Midnight Tornado at Albertville on September 10, 2002
A late season tornado hit Albertville just after midnight on September 10, 2002. Using statistics from 1953 to 1982 Minnesota sees about one September tornado a year. Since 1998 Minnesota has seen two other tornadoes as late as September. What was more unusual was the late night timing of this tornado. About half of all tornadoes in Minnesota occur between 3 and 7pm. Very few occur as late as midnight. Here is the Public Information Statement issued by the National Weather Service about the Albertville Tornado.
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN 845 PM CDT TUE SEP 10 2002 ...ALBERTVILLE TORNADO CLASSIFIED AS AN F1... A REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SPENT MUCH OF TODAY EXAMINING THE ALBERTVILLE AREA. AFTER CAREFUL CONSIDERATION OF THE DAMAGE CAUSED LATE LAST NIGHT...THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WILL CLASSIFY THIS TORNADO AS A STRONG F1. ROOFS PARTIALLY OFF... HOUSES ROTATED ON THE FOUNDATION...GARAGES HEAVILY DAMAGED ARE ALL INDICATORS OF F1 DAMAGE. THE TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN ON THE EAST EDGE OF CEDAR CREEK GOLF COURSE. IN SOME AREAS IT WAS AS WIDE AS 75 YARDS...BUT IN OTHER SPOTS...THE TORNADO WAS LESS THAN 75 YARDS WIDE. IT STAYED ON THE GROUND FOR 1.1 MILES...TRACKED STRAIGHT EAST...AND DISSIPATED IN THE CITY PARK...JUST BEFORE REACHING THE RAILROAD TRACKS. APPROXIMATE TIME OF TOUCHDOWN WAS AT MIDNIGHT. AS FOR THE RATING...THE MAIN QUESTION WAS WHETHER ONE HOUSE...WITH ITS ROOF COMPLETELY OFF...MERITED AN F2 RATING. THE MODIFIED FUJITA SCALE FROM 1989 DESCRIBES A ROOF COMPLETELY OFF BEING ASSIGNED AN F1 RATING IF IT APPEARS THAT IT WAS NOT STRONGLY ATTACHED AND STRAPPED OR CLIPPED DOWN. THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE THAT IT HAD BEEN STRONGLY ATTACHED AND STRAPPED OR CLIPPED DOWN...SO THE TORNADO WILL BE CLASSIFIED AS AN F1. ONE CAVEAT IS THAT MULTIPLE VORTEX TORNADOES CAN INDUCE SEVERE DAMAGE TO JUST ONE HOUSE AND NOT ANY NEIGHBORING HOUSES... BUT DAMAGE PATTERNS ALONG THE ENTIRETY OF THE PATH LENGTH DID NOT INDICATE THIS WAS A MULTIPLE VORTEX TORNADO. A BRIEF EXCURSION INTO ELK RIVER AND RAMSEY DID NOT REVEAL ANY DAMAGE FROM ANY TORNADO IN THOSE AREAS. NOR HAVE LAW ENFORCEMENT OR EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PERSONNEL HEARD OF ANY DAMAGE IN SHERBURNE OR ANOKA COUNTIES.