom. I heard nothing. I saw trees nock down & house roained. I was very very scared. I was still crying. We went driving all town. I stay home with my mom & dad.”

  • Brittney

“On March 29 I was in my room. I was getting my school clothes out. I was with my Mom, Dad, and my sister Megan. Wene the tornado hit I went to my Mom. I was the frist one in the cellar Megan was second. All I could hear is talking and all I could see if peaple and blankes. I felt skard. We whent to Grama’s to stay overnigh. Wene it was over I was happy agan. The lighs came on, off, on, off then I got a flashlight. On Monday we whent looking. We whent.”

  • Sara

“I was at my house watching TV. I went down in basmant. I heard the wind blowing hard. I saw birds hiting the trees hard. I felt realy sad that everything was wrecked. My hole family was with me. When it was over we went up and we saw the dameg. When the electricity went out we went down stairs. On Monday when I went on the bus. I saw all the dameg.”

  • Holly

“I was in the fablen room. I was with my famaley we went down stares. I hard wind. I felt sad. I helped pik up grbig. I was skard. I wach up. I went to my gradmom.”

  • Phillip

“On March 29, 1998 my family was driving home from the zoo. We were listening to the radio and it said that there was going to be a Tornado Warning. When my Dad herd that there was a Tornado Watch he said we are going strait to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Montgomery. So we got to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. We were watching the Bastet Ball game. At the commercial w e changed the chanel to the news. It said that there was a Tornado Warning in the Montgomrey, St. Peter, and Le Center area. ‘And when the sirens go of please get to a safe place.’ My Mom went wild! I was a little scared too. About 10 minutes after we herd the news the sirens went off. We hurried down to my Grandma’s basment. And head under the pool tabel to safty. My brothers and I ate our pizza under the pool tabel. Finally it was safe to go upstairs. And my family headed for our home in Le Center. We got to one highawy but we couldn’t’ get thrue so we went to go to the highway by the cemetary and we couldn’t get thrue there either. But my Dad knew a way to get in to town. We got to go thrue a gravel road. That our nebeors made and we got home safly. We took our candels and a few flashlights. And we are safe. And I hope that never happens agian.”

  • Alison

“My mom and grandma just got home from a bowling turnement. My dad was still not home from fireman school so we went to pick up my grandma’s dog Tilly. When we got home my dad yelled at us for driving around because we were on a tornado watch. The new saw a big bolt of lightnig go across the sky. My sister ran in the house and packed up all of her beanie babies. Then the electricity went out. She got freaked out. My mom called my grandma to tell her to get down into the basement. My grandma grabed her two dogs and ran down into the basement. Both her and my sister were freaking out. We could hear stuff falling. My grandma could hear stuff crashing. After the tornado my grandma walk outside and looked at her house and cried. Her house was wreaked. She started walking and somebody picked her up. They are building her a new garage. She got hit by the tornado. It was really hard to get back into shape. The woods protected her house. It was a hard time for our family.”

  • Devyn

“On March 29, 1998, my Mom was frightened when the tornado came. My sister and my Mom were crying. When the tornado happened. The tornado hit very hard. It was very windy outside. It was very dirty. The tornado smelled like rain. The damage in Le Center was ugly. The tornado was not cool. It was vere sad. I was scared of the tornado. The tornado was dangerous because of electric wires. The tornado was strong and windy. I felt sorry for Sonny and Erika. I felt sorry for every-body. It is not cool looking in the window because of the glass. It not right to look out the door.”

  • Sole

“On March 29, a Sunday, the tornado was as hard as a thunderstorm and BOOM, it ripped up Le Center. It hit Le Center very hard. Le Center looked different. Le Center was damaged. I needed to see the damage. I didn’t want to see it but I had to see it four times. It was very sad. The ceiling tiles in the gym had water damage. It was scary. Now it is okay.”

  • Stefan

“I was at a craft sale. My mom and I went home. It started raining, lightning, and thundering. It started hailing. I thought there was going to be a tornado! I was right! My mom was putting my sister’s car away before the tornado. My mom told me to get some flash lights and a radio before the tornado. My mom came back in and we went in the basement.”

  • Katrina

“We were watching the news and Paul Douglas said ‘Theres a Tornado warning for St. Peter and Le Center.’ So we heard the siren go of and the power went out plus it was my sister’s Birthday. We all went down to the basement and we ate pizza. But I was scared because in St. Peter I play hockey and I have a lot of friends there. I realy thought that one of my buddies would get killed or hurt. But I’m saf and we didn’t even get touched.”

  • Adam

“It was 3-29-98 at 5:30 PM when a tornado striked in Le Center. We went out to see the weird clouds. My mom, cousins, and my aunt and uncle went out to take a video. Then a bolt of lightning shot across the sky. We turned the TV on to the news, but everything turned off even the sirens. Hail and rain start to fall. Then we ran to the basement, but my grandparents didn’t want to come. We were all crying for both of them. But then my grandmother was coming and she looked up she fell to the ground. But someone rescued her and she was safe at the basement. The trailer moved a little because of the tornado and my grandfather was coming out because he was scared. Then he was safe too, and we were all safe and happy. Then we were back at our home.”

  • Irma

“Tornados damage things. Tornados are powerful. Some are mean and black.”

  • Steffan

“I helped cleanup by the pool. My buther helped me.”

  • Cory

“My old trailer is still standing. When the tornado hit I was in the basement. My grama lost all her trees except two. When I drove to St. Peter the next day it was gone. When the sirens whent off we were allredy in the basment. We had one tree down.”

  • Sandy

“The tornado made lots of damage to trees and homes. Shcools were destroyed and out. Stores may not open again.”

  • Matt

“They had no houses and had no food at all.”

  • EGK

“It was rilly winding. I was in my basement when it happened. And my neighbors hade sum damage.”

  • Jake

“I was at my friends house when the tornado hit. When it was safe to come up from the basement, we went outside and seen some trees and power lines down. My mom came with Grandma and pick me up shortly after the tornado was done, and we drove around town and seen all the damage. My mom and grandma said, ‘they never seen anything so terrible’.”

  • Samantha

“We seen trees down. There was a truck on the road smashed. House’s were tore down. Power lines were down. It was pitch white like a blizzard. It was hailing hard. The pool roof was gone. One bus was tiped on the side and the windows were broke. “

  • Chris

“The tornado wrecked a lot of houses and trees in St. Peter. My Grandma and Aunt Rhonda had damage to their houses.”

  • Jeana

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