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Midday presents a special report on the tornadoes that destroyed large parts of St. Peter and Comfrey. MPR’s reporters detail the massive destruction in the Minnesota towns and provide updates on aftermath. Program also includes various interviews and accounts from listeners.

This program was part one of Tornado Special, highlighting the areas impacted by tornado outbreak.

Frequently referred to as the 1998 Comfrey–St. Peter tornado outbreak, 14 tornadoes (including an F3 & F4) wrought destruction in southern Minnesota on March 29, 1998. More than 3,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed by the tornadoes. The towns of St. Peter and Comfrey were utterly devastated. Storms left two people dead and dozens injured.

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

6 minutes now past 12 and good afternoon and welcome back to mid-day on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Gary Acton Welcome Minnesota Governor. Arne Carlson is going to be touring storm damaged parts of southern Minnesota this afternoon after a tornado for tornadoes extensively damaged several southern Minnesota communities late yesterday afternoon one youngboy 6 year old Dustin Snyder was killed in the Storm at least 34 other people were injured. That's how we're going to get. The latest on the storm will be talking with Minnesota Public Radio reporters in St. Peter the center and comfrey will also be checking in with Weather Service and emergency service officials. However, we'd also like to hear from those of you who actually experience the storm yesterday. We invite you to give us a call. That number would be 2276 thousand in the Twin City area to 276 thousand outside the Twin Cities 1 800 2 For 2 to 8 to 8. If you were one of the unfortunate people who actually had to deal directly with that storm yesterday be interested to hear your account of what happened to 276 thousand or one 800-242-2828 specials with a state division of Emergency Management have been briefing reporters at the state capitol on the Storm joining us now from the capital is Minnesota public radio's Karen Louise Booth good afternoon, Karen Transportation Department of Commerce and the Department of Health what we were told by John Kerr of the division of Emergency Management is that their assessment tells them that 75% of comfrey is destroyed by the storm in St. Peter 90% of 2500 homes have either been destroyed. I have sustained damage and 95% of St. Peters business district is destroyed from the health department. We learned that Brian large facilities Healthcare facilities in nursing homes or operational with 1 exemption in St. Peter that we know of right now the Grandview Good Samaritan nursing home has been evacuated and residents. There have been relocated. We learned that the governor is in route right now from Washington while they are he was able to speak with James Witt of the Federal Emergency Management agency or FEMA. The governor is going to be seeking is federal emergency aid and we have a bill already emerging emerging here at the state legislature by a senator who is proposing that funding for state aid. So we got an overall assessment on the damage. The Red Cross obviously is also involved in housing people temporarily and feeding them, but were told by John Kerr The Emergency Management division of the state is that in long term housing is going to be a big issue when you talk about small towns and rural areas of the state are there is a shortage of long term housing stock. And so many of these people like we saw last year from the flood District are going to be seeking rebuilding and long term housing facilities 95% of St. Peters business district has been destroyed destroyed or has sustained damage in St. Peter 90% of 2500 homes have either sustained some damage or have been destroyed. So what we're told us that that state officials cannot recall a similar situation to this at least in the last 10 years. And also what we heard from those involving the insurance. Maggie Jensen of the insurance Federation of Minnesota system whole region right now is crawling with insurance agents, but she said unlike last year's flood situation. This one is different because in most cases in most cases and generally speaking most damage caused by a tornado is covered by homeowners insurance, but she recommends that people need to call their agents find out how to a file that claim and she said before anybody throws anything away take photos of their property so that they can show in fact that they did on it nice Karen Karen Louise Booth checking in from the state capitol where officials with the state division of Emergency Management have been briefing reporters on some of the damage that was done by the storm that rolled through southern Minnesota yesterday. If you're not familiar with Saint Peter, it is a picturesque town of about 208 to 10,000 people located along the men. River 12 miles Northeast of Mankato right on the edge of the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant it was as you heard devastated by the storm and joining us now from st. Peter's R Hughes High art 95% of the business district destroyed. Is that is that seem possible? Is that from what you've seen their is that true? But if you're here and you're looking at it, it's not hard to believe business owners are out boarding up windows at this hour. Some of them are doing whatever they can to shore up their business. There's one hardware store owner who attacked up plywood on through his work his plate glass windows once were and spray-painted the the word open the word open on all because you wouldn't be able to tell otherwise there is no electricity here still. It could be a matter of hours. It could be a matter of days before it was that is restored. There are brick facades laying out in the street. There are still cars overturned in parking lots of large trucks that have some that are sitting on their top. So 95% It's a it does not surprise me that I don't think anybody here working at 2 to restore sometimes kind of normal thing official Center briefing for a reporter's this morning in St. Peter. I can bring you up-to-date on on the what happened and what happens now, I also a lot of City officials kind of what their assessment is right now the situation what would a little bit information that they can get out? I guess the good news is that the city's water system is intact and in pretty good shape, but that's according to the public works director hear the bad news. Is that Electricity is off and will remain off in some parts of the city for a long time. Literally they'll have to rebuild that electrical system from the overhang over hanging wires block by block and that's no easy feat as you as I've said before you'll have to drive over electrical lines. Here's a downed electrical lines pretty much wherever you go one of the good things. I suppose if anything good can be said about this is the fact that the Gus Davis Adolphus College, which was hit so hard by the tornado would they were on spring break right? So not a lot of students Hanging Rock Does any anything that can be good that comes out of this? It's the other back in the end and a lot of the public officials and people volunteering here will say this to a major tragedy was averted in that there wasn't a high number of lost lives and injured people and social Care Credit bad to the early response system that they have in place the sirens were able to get off and people were listening to the radio and television watching television to Winona get into their basements. I talked to several people who escaped Serious injury just by doing just just ask and if you mentioned spring break at just started for the students at Gustavus Adolphus and the looks of the dormitory where those students Without their day-to-day lives. It was hard to believe they would have that would have been significant injuries from the students are there are montira's the moving into the county and asking how to help there. People here are coordinating their own little efforts and working very hard to to coordinate that what they're asking for right now and just comes from Jack Kolar the county commissioner and who's the information officer for This Disaster effort. They're asking municipalities County government city government to bring in chainsaws dump trucks and the skilled workers to help clear these roads and help get the city back online and some sense of what it was this time yesterday. I should also mention part of the press conference. Senator. Paul wellstone is here in town. He's touring some of the areas he's of course not able to stay right now whether or not there will be federal assistance, but certainly that's on people's mind and He spoke to reporters and to a crap here at the courthouse earlier today. I have already called theme of this morning. I know the governor staff is here. Everybody is working on this and we will do everything we can to get as much assistance as possible to people in St. Peter two people in the surrounding communities. And the surrounding communities to wear hardhead we can't forget about that. I should mention there's there's little picture emerging here of of how does tornado the path just took it came in Nicollet County around the city of Cortland and a touchdown by a Tiny Town by the name of North Star and then it it reach the width of a cup to 3/4 of a mile unfold 3/4 of a mile and a mode its way in the same Peter. Fortunately Nicholas are the town of Nicholas accounting their their fortunes today because somehow the tornado lifted off the ground and Skip literally skipped over the town of Nicholas before before causing so much damage here in in St. Peter the rural areas to our hard-hit. I did hear one number thrown out. These are very preliminary numbers, but in rural areas alone, there's one s From County Sheriff's office. Then damodara could be on upwards of seven million dollars and very hard to believe that they would not qualify for some kind of disaster Federal disaster believe thank you. I appreciate the report. Keep us updated. Okay sign from St. Peter Kristen. I understand you saw this funnel cloud move through your city was we had about 4. Siren warning before the tornado actually hit so that I think that help with the state keep the safety Factor there. I'm a lot more people would have been hurt if we had that much warning you think that people generally pay attention of those warnings third one and I in fact went back upstairs to get a glass of water and look out our front picture window and saw this enormous funnel cloud heading straight on our way. And that's when I definitely became a lot more serious about the whole thing and that's exactly what it sounded like there were we picked up about a Pizza Hale about the size of an orange after the whole thing happens. So with that type of hail banging against the house as well. It was an extremely frightening experience going to say what you know of for those of us who've never been through this as you're sitting in your basement