A few months ago, we noodled here on the notion that golf is in a state of decline. Memorial Day weekend is a good time to test out the various theories.
Getting a tee time? No problem. Even at the last minute (Note: I play county courses). The twosome we were to be paired with? They never showed up. Somewhere around the 5th hole at The Ponds at Battle Creek, the extent of golf's demise became apparent: Its success depends on one's inability to remember just how infuriating an afternoon of relaxation can be.
Your News Cut host loves golf, although there's a limit to the depths of any romance.
The tornado warnings that sprouted in the north metro late this afternoon, were enough to make us wonder whether the fancy TV weather equipment gives us a false sense of security. The flashing orange and red maps on TV do a great job of telling us where the threat is, but they can also imply -- falsely -- that there are no threats elsewhere.
Shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday, the TV weather guy announced that "all of the activity that suggests rotation" had moved well into Wisconsin," and that Minnesota was out of the woods. Two minutes later, a heavy wind hit New Cut's Woodbury bureau, and we -- and a lot of the neighbors who also wisely decided to check the sky for themselves -- spied a rotating series of clouds above us.
A few minutes later, I checked the weather radar loop on the MPR site and, sure enough, a little finger of orange -- I guess that's bad -- developed over my city just before it all moved over to Wisconsin.
In the end, all we got was a blizzard ... of apple blossoms...
... and a reminder at the start of the summer season that it's wise to put at least as much stock in what you see in the sky, as what you see on TV.
The initial images from WCCO's helicopter of the destruction in Hugo this afternoon shows some of the most significant devastation we've seen from a tornado in these parts in years. Send me your photos.
9:49 p.m. - Calling it an evening. MPR's Curtis Gilbert will have live reports from Hugo Monday starting on Morning Edition.
9:33 p.m. - Hugo city manager: 300 to 400 homes evacuated because of concerns over hazards including downed power lines and gas leaks. The city set up a shelter at Oneka Elementary School.
9:29 p.m. - PiPress also has a slideshow up. Interesting tidbit in the accompanying story. One man who survived the collapse of his house said his wife and kids weren't injured because they'd gone to Home Depot to get some things to fix up the house.
9:14 p.m. - Strib has what appears to be the beginning of a Flash slideshow with images from Hugo. Their photogs do an outstanding job. BTW, here's a Google Earth view of the neighborhood depicted in some of the Strib pix.
9:05 p.m. - Gov. Pawlenty sends out a press release. He'll meet with officials in Hugo Monday at 12:30 at Hugo City Hall.
9:00 p.m. - AP: The child who died had a sibling who was critically injured and taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, and the parents also were hospitalized with injuries sustained in the family home, Washington County Sheriff Bill Hutton said.
8:42 p.m. - Latest AP write-thru on the storm posted. Public Works Director Chris Petree's story of riding out the storm with his family is chilling.
8:26 p.m. - MPR meteorologist Paul Huttner on the air - Background of how the National Weather Service investigates in determining whether it was a tornado or straight-line winds. "We had both in this event," Huttner says. He guesses "F2 damage" (winds of 100-130 mph).
8:23 p.m. - MPR's Jess Mador updates situation at St. John's (Maplewood): They treated two patients, one was sent on to Region's. Hugo oficials are triaging patients at Oneka Elementary.
8:13 p.m. - Star Tribune has its first photo posted.
8:12 p.m. - St. John's (Maplewood) update: Has at least one injured patient, were expecting around 4 to 5 more with 10 moderately injured
8:11 p.m. - William Wilcoxen in Hugo: A dozen destroyed, three dozen damaged.
8:10 p.m. - MPR's Jess Mador with more on Regions: 3 adults and 1 child still admitted
Injuries and condition not known. Hugo Fire Chief Jim Compton tells AP child is in critical condition.
7:58 p.m. - KARE: Regions no longer in "Orange Alert" state. 7 were treated. 4 were admitted.
7:56 p.m. - U of M Climate Working Group: The last tornado to cause multiple deaths in Minnesota was in Littlefork (2) in August 1993.
7:46 p.m. - From the Hugo citydata: "Hugo-area historical tornado activity is slightly above Minnesota state average. It is 26% greater than the overall U.S. average. On 5/6/1965, a category 4 (max. wind speeds 207-260 mph) tornado 8.1 miles away from the Hugo city center killed 6 people and injured 158 people and caused between $5,000,000 and $50,000,000 in damages. On 5/6/1965, a category 4 tornado 18.4 miles away from the city center killed 3 people and injured 175 people and caused between $5,000,000 and $50,000,000 in damages."
7:45 p.m. - KARE 11 has helicopter up. Dead individual was a 2-year-old.
7:35 p.m. - WCCO.com has posted the helicopter photos of damage. Here.
7:29 p.m. - MPR's Cathy Wurzer: "Just talked with Dan Luna, meterologist with National Weather Service, Chanhassen. They aren't getting much in the way of damage reports in from Coon Rapids/Anoka. Looks like the main damage is in Hugo. That area received its first warning at 4:37 pm, so they had plenty of warning. "
7:26 p.m. - AP: Hugo Public Works Director Chris Petree said his family took shelter in the basement before the storm lifted his house off the ground and completely wiped out the second floor of the home. "I put my daughter down first, my wife on top of her and then I bear-hugged on top of them," Petree said.
7:23 p.m. - Ch. 4 returns to prime-time programming.
7:21 p.m. - MPR's William Wilcoxen reports from Highway 61 and 152 St. Unofficial reports of gas leak. Ambulances as far away as Woodbury racing by.
7:19 pm. MPR's Jess Mador: "St. John's Hospital in Maplewood "very busy." Spokesman to update in 10 mins. At least three patients were brought into Mercy in Coon Rapids with storm-related injuries. Apparently, they were tossed in the air by the wind and slammed into a wall. At least 30,000 power outages in state. With at least 20,000 in Chisago, Hugo Forest Lake area hardest hit
7:18 p.m. - Strib: Hwy. Tornado in Coon Rapids touched down at 4:35 at Highway 10 and Main Street moving towards Sand Creek Blvd.
7:16 p.m. - TV coverage update. 4 has live coverage, 5 has Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, 11 has Dateline NBC, 9 has NASCAR.
7:12 p.m. - MPR's Jess Mador: Three people taken to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids.
7:02 p.m.: WCCO: Person killed in Hugo was a child who died on the way to hospital. A six-year-old was revived.
6:56 p.m. - Hugo City Administrator Mike Ericson: One dead, 20 missing. (AP)
6:50 p.m. - WCCO is the only TV station with live coverage.