Weather scientists in the United States use the Fujita Scale to classify tornados according to strength. The combination of wind speed and damage provides a rating from F0, or gale force winds with light damage, to F5, a violent, devastating tornado. A 2007 upgrade to the Fujita Scale resulted in the Enhanced Fujita scale. The new scale resembles the original with tornado grades from EF0 to EF5, but it slightly re-categorizes tornadoes reflecting the latest knowledge of damage caused by different wind speeds.
Situated on the northern edge of the so-called "tornado alley," the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area experiences periodic twisters. Between 1950 and 2016, Minnesota saw 1,835 tornadoes; more than 30 touched down in Hennepin County, home to the Twin Cities.
North Minneapolis Tornado, May 22, 2011
Three tornadoes touched down in the Twin Cities on May 22, 2011, with the most severe hitting North Minneapolis. The North Minneapolis tornado damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes, mostly by uprooting large trees that fell on buildings and cars. The tornado directly killed one resident, while a second person died during the clean-up efforts. More than 30 people sustained injuries. The North Minneapolis tornado registered an EF1 or EF2 in strength.
The Minneapolis Tornado, August 19, 2009
Several tornadoes touched down in the Twin Cities early on this Wednesday afternoon, the largest of which damaged a church, the Electric Fetus record store, the Minneapolis Convention center, and several other buildings just south of downtown Minneapolis.
The Hugo Tornado, May 25, 2008
At around 5 p.m., a tornado ranked EF-3 touched down in Lino Lakes, a northeast suburb of St. Paul and cut through the town of Hugo. The tornado destroyed 50 homes, killed a 2-year-old boy, and seriously injured eight more people in Hugo. The tornado hit on Memorial Day weekend; the timing may have helped to keep the injury counts low, as many residents were out of town for the holiday.
The Rogers Tornado, September 16, 2006
This tornado struck northern Hennepin County in the late evening. The F2 tornado struck at around 10 p.m. and destroyed more than 300 buildings and homes. A 10-year-old girl died when her home collapsed. An MPR news report on the Rogers Tornado explains that the city's emergency sirens did not go off to alert residents to the danger.
The Har Mar Tornado, June 14, 1981
The Har Mar Tornado, an F3, is also known as the Edina Tornado after the place where it first touched down. After hitting the ground at 3:49 p.m. the tornado moved northeast through Minneapolis and Roseville, leaving 15 miles of devastation behind it. The worst damage occurred in the Har Mar mall area. One man was killed in the tornado itself, 83 were injured, and another man died in the cleanup effort.
The Twin Cities Tornado Outbreak, May 6, 1965
A tornado outbreak of six tornadoes caused $51 million of damage and killed 14 people when they passed within miles of downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. Four of the tornadoes received ratings of F4, while the other two logged in at F3 and F2.
The St. Paul and Minneapolis Tornado, August 21, 1904
Just after the turn of the 20th century, a tornado hit the metro area, causing damage to the downtown areas in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. It killed 14 people and caused significant damage to the High Bridge in St. Paul.