Midday presents a special report on the tornadoes that went through southern Minnesota and destroyed large parts of St. Peter and Comfrey. MPR reporters give updates on aftermath, followed by various interviews and accounts from listeners.
This program is part two of a 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 11 Good morning. This is midday on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Gary eichten glad you could join us. I wasn't the minnesotans are picking up the pieces this morning trying to patch together their Holmes band for that matter their lives St. Peter comfrey Townsend Farms across a wide stretch of southern Minnesota are trying to recover today from the tornado or tornadoes that roll through southern Minnesota on Sunday to people were killed three dozen others were injured in the storm 90% of the homes in St. Peter 75% of the homes and comfrey were apparently destroyed or severely damaged hundreds of business has been damaged in both X and large numbers of farms in rural areas were damaged or destroyed as well today two days after the storm rain and cold temperatures are adding to the misery of people who don't have any power. That's our on. Midday. We're going to check in with our reporters in St. Peter. Comfrey will also be inviting those of you who endure the storm to give us a call this morning. We would be very interested in hearing your story. So we do hope you'll be able to give us a call or Twin City area number is 227-6002 276 thousand. Side the Twin Cities. The number is one 800-242-2828. Hoping to hear from some of you who had to put up and and do her the big tornado that rolls through southern Minnesota on Sunday to 276 thousand or one 800-242-2828 horse lot of attention is focused on Saint Peter a town of 10,000 people along the Minnesota River which was devastated by the storm. And so the public radio is Lynette, and I'm enjoying just now I'm saying Peter. Good morning. I would imagine the weather is just one more complication one more ugly thing to have to deal with Sam Cooke put it on put my cap on and then try and trudge through some of the debris that's out there and make my way around the town. It's really hard to do because not only is there still lots of debris falling trees power lines remaining throughout the city the dumpster trucks. There are numerous dumpster trucks trying to take away thing. So you've got to be peeing all over backwards and forwards and the the the National Guard of course is still on site trying to keep people away from the major areas where the crews are working to remove lots of these trees. I know it's people talk a lot about you no trees and tornadoes, but it's really just heartbreaking to see these 3 feet in diameter tree trunks just loaded up on these trucks and going off and it's never to be seen again maybe or at least not for some years to come. I know access to the town has been limited now. Is there still alive? Does it still appear to be a problem with a lot of gawkers in St. Peter? I'm kind of wondering why are they driving around and they may be wondering the same about me of course, but and they're stopping and taking pictures and and these kinds of things and I don't really know if they're local residents or if they've been able to get in from outside of maybe some people just don't really know what to do or where to go or how to make sense of what's happened any idea when that where all these people are staying a lot of people are staying with friends in the in the basement of homes of those who did not receive any major damage. I know just up from me here around the other side there. Is there several homes that were completely destroyed and one of those families is actually staying in the basement of my landlord who was right behind me. So it's all really closely connected like that where you have Neighbors saying he'll come in bring your whole family and others. Of course, you're staying outside of town with people say in Mankato or other nearby towns that we're not really hit power problems. I suppose our are pretty persistent is Greta was recording. A lot of people don't have any power down comforters are out of the closet again, and we thought maybe it was over that. We were moving right into a a warmer season a butt. So it looks like that's not the case and now with very intermittent phone use I'm probably one of the lucky few that has pretty regular phone use, although I've heard that people are having trouble calling in and most other people in town and do not have phones and I don't really know what they're going to do. I know that crews are working to restore power lines to restore of hello. Running and power to this entire city, but I think it's going to be some time before everybody is up and running from St. Peter. By the way. St. Peters City officials are a briefing reporters and are fuses. What was also in St. Peter covering. The story is going to be joining us a little later this hour with all the latest official information from say Peter. Meanwhile, the small town of comfrey course was the other community that was hit so hard by the tornado on Sunday and Minnesota Public Radio. SmartStyle has been in come free and they in the surrounding the area checking out the damage and joins us now morning Mark. Well, I bet you need short what's going on today are people trying to rebuild just still in shock what's happening? I think today compared to Tomorrow there's much more activity in town in that the people are being allowed into town all day until 6 this evening. The officials are issuing temporary passes good until 6 this evening. So homeowners can really get into their house and then really start cleaning up cleaning up debris clearing away tree branches attacking a sheets of plywood over broken windows generally picking up debris and hear the sound of a lot of generators around town this morning as the individuals that have brought those into to power their cleanup efforts in the chainsaws and a dump trucks and heavy front-end loaders. Also moving about I suppose just like saying Peter a big problem being a lack of a lack of power and That's right. Can you hear me? Okay there mark. Yeah, there was a problem in the gas meters are all set out. There is no water in town. They spoke with Dwayne Harrison of the state Emergency Management agency. Here comes another dump truck and he said that he doesn't expect they'll be any electricity until at least Thursday morning and then probably just four spots in town, maybe some water service restored this evening, but nobody will be allowed or will be asked not to drink that until they can test it to make sure that it's okay for for household use and in any regard. He said no residents will be allowed to spend the night tonight and comfrey he said at 7 tonight to tell him turns into a ghost town again. It's only security officials in town and possibly later this week. Then the residents can start staying in town again, at least those whose houses were not severely damaged. Where are the people staying Hoover? Well, if they're not in comfrey, where do they go? most of them have stayed with relatives or friends in the town of Springfield. I think deserves a big pat on the back of many private homes in Springfield have been open to those storm victims in Anniston. They're staying there. There was some talk yesterday that the people of comfrey might not be rebuild their Town. It doesn't sound that way at all that sounds like good people are going about their business trying to get everything rebuilt. We doing anything but rebuilding I think the attention will be focused on some of the businesses to see if they stay open and especially the high school will be a major problem. It reminds me a lot of what happened in Chandler after the tornado there six years ago there school eventually closed down, but they have a high school in comfrey and the roof is torn off and looking at it right now. There's a relay tower on top that that is crumpled and what they're going to do about the school situation will be a real key factor in the future of the song. I believe. I know you've also been out and about and not a rule area is in the countryside around comfrey. What's that? Like a lot of farms suffered major damage in the storm or not too bad. I think it's not as much as much as income for yourself. Some Farms of the houses are destroyed many have some buildings down many have extensive tree damage that it is just blocking and clogging activities and then other Farms who were not touched in any way by the Twister at least they're building are going to find that we have a real cleanup problem in their field because there's so much debris strewn through the farm field clear all events going to have to be picked up before tractor can plow this ringing before the seedbeds can be prepared to Farmers have the double problem. Not only in some cases were their homes damaged. But of course that's their business to so they really have a double whammy hear the people in comfrey up say that beginning at noon today. And this would also go for farms in the area who may need cleanup volunteers, but they all begin accepting volunteers. Income free later today and then probably more tomorrow. They're asking anyone interested in volunteering to dial. This number is is in Command Post air and comfort. That number is 507-877-4069. And they are asking volunteers coming by the busload. They want to they would rather not have individual coming by car. But you know to assemble the cool volunteer the same coming by the busloads to to come Pre-K. And what was that number again? 507-877-4069 Alright, keep us posted Mark. Thanks. Mark Stiles checking in from comfrey Minnesota small town. That was hit very very hard by Sunday's tornado. If you're listening to us now, and you are one of the folks who endure the tornado on Sunday. We'd love to hear your story. Love to find out just what your plans are Lauren and Anna like give us a call are Twin City area number is 227-6000 at stage 1 City number to 276 thousand the toll-free line from outside the Twin Cities, which would apply in most instances instances one 800-242-2828 2276 thousand or one 800-242-2828 as we continue our coverage of the tornado that the roll through southern Minnesota on Sunday up to put your story on the air and we do hope you'll be able to give us a call. The story is coming out of St. Peter. Of course as you might expect appropriately enough have focused largely on the people involved the people who were affected but there's something more at stake in St. Peter and that is the unique historical character of the of the city of St. Peter and a lot of those a lot of that character. Apparently. He was literally Blown Away on Sunday dinner is set against a joint disease with a state historic preservation office. Good morning, sir. Good morning. St. Peter was not like most towns was it? Well St. Peters one of those river towns in Minnesota and I think our river towns are special just because I'm so much has so much of the state doesn't have direct river access and we have a number of towns along the Mississippi and along the Minnesota that really are very special places in St. Peter was certainly one of those give us an idea what to say the Summit Hill Crocus Hill area of st. Paul in terms of stately old Mansions of big trees in the rest of that pretty accurate when the city was laid out in the 1850s the founders of the town really thought that they would be able to have the state capital moved to Saint Peter because it was a more central location in St. Paul and so on that was killed during the territorial. Of Minnesota and they had hope that they would accomplish that now that never was never realized but when they were laying out the town when they were laying out the streets the parks I just Overall overall organization of the community that's the kind of vision they had in mind who settled. St. Peter Hurley townsite companies were settled by a group of investors who formed the company and plaid the town and sold Lots. They had River Transportation and early on it attracted both the state hospital and the Gustavus campus. So it was sort of a special town from fairly early on because it wasn't just a county seat of it also had all of those institutions. Were there a lot of officially declared a historic buildings in St. Peter buildings that are listed on the national register and then a fairly large area of downtown that was actually in the works for being designated a historic district. And I think the collection of historic buildings down there is really rich. We've got a real good set of Civic buildings on early schools a couple of really important early churches from the 1870s. A number of homes that are designated on the national register including the homes of two of Minnesota's Governors and then some commercial buildings specific commercial buildings in the downtown as well as the commercial District. I'm going to think what's what's really interesting is that a lot of these buildings due date from 1850s 60s 70s 80s through the turn of the century. So it's a good collection of late 19th century buildings in southern Minnesota. What do you do when a building like that is damaged. Do you try to rebuild it restore it in some way or do you just give it up at 4 for lost will probably some will have the first treatment and some will have the second. It depends on the extent of damage. Of course in some cases. It depends on the significance of the building and the cost. Obviously that's a factor and we're going to be having a team that's going to be going down. Hopefully tomorrow morning to take a look at as many of the buildings as we can and come up with at least some plenary recommendations. We know that probably some of them are going to be lost we are in Buy some of the others understand the other areas including an area around Country Escape damaged interesting laying out there was one historic building in the city of comfrey that was actually moved out of comfrey on several years ago to a collection of historic buildings in curry on there's a group of citizens and Curry that have assembled the number of railroad related buildings on a museum site there and so the original section house from the city of comfrey does survive. It's just been relocated. Thank you, sir. Appreciate you joining us. You're welcome Dennis Kim stand who is with the state historic preservation office coverage continuing this hour on her midday program of the aftermath of the tornado or tornadoes that rolled through southern Minnesota on Sunday and again an invitation to those of you who Were affected by the storm. If you would like to join us. We sure would love to hear from you. Give us a call or out State toll free number is one 802-422-8282 21 800-242-2828. If you're calling the Twin City number that is to 276 thousand, we should know it by the way that about a hundred and thirty National Guard members remain on active duty in comfrey in St. Peter. The National Guard today is send a kitchen trailer and six soldiers to serve food income for a serving will begin at about noon today. The guard also continues to provide security and traffic control in both comfrey and St. Peter about 80 National Guard troops are in St. Peter 50 more income Freight guard is also open the st. Peter National Guard training at Community Center to provide temporary shelter for people the center is also serving meals the same Peter residence. The officials of the National Weather Service as you might expect are still analyzing the storm The Weather Service says it appears that a single supercell thunderstorm was responsible for the tornadoes, but it's not clear exactly. How many tornadoes are actually were I miss our public radio's built at Catlin traces the storm's path through Minnesota National Weather Service forecast for saw trouble as early as Saturday afternoon forecast mention severe thunderstorms and then possible tornadoes Craig Edwards meteorologist in charge of the Twin Cities office says early Sunday afternoon the federal Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma weighed in with a tornado watch for southern Minnesota is a warning for this is a particularly dangerous situation with very damaging tornadoes possible. And we continue to watch the radar light up real rapidly about 2:30 the thunderstorms exploded in the metro area quickly within a matter of half hour. Producing a hail up the marble and dime sized and end as we are concentrating on the metro area. We were watching these thunderstorms develop over over Southwest Minnesota the southwestern Minnesota storms were part of a supercell thunderstorm known to spread for miles and last 4 hours the supercell storm may have gotten fuel from warm moist Gulfstream air, which reached this far north earlier in the year than usual a tornado spawn in this meteorological Brew slam the small town of comfrey in Brown County preliminary Weather Service reports put the time at 4:35 the winds destroyed the fire station city Liquor Store a church in a cafe gas leaks Forest residence to evacuate fire chief Mark Warner says he decided to sound the warning sirens only a minute or less before the tornado hit literally had I had another one of my spotters who's coming in called to cell phone or call Donna cell phone to our fire station and turn relay the message that there was damage to the southwest of us and it looked extensive. I made a decision at that time to