in this tornado is roaring through your town. If you heard the hail, what else did you hear anyting the winds the winds were howling and it sounded almost like just a screeching of brakes and it was such a high-pitched wail, and that I really thought that our front windows were broken because you could hear this pounding just right above your head in the hole. Foundation with just shaking the Earth was shaking. Its I really I mean we I heard you saying that over 90% of the homes were destroyed or damaged were one of the lucky 10% I just had a few holes in her fighting to two stones being actually picked up and thrown at her house from the force of the wind. So it's it's amazing. I'm driving through downtown. It's it's absolutely devastating to see these How did Victorian homes that were built in the late eighteen hundreds Penner just ruthless and destroyed its it's heartbreaking. You didn't come. J Peters get well, obviously Saint Peters going to be rebuilt. No question about that, but I just got to be just a terrible thing. It is I think here is a fantastic community in that everyone is really pulling together and helping each other out then they will rebuild everyone will rebuild and I think it's making us a stronger community. Well, I'm glad to hear that at least at your house was not severely damaged in that you're okay. Don't hang up if you could please. Woman named mcchriston who called us from St. Peter one of the folks who was caught right in the middle of the big storm that rolled through southern Minnesota yesterday. If you to experience that, we would love to hear from you and get a sense of just what that what that was like to 276 thousand is our Twin City area number to 276 thousand. I'll try the Twin Cities 1 800 to +422-828-227-6000 or one 800-242-2828 after the storm roll through Saint Peter art was telling us how it it. It went through Cortland and Northstar skipped over Nicollet blasted through st. Peter it moved East and the next big Target really was the town of Lysander in Le Sueur County Brent Wolfe Jones is from the center and I understand the mobile home park in Le Center was the was the area that sell. The most damage in the center. That's right the mobile home park with the residential area that suffered the most damage there probably about 12:00 mobile homes there that are completely destroyed and it really just looks like a gigantic pile of rubble. You can't even distinguish one trailer from the next and but amazingly enough there was very little injury there. They had to a brick shelter where everybody Ran 2 and I'm too covered and that they were only two minor injuries and in the entire city and a lot of those people are now looking through the rubble trying to salvage what they can and then the cleanup is really be underway here, which is it said not as serious a situation that has both art and Kristen were describing in St. Peter but it's it's still dramatic to see people still alive. If I was a little shocked, they're even though they didn't sustain that kind of horrible damage the other a lot of people who are just sort of the standing in the in the mobile home park sort of looking at the damage and not really sure what to do. There are some National Guard Were there and they were waiting for some bulldozers and heavy moving equipment to begin to the clean it up but there are a lot of people who are talking with one another and just trying to figure out what happened and where to go from here. Thanks to keep us posted want you sure of checking in from the center where a mobile home park was hit by yesterday's storm is a Brent noted though. Although there was stantial damage to some of the mobile homes. Fortunately. Nobody was really injured. Now I Wireless Center and St. Peter residents had some warning that a tornado was bearing down on them the folks and comfrey apparently weren't quite so lucky a comfrey is west of St. Peter. So it would you got here earlier than St. Peter did in fact one of the first towns really devastated by the storm and Mark style joins us know Mark you've been in come free but they are outside the city limits now. Right right. I'm about a mile north of a country and can see the long line of cars basically waiting to get into town people who want to see what's left of their house. How bad is the damage in comfrey? Tornado really damaged. Let's say that the southeast the two-thirds of town quite heavily with a lot of the roof blown off houses and businesses. In fact of the business section seem to have taken the worst damage with some brick buildings that completely collapsed. The fire hall is completely down with with a couple of fire trucks. I'm told still inside and the elevator complex and agricultural type business. The bins were completely blown over and in many buildings there also where we're taking away. Is it true that the folks are didn't get a whole lot of warning on this to the folks in town at the fire hall to trigger the sirens and he has to make that a minute after he gave that the alert via tornado tore into town. So there was not much warning in the people were watching along with hearing on the radio and television that there was a threat for severe weather so that the although they may not have got a straightforward warning from Weather Service that they were aware of the situation and could quickly to take cover. Now you what was it 8 years ago the town in Chandler on Southwestern Minnesota got leveled by a tornado and you are around to cover that story. How does how does the damage in comfrey compared with what happened in Chandler? Don't have to say. When all was said and done about that twister, the tornado was rated, I believe in F5 which is at the top of the scale. And in Chandler houses were completely gone. There was nothing left but foundations for for many of the structures not even a scrap of wood sticking out of the foundation and Country. It's more rooftop practically every window in town seem to have been broken. Some houses are down completely, but there is there is not the clear swamp. Destruction that that was seen in Chandler, right? I don't think so. That means that the complete situation is any less critical because a house can look actually complete from the outside but it may have been Twisted cell. The foundation a roof torn off all the windows broken that it is just as not to pay to repair any Morrisville is a difference, but I guess when it's it's your house and it's destroyed or severely damaged if it probably doesn't make a lot of difference whether it's completely gone or or the roof gone or Windows not been focusing on the countryside as well be a tornado pretty much stayed on the ground taking a slight slight Northeast bearing and the catching at least a half-dozen farmsteads right in the country area and again, A lot of trees down on those farms in some cases Barnes completely collapsed roof torn off off other buildings and it apparently continued to these men and cause more damage around the lake and Skye area and quite a path of Destruction to farm country as well as to when the town will be opened up for four people to go back and forth, but I'll tear without all the restrictions currently in place and I can see a line up about the 2000 cars that slowly getting past that checkpoint the residents have to put in some sort of identification to let the authorities know that they own a home in town or a businessman are allowed in but I'm told that you know, it's not an all-day visit maybe a half hour an hour to collect personal possessions. And so to think and then they are asked again to How to leave town in what's the enforcement officials are saying is that a lot of that reason they're taking such a strict precautions is for the protection of the residents. They don't want people I know hurting themselves or you're getting in the way of some of the cleanup equipment failed to the roads are really cleared so that they can get in and Eminem really begin to clean up but he doesn't look like it'll be a situation where everybody is back in town today and then and cleaning up hard at it. So that probably will wait till tomorrow. I can appreciate you joining us supposed to Mark style checking in from comfrey Minnesota. One of the towns that was hit hard by the tornado that roll through yesterday. One of the odd things about the storm yesterday what weekly keep getting reports of material from these communities turning up. Literally, well the better part of a hundred miles away and Sherry joins us now for Minnetonka understand you actually ended up with some material from comfrey. Is that right? What what did you what did you find at home yesterday after being gone all day and we found a check on our sidewalk in front of our house and I picked it up and looked at it and told my husband. This is a check from The Peoples State Bank of comfrey and we didn't know where comfrey why so we brought it in the house and set it down in this morning. My husband said come free with hit by the tornado last night and we thought that was really interesting that a check flew all the way from comfrey amended on her sidewalks. There was a report earlier. I heard the fellow in Eagan another a Twin Cities suburb found some materials apparently from the center of public library or whatever. It's amazing. Corner of Minnetonka and I haven't heard of anything coming that far. You folks are not immune to a tornado's you certainly had your share out there on the western suburbs. Just give you some pause for concern. We were we were in Apple Valley last night and we all ran down into the basement when we heard the sirens going off in this quite a bit closer to where the storm hit like a Sherry appreciate the call checking in from Minnetonka. She found a statement from the comfrey Bank in her front yard yesterday another call her a check in from Victoria. I found some bank statements from Mountain Lake which is right over by comfrey as well way west of New Ulm yet so you can imagine how pissed off are that material actually flew We're talking this hour of the second Arbor midday program about the big storm that rolled through southern Minnesota, and of course if you if you tuned in late, the damage estimates are still being compiled, but to some sense of the scope of Devastation. Sounds like Saint Peter was hit by far the worst 95% running to State officials right now 95% of the businesses in St. Peter were damaged by the tornado that roll through St. Peter yesterday at last report 1 6 year old boy was killed in the storm and 34 people at least 34 people were injured. If you are one of the folks who are directly affected by the tornado yesterday. Would love to hear your story. Give us a call. 227-6002 276 thousand out side the Twin Cities one 800-242-2828 Now from the state capital is Senate majority to Rodger more definite Senator. I would imagine the state will be forthcoming with some special assistance for these folks. We should do obviously what there's going to be a need to get the inventory of what has taken place or the severity of the damage and then try to respond as quickly as possible. You have