Remembering The Deadly Tornado Outbreak Of 2010

Most Severe Tornado Outbreak In Decades Hit MN & ND 10 Years Ago Wednesday


Wednesday is the 10-year anniversary of one of the most destructive tornado outbreaks we’ve seen here in our region.
Numerous tornadoes touched down in Minnesota and North Dakota on June 17th, 2010, including three violent EF4 tornadoes and one EF3 tornado.
Three people died in the widespread outbreak, including a man in Polk County, one in Otter Tail County, and a person all the way down near the southern Minnesota border in Freeborn County.
This was the first time multiple people died in a single tornado outbreak in Minnesota in 12 years and the most EF4 tornadoes in a single outbreak in the state since 1967.

Wadena was hit hard by an EF4. More than 200 homes were damaged. Winds flipped school buses and wrapped trampolines around light poles.
In Mentor, Minnesota in Polk County, people told KVRR a decade ago they saw four vehicles in the air at the same time.
A man was killed protecting his daughter from an EF3 tornado.
Mangled debris covered the town.
Truly a devastating scene.

KVRR’s Emily Welker covered the aftermath of the storms. In the video above, she shares a little about what the people hit by the tornado went through in the months following.


Here are some details on what caused such a severe tornado outbreak:

30 tornadoes formed between 4:00 PM and 8:00 PM on June 17th.

It was an active summer. More warnings were issued by the National Weather Service in 2010 by June 17th than the previous 2 years combined.

Three tornadoes caused enough damage to be classified as EF4 tornadoes. EF stands for Enhanced Fujita scale. The scale ranks tornadoes by the severity of damage caused.

A weakening El Nino led to the increase in storms. El Nino is a time when warm water on the west coast of South America causes increased rain in the southern United States and drier weather in Ohio and the northwest.

As El Nino weakens the wet conditions move north in the late spring. This sets the Red River Valley up for severe weather the following summer.

Heat from the day primed air to rise. A difference in winds created rotating tubes of air. A cold front helped the air to rise.

The rotating tube turned as it ascended. Tornadoes grow from these turned tubes of rotating air.

Categories: Morning – Features