activate the siren the civil defense Sirens over the next hour of the storm chug east-northeast bearing down on St. Peter along the way tornadoes were sighted in hanska Cambria Cortland and three locations Nicollet County in the Twin Cities. Julie going to have been keeping track of the storm on the radio and graphic artist with a growing interest in photography. She thought the storm sounds like a great opportunity to take some dramatic shots. She hopped in her Honda and headed south just on the outskirts of St. Peter. She found the storm a mere few blocks away and Too Close for Comfort when she headed back to the main Highway. She took a wrong turn and headed south towards the storm and saw that it was much bigger than it was at the moment Pryor and I could see Power Lansing snap. I can see the blue the blue light pops and I realize that this is definitely a tornado that I was in its path and I couldn't go south. The South the tornado was in the process of destroying more than 500 Saint Peter Holmes and damaging 1700 more the winds blew out windows at Gustavus Adolphus College and topple the chapel Spire a campus parking lot became a junkyard with about fifty battered cars tossed about at the north end of town. Julie going says she never saw the typical funnel cloud, but she turned around at the first chance at that point. I realized I was on the perimeter of the periphery of the I guess Vortex because I could see the debris flying in front of me and it was going from left to right basically getting my car and pushing me off and I can hear the Thundering continuous thundering sounds that was just absolutely loud going so she reached 80 or 90 miles an hour in a desperate effort to get away. I was Beyond frightened I was just like I was petrified. I was just I had to get out of there and it was like the only thing on my mind I was too afraid to look back because I was right that would be brought them right behind me and You know and I didn't I didn't really calm down for probably going to our door. I really notices the the pressure or you're going in an airplane or something really really a vacuum in arrears. Big Time Frank Weber manages the Country Kitchen restaurant located on the North End of downtown Saint Peter. He's a lifelong resident of the area but it says he's never experienced a tornado before we've been monitoring the weather on the radio and the storm gather that afternoon he went out periodically to check the sky. He says the siren blue and he came back in and calmly told the 75 or so patrons to be ready to head for safety in the kitchen. He says the siren blue for about 20 minutes and went back outside and I don't really see a tornado but you could see it was as dark as a ace of spades. And I came in and I told everybody we got to start moving right now. And there was a few people that says can we take our food with us? Anna Anna but we did get back to the kitchen and look at that time state. Senator. Jim vickerman of Tracy hailed Weber is a hero for his action vickerman was one of the customers who took shelter in the kitchen got real quiet and then all at once so I just heard like a womp womp. I can still remember that I left up in the roof just moved and it did Twisted it stayed on and then it was quiet and then he told us to stay in there not to come out until he looked electricity wires. It's almost completely dark everything was covered with glass and I noticed particularly Glass glasses sitting on the table or just pulverized within minutes of the destruction in St. Peter tornadoes hit Lee Center in Le Sueur County 10 or 15 miles away Mariah Carey Factor describe, the southern third of the town is devastated 100 to 150 people have to find shelter after the tornado ravaged. The trailer court asked to describe the scene chief. Pretty sure of Randy Tuma doesn't even pause. It looks like we're a bomb into that is a trucking firm that's levelled on the outskirts of town. There's an industrial park in that was severely hit the respiratory off National Weather Service officials estimate winds in Lee Center at 150 miles an hour and say the tornadoes footprint might be as wide as a quarter-mile the sperm produced One More tornado report at 6:20 p.m. In Lonsdale and Rice County the last entry in the National Weather Service preliminary storm report occurs. Nearly four hours after it All Began 638 Farmington in Dakota County Hale and inch and 3/4 in diameter Greg Edwards of the National Weather Service says this could signal the start of a long season. We still got a lot of spring to go yet. That's what concerns us it so we haven't even hit April yet. So what we get April and May to go with severe storms hitting Minnesota Edward says indirectly Sunday storms, maybe the downside of the mild winter El Nino help the Stow on Minnesota from Minnesota Public Radio my milk at 1. Haven't even gotten April yet. Once again, if you're one of the folks unfortunate folks who had to endure the tornado on Sunday. Would love to hear from you today give you a better idea what that was all about and plans to rebuild and the rest of what your neighbors are going through what you're going through give us a call number is 227-6000 and the Twin City area to 276 thousand outside the Twin Cities 1 800 to +422-828-227-6004 1 800-242-2828 talking this hour about the storm that rolled through southern Minnesota on Sunday, and we will continue our special coverage in just a minute. I'm going to Benson inviting you to tune in for all things considered will catch up on the day's news from national public radio news in Washington on Korva Coleman conversation instead of saying bead they say bee And contemplate your future the mole rats are almost a vision of what might happen where our place might be taken by mammal better suited to survival fitted weekdays at 3 on Minnesota