any idea Center how long it might take for some of that state assistance to actually start arriving? Well, I don't think that's going to take very long. I think are of the normal process at least during these natural disasters is that the governor will request a disaster declaration and then it'll be up to the federal government to declare that or not. If it is declared then that will trigger some resources, but that will take a little while we're going to We're going to be in the finance committee that was moving along and we are on to it that Provisions to do what we can as relates to This Disaster we're going to be looking at in the tax committee is accelerating the local government payments to wrap to Woody's for local unit of government St. Peter has a request in the capital budget bill for 12 million dollars. I think for a wastewater treatment. Obviously, we're going to probably very timely apartment and then I think we're going to try to get money into the department of trade and economic development for the Community Development block grants and the public facilities authority to help her with some of the local government will have do you have a special a pot of money set aside for emergencies Senator or when these things come up to do just appropriate extra money? How's that work? Intertruck with the commissioner of Finance Wayne Seminole earlier this morning and he he says they're there may be some resources left over from some from the previous stuff flood disaster accounts that we had. So we're looking at that but in terms of having resources, believe me the projected Revenue Surplus, we have we have the resources to help with this just as we've I tried to respond to the needs of the flood last spring so we will do that and it's important that we do that because there will be people people need help we should be together. I think the one other thing that they will learn in that whole area is how very generous and kind the rest of Minnesota will be in terms of time to help but respond to the personal loss that people have had thank you Senator appreciate your joining us or mole joining us. On the state capitol actually from the floor of the state senate Craig Edwards is the head of the National Weather Service Office in the Twin Cities, and he joined just now talked about yesterday's storm. Good afternoon, sir, but after the first of all the congratulations understand you folks started sending out some early advisories already on Saturday about the potential for a really nasty storm. Yeah. Hopefully we have the same opportunity for the rest of the spring to lay out the scenario that the works as well with severe weather the forecasters on Saturday and lies in the numerical up with the indicated that there was potential for severe thunderstorms and put that in the forecast on Saturday afternoon for Sunday afternoon. And then we put a severe weather outlook out at 5 p.m. Sunday morning and indicated there was potential for tornadoes in southern Minnesota and then that was reconfirm to get into statement at 12:30. So what we like to do Ideally is to get as much sleep as possible. So people through the course of the day can plan activities and determine where they need to be your where they shouldn't be in the event severe weather develops to have a storm like this in March. Is it not I mean it seems to me that the earliest is April for these kind of things 798 spring has been unusual with the warm weather. We experience in February 2nd third warmest winter on record. We knew that spring could have an early arrival so it's the bit it's early this year and fortunately we were we were on the lookout for conditions that could produce severe weather. Typically you might say well we're to let our guard down a little bit that this can't possibly happen but forecasters a pattern recognition says this is the type of situation where you have the potency for tornadoes to occur and that we were able to predict that ahead of time. What month is a rillo the biggest tornado late May and June? So well, we got a long way to go. And typically we do not have severe weather awareness week until mid-to-late April and sort of the awareness that we were in the severe weather season in this is this event here is certainly a trigger dad early this year or were there a bunch of tornadoes. Well, there was a complex thunderstorm to develop down in southwest Minnesota and wears a report. We're getting out of our office at Sioux Falls with handles the counties in southwest Minnesota indicated that they at night in front of tornadoes in the counties in Cottonwood Marie Nobles in that area as a storm roared out and Nobles County into to Cottonwood County and a brown Nicollet County. Yeah. It was a it's a monster thunderstorm on radar and to try to determine how many Tornadoes rated just sent Radars difficult, but the we have a survey team out this afternoon Todd Krause and Dan Miller have been stopping doing ground cerveza Todd just reported in said that the the wind speeds in the st. Peter tornado appear to be on the order of 170 miles an hour the storm and was Center looked a little bit weaker than that with lines of about 125 miles an hour or so. He thinks it might be two separate tornadoes. And so it's difficult to tell how many tornadoes are actually worth that on the ground at one point or whether one storm produced a single tornado. There was some speculation that they tornado that pass through st. Peter was like three-quarters of a mile wide. Is that possible that could be believable there there have been