Remembering the Tornadoes of May 22, 2011
Remembering the tornadoes of May 22, 2011
Eleven tornadoes touched down in eastern Minnesota, western Wisconsin and northeast Iowa on Sunday, May 22, 2011, including one EF-1 that tore through North Minneapolis and neighboring areas, and two EF-2 tornadoes that hit northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and southwest Wisconsin (including La Crosse). There was one fatality in north Minneapolis. This was also the day when a violent EF-5 tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri and killed 158 people.
The summary for six long-tracked tornadoes in the La Crosse area is here: www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php
The summary for the Joplin, Missouri tornado is here: www.crh.noaa.gov/sgf/
The summary for the Minneapolis tornado and four others is provided below.
|A 3D look at the Minneapolis tornado from the Chanhassen radar. The "column of red" is a descending core of air moving away from the radar that can sometimes be seen when stronger tornadic storms are close to a radar (greens represent air moving toward and reds away from the radar). The first image where a column appears is when the storm was near I-394 and MN-100 (fourth image in loop), which is where the tornado touched down. This feature began to fall apart as it moved into Anoka county. This coincides with the tornado weakening as it moved through Fridley.
...STRONG EF-1 RATING ASSIGNED TO THE TORNADO THAT HIT NORTH MINNEAPOLIS AND OTHER AREAS...
WINDS OF 100 TO 110 MPH WERE PRODUCED BY THE TORNADO THAT HIT NORTH
MINNEAPOLIS...ST. LOUIS PARK...GOLDEN VALLEY...FRIDLEY...MOUNDS VIEW
AND BLAINE. IT WAS ON THE GROUND FOR SIX AND ONE QUARTER MILES IN
HENNEPIN COUNTY...PLUS AN ADDITIONAL EIGHT MILES ACROSS ANOKA AND
RAMSEY COUNTIES AS THE TORNADO WENT THROUGH PARTS OF FRIDLEY...
MOUNDS VIEW...AND BLAINE.
THE TOTAL PATH LENGTH WAS 14 AND 1/4 MILES. THE TORNADO WAS ABOUT
1/2 MILE WIDE AT ITS WIDEST POINT. THE TIME OF TOUCHDOWN WAS 213 PM.
ACCORDING TO VARIOUS SECURITY CAMERAS...THE TORNADO MOVED INTO FRIDLEY
AT 222 PM. THE INITIAL TOUCHDOWN IN ST. LOUIS PARK WAS 3/4 OF A MILE
SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF THE INTERSECTION OF INTERSTATE 394 AND HIGHWAY
100 WHERE TWO BUSINESSES SUSTAINED ROOF DAMAGE. THE TORNADO MOVED
NORTHEAST...CROSSING HIGHWAY 100 WHERE IT HIT THE FIRST RESIDENCES
ALONG CEDAR LAKE ROAD. IT THEN ENTERED THE SOUTHEAST PORTION OF
GOLDEN VALLEY...CROSSED INTERSTATE 394 AND HEADED FOR THEODORE WIRTH
PARK. DURING THIS TIME IT TOOK A BIT OF A NORTHWARD TURN AND BEGAN
MOVING TO THE NORTH-NORTHEAST.
THE TORNADO MOVED ACROSS WIRTH LAKE AND ENTERED THE CITY OF
MINNEAPOLIS BETWEEN GLENWOOD AVENUE AND 16TH AVENUE. UP TO THIS
POINT...DAMAGE WAS EF-0 WITH THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE DAMAGE BEING
DOWNED TREES ATOP BUILDINGS AND VEHICLES. AS THE TORNADO ENTERED
MINNEAPOLIS, IT STRENGTHENED TO EF-1...AND BEGAN DEMOLISHING
GARAGES...SHEDS...AND PARTIALLY REMOVING ROOFS. THERE WAS A HOUSE
HERE OR THERE THAT HAD THEIR ROOFS COMPLETELY REMOVED...BUT ADJACENT
HOUSES AND OTHER NEARBY STRUCTURES AND TREES DID NOT SUPPORT RAISING
THE LEVEL TO EF-2.
THE TORNADO HEADED FOR THE AREA AROUND PENN AVENUE AND BROADWAY
AVENUE...THEN LOWRY AVENUE AND LOGAN AVENUE...THEN TO 42ND AVENUE
AND LYNDALE AVENUE. IT CROSSED THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER JUST NORTH OF
THE CAMDEN BRIDGE...AND BEGAN CAUSING DAMAGE IN ANOKA COUNTY.
IT MOVED ACROSS THE MINNEAPOLIS WATER INTAKE FACILITY. AT THE WATER
TREATMENT FACILITY...A FREE STANDING STORAGE GARAGE WAS COMPLETELY
DESTROYED...WITH NUMEROUS COTTONWOOD TREES ON THE GROUNDS UPROOTED
OR HAVING LARGE LIMBS SNAPPED OFF.