Public Radio k n o w FM 91.1 in the Twin Cities one of those gray matters documentaries, you'll recall these are the award-winning documentaries that take a look at how the brain works and today's focus is on something called and neural musicology specifically music and the Brain interact turns out that there are people who believe that the music and make you smarter. Some cases music is used to treat diseases like Alzheimer's no question. If there is affects people differently music does sometimes feel so happy when you hear a piece of music. Sometimes so sad whatever will take a look at all of that and a whole lot more over the noon hour today a new documentary on music and the Brain coming up over the noon hour. As part of our midday program adding to all the misery that the folks down in southern Minnesota have to wrestle with the course today's weather stead of nice sunny weather or warm weather to help with the cleanup folks in southern Minnesota are facing rain and cold weather affect. There's a snow advisory in effect for southwestern Minnesota the far Southwestern Corner State this afternoon and early this evening and a winter storm watch remains in effect for West Central and Northeastern Minnesota tonight and tomorrow Northern Minnesota pretty nice sunny skies through the afternoon, but rain will move into Central Minnesota this afternoon changing over to snow in West Central and Southwestern Minnesota thunderstorm is possible down in the Southeastern Corner Don around the Rochester, Winona. Highest today mid-thirties in the southwest of the upper 40s in Northwestern Minnesota tonight to snow will be increasing in West Central and Northeastern Minnesota good chance for rain in Southern Minnesota and possibly some snow as well with lowest mid-twenties to the lower 30s and then tomorrow snow in the Northeast with the lights. No elsewhere across the area some blowing and drifting is possible tomorrow with high temperatures in the thirties the Twin City forecast calls for rain fairly brisk winds this afternoon with highs upper thirties to near forty rain and snow in the cities tonight with a low in the low 30s and then tomorrow 60% chance of snow in the Twin Cities strong winds tomorrow with highs 35 to 40 right now around the area. Louis has a partly cloudy Sky 38° Houghton with a cloudy Sky 42 st. Cloud light rain 36 Rochester light rain 39, Sioux Falls. Snow in 32 in the Twin City temperature is 37° and we have light rain in the Twin Cities this hour on our midday program. We're continuing our coverage of the tornado that roll through southern Minnesota on Sunday and get an invitation to those of you who endure the storm. If you'd like to join our conversation would love to hear your story. Give us a call to 276 thousand in the Twin City metropolitan area to 276 thousand outside the Twin Cities. You can reach us toll-free at 1 800-242-2828. St. Peter officials have been briefing reporters and all the latest cleanup efforts in St. Peter Minnesota Public Radio reporter Hart Hughes join just now good morning art specials on is that things seem to be what where is Quite a bit of confusion this time yesterday as each agency was trying to coordinate their own efforts. Now those agencies seem to be working up much more together and things are at least in this emergency situation things are moving forward at a at a slow but very positive pace and the Spree crews are continuing very much the same as yesterday the trouble today, of course is the weather. It's a lot colder than it was yesterday. There's also rain that makes a miserable job even worth and so a lot of the crew is outside or having to work in very damp and it's it's even Breezy so that it's a really miserable day today to be out there doing this kind of work. Also people are concerned because temperatures are expected to go down below freezing tonight. And so without any power here, there's a lot of homes. Without heat without cooking and that is a that is a main concern the hospital officials here are gradually bringing up their service to the community room by room literally their clinic now apparently has power to a generator and their emergency room is open, but they don't even have the the hospital rooms themselves where patients are those are all empty and they can't take any new Critical Care patients at the hospital here because they just have no power. We were talking earlier about the people where they're staying and she said in most cases people have been taken in by their neighbors. What about the people who don't have any place to go or where any idea where they're being sent to? The various places there's a the Armory here is turned into a Red Cross shelter and there are a few people staying there others as one that mentioned their neighbors both in St. Peter and and outlying areas. There are other people I know on the campus that there were some students here, even though it was spring break and those students are being held in it where ever I seen offices with a bed rolls out on the floor any building that is has a roof over her head and can keep the water out the serves as the makeshift shelter for folks. What about the volunteer situation of income free. They've actually can send out a call for volunteers same situation in St. Peter order there appeared to be enough people to at least get the cleanup on your way. It's underway, but I think people in St. Peter certainly appreciate the response of volunteer that they've got so far and are certainly not going to close the lid on that. They're very appreciative of the people coming here. And if you look at the amount of work that needs to be done if it's going to take even with numerous volunteers, it's going to take months from here to get the sound back in shape. So this immediate after certainly the more hands the better. I