|Twenty-eight years ago was the beginning of the June 7-8, 1984 tornado outbreak. This outbreak produced 46 tornadoes between 3:45 PM June 7th and 2:17 AM June 8th, killing 13 people (Iowa - 3 deaths, Missouri - 1 death, and Wisconsin - 9 deaths).
In our forecast area, two tornadoes touched down.
At 7:36 PM, an F2 tornado struck in the southern outskirts of Austin, MN (Mower County) knocking down trees and farm buildings before moving northeast. The heaviest damage occurred at a bowling alley in southeast Austin off Highway 218. The roof on the east side of the building and one wall were blown off. Debris was blown inside the building as well as across the street. Three cars in the parking lot were tossed about and a truck driver broke a collarbone when his truck was blown off Highway 218.
The tornado also destroyed a home and TV repair shop across the street from the bowling alley before crossing an open field. The tornado went on to cause damage to the Austin Country Club and flipped over a mobile home east of Austin before dissipating.
At 8:15 PM, a tornado touched down at a farm site 3 miles east of Douglas, MN (Olmsted County) and moved north. The tornado ripped one barn apart and scattered debris for 300 yards. A second barn was lifted from its foundation and destroyed. Trees were uprooted at the farm site and debris was found twisted.
The strongest tornado in this outbreak was at Barneveld, WI - rated an F5. The tornado was responsible for 9 deaths and nearly 200 injuries in Barneveld while causing about $25 million in damage. In total, 3 churches and 93 homes were destroyed as well as 17 businesses out of the town's 18, including the library, municipal building, fire station, bank and post office. The village's water tower, though damaged, was not toppled by the winds. In addition, 64 other homes were badly damaged. Some of the debris was found about 135 miles away from the village.
The Barneveld tornado was peculiar as it was one of the rare tornadoes to occur during the overnight hours. Most tornadoes occur between 3 and 9 pm.
The Barneveld tornado was the first F5 in Wisconsin since the 1958 Colfax Tornado, which killed 20. It was the first F5 in the U.S. since April 2, 1982 when one touched down near Broken Bow, Oklahoma; the next one occurred on May 31,1985 in Wheatland, Pennsylvania during the 1985 United States-Canadian tornado outbreak. The Oakfield Tornado of July 18,1996, the most recent F5 in Wisconsin, did not cause any fatalities.
For additional information on the Barneveld tornado: