The metro was pummeled by a severe storm Saturday night that swept through the cities with 60 mph winds, fierce lightning and ferocious rain that knocked out power for thousands, felled trees, and flooded the state fair.
The National Weather Service Twin Cities tweeted Sunday that there was evidence of tornado damage in southern Ramsey County. It said that additional brief tornadoes occurred in Dakota County in Burnsville, Apple Valley, Eagan and West St. Paul.
NWS said Sunday afternoon it was still trying to determine if there was any tornado damage from the storm in the southeastern portion of the Metro.
Some areas also received hail, the weather service reported.
It’s no surprise that David Terry was at the fair Saturday night when the storm hit.
Terry, a cross country coach for North High School in St. Paul, looks forward to the fair every year and goes every day it’s open. He calls it the “Twelve days of Christmas.”
On Saturday night, he was drinking his honey lemonade, he said, when word spread that there was a possible tornado heading their way. Up until that point there had been a few sprinkles of rain drops, but nothing significant, he said.
However, when word spread of the severe weather threat, he began to head for the exit.
But so did everybody else.
It was crowded and he quickly realized they were not going to escape the weather. By the time he got to the area near the buses, the storm hit.
“I saw it coming … I knew right away ‘We’re not going to outrun that,’ ” he said Sunday. “It came in a wave. The rain hit you sideways.”
He was close enough to jump on a bus when he saw that a dozen people were huddled under a canopy that looked as if it was about to collapse.
“You wonder in certain situations how you would react,” he said.
As a coach, he said, he is always trying to teach the kids he coaches the importance of having character. Because of that, he knows he can’t just talk the talk, but has to walk the walk.
His reaction was to run straight for the canopy and grab one of the metal bars supporting it. He was clinging to it with everything he had and the wind was trying to win the battle when another man, whom Terry described as larger and taller and stronger, came and grabbed the other metal bar supporting the canopy.
The two men stood in the rain, getting soaked, battling to keep the canopy from blowing away or collapsing, he said. They also didn’t know if the storm was going to get worse, so he knew the other people needed to stay under shelter.
“We were getting the full onslaught,” he said. “You couldn’t let go.”
The wind was fierce, but the two men managed to keep the canopy upright until the worst of the storm passed, which was about 15 minutes.
The canopy had survived. And he did too, he said, joking, “I didn’t fly off with it.”
A KSTP meteorologist and self-described “tornado spotter” thought he saw a possible tornado, according to a tweet.
Someone else tweeted he saw “a tree or two down” near that area.
Flooding created a small river at the Fairgrounds after lightning flashed nonstop overhead in what one person tweeted was the Great Minnesota Wet Together.
According to Xcel Energy, the storm caused numerous outages. The company was working to restore power to thousands of customers Sunday morning.
As of noon Sunday, 339 outages in the metro were still affecting 4,829 customers.