talked with earlier. I talked with some high school students from Mankato West High School who volunteered and the three busloads of them came up here and there were so many of them. They made a big line outside the volunteer Center and they just said look to study group yourself off and walk around the neighborhood to tell you find somebody that needs help and it's not hard to do if there's a People hear out of their yard still in this miserable weather standing in the mud falling trees getting shingles off of their lawn trash trying to keep the rain from coming in there home that they've got any kind of roof for structural damage. So there's a there's a lot of neat roads into st. Peter are closed right people being diverted around the town. Conservative estimate for opening that road of 169 is the main north-south route through st. Peter and state patrol call an emergency officials here. Don't think that's going to be open anytime before they 6 or 7 tomorrow night even even then it may not open. It depends on a lot of things they're concerned about people coming in and using up the the limited amount of resources. They have there is no you can't even only one gas station open here in St. Pete and they're only open because they have a very strong generator. So getting the basics is a very difficult task and they don't want to have to do that for any other also. There's a problem of them. There's a slight problem. You know, the National Guard is here. They still have about fifty troops. So I'm helping out with traffic and patrols those type of thing and I talked with the police chief earlier and he said that there was a slight problem with looting as you can imagine windows are blown out and in the downtown businesses and some of those valuable things exposed to the elements quite literally and there was a problem last night with some looting and they were able to detect that and arrest the individuals of all people supposed to do our thanks a lot radio reporter are used in from St. Peter part of our continuing coverage of the storm. We've got a couple collars on the line folks who've had some first-hand knowledge of what this is all like at Glen. Thank you for calling in this morning. Good morning. Gustavus student graduating senior who's on vacation down in Florida and we had just come back from Florida are cells actually and heard the news and and drove down to check out her apartment. She was down there with five other singers and Department itself was in surprisingly good shape. It's right on the Main Street in St. Peter and right across from the store is worse than extensive damage has been done but apart from some minor water damage and things strewn about the apartment everything else going to be in pretty good shape. We then went up to the to the campus and had a chance to walk all over the camp at the Cathay of us and it was a very sad that site that's a once beautiful and pristine place was just screwin with trees and and broken glass and It was a desolate that time to just walk through there and and see the amazing amount of work is going to have to be done to rebuild that the campus and one of the questions that I had. I've been hearing that the initial reports that the school reopen in one to two weeks. And you know Layman's observations. It just seemed to be impossible that could happen with about 70% of the windows seemingly blowing out and a lot of roof damage done and see. The buildings and I'm just wondering if there's any other source of information regarding when that campus will reopen and that whether there's any going to be any electronic information set up on the internet for students can contact information centers to get more clarity on that. Well, I don't know the answers to your questions on the Lanai. I'm guessing that we're going to hear more from Gustavus Adolphus officials soon, but I don't know the answers to your questions right now get the report. Let's move on to another caller Deborah things crawling in this morning. I understand that you are where you in come free with a tornado roll through my husband's 98 year old grandmother died and we were having a family visitation at the funeral home in comfrey when we received a call that the tornado was coming. So we tried to make it a block to Faith Lutheran Church and some of us made it there and some of us didn't the funeral home didn't have a basement. So that's the reason we tried to make it to the church basement what happened to the people who didn't get to the basement. Well, actually my husband and my two daughters and I were among those that didn't make it right away. My husband grabbed her toddler and barely made it in and my five-year-old daughter and I were out on the line of the church getting blown around and my husband got back out again and we saw him kind of blowing around on the yard also and there was just this momentary silence and quiet and the wind stop for just a moment and the three of us ran in and we got in the church basement. There are others my husband's aunt and uncle couldn't get in the church. So they spent the time in their car and other people had were in the car and so it was really an awful time. Well, I guess so you work you are out in the aisle caught out in that in the tornado also did not have a basement and it seemed safer to go to the church with the basement and just going that block the warning the phone didn't go off until we were in the car going to the to the church. So I guess is that would people had about 40 seconds of of warning it's hard to no time for this and still but it was a very short. Of time to get someone had called to the funeral home and said that a tornado had happened west of town. So that's why people are starting to leave thinking that it would be better to go to a place with a basement which is why we got in