Posted at 5:01 PM on May 6, 2009
by Paul Huttner
NWS photo of the Deephaven tornado during the May 6, 1965 outbreak.
I remember the green sky. I had never seen a sky quite that color. I knew something was very, very wrong.
Then the hail began to fall. Huge irregular chunks of ice the size of my fist. We put my older brother's football helmets on to protect our heads and collected them for the freezer. That was when the back door flew open and my mom came out screaming. "You kids get in the basement! Your father called and he said there's a tornado coming!"
My dad worked at the Minneapolis Court House in 1965. He heard the police saying there were tornadoes headed for the Lake Minnetonka area. Boy was he right.
I remember looking out one of those small basement windows to the west and seeing the sky swirl. Huge hundred year old maple trees were twisting in the wind. Leaves and other debris were flying through the air. In about 5 minutes it all passed by. Luckily for us, we lived about a half a mile from the tornado's path of destruction. Our home was not damaged. But a half mile away, it was like a bomb went off.
The Cottagewood neighborhood was hit hard. Boats were on houses. Skis were in power lines. Roofs and walls were gone. Debris was everywhere. Amazingly, nobody was killed in that tornado. Residents on Carson's Bay in Lake Minnetonka reported seeing the tornado suck up so much water into the vortex as it crossed the bay that the water level dropped by feet. Some reported seeing fish flopping on the bottom of the temporarily dry lake.
The Chanhassen to Deephaven tornado was one of six that day in what still stands as the worst tornado outbreak in Twin Cities history. The Fridley tornado was the most deadly and perhaps the most remembered by Twin Cities residents.
We are lucky we have not had a repeat of that number and intensity of tornadoes since then in the Twin Cities. If it happened again today, the destruction and death toll would be much higher.
May 6th, 1965 is my first living memory. I can still visualise that day as clear as yesterday.
Do you remember the 1965 tornado outbreak?
I lived in Cottagewood and remember that day very well. I delivered the afternoon paper -- the Minneapolis Star. It was a hot and muggy day. When the storms hit around 6:30, it got very dark. The tornado really did sound like a train. Our house had only minor damage, but the neighborhood was devastated.
I was also in this tornado and was in the 6th grade. My family had to go in our dirt basement and hold onto the pipes. The door flew open and a shovel and debris flew past us. I was terrified. Our house survived but had a lot of damage. Other homes were flattened. I lived 2 houses up from Larry!
According to "Minnetonka Tornado Story in Pictures" the May 6, 1965 tornado which struck about 6:00 pm killed 14, injured 400 and damaged property in excess of $50,000,000. Two of those dead were the parents of a friend of ours.
I was in 7th grade during that tornado and although we had no damage, it left a lasting impression. I remember being outside about 4 or 5, looking at that green sky in the west. My family lived in Golden Valley and I recall my mother being worried because my dad was not home, had gone bowling after work or something. We took our plates to the basement when the sirens blew and listened to a static-filled WCCO-AM. They played "Baby, the rain must fall" and that song will forever remind me of that night.
Yes i remember that day very well..We lived in Edina but had family friends in DEEPHAVEN..They called us telling that a tornado was headed our way...WCCO reported a twister over SouthDale...My Mom headed us to the basement while my DAD and other neighbors looked at the green sky...My Mom yelled at my Dad to come inside...YES, i remember that night vividly!!!