Anoka, MN Tornado, June 1939

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Physicians gave first aid at first by the flickering light of kerosene lamps and candles, later under the glare of lights run by emergency gasoline generators. Many of the injured were taken to hospitals in the Twin Cities.

It was difficult to estimate the number of homeless.

That the death toll was not higher was due to two fortunate circumstances.

The first was that rain and hail had fallen intermittently before the tornado struck. As a result, children who had thronged a carnival midway on the outskirts of the town had gone home. The twister swept through the carnival grounds, wrecked the Ferris wheel and damaged the merry-go-round. The second was that a district convention of the American Legion, with 300 attending, met in the city hall instead of the armory as had been planned. The armory was wrecked.

JOSEPHINE BRANT, 18, Minneapolis, saw the twister strike. With her parents, she had been on a fishing trip, and was approaching Anoka on the return trip.

"I saw the funnel strike the edge of the town and then sweep on through. It moved with terrific speed. I could see timbers being thrown into the air, and buildings falling. Some timbers were carried as high as 300 feet into the air."

Wisconsin State Journal Madison 1939-06-19


More than 220 people were injured and nine killed in the Champlin area on June 18, 1939 (2PM).

Minnesota Tornado History and Statistics

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