Other Tornadoes

Tornado BookPrior to the 1887 Grand Forks/East Grand Forks tornado, there were three other devastating tornadoes in southern Minnesota.  All three tornadoes were included in Professor H. A. Hazen’s 1890 list of the most destructive tornadoes in the United States since 1872.  The first tornado hit New Ulm, Minnesota, on July 15, 1881.  According to Hazen, this tornado killed 6 people, wounded 53, and damaged or destroyed nearly 300 buildings.  The magnitude of damage from this storm caught the public eye.  Just over two years later, on August 21, 1883, another powerful tornado hit Rochester, Minnesota.  From Hazen’s compilations, 26 people were killed and 135 houses were demolished.  Since these two tornadoes occurred nearly back-to-back, they generated much more interest from the press.  The third tornado caught many people off guard, since it occurred so early in the year.  This tornado struck Saint Cloud and Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, on April 14, 1886.  Hazen tabulated 74 deaths, 136 injuries, and 138 buildings flattened.  Hazen also tried to estimate the amount of damage in dollar amounts.  He figured $174,677 at New Ulm, $200,000 at Rochester, and a whopping $400,000 for Saint Cloud/Sauk Rapids (in 1890 dollars).  Looking at the various statistics from these three tornadoes, one could argue that each got progressively more deadly.  Therefore, public interest after the Saint Cloud/Sauk Rapids tornado surged.  The realization of three killer tornadoes over a period of five years was hard to comprehend.  One had to wonder, what lurked in the future?

New Ulm, Minnesota Tornado of Friday, July 15, 1881

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 Rochester, Minnesota Tornado of Tuesday, August 21, 1883

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Saint Cloud, Minnesota Tornado of Wednesday, April 14, 1886

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