(image courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society)
Today marks the anniversay of Minnesota's deadliest tornado. On April 14, 1886 a massive tornado descended on the St. Cloud/Sauk Rapids area. 800 yards wide, it remained on the ground for 20 miles, so large it didn't look like the classic tornado "funnel". When the winds subsided 74 residents of Sauk Rapids and St. Cloud had lost their lives, over 200 people were injured, much of Sauk Rapids wiped clean off the map. 11 of the fatalities were members of a wedding party, including the bride and groom. Historical lore claims that the winds were so strong and violent that survivors could see the bottom of the Mississippi River immediately after the tornado vortex passed.
For more information on Minnesota tornadoes, climatology, and a list of the worst twisters ever reported click here.
The Minnesota Historical Society has a huge library of images from the storm, free to browse on-line. Some of the images are truly incredible.