40 years since deadly St. Anthony tornado

40 years since deadly St. Anthony tornado

40 years since deadly St. Anthony tornado

Friday marks the 40-year anniversary of the deadly and destructive tornado that hit St. Anthony.

April 26, 1984, started like any other spring day in St. Anthony Village.

“Then it turned into a summer day and a summer evening,” former 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Meteorologist Dave Dahl says.

“We were dodging downed wires and trees and so forth,” Bob Manske, president of the St. Anthony Village Historical Society, says.

That evening, a warm front lifted north over southern Minnesota, reaching the Twin Cities metro by 8:30 p.m.

“Thunderstorms started to form on that, and the biggest one happened to be right there in St. Anthony,” Dahl says.

“It was nice out like it is now, and all of a sudden, like God shut off the light switch, it just turned totally dark, totally black outside,” Carol Jensen, from St. Anthony, recalls.

A tornado touched down on the southwestern side of St. Anthony Village and last for eight minutes. Manske remembers that time well.

“It then hit various houses along the way going on a north, northeast path. … Even further up, it crossed into Ramsey County, which is where Apache Plaza was,” Manske says.

The F3 twister had winds estimated between 150 mph and 200 mph as it carved a path of destruction, leaving one person dead and 52 hurt.

“It was … it was hard to work through all of the feelings that are going through with that,” Manske says.

Dahl was at 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that day and says he remembers the damage to his home well.

“We had nails all over the place, but it was very weird because some of the shingles stayed there but the nails had been popped out,” he says.

But what he remembers most was how St. Anthony Village came together to recover.

“You could really notice it when you walked around,” Dahl says. “People helping everybody. Cleaning up, helping and smiling! People were smiling that they’d survived that storm.”

“I wasn’t there 15 or 20 minutes before I heard a knock on my door,” Manske added.

“It was neighbors helping neighbors.”