no documentation of tornadoes being at wide March typically can produce a more powerful tornadoes just do that in time the Dynamics in the atmosphere is so Do a late me in June. We look at the door for the week of variety the floor moving Friday tornadoes, but March produces the most devastating powerful tornadoes. We seen that portions of the South with the with the Georgia and Florida getting louder than horses, Illinois last week and then Minnesota jump to be like a jumped a couple States Reddit. I've got to hear thank you sir, and appreciate the early warning. Well, we we did well this time and it just a caution if people need to be tuned in and I'll be monitoring your Communications because we still feel that the there are probably gaps in the morning program that some people watching cable television not tuned into a local station might have missed missed all this event. Thank you for your help service office in the Twin City metropolitan area more talking this hour about the tornado that tore tornadoes that roll through southern Minnesota yesterday one person was All the six year old Boys 30 for at least 30 for that people were injured in the storm major major damage was reported to in the St. Peter and comfrey areas St. Peter apparently got to hit the hardest we'd be interested in hearing your report on what happened. If you are one of the unfortunate people who lived through yesterday's storm in southern Minnesota, give us a call to 276 thousand years are Twin City area number to 276 thousand. Side the Twin Cities one. 800-242-2828 Barbara conquer John just now she is a natural disaster planner with a division of Emergency Management Department of Public Safety. Good afternoon fairly unusual March storm for Minnesota do most people Are most people aware of what they're supposed to do when a tornado does strike that's debatable. It depends start of on where they are many people know that you know, when you're at home, you should go into your basement and up here. We have a lot of basements, but that's where things that if you can get into your basement. It's better to get under a piece of heavy Furniture under stairway something like that not worry so much about which corner you're in. So if if you're in your house, that's the thing to do but there's a problem you were starting to say it with people who aren't in their homes out and about in your vehicle. If you're in the shopping mall, those are kinds of places where people may be at the time of a tornado which could be Will it have yesterday the tornadoes hitting, you know what the time they did and there certain other precautions people need to take for those times and they may not be aware of those I at you know where they're at. Right? What should I do if there an automobile and there's a tornado warning out they should get out of the automobile that is not a safe place to be for finding out the automobile just get tossed around all over the place. They should get out of the automobile line a ditch. If possible cover their head protect themselves that way there in shopping mall place like that. You want to stay out of out of the way of Windows interior places are the best to go to putting as many walls between you and you and the outside as possible and the network work places should have Evacuation plan to whatever is there place for Sheltering and that might be something people want to check out are there any uniform regulations or procedures that are used in terms of when the sirens are sounded or does that vary from locality to locality that you take cover immediately you do whatever you have to protect yourself immediately how that happens in various places. We would hope that playing building their businesses that there would be some kind of way to notify people to take cover immediately to get their evacuation going immediately not to wait. Have you heard any speculation as to why it is that mobile home parks seem to be so vulnerable to these storms. They are they are they are not made for for lots of wind and that's that's a major thing that comes with any severe thunderstorm tornado etceteras wind that that in itself makes them vulnerable, even if they're even if they're tied down there still very vulnerable because of wind so much for joining us. We appreciate it. Thank you with the division of Emergency Management. She's a natural disaster planner with a division. That's a division of the Department of Public Safety. We have all received word that that all highways into St. Peter remain barricaded for today tonight. And on into tomorrow Minnesota Department of Transportation officials. Note that US Highway 169 State Highway 22, + 99. + all secondary roads are officially closed to traffic until further notice because of the severe storm damage in and around the Saint Paul St. Peter area of the state patrol is working with a National Guard at this evening to restrict access to St. Peter MN. Cruise have set up alternative routes. If you're traveling in that area all travelers though should plan ahead to use alternative routes and avoid the storm damaged areas including the town of comfrey which is a way is west of St. Peter. But of course was also hit hard by the storm, but not. And I'm enjoying just now from St. You don't understand Lynette that Gus Davis Adolphus officials have been talking with reporters about the damage at the college sustain. But they do realize that they're going to be closed for at least a week. If not, too they seem to think that they will be able to get themselves together gatherer alumni if