FROM THE WATER FACILITY...THE TORNADO TRACKED NORTHEAST TO A RAIL
YARD AND A LARGE INDUSTRIAL FACILITY...WHERE A LARGE METAL BUILDING
ON THE GROUNDS HAD PARTS OF TWO WALLS RIPPED OFF AND A LARGE SECTION
OF THE ROOF BLOWN OFF. AT THE RAIL YARD...EIGHT TRAIN CARS WERE TIPPED OVER. THIS CAN BE
DONE BY WINDS LESS THAN 110 MPH. ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RAIL
YARD...MORE INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES AND WAREHOUSES SUSTAINED DAMAGE
ALONG MIAMI STREET...THE WORST BEING A WAREHOUSE THAT LOST PART OF
THE STRONGER EF-1 DAMAGE OCCURRED IN THE AREA BETWEEN PENN AND
BROADWAY AND THE CAMDEN BRIDGE.
THE TORNADO THEN MOVED ACROSS RESIDENTIAL SECTIONS OF FRIDLEY...
WHERE EXTENSIVE TREE DAMAGE WAS DONE NORTHEAST OF THE MIDDLE SCHOOL.
THE TORNADO THEN WEAKENED AS IT CONTINUED NORTHEAST ACROSS THE EAST
SIDE OF OF FRIDLEY TO SPRING LAKE...WHERE IT MOVED INTO THE
NORTHWEST SIDE OF MOUNDS VIEW. SPORADIC TREE DAMAGE OCCURRED DURING
THIS TIME FRAME. THE LAST SIGNS OF DAMAGE WERE SEEN ON THE SOUTH SIDE
OF THE BLAINE-ANOKA COUNTY AIRPORT...WHERE A FEW HANGARS RECEIVED SOME
MINOR EXTERIOR DAMAGE. THE TORNADO WAS ON THE GROUND FOR ABOUT 8
MILES IN ANOKA AND RAMSEY COUNTIES FROM FRIDLEY TO BLAINE.
Storm survey photos are available below, and on our Facebook page.
The following is a radar loop of the thunderstorm that moved across Minneapolis. The loop begins at 2:00 PM CDT on May 22nd, and ends at 3:00 PM CDT.
Storm Damage Survey Photos From the Minneapolis Tornado
Roof Damage to a business in St Louis Park, MN
Tree damage in Golden Valley, MN
Home destroyed in Minneapolis, MN
Tree and vehicle damage in Minneapolis, MN
Home damage in Minneapolis, MN
Tree and vehicle damage in Minneapolis, MN
Large trees uprooted in Minneapolis, MN
Tree damage in Fridley, MN
Home damage in Minneapolis, MN
Home and vehicle in Minneapolis, MN
|...ONE MORE TORNADO CONFIRMED IN ANOKA COUNTY ON SUNDAY MAY 22 - AND SOME MINOR DOWNBURST DAMAGE IN THE SOUTHEAST PART OF ANOKA COUNTY...
A BRIEF AND WEAK TORNADO WAS DETERMINED TO HAVE TOUCHED DOWN IN THE EASTERN PORTION OF HAM LAKE ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON MAY 22. THE TORNADO WILL BE RATED EF-0 WITH WINDS OF ABOUT 65 MPH. IT WAS ON THE GROUND FOR 0.2 MILE AND HAD A MAXIMUM WIDTH OF 30 YARDS. TOUCHDOWN TIME
WAS 252 PM.
THE TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN ABOUT 1/4 MILE SOUTHWEST OF THE INTERSECTION OF 155TH AVENUE AND COUNTY ROAD 17. MOST OF THE DAMAGED TREES WERE IN A VERY CONCENTRATED AREA BEHIND SOME HOUSES...AND IT WAS DEFINITELY INDICATIVE OF A TORNADIC PATTERN.
THE HAM LAKE TORNADO DEVELOPED FROM THE SAME THUNDERSTORM THAT PRODUCED THE NORTH MINNEAPOLIS TORNADO...WHICH DISSIPATED AT THE ANOKA COUNTY AIRPORT IN BLAINE. BUT THE PARENT THUNDERSTORM AND CIRCULATION REINTENSIFIED AS IT MOVED OVER HAM LAKE...AND THE RESULT WAS A BRIEF EF-0 TORNADO AT 252 PM.
ANOTHER AREA OF TREE DAMAGE IN SOUTHEASTERN ANOKA COUNTY WAS ALSO SURVEYED...AND IT WAS DETERMINED THAT DOWNBURST WINDS KNOCKED DOWN ABOUT TWO DOZEN TREES. THIS WAS ABOUT ONE MILE SOUTHWEST OF THE INTERSECTION OF INTERSTATE 35 AND HIGHWAY 97 IN COLUMBUS.
...SURVEY TEAM ASSESSMENT OF THE FOREST LAKE TORNADO...