her vehicle to go that block to the church. Did you actually see the funnel cloud on my girls and trying to keep them, but my husband did see as we were going toward the church and rest of buildings being lifted up. It seems that in that first initial stage that there was damage and some roast started going off. And then once there was that little, I guess some people describe is kind of the eye of the does the storm there that after we got down into the church basement. That's when the worst damage took place when the Steeples started falling in the cracks in the top of the the church with the severe damage. So it we didn't actually see the final but we saw the roast started to fly off. Any idea how long the whole experience took that because when we just got in our car by the funeral home and we guessed it took us about 40 seconds to get from there to the church and my husband might my five-year-old and I were on the salon as long as we were just getting blown around as long as it took him to bring our toddler down into the church basement and get back out again, but it wasn't a very long. Of time. I think a lot of people kind of Wonder to themselves no G, what would I do if I got caught out in a in something like this? Did your does your experience tell you anything about what you would tell them stay where you are a run for it? Montera did you know logically, it seemed like the safe thing to go to go to the nearby building with the basement for people did stay in the funeral home on the last ones out didn't they decided to stay there? And actually the funeral home is one of the few remaining buildings in comfrey it made it through and they made it through. Okay, the four people who stayed in there, you know, I don't know if it seemed like the logical thing to do and but I don't know if you can spend a lot of time second-guessing yourself. That's for sure. I would imagine you've ever been through anything quite like this. I've been gone through there, but nothing like this. It's real hard with with children trying to explain this to them and we had some cuts and bruises and You know just trying to explain that what it is and you know, they're very especially the five year old is very nervous about the weather right now. Do they do they talk about it or we were out at my husband's firm, which is 3 miles outside of comfrey and that didn't get head at all which is so amazing that didn't get hit we didn't have power but because the whole Transformer was gone, but you know people would call the phone work people would call and everyone wanted to hear the story and and my five-year-old daughter said I don't want to hear this anymore. It was very hard for her. And she said when she went to school today, we live in Minneapolis that she was just going to tell them that her great grandma died and she went to the funeral and she was in a tornado and she wasn't going to answer any questions and she lost her shoe her. She was actually one off and I lost my person. She's kind of focusing in on it even took my shoe. So we're going to try and make a event out of going out and buying her some new shoes about Mom and Dad. How are you dealing with this evening on the kids in this morning? We stopped at a coffee shop and had coffee and it was our first time to be alone and to talk about it. And yeah, they definitely minutes heart because comfrey Minnesota was just in the 20 years that I've been with my husband and that's just an amazing talent and it's just it's hard because they've been trying to hang on to their school and their main street in by my husband's classmates live in that area and they've just really they had the hospital until just a few years ago and 8 bed hospital and it's just a time with so much Community Spirit wonderful people and you just feel so awful for them. They work so hard to it to make it a goal and it looks like they'll lose their school and it's that's that's really hard. Just thinking about People that we know friends and relatives that you know, he is probably a lot of things won't be rebuilt and that's real hard to to think about all of their losses. Deborah thank you for calling glad you got out of it alive. well at 2 that does it for our special report today on the Storm. We're going to coerce continue. Our coverage. Our reporters are on the same art style is a down in the country area and he'll have more through the day on the situation in the country area are Hughes and Lynette Diamond covering the story in St. Peter as people try to rebuild and recover from the tornado that roll through southern Minnesota on Sunday up at the state capitol efforts continue to try to get together some special aid for the people who suffered losses in the storm. There is talk now perhaps having a one-day special legislative session to Once once everybody figures out exactly what kind of damage was done in so long to I take care of special emergency aid legislation and going to Army Carlson is now officially ask the federal government for federal disaster. Persistence will keep you posted on all of those developments as well. This is midday coming to you on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Ray Suarez in 1993 President Clinton dropped Lani guinier as his pick for Assistant Attorney General for civil rights saying he found some of her views anti-democratic. I have always believed in democracy and nothing I have ever written is inconsistent with that Lani guinier talks about her experience in the Clinton White House in the civil rights movement on the next Talk of the Nation from NPR news. Over there doing our right before Talk of the Nation. I knew documentary on music and the Brain it's so it's quite a complex issue and we'll have a special Le documentary coming up over the noon hour today right now. It's time for The Writer's Almanac.