Sunday, July 31, 2011

north minneapolis tornado.

You may remember that on Sunday, May 22nd a tornado ripped through north Minneapolis. Amazingly it entered the neighborhood near the southwest corner and made its way diagonally across the entire northside exiting at the northeast corner.

On Sunday Tyler and I were on our way home to Minneapolis from Iowa - Olive's first overnight trip away from home. That day we were dodging storms on our drive and even stopped once to let a storm system pass that was dropping tornadoes.

While driving I received a text message from our friend Brooke who lives a few blocks away. She said something about a tornado and she was going in the basement. I told Tyler and he laughed it off, after all, he's from Iowa and he never goes in the basement. Shortly after that text message I received a voicemail from our neighbor stating that a tornado went down our street, they had to go into the basement, and she wasn't sure what it looked like outside yet. Immediately I tried to call Brooke and our neighbors but it was difficult to get through because cell towers were damaged. I finally got ahold of Brooke just as she was emerging from her basement. She told me that she saw trees down outside and roofs messed up. I was unable to reach my neighbor and was getting worried! Brooke did her best to walk to our house, only a couple of blocks away, but said there were too many trees and power lines down. Eventually I got ahold of Connie, another neighbor from down the block, who said she could see our house but wasn't sure about our neighbor's yet. Still on our drive home I was sending messages to Tyler's family and calling my family to keep an eye on the news.

Eventually I was able to speak with our neighbor who also confirmed that our house was okay. She told us how to get into our neighborhood as many trees and power lines were down and many streets were blocked so it would be difficult to get through. Unfortunately on our way into town we didn't take that advice - we wanted to drive through and see how everything looked. We got a couple of blocks from our house but couldn't get any closer going west so we were routed south quite far zig zagging on various streets. Ironically we ran into a former coworker of Tyler's who was riding his bike checking out the damage. We stopped to chat and then continued on our way trying to get home.

We finally made it home and found Brooke & Scott waiting at our house. We had debris in our yard and things were moving around but we didn't see damage. We unloaded our rental car, peeked out front at the numerous trees in our street, and decided to go out for dinner as everyone's power was out and likely to be out for many days.

We went into Robbinsdale for dinner where we watched the sky form into storms once again and even spotted a funnel cloud. Luckily it quickly disappeared the storms passed Minneapolis.

The next day Tyler ventured to work only to return about an hour later unable to find a functioning bus stop. Our neighbors, who were headed out to a store, drove him to work. I ventured out into our neighborhood, with Olive in a ring sling, to take photos.

Click here for a slideshow of photos of the tornado destruction. The first few photos were taken on May 22nd while we were trying to reach our house. The majority of the photos were taken on my walk with Olive on May 23rd. We walked 3 blocks east, 1 block north, and 1 block south - so everything you see was quite close to our house. Needless to say, we were very lucky. At the end are photos of crews clearing trees on our street. It has taken me quite a while to get around to this post - I decided to not edit any of these photos as I was afraid it would never get done..

Today much of the scenery looks the same with the exception of the downed trees in the roadways. Many houses continue to have blue tarps covering their roofs. Many windows and doors are covered by plywood. Many trees that went down on private property are still there. Some local businesses have yet to rebuild. But a number of people were able to get to work immediately - there are homes with new roofs, windows, and siding all around. The sidewalks are still ripped up - the city is waiting for FEMA money, from what I understand. Some homeowners are having a difficult time with their insurance companies. Others cannot afford their deductibles. Many people are having a difficult time receiving aid to fix the damage. I hope that this tornado will not have permanently damaged the northside. Our neighborhood has a host of problems to deal with, as all neighborhoods do, and it's unfortunate that a tornado struck us. There are many people here that have the means to rebuild but there are many that do not. There are also numerous slumlords have not made an ounce of progress and I'm afraid they never will. But it's only been a couple of months. There has been a wonderful response from the community with volunteers attacking the trash and debris immediately. Just yesterday the northside held its annual art crawl. The northside won't be stopped by this tornado! Hopefully it brought more attention to our neighborhood so others could see what needs to be done here but also to see the good that has been going on. If you live in the Twin Cities and don't venture into the northside I highly suggest you give it a try. Stop by Avenue Eatery, Lowry Cafe, Victory 44, and more! And come say hi to me! :)













  1. i didn't realized your street got hit so bad. Glad your house was ok.

  2. er...that should say "realize"

  3. WOW! Great photos, Emma. I like the one of the house with the staircase exposed. Very scary!

  4. Me too! We were really lucky!

  5. That one is scary, isn't it? I think I heard that the resident/owner of that house was upstairs when the tornado hit and she walked down a flight of stairs and found herself exposed to the outside. Crazy!

  6. Wow, these are crazy. You've captured the neighborhood well. Scary that it happened though!

  7. Oh my goodness !! I am so glad that all of you are okay and that your home wasn't damaged! What a blessing that the Lord protected you from harm! It is sad to see all of those gorgeous trees laid over though.