THE TORNADO THAT OCCURRED IN FOREST LAKE WAS A HIGH END EF-0 WITH
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS BETWEEN 80 AND 85 MPH. THERE WAS
INTERMITTENT DAMAGE ALONG A PATH LENGTH OF APPROXIMATELY TWO AND SIX
TENTHS OF A MILE. THE MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH OF 75 YARDS.
THE FIRST SIGN OF TREE DAMAGE OCCURRED ALONG 200TH STREET NEAR
IMPERIAL AVENUE. THE TORNADO CONTINUED NORTH TO JUST WEST OF THE
INTERSECTION OF 210TH STREET AND INGERSOLL AVENUE. THE WORST DAMAGE
OCCURRED IN THIS AREA...WHERE A METAL POLE BARN HAD ITS ROOF LIFTED
OFF AND DOOR BLOWN OUT. IN ADDITION...A NEIGHBORING PROPERTY HAD
SEVERAL TREES UPROOTED OR SNAPPED OFF. THE TORNADO CONTINUED
NORTH-NORTHEAST TO 215TH STREET...WHERE A LARGE OAK TREE FELL ON A
HOUSE. AT THIS POINT...THE TORNADO CROSSED THE EAST SIDE OF THE BODY
OF WATER KNOWN AS FOREST LAKE. AFTER CROSSING THE LAKE...THE TORNADO
LIFTED UP NEAR SHADYLAND POINT...WHERE A FEW TREES WERE DOWN ALONG
...SURVEY TEAM ASSESSMENT OF THE BRILL, WISCONSIN TORNADO...
THE TORNADO THAT OCCURRED NEAR BRILL, WISCONSIN WAS RATED A LOW END
EF-1 WITH MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS BETWEEN 90 AND 95 MPH. THERE WAS
INTERMITTENT DAMAGE NOTED ALONG A PATH LENGTH OF APPROXIMATELY TWO
MILES. THE MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH OF THE TORNADO WAS APPROXIMATELY 300
THE FIRST SIGN OF DAMAGE OCCURRED AT A RESIDENCE NEAR THE INTERSECTION
OF 28TH AVENUE AND 26TH ST. A SMALL LOG HOME LOST ITS ROOF WITH
SEVERAL LARGE TREES TOPPLED. A HOUSE ANTENNA APPROXIMATELY TWELVE FEET
TALL WAS BENT OVER. INSULATION FROM THE HOME WAS BLOWN NORTH NORTHEAST
APPROXIMATELY ONE EIGHTH OF A MILE. THE TORNADO MARCHED NORTH NORTHEAST
DOWNING NUMEROUS LARGE TREES AFTER IT CROSSED 26TH STREET. ADDITIONAL
LARGE TREES WERE DOWNED AT A FARMHOUSE SITUATED ON THE EAST SIDE OF
26TH STREET. HOME OWNER REPORTED A LARGE OAK TREE DOWN...ALONG WITH
DAMAGE TO NUMEROUS OTHER TREES ON THE PROPERTY. IN ADDITION...TWO
SEVEN FOOT TALL HORSE ENCLOSURES WERE DESTROYED. ONE SIX FOOT LONG 4 X 4
INCH WIDE BEAM...USED AS PORTION OF HORSE ENCLOSURE THROWN OVER 200
FEET AND EMBEDDED IN SOIL APPROXIMATELY TWO FEET DEEP. TORNADO CONTINUED
TO TRACK NORTH NORTHEAST HITTING ANOTHER FARM RESIDENCE ON THE SOUTH
SIDE OF 29TH AVENUE. HALF OF FARMHOUSE ROOF COMPLETELY RIPPED AWAY.
PORTION OF BACK WALL OF HOME PIERCED BY LARGE LANDSCAPE CONCRETE
BLOCK...WHILE A GLASS DOOR WAS TORN AWAY FROM ANOTHER PORTION OF REAR OF
HOME. NUMEROUS LARGE TREES DOWNED AT THIS PROPERTY. TWO TWELVE FOOT
TREES PARTIALLY DEBARKED AS WELL. TORNADO THEN PROCEEDED ON NORTH
NORTHEAST TRAJECTORY...WHERE IT CROSSED 30TH AVENUE EXITING BARRON
COUNTY. A FEW ADDITIONAL TREES WERE TOPPLED AS IT EXITED THE COUNTY.
Below is a map and a list of storm reports from Sunday.
A strong area of low pressure was noted across western Minnesota during the late morning of Sunday, May 22nd (surface analysis below with black arrows noting inflow and warm front overlaid). Ahead of this area of low pressure, a line of strong storms developed along the leading edge of drier air (air mass change) moving across south central Minnesota. Several thunderstorms moved rapidly northward across the southwest suburbs of the Twin Cities. There was a very well defined wind change from the south to southeast, then east across the Twin Cities Metro Area, which increased the surface helicity (see the MPX sounding below, note the strong 0-1km shear value (35 kts) for our area during the early afternoon) and caused the tornado to form. The other image is the 0-1 km shear across the nation, and the highlighted area of >30 kts in eastern Minnesota.
Return to Latest News