possible anybody they can to bring the campus together and repair the damage that's been done. Most of the windows have been blown out. Of course. Everybody's been talking about the spire on the chapital that's been that was torn down of the president of the college that says you're the Spire. Yes, it may be symbolic for the destruction, but it will be rebuilt and he seems to think that that is the spirit of the campus and he's positive will happen soon learn that we had to call her here to our Studios who wanted to know just how alumnus I can help did the college officials have much information on that, you know, it's still too early. They hope to be getting that kind of information out soon. And of course, it's really hard to people when they actually come and help they can't because as we know the roads are blocked and so it will be sometime I think right now probably it's better for people to just sit tight for a bit. There be there are cruise out there that are working to remove trees debris and probably others will be able to come in and do some Hands-On work as well as the most amazing bit of information that we have come across yet. This hour we received right at the beginning of the hour 95% of the businesses in St. Peter were destroyed in the store and according to State officials. Can you give us some what's that like and what's it look like they're in the time major damage has been done windows out of roofs ripped off and now your roof that worked damage last night are now thinking and two buildings and the the bricks are just kind of screw. Call about falling apart tin roofs, of course or completely demolished and wrapped around different other kinds of structures left standing the downtown. Main Street area is still standing so to speak it hasn't been leveled but these are old buildings and they don't really withstand the kind of winds that these This Tornado brought through some of the other buildings just a few streets in from there that still part of the downtown area. It's absolutely kind of unbelievable that it says and I talked to some Cruise you just said look it in said definitely there's really no way to repair these structures, especially the Catholic church that I like a giant boulder that has just been thrown through the name from side to side and left a gaping hole and everything. It just wrecked in its path. You spent the storm in the basement. Did you not What I asked a caller from St. Peter earlier this hour who went through the same thing what it what it sounded like as you were sitting in the basement can what what it sound like to you and I wasn't really sure what what it was people have been talking about softball-size hail. And I thought boys that's softball size headlight. I don't really know what the hell is but the wind was tremendous and things knocking against the walls and I think the most memorable moment was just wondering that. You know, how am I going to get rid of this pressure in my ears wondering wait a minute. I'm not fine 33 30,000 feet above sea level. So what it was his pressure in my head and then when it when it was gone, the tornado is gone. Are you scared? Definitely. I was quite terrified and not really knowing what to do and no one to stay in the basement. But is it over people were talking on the radio? We heard reports that there were others tornado touchdown that we're coming and we didn't really know if it was safe to be outside in that we wanted to know what had happened and eventually just ventured outside and kept on going rate supposed to thank you very much one of our reporters on the scene of the big storm that rolled through southern Minnesota yesterday checking in from St. Peter and I specifically reporting on the little press conference that officials at Gustavus Adolphus College held at this morning or this afternoon rather go stay that's one of the areas. So in St. Peter that was hit particularly hard Maggie Jensen joins us now. She's communications director for the insurance Federation of Minnesota. Good afternoon. Hi Gary, thanks for thanks for joining us. A lot of people obviously have been affected by the storm does their regular homeowners insurance cover the damage generally speaking most homeowners insurance policies should cover damage inflicted by a tornado. However policies vary from policyholder to policyholder and it's really important that you understand exactly what the coverage is that you bought and therefore to find your policy if you can or check with your agent and find out exactly what coverages you have as a rule what is obviously I would assume personal property is covered or is that up in the air personal property would be covered. But again see when people make that decision to buy a policy they met at the time make decisions to exclude certain covered is because they don't think they'll really need them or they Don't think that if that particular items were to be damaged. It would really causing that my charger to replace it or whatever the thought process might be and sometimes we make decisions based on how much a policy coverage costs or how much we do not want to spend or do want to spend and then when the time comes around we find out that perhaps we have more coverage than our neighbor did because we went ahead and bought as much coverage as we could get or we have less coverage because we didn't feel we needed it but need to go down a block of homes in any one of these towns and probably find from home to home. Their coverages are different insurance coverage dovetail with any federal or state