INQUIRING MINDS: Remember the Har Mar tornado

Each week the staff at the Roseville Library answers more than 2,500 questions on every subject under the sun. Here’s one of the most interesting ones they’ve gotten lately.

Q. Back in the 1980s, there was the Har Mar Tornado and the Edina/Lake Harriet Tornado. Were those two separate events or were they part of the same weather system?

A. When it comes to weather disasters, Minnesotans like to keep things at the local neighborhood level. At 3:49 p.m. on the sultry afternoon of June 14, 1981, a twister touched down about a third of a mile southwest of the 50th and France intersection in Edina. For the next 26 minutes, it plowed its way northeast across Lake Harriet and — most destructively — through Har Mar Mall in Roseville before finally lifting a quarter of a mile from a mobile home park near Rice St. When the damage was assessed, it was discovered that one person had died, 83 more were injured, and some of the worst destruction to homes and businesses occurred in Roseville. The lieutenant governor called out the National Guard to protect damaged property from looters, and the Red Cross shelters reported that few people showed up because they were all at home guarding the wreckage.

Ever after, this weather event is known west of the Mississippi as the Lake Harriet/Edina Tornado. In the East Metro, however, we call it the Har Mar Tornado.

(MN Dept. of Natural Resources at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/climate/journal/tornado19810614.html)

Do you have a question for the staff at the Roseville Library? You can call them at 651-724-6001 or ask your question in person at the Information Desk, Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Ave. Library hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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