FRIDLEY TORNADO MAY 6, 1965
Map showing path of the tornadoes
The tornado[s] started in Carver Co., went thru Hennepin, Anoka and Ramsey Counties.
Turbulent weather was predicted by the National Weather Service on May 6, 1965. Many people were preparing dinner, when the sirens went off in the city of Fridley, located roughly 10 miles northwest of downtown Minneapolis. Anywhere from 2-3 tornadoes, reportedly an F2 to an F4 reports vary, ripped a wide path across this small city. Buildings were demolished, and as many as 14 people were killed.
[source: Wikedia.org and personal]
Fridley, after the tornado
These testimonials are from actual people who lived through the storm and for many, it changed their lives forever. If you would like to add your story or personal photos to this page, please contact us.
It was a warm May night and I was watching the t.v. show "The Munsters" when our neighbor, Cecil Garten called and told my mother there was a bad storm coming and would we like to come over and ride it out in their basement. My mom said no, as our house was made of brick and we had a full basement. My mom grabbed my baby brother and we went to the basement. You cuold hear the wind howling and through the window wells you could see the sky was pitch black. I was a little nervous but my mom said everything was going to be ok. We heard a large crash and didn't know what had happened. After about 30 minutes we went back upstairs and saw that the large oak tree in our front yard had come down and was blocking the driveway. Our neighborhood located on East River Rd and Rickard Rd had no structural damage, just trees down all over the place. 2 blocks away, houses were leveled and where we bought our groceries, about 6 blocks away, was total devastation. I remember driving around a few days later, and seeing just a toilet sitting there, no house, and a T.V. in the middle of a field which I'm sure was a neighborhood. I was 5 1/2 years old at the time.
I was in junior high and had taken my little cousin (who was living with us at the time) down to my friend's house. We were going to go to our school for a Science Fair. As we were going out to the garage to get in the car, my friend's Dad said we might want to wait a bit as the sky was getting real dark and the air was turning green. We stood in the back yard for a few minutes when everything got real dark and very quiet. Her Dad shoved us into the house and then told all of us to get into the basement. The only problem was the entrance to the basement was outside!!! Along with her mother, we all ran outside and tried to get the door open. It was a cellar door like in the "Wizard of Oz". We finally got it pulled up and open and we hurried downstairs. As we got down there and huddled in the corner, the most horrible sound started up. It was like a freight train was going over the top of us. I looked at my friend's mother and she was screaming her lungs out but I could not even hear her. It was like that for a few minutes - seemed like an eternity - and then it was all quiet. We crept up the stairs and when we opened up the door, we looked towards the neighbors house and between the house and the garage we saw the biggest tornado - very scary. Then the roaring started again and we flew down the stairs only to go through another tornado going over the top of us. All total, we had 4 go over our neighborhood. The last couple were very short and not as bad as the first 2. When it was all over with, we came back upstairs and walked in the front yard. There were live wires dancing and sparking everywhere, trees down, roofs off, windows broken, debris everywhere. People were standing around looking like they just didn't know what happened. I lived up one street and down a half a block but could not go home because of the live wires and fires in the street. We were very fortunate because even with the heavy damage, our homes were still standing. My best friend's family didn't fare as well as we did. They were up at one of the grade schools for a Boy Scout event and when the roof went off, a brick came down and hit their mother on the neck and she was paralyzed. My friend had her head split open pretty bad and her brother was injured too. Our school was heavily damaged and we had to go to school at the elementary school over on East River Road. The damage was phenomenal - one house would be okay and the next on would be leveled. To this day, whenever there is a tornado watch, I get scared.
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