The Disaster Assistance that might be available because this is not a flood and homeowners insurance does not cover flooding that a lot of this damage should be probably covered by Commercial Insurance. And because of that then I think that would be factored into how much damage is unrecoverable and how much assistance people need be on what their insurance policies provide them and agents typically advise people to buy coverage that is a replacement policy. In other words, if it would cost $150,000 to replace your hundred and $25,000 house. Then your insurance will pay, you know, a hundred fifty will actually 80% of the replacement cost is the standard term. How fast can the people who are covered how fast can they expect to get some assistance from the through their insurance policy and they have a computerized system that will enable and gestures to write checks on the spot. Now that's not going to be the case with every company but insurance companies are really just pouring Personnel into that area the bigger companies and and even the not so big companies are set up for this kind of thing. They have a catastrophe plans. They had catastrophe teams. I'm understanding that catastrophe adjusters or being called in from all over the country to come to Minnesota and I'll look at the damage in in our state so that site right now is crawling with insurance people lot different than the floods up in the Red River Valley last year when nobody had flood insurance as much as they could. Expedite the claim payments on other kinds of coverages that could kick in in a flood situation, but lots of times it was, you know, a few thousand here in a few thousand there and not really what the people needed to replace a lost car key Maggie good talking with you. Thank you Maggie Johnson of his communications director for the insurance Federation of Minnesota. Where's the town of Chandler in Southwestern Minnesota was devastated by a tornado back in 1992 about two-thirds of the Town suffered damage and some 48 homes were completely destroyed Elvis is Chandler's city manager and this morning he told Minnesota Public Radio Sperry finale that in the aftermath of a tornado. It's almost there. It's most important rather to focus on the needs of residents. I know we had the state people come in and asked, you know why we didn't build the city hall right away in and our first the city council we met in temporary quarters in the fireman's meeting room. And our first obligation was to get the people halfway back to normal many many homes are totally destroyed quite a few had heavy damage right number of them had moderate damage. I think there's 9 homes in the community that didn't need repair and the our first goal was to get the people, you know back into their homes or into a home or you know, try to get them back to normal and after that our second goal was to list to get the businesses, you know up and going again. This is 8 years later has the has the city pretty much rebuilt itself our communities 106 years old, but we actually have a new old Community if you follow that everything is all been rebuilt. How much have you spent? I think we're we're on the 14 million dollars on the entire program. That's that's the for the city infrastructures for the city parks anything to do with a city expenses the businesses in and the homes were when the 14 million dollar range has caused damage across the broad part of the state think that it'll be more difficult that will make it more difficult for a single Community to rebuild. No, I don't think so, you know their stuff when it comes to communities whether you're a small community of medium sized Community or a large community. It's going to depend upon the resiliency of the people themselves. And and the Ark experience is that when you have major situations like we did, you know, isn't it was a natural disaster the outpouring of of help and support is is phenomenal question. What what piece of advice would you have for cities like st. Peter in Lonsdale, which have been hit so hard what would I would suggest to people like that is first of all, you know as individuals and as families and there's a community pool together absolutely pull together and and work together. There's there's going to be lots of healing done as far as individuals are concerned and people are you know, they just First thing that happens when pool shock and then they kind of go through another time, you know where that's kind of a people get angry or they get there. They go on the defense or and then it gets it just kind of a thing that the that the human person has to go through and I think the basic support that these people need is is not only physical but also moral support. This is this is an area where the community churches in the community church leaders really play a big part Alves who is the city manager of Chandler Minnesota talking this morning with Minnesota public radio's Perry finale Chandler and Ledges out in Southwestern. Minnesota was hit by a tornado in 1992 virtually leveled and if memory serves the first two reports of this big storm that started rolling through southern Minnesota first reports came from the Chandler area. Most of the damage was done in the comfrey in St. Peter areas Governor. Arne Carlson will be touring the storm area this afternoon and you can expect continuing coverage here on Minnesota Public Radio of the storm and its aftermath that doesn't for midday today Gary I can hear. Thanks so much for tuning in. 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